More Turkish ‘militants’ in custody

Two men arrested in Athens in connection with the speedboat stopped near Chios earlier this week while carrying firearms and explosives are high-ranking members of the left-wing militant Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) in Turkey, police sources told Kathimerini.

The police announced on Thursday that the six people – three Greeks and three Turks – arrested on the boat and on Chios are facing felony charges related to alleged terrorist activity. One of the men, Hasan Biber, has been identified by Turkish authorities as a member of the extreme-left DHKP-C, which is suspected of carrying out a raid on the headquarters of Turkey’s ruling AK Party in March. Biber, 55, has also been linked to a hand grenade attack at the Turkish Justice Ministry in the same month.

Greek police said that two people arrested in Athens are also suspected members of the DHKP-C. One of the men is aged 51, the other 48. One had a Bulgarian passport, the other a forged French one. They were not named but both are wanted by Turkish authorities and the 48-year-old was the subject of a European arrest warrant issued in France. The two men had requested political asylum in Greece but their applications were rejected, police said.

Sources said of the three Greeks arrested, a 50-year-old taverna owner from southern Athens helped organize the sailing. The other two suspects are a father and son, aged 51 and 22, who were allegedly paid to take the suspected DHKP-C members to Turkey. The pair claim they were only hired to sail between Chios and Lesvos and that they did not know the identity of the passengers they were carrying or the contents of their luggage.