NEWS

Arrests of nine Turks linked to terror fears

YIANNIS SOULIOTIS

Police experts carry equipment as they search for evidence outside an apartment in the Athens district of Neos Kosmos, on Tuesday.

TAGS: Terrorism

Nine Turkish nationals, suspected of belonging to a banned militant left-wing Turkish terror group, will face an investigative magistrate on Wednesday after Greek anti-terrorist units found bomb-making equipment and detonators during raids at three apartments in Athens on Tuesday.

One of the suspects was wanted by Greek authorities in connection with an attempt by members of the outlawed Turkish terror group DHKP/C to transfer arms and explosives from the eastern Aegean island of Chios to Turkey in 2013.

Government officials said that the raids were not linked to next week’s official visit to Greece by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

However, officials at the Citizens’ Protection Ministry and police sources have not ruled out the possibility the suspects – eight men and one woman – were planning an attack against Erdogan during his visit.

The raids however could also be seen as a sign that Greek security arrangements are in full swing ahead of Erdogan’s arrival.

Government sources described yesterday’s operation as a “great success” for law enforcement, adding that the National Intelligence Service (EYP) played a significant role.

The raids took place at two homes in the district of Kallithea and one in Neos Cosmos. Police said they arrested three suspects at each residence.

A source from the Citizens’ Protection Ministry told Kathimerini that most of the suspects had been in Greece for less than a year, while the three apartments were rented out just a few weeks ago.

Police are also examining the possibility that the nine suspects may have rented more properties in the same suburbs.

Officials said that they found chemical substances that are available commercially that can be used to make explosives, as well as a CZ pistol, dynamite sticks, cables and timers used in the manufacture of makeshift devices.

Experts were also examining the contents of USBs and laptops that were also confiscated as they could shed light on the group’s actions and intentions, authorities said.

“It’s clear that they were about to make an explosive mechanism,” a police source said, adding, however, that it was too early for officials to ascertain whether they planned “to use the devices on Greek soil or to transfer them to Turkey.”

In 2014 Greek police arrested a number of Turks in Athens and Thessaloniki on charges of DHKP/C membership.

Online