Greek police arrest 11 in Turkey-linked far-left raid

The Greek police said they had seized weapons and arrested 11 people for suspected membership of a far-left group, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

The raids on Thursday were carried out at two properties in Athens against alleged members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), which is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.

The suspects were charged on Friday with terrorism-linked offences. Lawyers for the suspects said they denied the charges.

Police said that at one site they found a makeshift underground storage room and a tunnel spanning a total length of 47 metres that ended in an adjoining vacant lot.

Police seized weapons including two anti-tank launchers, two grenade launchers, four handguns, and an automatic rifle.

Originally founded in the late 1970s as Dev Sol, the DHKP-C, has a history of carrying out attacks and assassinations in Turkey since the 1980s, including a 2013 suicide bomb attack on the United States Embassy in Ankara.

In 2015, the group claimed responsibility for a bombing attack on a Turkish police station which killed one police officer. In the same year, two suspected members of the group held prosecutors hostage in an Istanbul court, fatally wounding a prosecutor when police stormed the court.

In August, 2015, the group carried out four attacks in Istanbul, killing one police officer and injuring dozens. DHKP-C is believed to have been present in Greece for years. Last year a Greek court acquitted nine Turkish nationals arrested over terrorism-related offences in Athens in 2017, days before a Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Greece.