ATHENS, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Greek police have launched an investigation into the two visits the terror suspect in New Zealand Christchurch mosque attacks made in the country in recent years, Greek media reported on Saturday evening.
Greek TV channels Alpha and SKAI reported, citing police sources, that Greek authorities are collaborating with Interpol, as well as other authorities in the Balkans, to probe the itineraries of the 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant.
Tarrant made a stopover at Athens international airport in the winter of 2016 while travelling from Cairo, Egypt, to Bucharest, Romania, and in March 2016, he stayed in Greece about 15 days, according to the reports.
Two words written among others on his weapons sounded the alarm for Greek authorities as well. Tarrant had written the Greek word "Turkofagos" in Latin characters which means "Turk eater". It was the nickname of Nikitaras, one of the leaders of the Greek war of independence against the Ottoman rule in the 19th century.
According to reports so far, Tarrant had also written the names of other European military leaders who also fought against the Ottoman Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The second word which is a reference to Greek history is the word "Lepanto" which is the name Venetian rulers had given to the Greek town of Nafpaktos in the 15th century, before the region fell under the control of the Ottomans.
The Ottoman fleet had a big naval station in Nafpaktos, which is located about 170 km northwest of Athens. In 1571 the historical naval battle of Lepanto took place in the area, and Western forces defeated the fleet of the Ottoman Empire.