Police in Greece arrested members of a Turkish terrorist organisation after a tunnel containing a cache of military-grade weapons was discovered under Athens.
Eleven members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party (DHKP-C), a Marxist-Leninist organisation, were arrested in an operation conducted by the Greek Anti-Terrorism Service and National Intelligence Service. The eleven men are all Turkish citizens, although some are believed to be of Kurdish descent.
In the raids carried out on properties in the Sepolia and Exarchia districts of Athens, police discovered a 47-metre (154-foot) tunnel that contained an arsenal of weapons including an anti-tank rocket launcher, grenade launchers, AK-47 rifles, and pistols, according to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.
The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party (DHKP-C) if a far-left revolutionary communist organisation that is classified as a terrorist organisation by the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the Turkish government.
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The group, which is banned in Turkey, wishes to topple Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and establish a Marxist state.
The DHKP-C also opposes what it brands as “American Imperialism” in the region, and has attacked United States military and diplomatic missions in the past. It is believed to have been responsible for a suicide bombing at the U.S. embassy in Ankara.
Among those arrested in Athens was a 60-year-old man referred by the code name “Kostas”, who is believed to have been the ringleader of the terror cell. The man had been under surveillance by the government following trips he made to Greek Dodecanese Islands off the coast of Turkey.
The 60-year-old was arrested in 2013 for attempting to smuggle a load of explosives and weapons to Turkey from Greece by boat.
In 2017, nine members of the DHKP-C were arrested on terrorist charges in Greece ahead of a state visit from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — but last year the charges were dropped, according to the New York Times.
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