Nine Turkish citizens face terrorism charges in Greece

Nine Turkish citizens arrested in Athens raids on Tuesday were brought to a Greek court Wednesday, charged with terrorism offences.

A public prosecutor has presented charges of forming and participating in a terrorist organization, violating legislation on possession of explosives and weapons, and resistance against authority.

The defendants were brought to court wearing bulletproof vests. A small group of people were on scene shouting slogans in solidarity with eight male and one female suspects.

Defense lawyer Aleka Zorbala told reporters there had been maltreatment by Greek police and declared they will plead not guilty.

According the legal team defending the group, all of the arrestees are refugees who have either requested or gained asylum.

The defendants were referred to the Public Investigator. Their legal team is expected to request and receive a deadline in order to answer the investigator's questions.

Greek anti-terrorist police raided three houses in Athens on Tuesday and arrested eight men and a woman suspected to be linked to DHKP-C, a far-left Turkish terrorist group.

According to Greek police, a CZ pistol, detonators, chemicals that could be used as explosives, computers, USB sticks and mobile phones were seized and are now being examined by forensics officers.

Local media report the suspects used old technology mobiles to avoid surveillance.

Police also said one of those arrested, a 45-year-old man, was wanted in connection with a previous case of transferring guns from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Chios in July 2013.

The arrests come only a week ahead of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's official visit to Greece.

On Wednesday, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said in a news conference that Erdogan's safety during his visit would be assured.

Minister of Civil Protection Nikos Toskas said that the defendants are "not especially cooperative", but did not confirm that they were planning an attack against President Erdogan.

"There are no indications that the people arrested were preparing an attack on Erdogan's visit to our country" he said in a statement.

Toskas also said there had been no cooperation between the Greek and Turkish authorities in the arrests.

Source: Anadolu Agency