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Greek police arrest nine Turks ahead of Erdogan visit

Several Turkish nationals were arrested in Greece over alleged links to the leftist militant group DHKP-C. Police raided locations in Athens as the government prepares for a visit by Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A man in hazmat suit enters an apartment in Athens (picture-alliance/dpa/AP/T. Stavrakis)

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.

A man in protective clothing at the site of Tuesday raids (picture-alliance/dpa/AP/T. Stavrakis)

The suspects were detained in Neos Kosmos and Kallithea, Athens

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.

Read more: After embassy bombing, Turkey concerned about more acts of terrorism

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.

Read more: Marxist group claims Istanbul US consulate attack

Ties between the two Mediterranean countries have been tense for decades over the Cyprus conflict, with the island divided since 1974. Recently, Ankara also slammed Athens for providing shelter to high-ranking military officers after the failed coup of 2016.

dj/msh (Reuters, AP)

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