Turkish State Media: Detained Greek Spied On Border Defenses

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish security forces have detained a Greek citizen accused of spying for Athens’ intelligence service, the state-run Anadolu news agency said Saturday.

The man, identified as Muhammed Amar Ampara, was allegedly involved in gathering information about the deployment of Turkish military border units, as well as information on Turkey’s Syrian population and Turks who fled to Greece after a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.

Anadolu, which cited unnamed security sources, published a photograph of a bearded, balding man in handcuffs. He appeared to be in his 50s or 60s.

He was captured as a result of an investigation by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), the news agency reported, without giving any information about where or when he was detained.

An official from the Greek Embassy in Ankara declined to comment on the allegations.

The arrest comes amid renewed tensions between Turkey and Greece. The neighbors and NATO allies have a history of disputes over a range of issues, such as mineral exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and rival claims in the Aegean Sea.

Recent quarrels have focused on the Greek islands off Turkey’s Aegean coast, with Ankara accusing Athens of building a military presence in breach of treaties. Greece maintains it is acting according to international law and is defending the islands in the face of Turkish hostility.

Turkey hosts the world’s largest refugee population, including some 3.7 million Syrians. Their presence has become a major political issue in the lead-up to national elections due over the next 12 months.

Following a failed coup in July 2016, some members of a group tied to a U.S.-based cleric whom Ankara accuses of organizing the attempt to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fled abroad, including to Greece.