Turkey on Wednesday criticized Greece for acquitting nine Revolutionary People's Liberation Party (DHKP-C) terrorists who were arrested in 2017.
In a written statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said, "The acquittal reveals why these terrorist elements are nested in Greece." "This decision by the Greek court clearly is interrupting the efforts to combat terrorism in Europe," Aksoy added. "Turkey is worried that Greece has become a safe haven for terrorist organizations," he concluded.
The three-member Assize Court in Greece ruled on Wednesday that nine suspects affiliated with the DHKP-C are to be acquitted; they were apprehended in November 2017.
All of the suspects were cleared of charges of "being a member of a terrorist organization" and "possessing arms and explosives." Six suspects were sentenced to two years seven months in prison on the charges of "possessing small arms and firecrackers," while the punishment of five suspects was suspended.
On the other hand, the imprisonment of Hasan Biber, who was suspected of masterminding the twin bomb attacks in 2013 that targeted the Justice Ministry and the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) headquarters in the Turkish capital Ankara, was changed to a pecuniary penalty. In November 2017, nine DHKP-C members were arrested on charges of setting up and being members of a criminal organization, terrorist-related acts of supply and possession of explosive materials and illegal possession of firearms, smoke bombs and firecrackers. Since the arrests, the Greek courts rejected the extradition of suspects.
Greek media outlets reported that the suspects, including one who was granted political asylum in France, were planning to launch an attack on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's motorcade during his visit to Athens.
The DHKP-C, although less influential in Turkey than other terrorist organizations such as the PKK, still represents a considerable threat to the country's security. The group is an offshoot of a Marxist-Leninist movement - Dev Sol (Revolutionary Left) - that was established in the 1970s and claimed responsibility for a series of high-profile murders. The latest terrorist action attempt by the group took place on Tuesday when two suspects with links to the DHKP-C tried to enter Turkish Parliament upon a deputy's invitation and take a staff member hostage.
Greece has long been one of the countries in which the DHKP-C is very active, and the terror group currently operates a camp disguised as a refugee camp, located in the town of Lavrion, approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles) southeast of Athens.