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Greek Coast Guard arrests Turkish sailor for spying

A Turkish sailor is facing charges of spying following his arrest at the port of Elefsina, western Attica, the Hellenic Coast Guard said on Friday.

According to a statement from the Hellenic Coast Guard, the 51-year-old, a member of the crew of the Turkish cargo vessel M/V Makbule Ana, was arrested on Wednesday morning.

He is alleged to have been photographing the Salamina Naval Base.

Authorities sized his camera and took him to the prosecutor in Piraeus.

He has been arrested for violating Article 149a of the Penal Code.

He faced a Piraeus misdemeanors’ court on Thursday and was released pending trial on February 9.

The Turkish Embassy in Athens has been briefed on the incident and has asked for a translator and lawyer, sources said.

According to Turkish media, the seaman shot several pictures with his mobile phone. A Greek captain asked to delete the pictures and called the coast guard.

Turkish daily Milliyet notes that the seaman, chief engineer at , will face charges for military espionage. “It has been alleged that the seaman acted following orders by a retired officer of the Turkish Naval Forces.”

The arrest on February 1st comes amid an escalating war of words between Ankara and Athens over territorial rights. In the latest development, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters that the sovereignty status of a total of 130 islets in the Aegean Sea is questionable and therefore subject to dispute.

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