Turkey commemorates diplomat assassinated by ASALA

Published 25.09.2019 00:46

Turkey on Tuesday remembered Cemal Özen, a diplomat who was assassinated by an Armenian terrorist group in 1981.

"We remember with respect our martyr Cemal Özen, Security Attache, assassinated by the terrorist organization ASALA in Paris on Sept. 24, 1981," the Foreign Ministry wrote on Twitter.

Founded in 1975 in Beirut, Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War, the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) is responsible for hundreds of terrorist acts.

Armenian terrorist groups targeted Turkish ambassadors and diplomats around the world from 1975 to 1984.

ASALA killed over 30 Turkish diplomats and officials in various attacks during that decade.

In his 2006 study on Armenian terrorist groups, former Turkish diplomat Ömer Engin Lütem revealed that 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 was officially formed in 1975, the first killing of a diplomat and his deputy came on Jan. 27, 1973, when the Turkish Consul General in Los Angeles Mehmet Baydar and his aide Bahadır Demir was killed by Gourgen Yanikian.

Three diplomats were killed between 1973 and 1978, after that however Turkish public servants abroad became widespread 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 over 80 percent of all attacks – 580 of the 699 – 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 most horrific acts. ASALA terrorists held 56 people hostage for 15 hours during the 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 Turkish officials, because of the Orly attack, 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.

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