Greek police arrest 72-year-old German suspected of spying for Turks

Greek police arrest 72-year-old German suspected of spying for Turks

ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
Greek police arrest 72-year-old German suspected of spying for Turks

Greek coast guard officers in Chios island, eastern Aegean Sea watch a 7-meter speedboat following the arrest of four men suspected of shipping explosives and weapons. AP photo

A 72-year-old German was arrested on the Greek island of Chios in the eastern Aegean suspected of spying on behalf of unknown Turkish nationals, police said Aug. 2.

"For at least three years, he photographed camps and other infrastructure of the (Greek) armed forces in Chios and was paid to give the material to Turkish nationals," the police said in a statement.

Last week, four men - two Greek and two Turkis citizens of Kurdish origin - were arrested by the coastguard off Chios, for transferring a large amount of weapons and explosives to Turkey.

Further arrests have been made by Greece's anti-terrorism squad, which has taken over the case. Two were detained on the island itself, while another two were apprehended in Athens, but charged only with using fake identity papers. Greek police also detained 11 Turkish citizens in operations.

Those arrested were suspected of belonging to the left-wing Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) which claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Embassy in Ankara in February. It was later established that the assailant, Ecevit Şanlı, had entered Turkey illegally via Greece.

One of the eight was named as Hasan Biber, who is wanted in Turkey for alleged involvement in two attacks against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters and the Justice Ministry in Ankara on March 19. 

The other suspects detained on the boat were named as Mehmet Yayla and lawyer Ahmet Düzgün Yüksel, according to daily Hürriyet. Yüksel reportedly left Turkey five years ago before becoming a member of the DHKP/C. It is also claimed that Yüksel was carrying a Bulgarian passport when he was captured in the boat.

Hired in 2010

At the time of the German's arrest, he was carrying two cameras containing photographs of military camps on the island, police said.

During a search at his house in Chios, where he has been living for four years, police further found laptops, maps, mobile phones and a pair of glasses with a built-in camera.

A search in his email account revealed a message describing the coastguard's arrest of the four men last week.

According to police, the suspect claims he was first hired in the summer of 2010 to provide photographic material and his payments ranged between 500 and 1,500 euros ($665 to $1990) for each mission.

Both Turkish politicians and media outlets accused Greece of harbouring DHKP/C members. "Such articles are well beyond the bounds of bizarre and inexplicable conspiracy theory," said the ministry's spokesman Konstantinos Koutras who questioned the motivations behind these publications.