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Turkey redefines armed forces' duty, further rolling back powers to intervene in politics

Turkey's parliament has amended an armed forces regulation which once-powerful military leaders have held up in the past as justification for intervening in politics.

In a vote late Friday, legislators amended the regulation which defined the military's duty as watching over and protecting the Turkish republic, changing it to "defending the Turkish nation against external threats."

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-rooted government has already significantly curtailed the military's clout through reforms asserting civilian control and the amendment was seen as being largely symbolic.

The Turkish military, which long regarded itself as protector of the country's secular system, forced four governments out of power between 1960 and 1997.

The vote follows a spate of anti-government protests in June, which Erdogan has labeled a conspiracy against his democratically-elected government.