Turkish authorities have caught a total of 20 people, including six terrorists, in the northwestern Edirne province bordering Greece, the Defense Ministry announced Thursday.
Greek border guards were pushing the group back into Türkiye when Turkish border units grabbed them, the ministry said.
The authorities later understood the group included five members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and one other terrorist belonging to the PKK/YPG.
Greece, the primary destination for irregular migrants seeking a gateway to Europe, has also been an access point for FETÖ suspects since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt perpetrated by the group’s military infiltrators. Türkiye has since stepped up investigations into the group’s wrongdoings, as well as fugitives.
Notoriously, just one day after the coup bid, eight FETÖ member soldiers fled to the Greek city of Alexandroupoli (Dedeağaç) in a military helicopter belonging to Türkiye and sought asylum there.
In Greece, the soldiers claimed that they were unaware of the coup plot, and Athens refused to agree to insistent extradition requests from Turkish officials.
Türkiye’s struggle against FETÖ has netted thousands of members since 2016. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) are at the center of the struggle.
FETÖ, which had infiltrators in law enforcement, the judiciary and the bureaucracy, still has backers in the army ranks, though they managed to disguise their loyalty, as operations and investigations since the coup attempt indicated.
In March 2021, FETÖ ringleader Fetullah Gülen sent a video message to a promotional event in Athens for a book written about him. “Greece is a sister country,” Gülen said. “Thanks to this brotherhood, we remember them with gratitude and appreciation. (What Greece did) will be written with gold and silver on the glorious pages of history.”
Türkiye also accuses Greece of harboring members of other terrorist groups involved in attacks in Türkiye, including the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) and the PKK.
Some DHKP-C members fleeing Türkiye have taken shelter in refugee camps in Lavrion near Athens under the guise of being asylum-seekers, especially in the 1980s.
Despite the closure of Lavrion in 2013 amid pressure from Türkiye, Greece continues to be the primary destination for terrorists.
Footage from the camp shows that it has turned into a base for PKK terrorists. The camp scene resembles a terrorist base, with terrorist symbols and pictures of its imprisoned ringleader Abdullah Öcalan adorning its walls.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan too recently condemned Greece and other EU members for tolerating and harboring terrorists, saying, “There are some disturbances that Greece inflicts on us in the fight against terrorism. Especially, this Lavrion Camp issue is not something that we can stomach.”