Greek police arrest nine Turks ahead of Erdogan visit

Al Jazeera/Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Press Service via AP

DW — Anti-terror police squads found detonators and bomb-making equipment while searching three apartments in central Athens on Tuesday morning.

Greek police arrested eight men and one woman, all of them Turkish nationals. The authorities seized materials “available on the market that could potentially be used to make explosives,” as well as travel documents and digital material, according to the statement.

The group is suspected of links with the Revolutionary Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, a Turkish militant Marxist organization.

Notably, the faction claimed responsibility for the 2013 suicide bombing of the American embassy in Ankara which killed a security guard and injured three other people. They are also held responsible for several other attacks in recent decades, and classified as a terror group in Turkey, the EU, and the US.

Erdogan to visit next week

In 2014, Greek police arrested four Turkish citizens on DHKP-C links after finding weapons and explosives in Athens and intercepting a weapons delivery in the Aegean Sea.

Tuesday’s raids came as Greece prepares to welcome Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. While the trip has not been officially confirmed, Erdogan is set to arrive in Greece on the December 7; it would be the first visit by a Turkish head of state in 65 years.

Ties between the two Mediterranean countries have been tense for decades over the Turkish invasion and occupation of northern Cyprus in 1974, with the island divided since then. Recently, Ankara also slammed Athens for not overturning a Greek court decision not to extradite high-ranking military officers who defected to Greece after the failed coup of 2016.