Wife of slain Turkish diplomat 'shocked' over Armenia honoring the killer

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 13.06.2019 00:28

"Surely you know he was a murderer," the wife of a diplomat murdered by an Armenian terrorist wrote to the president of Armenia, which honored the deceased terrorist.

In an emotional letter to President Armen Sarkissian, the wife of one of two diplomats killed by Armenian terrorist Gurgen Yanikian decades ago questioned Armenia's burial of Yanikian in a military cemetery.

Armenia's repatriation of the remains of Yanikian who killed two Turkish diplomats in 1973 in the U.S., has already caused an outrage in Turkey. Foreign Ministry has severely condemned the act.

Yanikian assassinated Turkey's Los Angeles Consul-General Mehmet Baydar and Deputy Consul Bahadır Demir on Jan. 27, 1973. He was captured following the murders at the Biltmore Hotel in California but was released on parole in 1984, two months before his death.

His remains in California were brought back to Armenia in May and interred at a military cemetery with a formal ceremony. The Turkish Foreign Ministry earlier issued a message condemning the decision and said the repatriation of Yanikian's remains constituted a crime promoting terrorism, as it extolled a cruel terrorist as a hero.

Melek Sina Baydur Demir, a former ambassador and wife of Bahadır Demir penned an emotional letter addressing the Armenian President. The letter was published by a website yesterday, days after it was sent to Sarkissian. She denounced Yanikian's designation as "a hero."

Yanikian was adopted as a heroic figure for the terrorist group, the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), which was founded two years after the killing of the Turkish diplomats. The group was responsible for a series of terrorist attacks and killings in the 1980s. Some 42 Turkish diplomats were killed by members of the Armenian terrorist organization in the 1970s and 1980s.

Demir said she found out about the repatriation from the media and was "shocked, puzzled and felt sad." Demir reminded in her letter that Yanikian pleaded guilty to the murders and was convicted, and Sarkissian "surely knew this."

"I wrote this letter over the burial of this person in a military cemetery in your country. As far as I know, military cemeteries are designated for heroes who died while defending their country. How could you recognize someone as a hero, someone who drew two defenseless, innocent and peaceful diplomats to the crime scene with lies, shot them with guns he prepared for the occasion and did not stop there and fired two more shots on their heads while they were lying on the ground fighting for their lives?" she wrote.

Yanikian had invited the two Turkish diplomats to Biltmore Hotel convincing them he would help Turkey retrieve some lost artifacts but shot them dead with a pistol he had hidden inside a hollowed-out book.

"Prosecutors had described this person as a political terrorist. It is obvious that there are domestic and foreign policy motives behind treating this sick-minded murderer as a hero. Don't you believe that this act is promoting terrorism?" she further wrote.

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