Three Turks, three Greeks charged over arms cache

Three Turks, three Greeks charged over arms cache

Three Turks, three Greeks charged over arms cache

Anti-tank weapons, handguns, hand grenades and improvised explosive devices were seized in the operation. DHA Photo

Three Greek and three Turkish citizens were charged Aug. 1 with multiple terrorism-related offenses in connection to an arms shipment that Greek authorities intercepted in the Aegean Sea earlier this week, the Associated Press reported Aug. 2.

A total of three Greeks and five Turks were detained in the eastern Aegean and in Athens after the arms were seized from a speedboat on July 30. Three of the suspects are wanted by Turkey for alleged membership in the outlawed leftist organization the 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.

Four were detained off the coast of Chios on the seven-meter speedboat, which was carrying anti-tank weapons, handguns, hand grenades and improvised explosive devices. 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, Anadolu Agency reported.

Judicial authorities said six men held in the Aegean were charged with membership in a terrorist organization and possession of weapons with the intent to use them in acts of terrorism.

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.

Meanwhile, Ankara police captured a suspect identified as Erol B., who allegedly spoke with Biber by phone just three minutes before the attack on the Justice Ministry.

Greek police spokesman Christos Parthenis said Aug. 1 that one of the Turkish men detained in the Greek capital was using a passport stolen from the French military attaché in Athens, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan conducted a phone conversation with his Greek counterpart, Antonis Samaras, over the incident, Anadolu Agency reported. Erdoğan thanked his counterpart for the successful operation of the Greek coast guards.