Monday, August 5, 2013

Greece arrests German man on suspicion of spying for Turkey

Reuters in Athens, Monday 5 August 2013 02.45 AEST

Police say 72-year-old admits photographing military buildings on island of Chios for people he believes are Turkish nationals


Greek coastguard officers watch over a harbour in Chios. Last Tuesday a boat containing guns and explosives was intercepted close to the island. Photograph: AP

A 72-year-old German man has been arrested on a Greek island on suspicion of spying for Turkey, police said.

The man told police he had photographed barracks and other military-related buildings on the island of Chios for five people he believed were Turkish nationals who paid him up to €1,500 ($2,000) for each assignment.

Police suspect the individuals worked for the Turkish secret services, a Greek police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity said on Saturday, adding that investigations were ongoing.

The man has been living on the island near the Turkish coast for the past four years and had been taking photos of military bases for at least three, police said.

He was arrested on Friday and will appear before a prosecutor to face espionage charges.

A German foreign ministry spokesman said the embassy in Athens was aware of the case and was trying to contact the man. The Turkish embassy was not immediately available for comment.

Police said they had found in the man's possession cameras, laptops, maps and glasses with an embedded camera, and an email he had sent last week to an unidentified recipient with details on Greek warships and army vehicles on Chios.

The email also mentioned a widely reported incident last Tuesday in which Greek coastguards intercepted a boat containing guns and explosives in the waters near Turkey, close to the island. Turkey said two of six people arrested were members of a Turkish militant group.


Turkey and Greece have a history of enmity and have come to the brink of war on several occasions, most recently in 1996 over an uninhabited Aegean islet.

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