Turkey commemorates victims of ASALA terrorist attacks

Published 31.07.2018 12:00
Updated 31.07.2018 12:36
emPhoto from Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs/em
Photo from Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday issued a memorial message for the two victims of a 1980 attack by Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) in Greece in 1980, Galip Özmen and Neslihan Özmen.

"We commemorate with respect our martyrs, Administrative Attaché of the Turkish Embassy in Athens Galip Özmen and his daughter Neslihan Özmen, assassinated by terrorist organization ASALA on 31.7.1980," the official account for the ministry tweeted.

It was 38 years ago today when Turkish diplomat Galip Özmen and his 14-year-old daughter Neslihan were martyred by a notorious Armenian terror group in Greece.

His wife, Sevil Özmen, and his 16-year-old son, Kaan Özmen, were also seriously injured but managed to survive. ASALA claimed responsibility for the 1980 terrorist attack.

Decades later Turkey is still mourning for Özmen and his daughter, who were among over 30 Turkish diplomats and their family members martyred by ASALA and similar terror attacks between 1973 and 1984.

Founded in 1975 in Beirut, Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War, ASALA is responsible for hundreds of bloody terror acts.

According to Armenian Terror – a 2006 study by Ömer Engin Lütem, a former Turkish diplomat – the killings spanned the continents, taking place in the U.S., Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Lebanon, Greece, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, Portugal, Iran, and the U.K.

Though the group formed in 1975, the first killing of a diplomat and his deputy came on Jan. 27, 1973, when Gourgen Yanikian, an Armenian, martyred Turkey's consul general in Los Angeles, Mehmet Baydar, and his aide Bahadır Demir.

A total of three diplomats were martyred between 1973 and 1978, after which Turkish public servants abroad became targets for Armenian terrorist organizations like ASALA and the so-called Justice Commandoes for Armenian Genocide.

Armenian terrorist attacks intensified from 1980 to 1983, when 580 of the 699 attacks – over 80 percent – occurred.

The attack at Esenboğa airport on Aug. 7, 1982, was one of the most notorious attacks of ASALA, as the group targeted non-diplomat civilians for the first time.

Nine people died and over 80 were injured when two terrorists opened fire in a crowded passenger waiting area of the airport in the Turkish capital Ankara.

The 1981 and 1983 Paris attacks are among the group's other notable acts. ASALA terrorists held 56 people hostage for 15 hours during Turkish Consulate attack in 1981, while a suitcase bomb killed eight people – most of them non-Turks – in 1983 at a Turkish Airlines check-in desk at Paris' Orly Airport.

According to some Turkish officials, it was the Orly attack when the group lost much of its support and financial backing from the Armenian diaspora and had to dissolve.

The terrorist attacks ended in 1986, according to the Armenian Terror study.

In order to compel the Turkish government "to acknowledge publicly its responsibility for the so-called Armenian genocide in 1915, pay reparations, and cede territory for an 'Armenian homeland'," ASALA martyred Turkish diplomats in numerous bloody attacks in that decade.

In 1915, the Ottoman Empire relocated Armenians in eastern Anatolia following revolts when some sided with invading Russians, and there were Armenian casualties during the relocation process.

Armenia has demanded an apology and compensation, while Turkey has officially refuted Armenian allegations over the incidents saying that, although Armenians died during the relocations, many Turks also lost their lives in attacks carried out by Armenian gangs in Anatolia.

The Turkish government has repeatedly called on historians to study Ottoman archives pertaining to the era in order to uncover what actually happened between the Ottoman government and its Armenian citizens.

Rebuffing the "genocide" allegations, Turkey has officially acknowledged past experiences as a great tragedy in which both parties suffered heavy casualties, including hundreds of Muslim Turks.

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