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Securitization of Greek terrorism and arrest of the 'revolutionary organization november 17'

Karyotis, G. (2007) Securitization of Greek terrorism and arrest of the 'revolutionary organization november 17'. Cooperation and Conflict, 42 (3). pp. 271-293. ISSN 0010-8367

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After 27 years of stalemate and inability to make any progress in dealing with domestic terrorism, in 2002 the Greek police finally arrested members of the 'Revolutionary Organization November 17', the most lethal terrorist group ever to operate in Greece. The arrest of the terrorists raised several questions that have not yet been satisfactorily answered. Why did Greece take so long before a decisive strike against domestic, left-wing terrorism was recorded? What were the factors that led to the arrest of the terrorists? In answering these questions it is necessary to analyse not just the operational changes in the Greek counter-terrorist strategy that began to materialize at the turn of the millennium, but also the deep-rooted conceptual changes that led to the inclusion of terrorism in the Greek security agenda for the first time. I utilize and extend the theory of 'securitization' as developed by the Copenhagen school, and argue that the state's failure to curtail terrorist activity in Greece resulted from the erroneous belief that terrorism was not a direct threat to Greek security. In turn, the belated securitization of terrorism was the key to the arrest of the terrorists that held Greece hostage for almost three decades.