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28 Ap 2010 - Cause Of Their People A Study Of Contemporary Armenian Terrorism by Michael M.Gunter
17 April 2010

3054) Pursuing The Just Cause Of Their People A Study Of Contemporary Armenian Terrorism by Michael M.Gunter

Pursuing The Just Cause Of Their People A Study Of Contemporary Armenian Terrorism by Michael M.Gunter

West Would Not Support Armenian Position On Karabakh: Interview: Professor Michael Gunter, Tennessee Technological University, USA & The International University, Vienna, Austria
16 April 2010


Pursuing The Just Cause Of Their People A Study Of Contemporary Armenian Terrorism by Michael M.Gunter

Into the early nineteenth century the unique millet system of self-government for the non-Muslim minorities of the Ottoman Empire apparently satisfied the Armenians to the degree that they were known by the Turks as the millet-i-Sadika or “loyal nation.” 1 The rise of nationalism and decline of the multinational Ottoman Empire, however, began to change this situation as the nineteenth century wore on. One by one the various Christian nations on the Ottoman frontiers in the west broke away, while in the east the Russian conquest of the Caucasus and the creation of a Russian Armenia on the Ottoman borders there in 1827 acted as a further catalyst. Contact with Westerners in such Ottoman cities as Constantinople and Smyrna, studies abroad, and the activities of Western missionaries also helped to begin jarring the Armenians out of their long dormancy. . .


1 Historical Origins


The Armenian Position

To many Armenians, life in the decaying Ottoman Empire began to seem increasingly oppressive. According to A.O.Sarkissian, “there were four causes of complaint: the non-acceptance of non-Mohammedan testimony in the courts; the abuses connected with the matter of taxation; oppressions and outrages committed by government officials, such as forced conversions, rapes, assaults, etc.; and oppressions and outrages committed by civilians and brigands.” 2 Non-Muslims, especially Christians, were derisively termed giaours (infidels) or rayah (flock or cattle). As Christians, Armenians were ineligible for military service and not even allowed to bear arms, a situation filled with danger, given the general breakdown of law and order in eastern Anatolia. As a result, some Armenians began to look to Europe as their saviour and protector.

The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 proved a major step in the development and internationalization of the Armenian Question. Article 16 of the preliminary Treaty of San Stefano appeared to promise that Armenian reforms would be guaranteed by Russia: “The Sublime Porte engages to carry into effect, without further delay, the improvements and reforms demanded by local requirements in the provinces inhabited by Armenians.” The later Treaty of Berlin, however, proffered only a watered-down Article 61 that was to be upheld by all the European powers and thus, it proved, none. Influenced by these events, as well as such Russian terrorist groups as the Narodniki, Armenian nationalism eventually manifested itself in the formation of the Marxist revolutionary Hunchaks (Bells) in 1887 and the more nationalistic Hai Heghapokhakan Dashnaktsutium (Armenian Revolutionary Federation), or simply Dashnaks, in 1890.

To better control his restive eastern domains, Sultan Abdul Hamid II, who hated the Armenians although he himself is said to have had an Armenian mother, organized a Kurdish cavalry called the Hamidiye. The nomadic Kurds had been the inveterate enemy of the sedentary Armenians. Deputized now as the sultan’s agents in the guise of the Hamidiye, the Kurds repeatedly fell upon the defenseless Armenians who, as mentioned above, were not even allowed to possess firearms legally until early in the twentieth century.

In 1894 the Hunchaks persuaded the Armenians of Sassoun not to pay the extortionary, but customary, protection tax (hafir)to the Kurds. What the Armenians considered to be self-defense, however, Abdul Hamid viewed as rebellion. With brutality he put down the insurrection in Sassoun and then sat by approvingly as massacres spread throughout the Armenian vilayets (provinces).

Europe damned “the unspeakable Turk” for what ensued. Lord Bryce, the great friend and admirer of the Armenians (see below), concluded that what had occurred were “massacres such as no Christian people has ever suffered before.” 3 Fridtjof Nansen described how “the Sultan’s organized brigands ‘worked’ quite satisfactorily, and Armenian blood flowed in rivers everywhere.” 4 David Lang concluded that “the total death toll [of Armenians] over the years from 1894 to 1896 was not less than 200,000—some estimates put it as high as a quarter of a million.” 5 Even Lord Kinross, the usually Turkophilic author, called what happened “an atrocious campaign of massacre, launched by the Sultan’s orders.” 6

The Turkish Position

Others see what occurred as a justified Turkish response to Armenian and foreign provocations. The picture they paint is very different from the one depicted by the Armenians and largely accepted in the West. In the first place, it is noted, the Christian Armenian population was a natural fifth column for the Russians to exploit in their ambition to reach the Mediterranean. The British consul J.G.Taylor reported from Erzurum in 1869, for example, that “it is the policy of the Russian Government…to exaggerate real existing evils, or trump up imaginary complaints, in order to keep up that chronic dissatisfaction so suitable to the line of conduct it has always pursued in limitrophe countries.” 7 During each Russian invasion of the nineteenth century, some Ottoman Armenians sided with the enemy. 8 As Lord Bryce himself noted, “When foreign armies enter [the Ottoman Empire], whether it be Bulgaria or Armenia, they are welcomed as deliverers by the subject populations.” 9 The commander of the invading Russian army in eastern Anatolia in 1877 was a Russian Armenian, General M.T. Loris-Melikoff. His original surname, Melikian, had simply been Russianized.

As the Russians advanced through the Balkans toward Constantinople in 1878, the Armenian patriarch in that city, Nerses Varjabedian, entered into secret negotiations with them. Article 16 of the Treaty of San Stefano, which the Russians dictated to the Turks in March of that year, was the result. During the same month, the British ambassador to the Porte, A.H.Layard, reported that the Armenians were determined, now that self-government was about to be given to the Christian communities in Europe, to demand the same privileges for themselves in Asia…. [I]f the Congress refused to listen to the just demands of the Armenians, they were resolved to agitate until they could obtain what they required, and if they could not succeed without foreign aid, they would place themselves completely in the hands of Russia, and even prefer annexation to her to remaining under Turkish rule. 10

The outcome of this Armenian campaign was the inclusion of Article 61 in the Treaty of Berlin of July 13, 1878. This article reiterated the commitment made by the Porte to its Armenian inhabitants in the Treaty of San Stefano and helped allow the European imperialist powers to use the Armenians as a pawn in their power struggles in Anatolia. Even Lord Bryce scathingly denounced this foreign intervention:

Before the Treaty of Berlin the Sultan had no special enmity to the Armenians, nor had the Armenian nation any political aspirations. It was the stipulations then made for their protection that first marked them out for suspicion and hatred, and that first roused in them hopes of deliverance whose expression increased the hatred of their rulers…. [T]his is what England and Russia between them have accomplished. Better it would have been for the Christians of the East if no diplomatist had ever signed a protocol or written a dispatch on their behalf. 11

The self-government that began to work for the Christian nations in the Balkans did not prove appropriate for the Armenians, however, because, unlike these other nations, the Armenians were concentrated in Anatolia, the heartland of the Ottoman Empire, and, in addition, constituted a minority in the very land they sought as their own autonomous or even independent state. As British General Baker Pasha wrote from Diarbekir on February 1, 1880, “It is only necessary to know this country in order to see the utter absurdity of any scheme of Armenian autonomy. The Armenians are everywhere in a minority, generally comprising only one-third to one-fifth of the inhabitants.” 12

Baker’s observations recently were verified by Justin McCarthy, who made a careful analysis of the official Ottoman census, incorporating into it the necessary adjustments to correct for undercounting and other problems. His work is clearly the best available on the subject and merits the close attention of any serious, disinterested scholar. What patently emerged from his study is that in 1911–12 the Armenians constituted a minority in the six vilayets of what was historic Armenia. 13 As McCarthy concluded, “One fact is obvious…. [A]ll Anatolian provinces had overwhelming Muslim majorities, not simply pluralities…. In the centuries of Turkish rule Asia Minor had become thoroughly Islamicized.” 14 Indeed, even Richard G.Hovannisian, the most articulate and scholarly of the numerous Armenian writers, has grudgingly agreed that the Armenians “did not represent a majority” in their historic homeland. 15

To the Turks, therefore, independence for the Armenians was a logical absurdity and a threat to their very existence. As Bernard Lewis concluded, “Now a desperate struggle between them began—a struggle between two nations for the possession of a single homeland.” 16 Since they were the weaker party, however, the Hunchaks and the Dashnaks, in a manner similar to what the Armenian terrorists are attempting to do today, began deliberately using terror against the Turks to incite Turkish reprisals and massacres, which would then encourage broad Armenian support for revolution and finally great power intervention. Significantly, the famous historian, William Langer, agreed with this view: “Europeans in Turkey were agreed that the immediate aim of the [Armenian] agitators was to incite disorders, bring about inhuman reprisals, and so provoke the intervention of the powers.” 17 Walter Laqueur, a noted, contemporary authority on terrorism, has concurred: “Since they [the Armenian terrorists] could not possibly hope to overthrow the government, their strategy had to be based on provocation. They assumed, in all probability, that their attacks on the Turks would provoke savage retaliation, and that as a result the Armenian population would be radicalized; more decisive yet, the Western powers, appalled by the massacres, would intervene on their behalf as they did for the Bulgarians two decades earlier.” 18

Indeed, this general interpretation of events has been largely verified by Louise Nalbandian who, although a confirmed Armenian patriot, wrote her analysis just before the current wave of Armenian polemical tracts began in the 1970s. Thus, she was able to describe in a matter-of-fact way the secret Armenian revolutionary activities against the Ottoman state from 1860 on. Included in her study were references to Armenian terrorist attacks undertaken to incite reprisals that it was hoped would lead to foreign intervention, plans to strike at the Ottoman state when it was at war and to seek help from foreign governments at such favorable opportunities, Armenian publications that exaggerated Turkish atrocities, and more. 19 All in all, Nalbandian’s analysis makes it clear the Armenians were not solely innocent victims of murderous Turks.

On August 24, 1896, for example, a group of Dashnaks seized the Ottoman Bank building in Constantinople in an unsuccessful attempt to force the Western powers to intervene on their behalf. In reaction, the sultan ignorantly turned loose the mobs on the Armenians in the city and a massacre ensued, but the hoped-for European intervention, of course, did not materialize.


World War I brought the Armenian Question to its frightful conclusion, resulting in the extinction of Turkish Armenia in a series of deaths through disease and famine, deportations, and massacres the Armenians and their supporters refer to as the twentieth century’s first genocide. So much has been written so polemically on the subject, and its roots have become so entangled in mutual suspicions and hatreds, that it is difficult to discern fact from fiction or even where to start.

The Armenian Position

The Armenian contention is that the Ottoman government of the Committee of Union and Progress (Ittihad ve Terakki) meticulously planned and then executed a systematic genocide of some 1½ million of its Armenian citizens both by outright massacres in situ and by forced marches into the Syrian deserts, which resulted in massacres along the way and ultimate death by starvation for most of those who still survived.

Under the cover of wartime conditions and false charges of mass Armenian collaboration with the invading Russian enemy, the Turks believed they could eliminate the Armenians who blocked their path to the east and their dreams of a greater Turan, or union of all Turkic peoples. Chief among the culprits were said to be Enver Pasha (minister of war), Talaat Pasha (minister of interior), and Djemal Pasha (a military figure who held a variety of posts). In fact, immediately after World War I, a Turkish court martial in Constantinople sentenced these three to death in absentia. (Subsequent Turkish governments, however, have repudiated these sentences, claiming they were handed down under duress from the Allies who were then occupying Constantinople.)

“That the killings were deliberate none but dedicated Turkists deny. The horror…was too similar in each locality for the killings to have been spontaneous manifestations.” 20 What are alleged to be official Ottoman documents ordering the genocide have even been published by Armenian sources. 21

Out of a plethora of pro-Armenian sources, 22 two in particular are most frequently cited and stand in damning condemnation of the Turks: (1) the Bryce-Toynbee Blue Book of more than 600 pages of mostly eyewitness accounts 23 and (2) the memoirs of Henry Morgenthau, the American ambassador to Turkey at that time. 24 In his preface the distinguished British statesman and author Lord James Bryce stated that “these accounts described what seemed to be an effort to exterminate a whole nation, without distinction of age or sex.” 25 The following example illustrates his point.

The whole Mohammedan population knew that these people were to be their prey from the beginning, and they were treated as criminals. In the first place, from the date of the proclamation, the 25th June, no Armenian was allowed to sell anything, and everybody was forbidden, under penalty, to buy anything from them. How, then, were they to provide funds for the journey?… Many persons who had goods which they could have sold if they had been allowed to do so, were obliged to start off on foot without funds and with what they could gather up from their homes and carry on their backs. Such persons naturally soon became so weak that they fell behind and were bayoneted and thrown into the river…. By the 6th July…all the Armenian houses in Trebizond, about 1,000, had been emptied of their inhabitants and the people sent off. There was no inquiry as to who were guilty or who were innocent of any movement against the Government. If a person was an Armenian that was sufficient reason for his being treated as a criminal and deported. 26

Ambassador Morgenthau’s accounts are equally disturbing:

It is absurd for the Turkish Government to assert that it ever seriously intended to “deport the Armenians to new homes”; the treatment which was given the convoys clearly shows that extermination was the real purpose of Enver and Talaat. How many exiled to the south under these revolting conditions ever reached their destinations? The experiences of a single caravan show how completely this plan of deportation developed into one of annihilation. The details in question were furnished me directly by the American Consul at Aleppo, and are now on file in the State Department at Washington…. All the way to Ras-ul-Ain, the first station on the Baghdad line, the existence of these wretched travellers was one prolonged horror. The gendarmes went ahead, informing the half-savage tribes of the mountains that several thousand Armenian women and girls were approaching. The Arabs and Kurds began to carry off the girls, the mountaineers fell upon them repeatedly, violating and killing the women, and the gendarmes themselves joined in the orgy…. Finally the gendarmes, having robbed and beaten and violated and killed their charges for thirteen days, abandoned them altogether…. For another five days they did not have a morsel of bread or a drop of water. “Hundreds fell dead on the way,” the report reads, “their tongues were turned to charcoal….” On the seventieth day a few creatures reached Aleppo. Out of the combined convoy of 18,000 souls just 150 women and children reached their destination. 27

Propaganda or Truth?

How accurate are such reports? There is no question that Lord Bryce, Arnold Toynbee, and Ambassador Morgenthau believed them. In analyzing their veracity, for example, Bryce declared:

[B]y far the larger part (almost all, indeed, of what is here published) does constitute historical evidence of the best kind, inasmuch as the statements come from those who saw the events they describe and recorded them in writing immediately afterwards. They corroborate one another, the narratives given by different observers showing a substantial agreement, which becomes conclusive when we find the salient facts repeated with no more variations in detail than the various opportunities of the independent observers made natural. 28

The Turks, however, dismiss the Bryce/Toynbee compilation as false wartime propaganda by their enemies, the Allies, and Morgenthau’s testimony as that of a hopelessly biased and misled person. They point instead to the accounts of Morgenthau’s two successors, Ambassador Abram Elkus (February 1916 to April 1917, when the United States severed diplomatic relations) and, after the defeat of Turkey, the U.S. high commissioner and then ambassador Rear Admiral Mark L.Bristol (1920–26). In a long cable to the U.S. State Department in 1920, for example, Bristol stated: “While the Turks were all that people said they were, the other side of the coin was obscured by the flood of Greek and Armenian propaganda painting the Turks as completely inhuman and undeserving of any consideration, while suppressing all facts in favor of the Turks and against the minorities.” 29 Where then lies the truth?

In a later study Professor Toynbee, although not denying the accuracy of the Blue Book, did write that it had been “duly published and distributed as war propaganda!” 30 Based on his personal observations and studies in Anatolia after World War I, Toynbee now wrote in a more balanced light: “In the redistribution of Near and Middle Eastern Territories, the atrocities which have accompanied it from the beginning have been revealed in their true light, as crimes incidental to an abnormal process, which all parties have committed in turn, and not as the peculiar practice of one denomination or nationality.” 31 Indeed, more than a half century after he had edited the Blue Book with Bryce, Toynbee, in his final statement on the subject, declared: “These…Armenian political aspirations had not been legitimate…. Their aspirations did not merely threaten to break up the Turkish Empire; they could not be fulfilled without doing grave injustice to the Turkish people itself.” 32

Bryce’s preconceptions on the subject of Armenians and Turks are also interesting. His biographer, the famous historian H.A.L.Fisher, wrote that Bryce “had been ever since he voyaged in Transcaucasia in 1876, unremitting in his exertions for the relief and protection of the Armenian race.” 33 Bryce “became in fact the principal advocate of the Armenian nation in England, the founder and first President of the Anglo-Armenian Society, the member for Armenia in the British House of Commons.” 34 As for the Turks, Bryce believed “wherever the Turk had ruled, he had spread desolation. The provinces of Asia Minor, once the scene of a brilliant civilisation, had been emptied…by the lethargy, the incompetence and the caprices of a barbarous master.” 35 Obviously, Bryce was hardly a disinterested compiler of the events.

What were Morgenthau’s preconceptions regarding the Turks? The Turks were, the ambassador wrote, “dull-witted and lazy…. Such abstractions as justice and decency form no part of their conception of things.” 36 The author of the work so frequently cited by the Armenians and their sympathizers as definitive of their cause further opined: “We must realize that the basic fact underlying the Turkish mentality is its utter contempt for all other races.” 37 Morgenthau too, then, was hardly a disinterested observer of the Turkish-Armenian animosities.

On the other hand, one should not rush to dismiss the Armenian accusations as baseless simply because Bryce and Morgenthau were confirmed Turkophobes. Prejudices notwithstanding, their testimonies, when collaborated by the wealth of additional pro-Armenian sources cited above, as well as contemporary press accounts, indicate several hundred thousand Armenians did die during the deportations from various causes such as sickness, starvation, and outright massacre. Certainly, no one can deny that after World War I the traditional Armenian homeland in eastern Anatolia had been denuded of its Armenian population.

What is more, Toynbee himself, contrary to what the Turks and their sympathizers often would have us believe, never retracted the evidence he and Bryce presented in the Blue Book. In his final word on the subject, for example, he wrote: “The Ottoman Armenian…deportations were deliberately conducted with a brutality that was calculated to take the maximum toll of lives en route…. My study of the genocide that had been committed in Turkey in 1915 brought home to me the reality of Original Sin.” 38 Although the Blue Book in his own words was “counter-propaganda ammunition,” Toynbee simply meant that it was intended to arouse public opinion against the Central Powers, not that it was false. His own testimony made this clear: “If Russian barbarities were telling against Britain and France, would not Turkish barbarities tell against Germany and Austria-Hungary? This line of reasoning in Whitehall lay behind H.M.G.’s application to Lord Bryce to produce a Blue Book on what the Turks had been doing to the Armenians.” 39

Therefore, the Turkish conclusion that “the ‘Blue Book,’ this so-called document contains nothing more than one-sided British propaganda, and hence is not worth dwelling upon” 40 is not warranted. Both it and the Morgenthau volume contain strong and valuable evidence of Turkish atrocities against the Armenians. On the other hand, my above analysis also indicates that both Bryce and Morgenthau held powerful and deep rooted prejudices against the Turks, which undoubtedly prevented them from seeing the entire situation. It is to the Turkish position then I must now turn.

The Turkish Position

The Turks deny they committed genocide, arguing that the Armenian claims are a “vindictive propaganda campaign against modern Turkey…[and] contain gross distortions and omissions of historical facts.” 41 Rather, it is maintained that certain Armenians betrayed their country (the Ottoman Empire) during wartime by joining the invading Russian armies and carrying out guerrilla activities behind the Turkish lines. “Within a few months after the war began, these Armenian guerrilla forces, operating in close coordination with the Russians, were savagely attacking Turkish cities, towns and villages in the East, massacring their inhabitants without mercy, while at the same time working to sabotage the Ottoman Army’s war effort by destroying roads and bridges, raiding caravans, and doing whatever else they could to ease the Russian occupation.” 42 Armenian revolts broke out in the regions of Van, Sivas, and Maras. 43

The “Ottoman Government had to secure its position by removing the Armenians from strategic points where they could assist the enemy.” 44 However, “great care was taken by the Ottoman government to prevent the Armenians from being harmed during these deportations.” 45 Since “the deportations took place at a time of severe shortages of vehicles, food, fuel, clothing, and other supplies in the entire Empire…some 100,000 Armenians…may have died between 1915 and 1918, but this was no greater a percentage than that of the Turks and other Muslims who died as a result of the same conditions in the same places at the same time.” Indeed, “far from encouraging the massacres that did take place as a result, the Ottoman Interior Minister Talat [sic] Pasha sent repeated orders that all measures be taken to uncover and punish such acts.” After the war the British did detain several hundred Ottoman officials suspected of war crimes, but despite “large-scale searches …undertaken in the Ottoman archives to find proof of guilt …no evidence…was found to substantiate the accusations.” In conclusion, argue the Turks, “There was no genocide committed against the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire before or during World War I.”

In fact, the Turks recite atrocity stories equal to the most terrible told by the Armenians. The following testimony of Russian Lt. Colonel Toverdohleyov will suffice to illustrate the point.

More than eight hundred unarmed and defenceless Turks have been killed in Erzincan. Large holes were dug and the defenceless Turks were slaughtered like animals next to the holes. Later, the murdered Turks were thrown into the holes. The Armenian who stood near the hole would say when the hole was filled with the corpses: “Seventy dead bodies, well, this hole can take ten more.” Thus ten more Turks would be cut into pieces. 46


Can these two diametrically opposed interpretations be reconciled? Given the understandable passions they still evoke and the ossification of positions that has occurred, it will be very difficult. Gwynne Dyer, for example, concluded that most Turkish and Armenian scholars are unable to be objective on this issue and described the situation as one of “Turkish falsifiers and Armenian deceivers.” 47

The disparity in the number of Armenians who died during the years in question is only one example. As cited above, the Turks would have us believe that only “some 100,000 Armenians may have died,” while the figure of 1,500,000 is the one most frequently given by the Armenians. Both are probably gross exaggerations. After a careful study and necessary adjustment of Ottoman census statistics, plus a consideration of the number of Ottoman Armenians who safely reached exile, Justin McCarthy has concluded that approximately 600,000, or 40 percent, of the Ottoman Armenians perished due to starvation, disease, and outright murder. 48 Given the quality of McCarthy’s work compared to others, his figure is probably the most accurate accounting we have.

The Turkish government has further maintained: “The territory in which the Armenians lived together for a time never was ruled by them as an independent, sovereign state.” 49 The fact of the matter is, of course, the Armenians lived in their historic homeland “for a time” that lasted more than 2500 years, until they were virtually eliminated during the tragic events of World War I. Furthermore, although the Armenians spent much of their history as a buffer or subjected nation, it is simply not true that the land they lived in “never was ruled by them as an independent…state.”

In the course of their 2500-year history, independent Armenian states existed in one form or another for several hundred years, ranging in size from the Armenian Empire of Tigranes the Great (c. 94–55 B.C.) through the eras of the Arsacids (A.D. 53–429), the Bagratids of Ani (886–1045), and the Artsruni principate of Van in the ninth century, among others. After the arrival of the Turks, a New (Cilician) Armenia lasted for nearly three centuries (1080–1375). Indeed, under the provisions of the aborted Treaty of Sevres, Turkey itself initially recognized the short-lived Armenian Republic (1918–20) immediately after World War I.

On the other hand, there are Armenian publications that similarly fail to muster the requirements of historical accuracy—for example, those that explain how, “out of the East came a foe unequalled in his barbarity—the slit-eyed, bow-legged Turkic nomads…. The Seljuks and Ottomans with their ferocious customs were determined to annihilate the whole Armenian race,” 50 or vilify “the Mongol Turk terroristic state which acquired Armenia’s ancient land by genocide.” 51 Such racist slanders stereotype an entire nation that even at its worst has usually been respected by its most bitter foes as tough, but honorable. The grudging respect the West granted Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) during the famous Gallipoli campaign in 1915 is an example. Armenians are virtually alone when they attempt to compare the founder of modern Turkey and statesman, honored for his courage and wisdom by practically the entire world, with Adolf Hitler.

What is more, Armenian diatribes against the Turks totally ignore the fact that this so-called “Mongol Turk terroristic state” allowed the Armenians and other Christian minorities to exist and even flourish for hundreds of years within a multinational empire, and that for much of its history the Ottoman Empire was also a haven for Europe’s persecuted minorities such as the Jews. 52 Even today the fact that there is a Greek Christian majority on the island of Cyprus, which the Ottomans ruled for 300 years until 1878, illustrates the racial and religious tolerance manifested by them throughout most of their history. What, however, happened to the Muslims in Spain once the Christians reconquered the peninsula? Or for that matter, what happened to the large Muslim minorities that inhabited the Balkans into the nineteenth century? 53 When we ponder such questions, it is not always clear who was “determined to annihilate whom.”

Where then lies the truth in this ancient and bitter dispute? Is the truth even possible to locate after all these years and so many previous attempts? While recognizing the inherent difficulties, even impossibilities, here, I feel I have an obligation to offer, at least, my tentative judgments. Admittedly, I have not experienced these events firsthand, as have the Turks and Armenians. Precisely because I am removed from the immediate passions that would have thus arisen, however, I hope to be able to view what happened with a more dispassionate, and therefore accurate, perspective. Without claiming a monopoly on definitive wisdom, based on the above, I see the truth as situated somewhere between the diametrically opposed positions of the two antagonists.

First of all, there is no doubt the Armenians suffered a great wrong. No matter what the Turkish apologists argue, the fact remains that the Turkish Armenians virtually ceased to exist in their ancient homeland after World War I. Although the numbers of Armenians who died at this time are greatly exaggerated by the Armenians—and, in addition, many of the Armenians who were killed during this era died because the Armenians waged war against practically every nation they were physically able to come in contact with, including not only the Turks but also, after 1918, the Russians, Georgians, and Azerbaijanis—there is still no doubt that several hundred thousand Armenians perished during 1915. That even more Turks also died during World War I is both true, but largely irrelevant to the argument here because most of the many Turkish deaths resulted from hostilities against the Allies, not the Armenians. Gallipoli, the Russian invasion in the East, the English-Arab drive from the South, and the starvation and disease resulting from wartime conditions in general were the main factors contributing to the Turkish deaths.

The Armenian claim that they were victims of a premeditated genocide does not ring true, however. Rather, what appears more likely is that there was an honest, though inaccurate belief among the Turkish leaders that they were faced with a widespread and coordinated Armenian uprising from within at the very time their state was in mortal danger from without. Decades of what the Turks saw as Armenian provocations and even treason during previous wars, armed revolutionary activity between the wars, the creation of Russian-Armenian guerrilla groups in the invading Russian army during the present war, the defection of certain Ottoman Armenians to the enemy, the armed resistance to conscription on the part of Armenians in Zeytun, incidents of revolutionary acts and sabotage in the countryside, and the Armenian uprising in Van in reaction to the unjustified but probably unofficial policies of the local governor—all led the Turks to conclude they were in real danger from a fifth column. (Similarly, a much better organized U.S. government unjustly interned its citizens of Japanese descent at the start of World War II.)

Indicative of the Turkish confusion here is a report at the start of the war in 1914 that “the Russians have provoked Armenians living in our country, by promises that they will be granted independence in territories to be annexed from Ottoman land…that they have stored arms and ammunition in many places to be distributed to Armenians and moreover, the …Russian General Loris-Melikov went to the Van region for the same purpose.” 54 Turkish fear of the famous RussianArmenian commander in the War of 1877–78 is understandable but misplaced, since he had been dead since 1888.

In addition, of course, the Ottoman Empire in 1915 was a badly decaying institution nearing the end of its long existence. In the throes of fighting a losing war, it was pushed beyond its capacities and lost control of the situation. Much of the gendarmerie who implemented the deportation orders, for example, were simply poorly trained substitutes for the original force, which was now enrolled in the regular army. Indeed, some of these replacements were probably nothing more than brigands themselves. Discipline among them was certainly lax. Furthermore, under such widespread conditions of wartime disorganization, the nomadic Kurds were able to attack the deportation columns with relative impunity or even connivance on the part of the gendarmerie. An unpopular minority whom the Muslim majority considered traitors, the Armenians received little sympathy from the local population, which itself was suffering grieviously from the wartime conditions. Given such circumstances, then, it is understandable how the deportations led to widespread massacres, disease, and starvation, all of which together cost the lives of several hundreds of thousands of Armenians.

In Constantinople, however, where the government’s capacities were stronger, the vast majority of the Armenian population continued to exist throughout the war. In fact, their descendants still live in Istanbul today. Could anyone conceive of Hitler allowing the Jews to continue living in Berlin while he implemented his genocide against them elsewhere?

For those determined to “prove” genocide, of course, anything the Turks do indicates their guilt. In this case, it is argued that the Armenians in Constantinople were not killed, since too many foreigners lived in the Ottoman capital, and thus there would be witnesses. Therefore, the survival of the Armenians here also “proves” the overall genocidal intentions elsewhere.

Certainly, however, it should be clear from the above analysis that there have been two sides to the question, and we in the West have largely heard only the Armenian. Attempts to demonstrate the Turks committed premeditated genocide have proven either likely forgeries (such as the oft-cited Andonian telegrams and the apocryphal quote by Hitler, “Who remembers the Armenians?” 55 when he allegedly assured his associates their genocidal assault on the Jews would not one day bring down retribution on them) or declarations based on mere faith. To accuse the Turks of genocide in 1915 and a cover-up in the 1980s is to ignore these elementary facts. Even more, to justify today the murder of Turks and the dismemberment of their country in the name of a one-sided version of history—as do the contemporary Armenian terrorists and implicitly many from the broader, transnational Armenian community—is to make a shambles out of the very justice the Armenians claim they seek. 56 Although in no way excusing the massacres that did occur, these facts put the events of World War I in their proper context.

1. On this point, see Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey (London: Oxford University Press, 1968), p. 356; and Avedis Sanjian, The Armenian Communities in Syria under Ottoman Dominion (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1965), p. 274.

2. A.O.Sarkissian, History of the Armenian Question to 1885 (Urbana: The University of Illinois Press, 1938), p. 37.

3. James Bryce, Transcaucasia and Ararat (London: Macmillan and Co. Ltd, 1896), pp. 525–26.

4. Fridtjof Nansen, Armenia and the Near East (New York: Daffield & Company, 1928), p. 288.

5. David Lang, The Armenians: A People in Exile (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1981), p. 10.

6. Lord Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire (New York: Morrow Quill Paperbacks, 1977), p. 557.

7. Bilal N.Simsir, ed., British Documents on Ottoman Armenians. Volume I (1856–1880) (Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 1982), p. 65.

8. W.E.D.Allen and Paul Muratoff, Caucasian Battlefields: A History of the Wars on the Turco-Caucasian Border, 1828–1921 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1953), pp. 43, 51, 84.

9. Bryce, Transcaucasia and Ararat, p. 425.

10. Simsir, British Documents, p. 161.

11. Bryce, Transcaucasia and Ararat, pp. 523–24.

12. Simsir, British Documents, pp. 685–86.

13. Justin McCarthy, Muslims and Minorities: The Population of Ottoman Anatolia and the End of the Empire (New York and London: New York University Press, 1983), pp. 46–88, 109–16, and 121–30. Note especially the summary tables on pp. 110–12.

14. Ibid., p. 115.

15. Richard G.Hovannisian, Armenia on the Road to Independence, 1918 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967), p. 37.

16. Lewis, Emergence of Modern Turkey, p. 356.

17. William Langer, The Diplomacy of Imperialism, 1890–1902 (Boston: Knopf, 1951), p. 157.

18. Walter Laqueur, Terrorism (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1977), p. 44.

19. Louise Nalbandian, The Armenian Revolutionary Movement: The Development of Armenian Political Parties Through the Nineteenth Century
(Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1963), especially pp. 97–99, 109–12, 119, 127–28, and 168.

20. Christopher Walker, Armenia: The Survival of a Nation (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1980), p. 201.

21. See Aram Andonian, ed., The Memoirs of Naim Bey: Turkish Official Documents Relating to the Deportations and Massacres of Armenians (London, 1920, reprinted Newton Square, Pa.: Armenian Historical Research Association, 1964). The Turks claim these documents are obvious forgeries. See Turkaya Ataov, The Andonian “Documents” Attributed to Talat Pasha Are Forgeries! (Ankara: Ankara University, 1984), where numerous inconsistencies in the Andonian documents are pointed out, involving dates, signatures, cipher numbers of the documents, etc.

22. In addition to the two cited below, see Johannes Lepsius, who was president of the German-Armenian society and a close observer of the events: Bericht über die Lage des armenischen Volkes in der Türkei (Potsdam: Tempelverlag, 1916); Gerard Chaliand and Yves Ternon, The Armenians: From Genocide to Resistance (London: Zed Press, 1983); Herbert Gibbons, The Blackest Page of Modern History: Events in Armenia in 1915 (New York and London: Putnam, 1916); Raphael de Nogales, Four Years Beneath the Crescent (New York and London: Scribners, 1926); Clarence Ussher, An American Physician in Turkey (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1917); Arnold Toynbee, Armenian Atrocities; The Murder of a Nation (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1915); and Martin Niepage, The Horrors of Aleppo: Seen by a German Eyewitness (Plandome, New York: New Age Publishers, reprinted 1975). In addition, see the numerous contemporary accounts in the New York Times, and other newspapers, as well as the recent special issue of the Armenian Review 37 (Spring 1984), entitled “Genocide, Crime Against Humanity: Essays and Documents.” For a listing of numerous other studies, see Richard G.Hovannisian, The Armenian Holocaust: A Bibliography Relating to the Deportations, Massacres, and Dispersion of The Armenian People, 1915–1923 (Cambridge, Mass.: Armenian Heritage Press, 1978).

23. The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915–16, Great Britain, Parliamentary Papers Miscellaneous, No. 31 (London: Joseph Cavston, 1916).

24. Henry Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story (Garden City and New York: Doubleday, Page, 1919).

25. Treatment of Armenians, p. xxi.

26. Ibid., pp. 286–87 (foreign resident).

27. Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, pp. 318–21.

28. Treatment of Armenians, p. xxvii.

29. Mark L.Bristol, as cited in Laurence Evans, United States Policy and the Partition of Turkey 1914–1924 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1965), p. 272.

30. Arnold J.Toynbee, The Western Question in Greece and Turkey: A Study in the Contact of Civilizations (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1922), p. 50.

31. Ibid., pp. vii–viii.

32. Arnold J.Toynbee, Acquaintances (London: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 241.

33. H.A.L.Fisher, James Bryce, Vol. II (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1927), p. 143.

34. Ibid., I, 183–84.

35. Ibid.

36. Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, pp. 337 and 334.

37. Ibid., p. 276.

38. Toynbee, Acquaintances, p. 242.

39. Ibid., p. 241.

40. Enver Ziya Karal, Armenian Question (Ankara: Gunduz, 1975), p. 18.

41. “Let Us Speak the Truth,” New York Times, May 18, 1975, p. 6E. For further studies sympathetic to the Turkish point of view, see Leonard Hartil, Men Are Like That (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1928); A.Rawlinson, Adventures in the Near East (London: Dodd, Mead, 1923); Djemal Pasha, Memories of a Turkish Statesman, 1913–1919 (New York: George H.Doran, 1922); Feruz Kademzadeh, Struggle for Transcaucasia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1951); Telford Waugh, Turkey: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (London: Chapman & Hall, 1930); Chester Tobin, LMS, Turkey: Key to the East (New York: G.P.Putnam’s Sons, 1944); and Ernst Jackh, The Rising Crescent (New York and Toronto: Farrar & Reinhart, Inc., 1944). Among numerous sources in Turkish, see Esat Uras, Tarihte Ermeniler ve Ermeni Meselesi [The Armenians and the Armenian Question in History] (Istanbul: Belge Publications, 1976); and Kamuran Gurun, Ermeni Dosyasi [The Armenian Files] (Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 1983).

42. Cited in Turkish Daily News, September 9, 1982, p. 2.

43. Documents (Ankara: Prime Ministry Directorate General of Press and Information, 1982), p. xv, hereafter cited as Documents.

44. “Armenian Allegations and Some Facts,” ATA-USA: Bulletin of the Assembly of American Turkish Associations, April 1980, p. 4.

45. This and the following citations were taken from Setting the Record Straight on Armenian Propaganda Against Turkey (booklet published by the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, 1982).

46. Documents, pp. 257–58.

47. Gwynne Dyer, “Turkish ‘Falsifiers’ and Armenian ‘Deceivers’: Historiography and the Armenian Massacres,” Middle Eastern Studies 12 (January 1976), pp. 99–107. Also see his letters to ibid., 9 (1973), pp. 129–30 and 377–85. In addition, see Norman Ravitch, “The Armenian Catastrophe: Of History, Murder & Sin,” Encounter, December 1981, pp. 69–84.

48. McCarthy, Muslims and Minorities, p. 130.

49. The Armenian Issue in Nine Questions and Answers (Ankara: Foreign Policy Institute, 1982), p. 3.

50. The Armenian Weekly (special issue), June 1, 1983, p. 42.

51. The Armenian Reporter, June 30, 1983, p. 2.

52. See Werner Keller, Diaspora: The Post-Biblical History of the Jews (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1969), pp. 269–77.

53. On these points, see, in general, Pierre Oberling, The Road to Bellapais: The Turkish Cypriot Exodus to Northern Cyprus (Boulder: Social Science Monographs, 1982).

54. Documents, p. 1.

55. By associating the Turks with Hitler’s genocidal actions, the Armenians who choose to cite Hitler’s alleged statement seek to make a telling but misleading emotional appeal. It is just one example of how many Armenians are willing to believe the worst about the Turks without objectively analyzing what really happened. For a scholarly analysis that proves that the Hitler quote concerning the Armenians is probably apocryphal, see Heath W.Lowry, “The United States Congress and Adolf Hitler on the Armenians,” Political Communication and Persuasion 3 (No. 2, 1985), pp. 111–40. In addition, see the article about Dr. Robert John, a historian of Armenian descent who had researched the authenticity of the alleged Hitler quote: “Historian of Armenian Descent Says Frequently Used Hitler Quote Is Nothing But a Forgery,” The Armenian Reporter, August 2, 1984, p. 1. For reporting this, other Armenian spokespersons and newspapers roundly criticized The Armenian Reporter.

56. Recently the U.S. Department of State Bulletin published an article on Armenian terrorism. At the end of it a footnote stated: “Because the historical record of the 1915 events in Asia Minor is ambiguous, the Department of State does not endorse allegations that the Turkish government committed a genocide against the Armenian people” (Andrew Corsun, “Armenian Terrorism: A Profile,” U.S. Department of State Bulletin, August 1982, p. 35n.). Protests from Armenian Americans, however, later forced the State Department partially to recant this statement by noting that it was “not intended as statements of policy of the United States.” Ambiguously, the new statement added: “Nor did they represent any change in U.S. policy” (U.S. Department of State Bulletin, April 1983). See also U.S. Department of State Bulletin, September 1982. This partial State Department recantation was reminiscent of the power of the so-called Greek lobby in forcing a U.S. arms embargo against Turkey in the U.S. Congress after Turkey successfully occupied northern Cyprus in 1974.

2 Beginnings of the Current Terrorism

Today’s Armenian terrorism had a shadowy predecessor when, for a few years in the early 1920s, a secret Dashnak network known as Nemesis (after the ancient Greek goddess of retributive justice or vengeance) relentlessly pursued and murdered several former Ottoman officials living in exile in Western Europe. Shahan Natali (an American Armenian from Turkey whose real name was Hagop Der Hagopian) was designated to head this operation. 1

Talaat Pasha was gunned down on a Berlin street on March 15, 1921, by a young Armenian student named Soghomon Tehlirian. The assassin, who had lost most of his family in Turkey, had stalked his victim for weeks. 2 The German court found Tehlirian innocent, a precedent frequently cited by Armenian activists today as a moral justification for murdering Turkish diplomats in the 1980s. A Dashnak newspaper, for example, recently proclaimed that the trial of the two Armenian terrorists who had killed Galip Balkar, the Turkish ambassador to Yugoslavia in March 1983, was “becoming like the Tehlirian trial” in the sense that the accused terrorists could and were justifying their actions in terms of their political demands against Turkey. 3 Illustrative of the continuing magnitude of the Armenian hatred, years after Talaat’s murder, the author of a National Geographic article about the Armenians met one in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, who claimed his father had killed Talaat. When the author asked what the Armenian thought about his father’s actions, the stark reply was “I am proud.” 4

Djemal Pasha was shot to death in front of the Cheka headquarters in Tiflis, Georgia, on July 25, 1922, by two Armenians. Said Halim was assassinated in Rome on December 5, 1921, by Arshavir Shirakian, who later murdered Bahaeddin Shakir and Djemal Azmi in Berlin. 5 Many years later, in a reference to the deportations and massacres that occurred in 1915, Shirakian explained his actions: “We were meting out punishment to persons who had been tried in absentia and who had been found guilty of mass murder.” Although today’s terrorists claim to be following in Shirakian’s footsteps, they would do well to ponder his explanation concerning why he also did not kill Azmi, the bodyguard of Said Halim. “I thought the answer obvious: Azmi had no responsibility for the planning or the execution of the massacres of the Armenian people…I never thought once of using my gun against innocent people.” 6

With the passage of time one would think that Shirakian’s injunction against further murder would have become all the more applicable: The killing of Turks for crimes that were allegedly committed before they were even born is illogical. To argue otherwise manifests an arrogant sense of self-righteousness and assuredness not normally granted to mere mortals. Nevertheless, more than a half century after the events that supposedly justified it had occurred, Armenian terrorism against Turkey and Turks once again arose. It is to this contemporary situation then that I shall now turn.

Terrorism is a phenomenon that usually stems from the failure of its perpetrators to develop sufficient political or military strength to present their case in a more conventional manner. The inability of the victims to stem it, on the other hand, often flows largely from what the well-known cliché explains as, “One man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.” During the 1984 trial in Paris of the four ASALA agents who seized the Turkish Consulate and killed its Turkish guard in 1981, for example, the president of the French Court ruled that referring to the defendants as “terrorists” would not be allowed, since anyone participating in a struggle can be called a terrorist by someone who opposes that struggle. 7 Obviously then, one of the background causes of contemporary Armenian terrorism is that too many states and individuals have been too lenient on the matter, condemning it in one breath and apologizing for it in the next by saying, “but we have to understand the motives.”

Although Nemesis disappeared after the early 1920s, “there have existed for many decades those organizations internationally…that are pursuing quite seriously the Armenian struggle for liberation in every peaceful method available.” 8 When it became clear that the peaceful approach would not work, some Armenians turned to violence.

Sometimes mentioned as symbolic of the failure of the peaceful method is the deletion of paragraph 30 from a report of the United Nations in 1973–74. This paragraph specifically mentioned the Armenian massacres in 1915 as “the first case of genocide in the 20th century,” and was included in a progress report to a study entitled “Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” When Turkey objected during the UN Commission on Human Rights, however, paragraph 30 was deleted, and the Armenians frustrated. 9 As Gerard J.Libaridian, the director of the Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the editor of the Armenian Review, explained, “the unwillingness of the Turkish state and major world powers to recognize Armenian aspirations after 60 years of peaceful efforts has resulted in a decade of terrorism.” 10 Similarly, the leader of ASALA, Hagop Hagopian, explained the new wave of Armenian violence, in part, as the result of “the general discovery as to the failure of the policy of the traditional Armenian parties.” 11

In 1965 anti-Turkish demonstrations were organized in Beirut, Lebanon, by the Lebanese Armenians to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1915 deportations and massacres. At this time the Lebanese Armenians proclaimed April 24 as “Commemoration Day.” 12 On the same day in 1965 thousands of Armenians illegally demonstrated in Erevan, the capital of Soviet Armenia. The protest became disorderly as rocks were thrown, and calm was finally restored only with difficulty. Since then, April 24 has been commemorated in Soviet Armenia and an official, peaceful march annually permitted. 13

The “ASALA-RM History” 14 has elaborated upon these events and what ensued. For the Armenian Diaspora the period stretching from 1965 to 1975 was one of political experimentation. April 24, 1965 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1915 massacre, and the commemoration of this anniversary served as a stimulus in the reassessment of the traditional Armenian political parties’ approach to the realization of the Armenian people’s aspirations, i.e. the return to the Armenian homeland presently controlled by the chauvinist Turkish regime. The Armenian people in general and the youth in particular saw that not only had virtually no progress been made in achieving this goal, but also the diaspora had become culturally, socially and politically stagnant. The logical conclusion was that new approaches should be taken to solving the problem of regressive inactivity. This conclusion was shared by Armenians throughout the diaspora and especially by the Armenian youth in Southwest Asia [the Middle East]. Many different groups sprang up between 1965 and 1975 as the youth began to search for a more “correct” approach to the struggle. These groups represented a wide spectrum of political views. Many were formed in the early 1970’s and rallied round the conviction that the Armenian people’s patriotic struggle was a part of the national liberation struggles of the region. As such it was anti-imperialist in nature, and armed struggle was accepted as the principal means through which to realize the patriotic goals of the Armenian people.

A parallel event occurred on January 27, 1973. In what was apparently an individual act of revenge not connected to any organized effort, a 78-year-old Californian of Armenian descent, Gourgen Yanikian, lured Mehmet Baydar and Behadir Demir, the Turkish consul general and vice consul in Los Angeles, to a hotel room on the pretext of presenting them two rare paintings. When the two Turks arrived, Yanikian, who had lost members of his family in Turkey, launched into a tirade and then shot both Turks to death. Many feel that this double murder served as a catalyst for the ensuing decade of terrorism by the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) and the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide (JCAG). Indeed, after Yanikian died in 1984, a respected Armenian newspaper in the United States declared that he had “opened [a] new era of political struggle” and “changed the course of Armenian history.” 15

By their own admission, the organized Armenian terrorist campaign began in 1975. In an interview with the Arab-language periodical Al-Majallah in August 1982, an ASALA representative stated that his organization’s first operation had been in 1975 against an office in Beirut “run by the World Council of Churches, for promoting the emigration of Armenians to the United States.” 16 Similarly, the “ASALA-RM History” declared that “the January 20, 1975 bombing of the Beirut office of the World Council of Churches…became known as the act which defined the birth of ASALA.” After one of its agents murdered Kemal Arikan, the new Turkish consul general in Los Angeles on January 28, 1982, the other major Armenian terrorist organization, JCAG, claimed the deed in a recorded message over the telephone to the Washington Bureau of the Associated Press, adding that “our revolutionary struggle began in 1975.” 17 According to the French-Armenian journalist Pierre (Bedros) Terzian, ASALA’s first communiqué was issued on January 20, 1975, while JCAG first surfaced publicly on October 23, 1975, 18 after apparently assassinating Danis Tunaligil, the Turkish ambassador in Vienna, Austria.


Although the inherent nature of a terrorist movement demands secrecy and thus usually precludes rigorous and systematic analysis, it seems that the Lebanese Civil War of the mid-1970s acted as another catalyst for organized Armenian terrorism. As a result of the upheavals of World War I, Lebanon had come to serve as the host for the largest group of displaced Armenians in the Middle East, and they soon numbered some 200,000 souls, or approximately 6 percent of that country’s population. 19 Many lived in Bourj Hammoud, the teeming Armenian quarter of east Beirut, while the Cilician See of the Armenian apostolic church was headquartered in nearby Antelias.

Since 1934 the Armenians had been represented in the Lebanese parliament, which was organized along confessional lines. Despite many positive achievements in their adopted country, however, the Lebanese-Armenians gradually fell into the internecine power struggles that were to turn Lebanon into a country where violence was a way of life. Under these circumstances the Dashnaks formed close alliances with the right-wing Christian Phalangists of Pierre Gemayel and the National Liberals of Camille Chamoun. Left-leaning Armenians such as the Hunchaks, on the other hand, drew close to Kemal Jumblatt’s leftist Progressive Socialist (Druze) Party and various factions of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which had become a state within a state in Lebanon by the early 1970s.

Given the Palestinian successes achieved through terrorist activities, it was not surprising that these leftist Armenians began to form, with the aid of their Palestinian allies, such terrorist groups as ASALA. In reaction to these developments, the Dashnaks apparently created their own terrorist organization, JCAG, to keep their young party members from abandoning the ranks and files to join ASALA. 20

After ASALA split into two different factions in the summer of 1983 (see following text), the anti-Hagopian group’s “ASALA-RM History” agreed that “the most important and active center of such political experimentation during this period [1965–75] was Lebanon.” The “History” added that ASALA’s leader, Hagop Hagopian, was “an Armenian known in the Palestinian Resistance as ‘Mujahed.’” Mujahed (Hagopian) had joined the Palestinians “years earlier after running away from home.”

A Spanish journalist, Jose Antonio Gurriaran, who came to know the terrorists after being maimed by one of their bombs, wrote that Hagopian was a 24-year-old Lebanese of Armenian descent in 1973. “Black September chief Abu Iyad” 21 had helped him form ASALA in 1975. Early in 1985 the influential Paris daily Le Matin identified Hagopian as Bedros Ohanesian, an Armenian born in Mosul, Iraq. Hagopian was described as being 38 years old, short, on the heavy side, possessing a dark complexion, and having a non-Armenian mother. Le Matin also claimed that Hagopian had participated in the Black September massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. 22 Ara Toranian, a French-Armenian ASALA leader who later broke with Hagopian (see below), admitted that although he once traveled with Hagopian from Beirut to Paris and had been with him a number of other times, he still did not know Hagopian’s real name. 23

According to the “ASALA-RM History,” soon after joining the Palestinians, Hagopian “found himself within the ranks of Wadi Haddad’s splinter PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine],” which was George Habbash’s faction in the PLO. “It was during his activity with Wadi Haddad that he [Hagopian] gained most of his experience, developed many personal friendships with Palestinian leaders, and began to mimic the organizational and military tactics of Wadi Haddad,” which, according to the “ASALA-RM History,” “intentionally caused innocent victims harm, and thus served to discredit the Palestinian Resistance in general as ‘terrorist.’”

Due to “internal conflict in the PFLP and especially within the ranks of Wadi Haddad’s splinter group…by 1974… Mujahed had…begun to consider alternatives to the Palestinian Resistance,” continued the “ASALA-RM History.” Given the growing Armenian mood for “armed struggle” and Hagopian’s own precarious position in the Palestinian movement, Hagopian with “Hagop Darakjian and two other comrades joined in the establishment of ASALA.”

The Lebanese roots of contemporary Armenian terrorism are further demonstrated by the fact, illustrated below, that so many of the known terrorists hailed from there. As Hrand Simonian, a leader of the Armenian community in Los Angeles, explained, “Many of the terrorists are newcomers from Lebanon who learned how to do violent things” in the many years of civil violence there. 24 Similarly, Martin Halabian, the director of information for the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, stated: “Armenians recently arrived from Lebanon and other Mideast countries…are more used to militancy as a way of life.” 25


A number of Armenian publications have summed up the goals of the terrorists as the “3 R’s”: (1) recognition of the genocide, (2) reparations, and (3) restoration of the ancestral homeland. 26 “We will lay down our arms only when the Turkish Government officially denounces the genocide perpetrated by Turkey in 1915 against the Armenian people and agrees to negotiate with Armenian representatives in order to reinstate justice,” declared JCAG. 27 “We demand that the Turkish government—which is occupying our country and is an extension of the Ottoman Empire—stand by its responsibilities and return the Armenian lands to their true owners,” 28 announced the Avengers [Justice Commandos] of the Armenian Genocide after it carried out a series of bombings in Paris during July 1979. “We will continue our attacks until the day when there is justice for the genocide that took place in 1915,” 29 an ASALA spokesperson proclaimed after an attack on the Turkish Consulate in Lyons, France, had left four wounded.

Although some measure of revenge may plausibly be said to be achieved by terrorist acts, the murder of Turks who were not even born in 1915 would seem, on closer analysis, ignorantly illogical. Certainly the chances of forcing Turkey to admit any guilt and then carving an independent Armenian homeland out of eastern Turkey at this late date would seem nil. One suspects, therefore, deeper roots to the present terrorist campaign.

Publicity for their cause and the desire to reawaken a sense of Armenian identity or nationalism would seem to motivate many of the terrorists. As JCAG has explained, “With these explosions we are keeping the world aware of the existence of the Armenian people.” 30 “To introduce the Armenian cause to world public opinion and make the world feel that here is a desolate people without a homeland or identity,” is one of his organization’s goals, claimed the military commander of an ASALA base in Lebanon. 31 Terrorism and the publicity it has offered has “rallied the Armenian community of France, regarded up to 1975 as dormant and well on its way to complete assimilation within French society,” 32 according to Edward K. Boghosian, the editor of The Armenian Reporter.

In fact, assimilation has been called white genocide by many Armenians, who in their native language refer to a non-Armenian as an odar (non-Armenian). “Shish Kebab” is a somewhat pejorative term for an Americanized Armenian in California. “Youthocide” is a term that refers to the assimilation of Armenian youth into the general population of the host country. As two American Armenians, Edward Costikyan and Robert Tembeckjian, noted, although “the vast majority of Armenian Americans oppose terrorism…many Armenians, bitter that their history remains unrecognized, are secretly pleased by the attention terrorism brings.” 33

On the other hand, the publicity achieved from the terrorism has been called “repulsive” by the above-mentioned Martin Halabian. 34 “Even by current standards of political terror, the Armenian ‘hits’ were reprehensible,” concluded the famous American Armenian author Michael J.Arlen, Jr. 35

1. Yves Ternon, The Armenian Cause (Delmar, New York: Caravan Books, 1985), p. 99.

2. For what purports to be Tehlirian’s own story, see Lindy V. Avakian, The Cross and the Crescent (Los Angeles: De Vorss & Co., Inc., 1965). In addition, see Oliver Baldwin, The Questing Beast (London: Grayson and Grayson, 1932), pp. 201–04; and Sarkis Atamian, “Portrait of Immortality, Part II: ‘The Hunt,’” The Armenian Review 13 (February 1961), pp. 11–21.

3. The Belgrade 2 Trial: Becoming Like Tehlirian Trial,” The Armenian Weekly, December 24, 1983, p. 1.

4. Robert Jordan, “The Proud Armenians,” National Geographic, June 1978, p. 862. Tehlirian himself died in Fresno, California, in 1960.

5. Arshavir Shirakian, The Legacy: Memoirs of an Armenian Patriot (Boston: Hairenik Press, 1976), pp. 103–17 and 169–81.

6. Ibid., pp. 136 and 135.

7. The Armenian Reporter, February 9, 1984, p. 2.

8. Armenian National Committee, Los Angeles, letter to the editor published in Christian Science Monitor, April 3, 1981, p. 22.

9. “Paragraph 30” appeared in a report of the Special Rapporteur to the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the Commission on Human Rights of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN Document E/CN. 4/Sub. 2/L. 583, June 25, 1973). For a scholarly analysis, see Leo Kuper, Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1981), pp. 219–20. For the Armenian point of view on this issue, see The [Armenian] California Courier, September 15, 1983, p. 2; and The Armenian Weekly, August 27, 1983, p. 6.

On August 29, 1985, however, the same U.N. Sub-Commission reversed itself and adopted a new report (E/CN. 4/Sub. 2/1985/L. 15) paragraph 24 of which qualified “the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915–1916” as “genocide.” See “U.N. Sub-Commission Approves Report on Genocide Containing Reference to Massacres: Armenians Score Major Victory in Geneva Deliberations,” The Armenian Reporter, September 5, 1985, p. 1.

10. Cited in Christian Science Monitor, October 20, 1983, p. 21.

11. Cited in “Armenian Terrorist Leader Hagopian Interviewed: Milan Panorama in Italian, 1 Sept. 80, pp. 62–65,” in Joint Publications Research Service: Western Europe, No. 1628, September 24, 1980, pp. 1–6, hereafter “Panorama Interview.”

12. See Pierre Terzian, “La question arménienne aujourd’hui” in the special issue of Critique Socialiste 55 (No. 4, 1982) entitled “Arménie du génocide à l’explosion,” p. 51. Armenians mark April 24, 1915, as symbolic of the beginning of the deportations and massacres. On that date, several hundred Armenian civic, political, and intellectual leaders in Constantinople were arrested, deported, and eventually executed.

13. For further details, see Ronald Grigor Suny, Armenia in the Twentieth Century (Chico, California: Scholars Press, 1983), p. 78.

14. “Booklet Giving History of ASALA’s Existence Gives New Insight into the Revolutionary Movement,” The Armenian Reporter, January 10, 1985, pp. 3 and 10; and the eight subsequent issues. Hereafter cited as the “ASALA-RM History.” This “History” was originally published in France by the dissident ASALA-Revolutionary Movement (anti-Hagopian faction of ASALA) under the title “The Reality,” in response to charges and allegations made against it by Hagopian’s ASALA group in the Middle East. Given the facts that its exacting detail is often substantiated by data garnered from other sources, the manner in which its revelations logically explain and elaborate upon events partially known from other sources, and its candid admission of past failures and mistakes, it is my opinion that most of the factual material presented by the “ASALA-RM History” has the ring of truth to it. The reader will notice, however, that even if he or she does not agree with my assessment of the “History’s” validity, it does not vitiate my overall ensuing analysis. Rather, the “ASALA-RM History” is simply one of a number of different, sometimes bitterly hostile sources I have drawn upon to delve into the workings of Armenian terrorism.

Based on its sophisticated style of writing, The Armenian Reporter speculated that the “ASALA-RM History” was written by Monte Melkonian, a California-born leader of ASALA. (See below.) As stated above, The Armenian Reporter printed this “History” in nine consecutive issues dating from January 10, 1985, through March 7, 1985. It is from this source that I have cited the “ASALA-RM History” in my ensuing text without further redundant documentation.

15. See The Armenian Reporter, March 8, 1984, p. 1. Yanikian was convicted on two counts of murder and sentenced to a life term in prison. He was released from prison on January 31, 1984, because of his declining health, and died less than a month later on February 26, at the age of 88.

16. “Nadim Nasir Report: Al-Majallah Visits an Armenian Secret Army Base in Lebanon,” in Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), Daily Report (Middle East and Africa), September 1, 1982, p. G8, hereafter “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA.”

17. New York Times, January 29, 1982, p. A1.

18. Terzian, “La question arménienne aujourd’hui,” p. 55.

19. See Christopher Walker, Armenia: The Survival of a Nation (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1980), pp. 363–367. The ensuing analysis is based in part on this source and others: Andrew Corsun, “Armenian Terrorism: A Profile,” U.S. Department of State Bulletin, August 1982, pp. 32ff.; Sato Papazian, “Sept années de lutte armée,” Hay Baykar (published in Paris, France, by the Mouvement National Arménien Pour L’ASALA), December 22, 1982, pp. 8–9; Terzian, “La question arménienne aujourd’hui,” pp. 51–58 and 62–65; and the “ASALA-RM History” cited above in note 14.

20. On this point, see especially The Armenian Reporter, January 5, 1984, p. 1; and ibid., February 2, 1984, p. 2.

21. Robert I.Friedman, “Spanish Journalist, Victim of ASALA Bombing, Becomes Expert on Armenian Cause,” ibid., November 15, 1984, p. 2.

22. See the report in ibid., February 7, 1985, p. 11.

23. See ibid., December 8, 1983, p. 5.

24. Cited in The [Armenian] California Courier, July 28, 1983, p. 7.

25. Cited in Christian Science Monitor, May 6, 1982, p. 5.

26. See, for example, The Armenian Weekly, December 10, 1983, p. 3.

27. Cited in Corsun, “Armenian Terrorism,” pp. 33–34.

28. Cited in Edward Mickolus, Transnational Terrorism: A Chronology of Events, 1968–79 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1980), p. 856.

29. Cited in Christian Science Monitor, August 6, 1980, p. 2.

30. Cited in Mickolus, Transnational Terrorism, p. 856.

31. Cited in “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA.”

32. The Armenian Reporter, February 2, 1984, p. 1.

33. Cited in ibid., August 4, 1983, p. 2.

34. Christian Science Monitor, May 6, 1982, p. 5.

35. Cited in New York Times, March 11, 1980, p. A19.


The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) was apparently the first terrorist organization formed during the current wave of Armenian violence. As a leftist group it views the Armenian cause through Marxist lenses. Accordingly, the Soviet Union, as well as other “progressive” groups, is seen as an ally, while “such imperialist countries as France, U.S.A., Great Britain and…West Germany” are scorned. 1 ASALA also has praised Islamic Jihad—an elusive terrorist group that has struck at American interests in Lebanon—as having “brought new momentum to the righteous struggle of oppressed people of the Middle East….” 2

In addition to its Marxist rhetoric, ASALA has lashed out both rhetorically and operationally not only at its primary enemy, Turkey, but also at many other states or organizations that have relations with Turkey or are seen as somehow inhibiting ASALA’s activities. As its leader Hagop Hagopian declared, “We consider to be our enemies also those countries which aid Turkey militarily and economically.” 3 After it took credit for the murder of the Turkish ambassador in Athens in 1980, ASALA similarly stated: “Our enemy is the Turkish regime, NATO, and the reactionary Armenian forces.” 4 Over the years, therefore, ASALA has either threatened or struck targets not only in and of Turkey but also in and of such states as France, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, and Canada, among others.


According to the “ASALA-RM History,” ASALA, first established in 1975, did not amount to much during its early years of existence. “By this time (before the end of 1975) ASALA consisted of only 6 or 7 persons of whom the most active were Mujahed [Hagop Hagopian] and Hagop Darakjian. The other members would participate on a less regular basis.” 5

On February 16, 1976, declared the “ASALA-RM History,” Darakjian “assassinated the First Secretary [Oktay Cirit] of the Turkish Embassy in Beirut. This operation marked a qualitative leap in ASALA operations since until then ASALA had done only a few bombings in Beirut.” Later in 1976 “there was an attempt on Mujahed’s [Hagopian’s] life provoked by the inner Palestinian conflict.” Hagopian left Lebanon to recover and “literally all ASALA responsibilities were taken over by Darakjian…. Without Hagop Darakjian, ASALA would have probably come to an end at that point.”

Although Hagopian returned to Beirut in 1977, “for the most part ASALA remained inactive.” During the following year, “Darakjian and his two or three close comrades managed to keep the wheel turning with their bombings.” On the other hand, claimed the “ASALA-RM History,” Hagopian “busied himself during this period by inflating real actions…. He would intentionally prepare misleading communiques and statements so as to confuse people into thinking…that ASALA was doing more than it really was.”

Apparently, this relative inactivity began to change in September 1979, when an Armenian conference was held in Paris, France. “The Congress acted as an opportunity for certain progressive French-Armenian elements to develop contact with ASALA,” declared the “ASALA-RM History.” Alex Yenikomshian (see below) is said to have played an important role in arranging these contacts. The result was “a general trend toward unity with ASALA.”

“During the last half of 1979 Hagop Darakjian continued to keep ASALA militarily alive. He was the principal militant responsible for the many bombings in Europe that year against U.S., West European and Turkish airline offices and against the Ankara and Istanbul airports.” In March of 1980, however, Darakjian was forced to cease his activities due to leukemia. He died a year later on March 17, 1981.

According to the “ASALA-RM History,” “1980 was to mark a new era in the history of ASALA. During this year there was an important influx of new members which brought about a considerable qualitative and quantitative improvement in ASALA activity.” These new members included Alex Yenikomshian (March 1980), Suzy Mahseredjian and Monte Melkonian (May 1980), and shortly afterward, Pierre Gulumian, Khatchig Havarian (alias Abu Mahmoud), Mardiros Jamgotchian, and Vicken Aivazian (alias John Lulu). “Many of these new members began working full time for the organization, i.e. they discontinued all their activities not directly related to ASALA. Thus the ‘7th floor office’ (sole office of ASALA at the time) [apparently in Beirut, Lebanon] began to resemble a true office, and it was inhabited 24 hours a day.”

With the exception of Darakjian’s assassination of a Turkish diplomat in 1976 (see above), “ASALA’s military activity had never gotten beyond simple bombings. During the summer of 1980 this changed drastically.” On July 31, Galip Ozmen, the Turkish attaché in Athens, Greece, was assassinated along with his daughter, Neslihan. In quick succession there followed an assault on the Turkish Consulate in Lyons, France, on August 5 and the severe wounding of a Turkish diplomat in Paris on September 26. “Within a few months, along with the standard bombings, an assassination attempt on a Turkish diplomat occurred in Rome, and—most noteworthy of all—ASALA executed two diplomats [Resat Morali and Tecelli Ari] in Paris on March 4, 1981. This increased activity was all a result of the work of the new members.”

On October 3, 1980, Alex Yenikomshian and Suzy Mahseredjian (Alex and Suzy) were imprisoned in Switzerland after a bomb they were making prematurely detonated in their Geneva hotel room. (The explosion cost Yenikomshian his vision and left hand.) “As a result of their imprisonment many new comrades began to adopt a line sympathetic to ASALA. Comrades from the ‘New Armenian Resistance’ in France joined ASALA’s ranks while comrades of ‘Azad Hay’ in Canada and ‘Gaitzer’ in Britain began to view ASALA with greater sympathy.” A “Committee for the Defense of Armenian Political Prisoners…further popularized…the armed struggle.” In addition, “those Iranian-Armenians who had been sympathants [sic] of ASALA were effectively brought into the fold of the organization…largely as a result of Monte’s [Melkonian] acquaintance[s]…in Iran.”

Two other “important developments” at this time included “the publishing of ‘Armenia’ (‘Hayastan’), the official organ of ASALA,” and “the establishment of a permanent presence in a training camp.” A year later, “on April 24th ASALA did its first radio broadcast in Beirut…. Later the broadcast became a daily radio-hour using the name The Voice of the Lebanese Armenians.”

In the summer of 1981, ASALA invited “progressive Armenian movements throughout the diaspora” to a meeting in Beirut. It was decided “that all progressive movements would adopt the title ‘Popular Movement for ASALA’ and that each periodical would show its solidarity with the organ ‘Armenia’ by adding the name ‘Hayastan’ to its title.” 6 The result, concluded the “ASALA-RM History,” was that “for the first time many independent progressive Armenian movements…had agreed to formally cooperate with each other as arms of political support for ASALA.”

Hagopian himself asserted: “In 5 years we managed to win for ourselves the support of the Armenian masses and the democratic and revolutionary forces throughout the world.” 7 In the same interview he also contended: “As for the rest [of the Armenian terrorists] it is evident that they moved along a trail already blazed by us.” 8 Hagopian then went on to boast that “some of the leaders of Tashnag [the Dashnaks] and Henshang [the Hunchaks] have secretly joined ELA [ASALA].” 9

On September 24, 1981, four ASALA agents seized the Turkish Consulate in Paris. They killed its Turkish guard, wounded the consul, and held fifty-six people hostage for sixteen hours under the threat of death. According to the “ASALA-RM History,” this so-called Van Operation marked “ASALA’s historic peak.”

It became the greatest single military/propaganda success ever achieved in the history of the diaspora…. For the first time an act of Armenian armed propaganda had succeeded in creating a genuinely positive interest about the Armenian people and their plight within public opinion on an international level. Moreover, Armenians throughout the world began showing much more sympathy for the armed struggle, and solidarity with ASALA was expressed by Armenian elements that had previously been reluctant to accept what had frequently been portrayed as ‘terrorism.’ … Summed up, this was a tremendous achievement which created a previously unequalled atmosphere of patriotic enthusiasm and which made ASALA the hope in the eyes of a vast number of Armenians for the realization of our national aspirations.

At the end of 1981, ASALA published an eight-point political program that was described as “the political line that the Popular Movement of ASALA will support.” 10 The program was apparently the result of long discussions with the leaders of the various “popular movements” with a view to forming eventually a united organization covering a broad spectrum from left to right. In the program, ASALA identified its enemies as “Turkish imperialism” supported by “local reaction” and “international imperialism.” “Revolutionary violence” was said to be “the principal means” to achieve the liberation of Armenian territories. ASALA would support those who “reject the authority of the oppressing classes” and would endeavor to “strengthen and expand” coalitions within the “international revolutionary movement.” The final goal was a united Armenia with a “democratic, socialist and revolutionary government.” The Soviet Union and other socialist governments were to be called upon for help and Soviet Armenia itself turned into a base for “the long people’s war.”


ASALA’s hopes to become the leader of a broad, united front of all Armenian groups, however, foundered upon the general Armenian tendency toward divisive factionalism, manifested throughout the past century. Indeed, the “ASALA-RM History” later claimed that there had been “from the very inception of ASALA…a very strained relationship between two essentially irreconcilable forces.”

The specific problem involved Hagopian’s willingness, even apparent eagerness, to employ indiscriminate terrorism against innocent civilians and non-Turkish targets. “In the name of the Armenian revolution, inhuman operations (i.e. atrocities) were being committed due to which dozens of innocent people were dying and hundreds of others had been wounded,” declared the “ASALA-RM History.” The deadly attacks on the Ankara and Paris airports and the Istanbul Covered Bazaar (see below) were three egregious examples. As Monte Melkonian (see below) explained in an interview, “Orly claimed innocent lives. It debases our struggle.” 11 No doubt too the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in June 1982, and the resulting expulsion of much of ASALA’s leadership from its base in Beirut, also helped lead to the subsequent splintering of ASALA.

Thus, in July 1983, ASALA split into two general groups: (1) Hagopian’s more militant faction concentrated in the Middle East and Greece and advocating the continuation of indiscriminate terror à la Orly and (2) a relatively more moderate faction centered in Western Europe that advocated more selected terrorist strikes against only Turkey, along with increased political work. 12 This more moderate, anti-Hagopian group began to call itself ASALA-Revolutionary Movement (ASALA-RM). Two of the most prominent leaders associated with ASALA-RM are Monte Melkonian (alias Dimitriu Georgiu), a 30-year-old Armenian born and raised in Dinuba, California, and supposedly able to speak eight languages, and Ara Toranian, the leader of the Paris-based Armenian National Movement (formerly “Armenian Struggle”), who in April 1983 had joined his own organization with the “Popular Movements” in Western Europe and North America to form the “Democratic Front.” 13

The program of this relatively more moderate ASALA-RM faction can be analyzed by a statement it released on August 16, 1983, 14 an interview with Monte Melkonian published in early 1984, 15 and the “ASALA-RM History” released in early 1985. According to the 1983 statement, Hagopian’s ASALA faction was said to have perverted “the path of genuine struggle, diverting it with lies, falsifications, threats and use of terror” to “exploit a people and in particular, the youth’s revolutionary fervor and spirit to struggle.” The Orly bombing was denounced as a “fascist act” and its perpetrators said to be pursuing “totally anti-revolutionary, fascist and gangster-type activities.” Continuing, the statement asserted that “innocent Turkish and foreign lives have been lost by exploiting…young Armenian fighters.” It claimed that “by far the majority of ASALA members are totally against this type of activities,” and declared: “After the events of July 15, 1983 (see below) there exists a division within the ranks of ASALA.”

“The primary responsibility” for what the statement termed a “gangster-system” was identified as belonging to “the dictator and gangster known as ‘Mujahed,’ better known as Hagop Hagopian, Mihran Mihranian, Vahram Vahramian, and also working under other names.” (As mentioned above, Ara Toranian admitted that, although he once traveled with Hagopian from Beirut to Paris and had been with him a number of other times, he still did not know Hagopian’s real name.) Melkonian claimed in his interview published in 1984 that “Hagopian has liquidated several of our comrades who opposed him.” The attempt to assassinate Ara Toranian, for example, was specifically put at Hagopian’s instigation: “The car of Ara Toranian …was rigged with a bomb by Hagopian’s people.”

According to the “ASALA-RM History,” Hagopian also ordered the execution of a number of other ASALA “members that he did not like…. The first of these was Arsen Vartanian (alias Abu Ammar)…. Upon Mujahed’s [Hagopian’s] order Arsen was executed in Bourj Hammoud on October 20th [1981].” In the summer of 1982 Nishan, “a 30-year-old blind [Armenian] patriot…was killed in an extremely inhumane manner…. 35 bullets of 7.65mm calibre [were fired at]… his head, neck, and chest.”

Sarkis Kiulkhandjian (alias Khomeini), about 27, who “had typed almost all the Armenian articles in both ‘Armenia’ and for the column ‘Voice of the Armenians,’ which appeared in the daily ‘Voice of the Workers,’” was also “executed” because Hagopian “began to hate him for his physical appearance and over-curious nature.” A plan to kill still another member of ASALA, Hamo Moskovian, apparently failed because of what the “ASALA-RM History” claimed, somewhat incredulously, was Hagopian’s personal “inexperience with firearms.” In May 1982, charged the “History,” Hagopian himself “opened fire on Hamo in Beirut…. However…he only managed to wound Hamo in the leg while killing another Armenian youth, Kevork Ananian.”

The manner in which Hagopian is said to have been able to dominate ASALA is particularly interesting. “He intentionally prohibited the formation of an organizational structure so that all members would remain directly answerable to him alone,” declared the “ASALA-RM History.” 16 Hagopian “began emphasizing that to insure ASALA security all members should be willing to accept the difficult life of a revolutionary by spending months isolated in small rooms and by breaking off all ties with family and friends.”

With “barrages of lies and misleading stories…he worked to create an atmosphere of mysticism and secrecy.” Some of the more gullible began to regard Hagopian “as a sort of guru and thus the use of the title ‘ma’alem’ (i.e. ‘master’) spread considerably among these members.” On the other hand, Hagopian was able to control the less gullible “by stationing them in different locations.” In addition, “as a rule, all members’ identification documents and money were confiscated by Mujahed [Hagopian], they were not allowed to go outside of the offices or training camp, and all of their correspondence with friends and family was either prohibited or closely monitored.”

Other methods Hagopian employed to dominate ASALA included (1) forbidding members to leave the organization on pain of execution, (2) denying “food and other basic necessities of life…to those…considered to be slightly independent in their thinking,” and (3) “the imprisonment of members who disagreed with…his own authority.” As the “ASALA-RM History” concluded, “Within the ranks of ASALA a system of terror reigned.”

Khatchig Havarian, one of Hagopian’s chief allies in controlling ASALA and later killed by the anti-Hagopian faction (see below), was “appointed by Mujahed [Hagopian] as the one responsible for controlling the day-to-day budget of the organization…and preparing threats against the lives of nonconformist and undesirable members.” Indeed, the “ASALA-RM History” declared: “All of those who stayed in the [Damascus] office [after Beirut was evacuated in 1982] were kept on literally a starvation diet because Khatchig wouldn’t allow the weekly budget to exceed 100 Syrian liras.” On the other hand, “Mujahed stayed in a different location.” In time, Khatchig Havarian “began…to mimic Mujahed’s personality, use Mujahed’s rhetoric…and even began dressing and grooming himself to resemble Mujahed physically.”

Despite all these devices, “many members found ways to leave ASALA or at least informally shed all their responsibilities in the organization.” According to the “ASALA-RM History,” others began

intentionally sabotaging their own work so as to avoid causing inhuman atrocities and at the same time avoid Mujahed’s wrath by having technically done their duty…. Such methods of sabotage included intentionally using dead batteries, misconnecting wires, using nonfunctional detonators, etc. during the preparation of bombs and in other cases placing relatively small amounts of explosives in less crowded locations at less critical times. It was in this way that a few bombs failed to explode while even those that exploded usually failed to cause victims on a large scale.

Pierre Gulumian is said “likely” to have died from the explosion of a bomb he was preparing on Hagopian’s orders in Paris in 1982, due to “his state of frustration and self-contradiction” at the killing of innocent people.

In contrast to Hagopian’s faction, Melkonian claimed in his 1984 interview that he “wishes to reestablish the political line of the struggle.” We specifically “envisage two lines of operations: (1) mobilization of Armenians [and] (2) forging alliances with certain liberation movements, notably in Turkey and with Kurds.” Strikes against Turkey, declared the “ASALA-RM History,” represented “the correct tactical means during the first stage of the struggle…and thus create the necessary conditions for the larger scale national liberation struggle in the occupied Armenian homeland.” In his 1984 interview Melkonian concluded: “Our first operations will involve striking in Turkey but not to the exclusion of Turkish interests in countries having strong Armenian communities.” Although recognizing that “the process of re-organization…[involves] the necessary tedious systematic approach,” the “ASALA-RM History” resolutely concluded: “With the birth of ASALA-RM, a new era in the yet developing Armenian patriotic struggle has begun.”

Hagopian himself continues to maintain his mysterious and deadly existence. In July 1982, a mere day after his interview over the telephone with the prominent French journalist, Charles Villeneuve, (the same person who later interviewed Melkonian above), Hagopian was falsely reported by ASALA as having been killed in Beirut by an Israeli air raid. Instead, he simply shifted his activities to Damascus, Syria, and the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, where he began a working relationship with the anti-PLO Palestinian radical Abu Nidal. Indeed, the “ASALARM History” claimed: “Mujahed and Abu Nidal have long been personal friends…. This was well evidenced in the Beka’a [after Hagopian was forced out of Beirut by the Israelis in 1982] where all ASALA members whether in the training camp or not were living with members of Abu Nidal’s group and receiving almost all their resources from them.” After a few months, however, “ASALA’s presence in the Beka’a was reduced to virtually a handful of members who no longer lived side by side with Abu Nidal’s boys, [although] there was still everyday collaboration between the two.” Since late in 1982, Hagopian apparently has been residing in Damascus (and possibly also, at times, in Athens, Greece). 17

If this information concerning the Hagopian-Abu Nidal connection is correct, it would help explain the cooling in PLOASALA relations that occurred in 1982. In an interview given in August 1982, for example, ASALA declared that not only had it “no links whatsoever with the PLO…[but] in fact we have some observations regarding the statements issued by its office in Cairo after our operations against Turkish targets abroad.” 18 When Fatah leader Abu Iyad (Salah Khalaf) visited France in December 1982, he gave the French intelligence details of ASALA activists, including photographs. This enabled the French to identify Hagopian when he secretly visited France early in 1983 to reorganize ASALA’s infrastructure. Instead of arresting him, however, the police followed Hagopian and thus built up a detailed picture of his network in France. This is said to be the reason the French were able to arrest over fifty Armenian activists immediately after the Orly bombing. 19

Further reports indicate that the intra-ASALA violence Melkonian has accused Hagopian with has not been all unilateral. On July 15 and 16, 1983, two top leaders of Hagopian’s faction, Viken Aivazian and then Khatchik Havarian, were killed at Melkonian’s instigation in ASALA’s Bekaa Valley camp. Hagopian’s faction then apprehended two perpetrators of the deed, Garlen Ananian and Aram Vartanian (alias Abu Elias), and executed them in Lebanon on August 16, 1983. The CIA, other international police organizations, and even some elements of the Armenian Church were accused by Hagopian’s faction of backing Melkonian in this attempt to decimate Hagopian’s group. 20

A Hagopian supporter has denounced “Ara Toranian and his friends as collaborators with the French government against the Armenian people’s interests.” 21 While admitting that “most of ASALA’s popular movements’ members in France” have joined Toranian’s group, he claimed that the majority in England and North America, and no group in the Middle East, have. Toranian’s “Democratic Front” was called “petty-bourgeois” and by implication ASALA-RM was censured as “reactionaries.”

The split between the two rival ASALA groups further widened in the summer of 1984, when Hagopian’s faction disclosed the names of some of its former members now allied with the Melkonian-Toranian grouping. 22 All were said to have taken part in various terrorist activities in the past. Revealing their names would presumably lead to their arrest.

Ara Toranian’s name headed the list. Hagopian’s faction accused him of attempting to murder Hamo Mosgofian, a Lebanese Armenian radical, in Paris two years earlier. (Mosgofian is obviously the same individual the anti-Hagopian faction accused Hagopian of trying to kill. See above.) When the French police apprehended him, Toranian was said to have won his release by agreeing to act as an informant.

Hagopian’s group also accused Toranian and his followers of bombing an Armenian memorial that had been unveiled in France in April 1984. The supposed rationale was an effort on the part of the French intelligence to appease Turkish public opinion, which had been aroused by France’s pro-Armenian position in the past. In addition, Toranian was said to have bombed the offices of the Soviet Union’s Aeroflot airline in 1980 simply to assert himself among his peers. For a similar reason, claimed Hagopian’s faction, Toranian even planted explosives under his own car and then blamed Hagopian and/or the Turks for the deed.

Other names revealed at this time included Mardiros Papazian and Charles Sansmetti. Both were accused of becoming informers for the French police after they were arrested for various bombings that had caused deaths and injuries.

Further indication of ASALA’s current disarray was its rather pathetic effort to take credit for a supposed attempt to bomb a bus containing the luggage of the Turkish athletes at the Los Angeles Olympics in August 1984. 23 When the affair was simply revealed to be a hoax on the part of a disgruntled Los Angeles policeman, ASALA then charged that the police were merely claiming a hoax to save their own reputation since they otherwise would have seemed to have taken their extensive security measures in vain. 24 Similarly, in gangster fashion, Hagopian’s ASALA faction “threatened to strike hard at Italian targets and interests both in Italy and in other countries if the Italian government does not prevent the takeover of Armenian treasures and properties held by the Mekhitarists,” 25 a famous Armenian religious order in Italy that went bankrupt due to bad financial investments.

It is clear, therefore, that ASALA has hit upon difficult days. On the other hand, while Hagopian’s faction seems to have degenerated into little more than a group of gangsters illogically pursuing one minor and unrelated adventure after another, the ASALA-RM faction associated with the name of Monte Melkonian appeared to be a bird of another feather. Although it remained to be seen if it could deliver, the promise of the “ASALA-RM History” that “we will continue to regroup progressive and patriotic Armenian elements throughout the diaspora to our ranks and work toward a truly popular based national liberation movement” had to be taken seriously. ASALARM’s desire to build “a truly balanced organizational structure with vertically and horizontally inter-related functioning bodies dealing with specific tasks…based on democratic principles and governed by a collective leadership,” seemed to cast a possibly ominous threat over the future.

Melkonian’s sudden arrest in Paris on a weapons charge in late 1985, therefore, would seem to have dampened the prospects of ASALA-RM. Commenting on the situation, an independent Armenian source concluded that ASALA-RM “appeared to have been incapable of carrying out any activities.” 26

1. See the slightly edited text of an ASALA declaration dated January 1, 1985, in The Armenian Reporter, January 24, 1985, p. 8.

2. Cited in ibid., January 17, 1985, p. 8.

3. Armenian Terrorist Leader Hagopian Interviewed: Milan Panorama in Italian, 1 Sept. 80, pp. 62–65,” in Joint Publications Research Service: Western Europe, No. 1628, September 24, 1980, pp. 1–6, hereafter “Panorama Interview.”

4. Cited in New York Times, August 1, 1980, p. A3.

5. This and the following discussion and citations are based on and taken from the anti-Hagopian faction’s “ASALA-RM History” cited in full in chapter 2.

6. See Pierre Terzian, “La question arménienne aujourd’hui” in the special issue of Critique Socialiste 55 (No. 4, 1982) entitled “Arménie du génocide à 1’explosion,” p. 57, for a list of these “popular movements.”

7. “Panorama Interview.”

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. “ASALA’nin Siyasal Programi,” Hay Baykar (Paris) (No. 1, 1982).

11. “Monte Melkonian Explains His Break with ASALA: Interview,” The Armenian Reporter, January 12, 1984, p. 4.

12. See the reports in The Armenian Reporter, July 21, 1983, p. 2; and ibid., September 1, 1983, p. 1.

13. See Judith Perera, “An End to Armed Propaganda?” The Middle East (London), September 1983, pp. 18–19.

14. “Armenian Secret Army Denounces Orly Attack; Claims Separate Faction Responsible,” The Armenian Reporter, September 1, 1983, p. 12.

15. See note 11 above for the full citation to this interview. Also see Geoff Davidian, “Ara Toranian, French Armenian Leader, Discusses Status of ASALA: An Exclusive Interview,” ibid., June 28, 1984, p. 3.

16. As a result, the “ASALA-RM History” repeatedly places citation marks around such words as “members” and “organization” when referring to ASALA. I have chosen to omit such marks because, whatever Hagopian’s tactics of control might have been, it is obvious that AS ALA had an organization and members. To constantly place citation marks around such terms would needlessly confuse my reader and add a redundant polemical touch to my text.

17. See the report in The Armenian Reporter, February 7, 1985, p. 11.

18. Cited in “Nadim Nasir Report: Al-Majallah Visits an Armenian Secret Army Base in Lebanon,” in Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), Daily Report (Middle East and Africa), September 1, 1982, p. G8, hereafter “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA.”

19. See Perera, “End to Armed Propaganda?” p. 19. The “ASALARM History” also makes reference to Hagopian’s trip to France in 1983.

20. The Armenian Reporter, January 19, 1984, p. 13. See ibid., September 22, 1983, p. 1, for further details from ASALA; and ibid., September 8, 1983, p. 16, for ASALA photographs of those involved.

21. This and the following information are based on a letter to the editor in ibid., January 5, 1984, p. 2.

22. The following discussion is based on “ASALA Discloses Names of Operatives Involved in Various Acts: The Split Within ASALA Widens,” in ibid., September 13, 1984, pp. 1 and 12.

23. See the reproduction of ASALA’s reputed letter in The Armenian Reporter, September 6, 1984, p. 2.

24. For these claims by ASALA, see ibid., September 13, 1984, p. 12. On the other hand, sources sympathetic to the Dashnaks claimed that the Turks might have been behind the bombing hoax to discredit the Armenians. See Harut Sassounian, “Olympic Bomb Scare: Who Was Behind It?” The [Armenian] California Courier, August 23, 1984, pp. 8 and 11.

25. The Armenian Reporter, February 28, 1985, p. 1.

26. Ibid., December 5, 1985, p. 12.


Although its members deny it, this right-wing, nationalist terrorist organization Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide-Armenian Revolutionary Army (JCAG-ARA) appears to be an offshoot of the Dashnaks, 1 who were originally created in 1890 as the Hai Heghapokhakan Dashnaktsutium (Armenian Revolutionary Federation or simply ARF). As probably the preeminent historical Armenian organization over the past century, the Dashnaks took a leading role in the struggles of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 2 The Dashnaks also formed the government of the short-lived Armenian Republic (1918–20), and have continued to exist in exile in such countries as the United States, Lebanon, Iran, and Greece, among many others, since the Bolshevik takeover of the Armenian Republic in 1920. 3

Until 1975 the Dashnaks tended to view the Soviet Union as their main enemy, 4 although they certainly bore no love for Turkey. While leading a Christmas Eve procession down the aisle of the Armenian Church of the Holy Cross in New York in 1933, for example, Archbishop Ghevond Tourian was murdered by Dashnak “hit men” in the full presence of his congregation. The motive was the Archbishop’s support of Soviet Armenia, a concept the nationalistic Dashnaks did not accept. 5

In 1975, to avoid losing its young, action-prone members to what they tended to perceive as the more dynamic ASALA group 6 and undoubtedly in response to the general milieu of the Armenian diaspora, described in chapters two and three, the Dashnaks formed their own terrorist version. There was historical precedent for this decision, since the Dashnaks, as detailed above, had used terrorism against the Turks both before World War I and again briefly afterward. 7 Since the Dashnaks have not published anything directly about their terrorist arm and very little has been issued in the names of JCAG or ARA, however, what follows cannot be as detailed as the analysis of ASALA in chapter three.

In recent years, JCAG-ARA members who were apprehended or killed in action have received a tremendous amount of sympathy and prestige in the Dashnak press, while ASALA agents have been virtually ignored. Hampig Sassounian, who murdered the Turkish consul general in Los Angeles in 1982, the “Lisbon 5,” who died in July 1983 during an unsuccessful attempt to seize the Turkish Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal, and the two assassins of the Turkish ambassador to Yugoslavia in March 1983, are cases in point. 8 The Dashnak press, for example, reported that “a political memorial” 9 was held in Sts. Vartanantz Church in New Jersey on January 29, 1984, for “the five martyrs of the Lisbon incident,” who gave “their lives in pursuit of the Armenian National Liberation Struggle,” or “Hai Tahd.” The event was sponsored by a Dashnak organization. “The hall was filled to capacity” and “most of those gathered were moved to tears.” One of the speakers, Unger (Comrade) Sosi Toomajanian, concluded: “When acts like this occur, we should not shy away from negative public opinion and harassment from government authorities…. We must carry on the struggle.” According to the report, similar memorials were held for the Lisbon 5 in a number of other cities in the United States.

Compared to ASALA, which has held several press conferences over the years, JCAG and its successor, ARA, have led a more shadowy existence. This is because they are not really separate organizations as is ASALA, but rather a secret branch of the Dashnaks that can be publicized or not whenever or however the parent organization sees fit. Indeed, for reasons discussed below, the Dashnaks dropped the JCAG label during 1983, preferring instead to be known as the Armenian Revolutionary Army. To analyze the JCAG-ARA program, therefore, we should examine the goals of the Dashnaks and the policy statements they make in their press, as well as the few messages that have been issued in the name of JCAG-ARA.

Hai Tahd, or “the Armenian Cause,” of the Dashnaks has as its purpose to reestablish an independent, noncommunist Armenia as specified in the defunct Treaty of Sevres (1920), and to seek recompense from Turkey for the alleged crimes it committed against the Armenian people. “We continue to emphasize and focus on the Treaty of Sevres…. It is the cornerstone and the most important element for our cause,” 10 stated a recent article in the Dashnak press. Another Dashnak commentary elaborated: “The exact goals of the Armenian cause …are mainly the right of Armenians to live in their homeland and the right of self-determination,” and then added that unless these goals were communicated to the world, “the heroic sacrifices of the Armenian freedom fighters will have been made in vain.” 11

For the most part, however, the Dashnaks seem to pursue Hai Tahd peacefully. Most Dashnak members, especially those in the West, probably know nothing about their party’s terrorist arm. At the end of 1984, for example, representatives of the party from fifteen different countries met in Munich, Germany, “to expand the scope of its on-going political activities and initiate new campaigns to advance the Armenian Cause [Hai Tahd].” 12 A number of peaceful, legal “measures which can lead to a political solution of the Armenian Cause” were listed, such as lobbying the U.S. Congress and the UN Commission on Human Rights. The Dashnak convention closed by stating: “We will continue to pursue the Armenian people’s legitimate rights and demand recognition of the Genocide by Turkey, reparations for human, economic, and cultural losses and for the restitution of the millenial Armenian homeland.” 13

ASALA, however, heaped scorn on this peaceful strategy by declaring:

We call on the Armenian people to be extremely careful and cautious because the solution of the Armenian Cause cannot be found in false international tribunals, as our people have been made to believe over the years. The resolution of the Armenian Cause can only be realized through armed struggle and by liberating occupied Armenian lands from Turkish fascism. Is it possible to expect the liberation of our lands with the help of the West when imperialist military bases exist on these territories? 14

ASALA even threatened “to take measures against such untrue representatives by executing all traitors and thus failing [sic] their plots.” 15

When the Dashnaks have turned to terror, they have, in contrast to ASALA, shunned other international terrorist connections and struck only at Turkish targets. After it had the Turkish consul general murdered in Los Angeles in 1982, for example, JCAG announced: “Our sole targets are Turkish diplomats and Turkish institutions.” 16 As a Marxist group, on the other hand, ASALA sees the Soviet Union as a natural ally and as its symbol (an upraised Kalashnikov rifle against a backdrop of an Armenian state stretching across the Iron Curtain) illustrates, apparently would like to annex eastern Turkey to Soviet Armenia.

In a recent (January 1984) theoretical analysis of what in effect was the present ARA program, Ohan Balian made the following observations. 17 There are two initial stages “through which a liberation movement must pass to attain its ultimate goals.” The first is that of “the recruitment of a support base …internal propaganda.” The second phase is “the problem of recognition on the external front…the process of winning the world over or at least forcing world public opinion to pay attention to the cause….” In other words, “this is the period of demonstrative acts.” Although “the Armenian movement has not yet completed” this second stage…the Lisbon operation…belongs to the advanced period of the demonstrative period.” This operation is said to have “completely reversed” the negative image ASALA’s “unnecessary bombings …and abortive takeover of the Turkish consulate of Paris” had created worldwide. The Lisbon operation demonstrated “that the Armenian movement pursued lofty goals” and “opened a new page in the history of the new Armenian Revolution.” The statement closed with the threat that “in the near future we will see an expansion and positive escalation in activities designed to bring us closer to the achievement of our goals.”

Despite this attempt to tout the Lisbon affair as a turning point in the Armenian terrorist campaign against Turkey, a year later the same Dashnak spokesman admitted that “in the months that followed, only a few not so spectacular or meaningful acts were recorded.” 18 In reality, the Lisbon operation appears to have been a badly botched affair. 19 Since the two cars the five Armenians arrived in were filled with food and explosives, the terrorists were probably anticipating a lengthy siege, not a quick suicide. Instead, when they tried to seize the Turkish Embassy, they were driven off by gunfire, which killed one of them on the spot. The remaining four then ran down a driveway and seized the ambassador’s residence. The Turkish security guard who had managed to kill one of the terrorists had been alerted moments earlier when a Portuguese guard recognized one of the cars the terrorists arrived in from the previous day. On that occasion, the terrorists had apparently been reconnoitering their target.

Although a note delivered to the press later claimed that the death of the four remaining Armenians in a self-induced explosion represented “our sacrifice to the altar of freedom,” it is difficult to believe suicide was their real intention. What is more likely is that some type of miscalculation led to the explosion that cost them their lives. The Portuguese police, for example, believe that when the terrorists saw a Portuguese security agent entering the ambassador’s residence through a window, they threw a hand grenade that accidentally triggered their other explosives. Subsequently, when the main Portuguese detachment occupied the building, they found five bodies, the four terrorists’ and that of the security agent.

The ability of the Dashnak press to glorify the Lisbon fiasco is reminiscent of the Googoonian expedition in 1890. On that occasion, a Dashnak force of some 125 men attempted to attack Turkish Armenia from Russia. The expedition’s great expectations were soon deflated, however, when it lost its way. Further problems occurred when it fell into skirmishes with Russian border guards and Kurdish tribesmen who were seeking revenge for the unprovoked murder of some of their kinsmen by members of the expedition. Finally, before the Turkish territory was even reached, the Armenians were captured by Russian Cossacks and thrown into prison. Later they were given severe sentences and sent to Siberia. Despite this ignominious ending, “the Googoonian Expedition had a great effect on the Armenians…. Bloodshed became a more commonly acknowledged form of patriotic sacrifice, and such men as these were idealized as heroes.” 20

Shortly before they staged the Lisbon operation in July 1983, the Dashnaks, as mentioned above, had changed the name of their terrorist arm from Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide (JCAG) to the Armenian Revolutionary Army (ARA). In its first “Communique” ARA declared that it was “a new militant Armenian organization…. Our organization for the first time in July 14, 1983, appeared by assassinating one of the Turkish representatives [Dursun Aksoy] in Brussels.” 21 ARA’s program, however, was similar to its JCAG predecessor. Unlike ASALA, for example, ARA claimed that “we are totally independent of outside influences, be it from the East or West.” 22 In pointed contrast to ASALA, ARA, in a subsequent “Communique,” also made clear its intention to campaign against only the Turkish enemy, while leaving others alone: “Our target is the Turkish reactionary government through all its official representatives.” 23 A third “Communique” ended by declaring ARA’s campaign “will conclude when, taking note of the legality of the Armenian Cause, the Turkish government begins negotiations with the representatives of the Armenian people.” 24

Despite its change of names, the fortunes of the Dashnaks’ terrorist arm have declined. “The conviction of Sassounian [in early 1984] is believed to have struck a serious blow to the ARF. The party has already alienated almost all its American-born Armenians, who have dropped out in recent years, particularly since the political organization has turned to terrorism.” 25 The report cited immediately above added that “only a handful [of] American-born Armenians still remain on the roster of the party, which now appears to be under the control of newcomers, mostly from Lebanon.” 26

Undoubtedly related to the JCAG-ARA decline is a series of violent upheavals among the Dashnaks themselves, analogous to the intramural violence that also has splintered ASALA. In December 1982 Apo Ashjian, a high-ranking Dashnak leader, mysteriously disappeared in Beirut, Lebanon. At first the Dashnaks tried to blame this event on Turkish counterterror agents, 27 but it is now clear that Ashjian was the victim of intramural Dashnak violence over general strategy and the locus of ultimate control within the terrorist movement. (The name change from JCAG to ARA probably is connected to this event.)

Although the details remain murky, it appears that Ashjian belonged to the “left wing” of the Dashnak party and headed its armed militia in Beirut. 28 He also may have headed JCAG itself. He might have been killed because he sought to disregard a reputed deal with the CIA made by the “right wing” of the Dashnak leadership. This agreement was that there would be no more JCAG attacks against Turkish targets on U.S. soil. Hrair Maroukhian, an Iranian-born Armenian who heads the Dashnak Bureau in Beirut, and Sarkis Zeitlian, a powerful member of that bureau, were said to be the leaders of this rightwing group of Dashnaks.

In March 1985, however, Zeitlian himself was abducted in Beirut by unidentified men and at first was presumed killed. Although the forces behind this new kidnapping remained unknown, most observers speculated that it had to do with the Dashnaks’ internal power struggle. 29 The following month, Sarkis Aznavourian, a leading member of the Dashnaks’ Central Committee in Lebanon, was found murdered in Beirut, and in July 1985 two more ARF leaders in Beirut were also shot, one of them fatally. Finally, in the fall of 1985, a group of apparently dissident Dashnaks calling itself “ARF Revolutionary Movement” took credit for Zeitlian’s kidnapping and the subsequent assassinations, warning that it “will execute all the Armenian traitors who are in the service of the United States, Israel and Turkey” and vowing “to liberate ourselves from this clique of traitors [the regular Dashnak leaders] who have sold their souls to Satan.” At this time it was also claimed that Zeitlian (who apparently had not been killed, but was being held captive somewhere in Lebanon) had confessed he had ordered Ashjian’s liquidation. A new interpretation of the Ashjian incident explained that Ashjian had advocated JCAG cooperation with ASALA against the strenuous objections of the Maroukhian-Zeitlian leadership. In fact, by January 1986, there was increasing speculation that Hagopian’s ASALA itself was behind these events, rather than a Dashnak splinter group. In addition, ASALA began to charge that the Dashnaks had helped Monte Melkonian escape from Lebanon after the killing of the two ASALA leaders (Viken Aivazian and Khatchik Havarian) in July 1983.

Whatever ASALA’s role here, a long simmering feud between it and the Dashnaks had broken into open violence in August 1984. An independent Armenian report of these events stated that “the Dashnaks are openly working against ASALA …for the simple reason that another organization is taking a leading position in the worldwide struggle for the Armenian Cause, something the Dashnaks have always maintained to have been their exclusive mission.” 30 The report added that “there have been numerous cases where Dashnaks have informed on ASALA members.” 31

Not to be outdone, ASALA has warned: “When scores of intelligence agencies of major countries failed to silence us, would anyone expect that Armenian dwarfs would scare us?” 32 ASALA added that from now on it would also strike at “Armenian reactionaries,” 33 and called the Dashnak leaders “parasites, who are bleeding the Armenian people dry.” 34

On the other hand, the “ASALA-RM History” of the antiHagopian faction of ASALA, has laid the blame for the Dashnak-ASALA violence at Hagopian’s and, therefore, ASALA’s feet: “from the summer of 1980… Mujahed [Hagopian] began ordering the bombing of the cars, shops and even homes of traditional Armenian party leaders (especially Dashnak) of low rank…. This helped lead to a tense situation which finally resulted in knifings, fights and brawls between the two sides, even during April 24 [1981] commemorations in several parts of the world.”

Initial instigator aside, it is clear that the Dashnaks, as well as ASALA, have hit upon trying times. Nevertheless, some of the most recent (1984–85) Armenian terrorist strikes have been staged by ARA: (1) two diplomatic assassinations of Turks in Vienna, Austria (June and November 1984), (2) a botched bombing attempt in Istanbul, Turkey, which killed both of the perpetrators (September 1984), and (3) an attack against the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, that resulted in the death of a Canadian security guard (March 1985). The future, therefore, would seem to hold further ARA attacks.


1. Kevork Donabedian, the editor of the Dashnak newspaper The Armenian Weekly (Boston), for example, stated: “To my knowledge, that’s not true” (Christian Science Monitor, November 18, 1980, p. B22). The Dashnak Central Committee also specifically denied the JCAG connection by stating, “The suggestion by some of your sources… about links between the ARF [Dashnaks] and so-called commando hit teams is misplaced and an unfair attack of a responsible, established, political organization.” Cited in ibid., January 7, 1981, p. 22. Subsequently, however, Donabedian’s newspaper published “An appeal to all Armenians,” which declared: “Since 1975 underground groups have been formed to use effective forceful means to pursue the Armenian cause. Armenians have a moral responsibility to support these activities with all available means” (The Armenian Weekly, July 2, 1983, p. 2). Certainly, most Dashnak members were not members of JCAG. Many, though, seemed to sympathize with it tacitly, while turning a deaf ear to the evidence of overt links.

2. See, for example, Richard G.Hovannisian, Armenia on the Road to Independence, 1918 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967); Louise Nalbandian, The Armenian Revolutionary Movement: The Development of Armenian Political Parties Through the Nineteenth Century (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1963); Esat Uras, Tarihte Ermeniler ve Ermeni Meselesi (Istanbul: Belge Publications, 1976); and Bilal N.Simsir, ed., British Documents on Ottoman Armenians, Vols. 1 and 2, (Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 1982 and 1983).

3. See Richard G.Hovannisian, The Republic of Armenia, Vols. 1 and 2, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971 and 1982).

4. On this point, see “Threatening Skies over the Diaspora: An Analysis of the Political Line of the A.R.F.,” The Armenian Reporter, December 8, 1983, p. 3; and ibid., December 22, 1983, p. 4.

5. For a fuller analysis of this event, see Christopher Walker, Armenia: The Survival of a Nation (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1980),
p. 354; and Maggie Lewis, “Armenian-Americans,” Christian Science Monitor, November 18, 1980, p. B19.

6. On this point, see The Armenian Reporter, August 18, 1983, p. 10; ibid., September 29, 1983, p. 1; ibid., November 10, 1983, pp. 1 and 8; ibid., November 24, 1983, p. 12; ibid., December 22, 1983, p. 4; ibid., January 5, 1984, p. 1; and ibid., February 2, 1984, p. 2.

7. In addition to the materials cited in chapters 1 and 2 on this point, see K.S.Papazian, Patriotism Perverted (Boston: Baikar Press, 1934); Manuel S.Hassassian, A.R.F. As a Revolutionary Party 1890–1921 (Jerusalem: Hai Tad Publications, 1983); and Gerard Libaridian, “Roots of Political Violence in Recent Armenian History,” (paper presented at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association, Chicago, Illinois, November 4, 1983).

8. Issue after issue of the Dashnak organ, The Armenian Weekly, is filled with eulogies and panegyrics to these JCAG-ARA members. For some of the more egregious examples, see the issues of August 21, 1983, p. 1; September 17, 1983, p. 3; December 10, 1983, p. 1; December 24, 1983, p. 1; January 14, 1984, p. 1; January 21, 1984, pp. 2 and 4; and January 28, 1984, p. 1.

9. The following discussion is based on “Political Rally for Lisbon Five in N.J. Moving for 400,” ibid., February 11, 1984, pp. 6–7.

10. Vart Ajemian, “Conversation in the Park,” in ibid., January 5, 1985, p. 11.

11. Ara Khandjian, “Communicating Our Goals to Non-Armenians: Commentary,” in ibid., p. 3.

12. The following citations and data were taken from “A.N.C. Expands World-Wide Political Campaign,” in ibid., pp. 1 and 16.

13. Ibid., p. 16.

14. See “ASALA Releases Declaration Following Munich Meeting,” The Armenian Reporter, January 24, 1985, p. 8.

15. Ibid.

16. Cited in New York Times, January 29, 1982, p. A1.

17. The ensuing analysis is based on the “Keynote Address at Lisbon Five Rally,” The Armenian Weekly, February 11, 1984, pp. 6, 7, and 9.

18. O.S.Balian, “Remembering the Lisbon Five,” in ibid., August 18, 1984, p. 3.

19. The following facts were culled from the New York Times, July 28, 1983, p. 6A.

20. Nalbandian, Armenian Revolutionary Movement, p. 159. See ibid., pp. 157–59 for the events described above.

21. See the “Communique” dated June 20, 1984, printed in the Dashnak organ, The Armenian Weekly, July 14, 1984, p. 3. One might plausibly speculate it was logical for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (the Dashnaks) to rename their terrorist arm the Armenian Revolutionary Army.

22. Ibid.

23. “Communique,” dated October 12, 1984, printed in ibid., November 3, 1984, p. 2.

24. “Communique,” dated November 19, 1984, printed in ibid., December 29, 1984, p. 2.

25. The Armenian Reporter, January 19, 1984, p. 1.

26. Ibid.

27. See, for example, the Dashnak claims in The Armenian Weekly, January 7, 1984, p. 1; and The [Armenian] California Courier, January 19, 1984, p. 4.

28. The following details are based on “New Light Shed on Kidnapping of ARF Leader in December of 1982,” The Armenian Reporter, January 26, 1984, p. 1; “Cypriot Paper Implies Apo Ashjian Has Been Killed by Other A.R.F. Leaders,” in ibid., June 7, 1984, p. 1; “ASALA Says Dashnags Were Behind Series of Bombings in Beirut,” in ibid., September 13, 1984, p. 1; and “Top Dashnag Leader Refused Entry into Britain,” in ibid., November 29, 1984, p. 12.

29. The ensuing details are based on “Sarkis Zeitlian, No. 2 Dashnag Leader, Abducted in Beirut,” ibid., April 4, 1985, p. 1; “No One Claims Responsibility for Abduction of Dashnag Leader,” ibid., April 11, 1985, p. 1; “Murder of Yet Another ARF Leader in Beirut Generates More Community Tension,” ibid., May 2, 1985, p. 8; “Two More ARF-Dashnag Leaders Gunned Down in Beirut,” ibid., July 25, 1985, p. 1; “ARF Revolutionary Movement Claims Responsibility,” ibid., October 31, 1985, p. 1; “ARF Splinter Group Releases Photograph of Sarkis Zeitlian; Promises New Confessions,” ibid., December 5, 1985, p. 1., and “H. Hagopian’s ASALA is Said to be Behind the Abduction of S.Zeitlian—Syrian Role in Incident Also Suspected,” ibid., January 30, 1986, p.1.

30. The Armenian Reporter, September 13, 1984, p. 1.

31. Ibid.

32. “ASALA Charges ARF Harassment,” in ibid., December 29, 1983, p. 1.

33. “Bombings & Retaliations Pitting ARF & ASALA Against Each Other in Beirut,” in ibid., October 4, 1984, p. 1.

34. Ibid.

5 Modus Operand!


Although simple counts of incidents can be misleading, since one major terrorist attack can have a much greater effect than dozens of minor bombings that result in only small property losses, some general picture of the range of Armenian terrorist operations is still offered by such a list. Combining two separate counts 1 and adding a few others from recent media sources, the following pattern emerges over the time period January 1973March 1985. Geographically, the terrorist operations have occurred on four different continents: North America, Asia, Australia, with the majority in (Western) Europe. France (37), Switzerland (25), Italy (20), Lebanon (17), the United States (15), Turkey (14), Spain (11), and Iran (10) have witnessed the most incidents, while others have occurred in Belgium (5), England (5), Canada (5), Denmark (4), Greece (4), West Germany (4), Austria (3), the Netherlands (2), Portugal (2), Australia (1), Iraq (1), the USSR (1), Bulgaria (1), and Yugoslavia (1). This makes for a total of 188 incidents, a figure that is probably too low if other counts are to be credited. 2

By year, the number of incidents had been increasing from mere single-digit figures through 1978 to 29 in 1979, 38 in 1980, and 47 in 1981. Most likely reflecting the loss of the Lebanese home base after the Israeli invasion of 1982 and the divisions that split the terrorists shortly afterward, the number of incidents decreased to 26 in 1982, 13 in 1983, and only 6 in 1984 if one does not count the intramural violence. The fact that 1984 also witnessed the murder of 4 more Turks in Austria and Iran, however, indicates that any requiem for Armenian terrorism would be premature.

The most spectacular terrorist attacks (both in terms of the identity of the mysterious perpetrators and the diplomatic character of their victims) have been the assassinations of thirty Turkish diplomats or members of their immediate families. For a long time the Turks even refused to believe that Armenians were committing these acts. In fact, with the exception of Gourgen Yanikian in 1973, only recently have some of the perpetrators been apprehended. To date, the identity of most of the assassins still remains unknown, although it is now possible tentatively to identify which terrorist organization carried out an operation.

The following Turkish diplomats or members of their immediate families have been slain in recent years by Armenian terrorists: (1) Mehmet Baydar, consul general of Turkey, January 27, 1973, at Los Angeles, U.S.A. (Yanikian); (2) Bahadir Demir, consul of Turkey, January 27, 1973, at Los Angeles, U.S.A. (Yanikian); (3) Danis Tunaligil, ambassador of Turkey, October 22, 1975, at Vienna, Austria (JCAG); (4) Ismail Erez, ambassador of Turkey, October 24, 1975, at Paris, France (JCAG); (5) Talip Yener, driver of ambassador, October 24, 1975, at Paris, France (JCAG); (6) Oktay Cirit, first secretary-Turkish Embassy, February 16, 1976, at Beirut, Lebanon (ASALA); (7) Taha Carim, ambassador of Turkey, June 9, 1977, at Holy See (JCAG); (8) Necla Kuneralp, wife of the ambassador of Turkey, June 2, 1978. at Madrid, Spain (JCAG); (9) Besir Balcioglu, retired ambassador of Turkey, June 2, 1978, at Madrid, Spain (JCAG); (10) Ahmet Benler, son of the ambassador of Turkey, October 12, 1979. at The Hague, the Netherlands (JCAG); (11) Yilmaz Colpan, counselor for tourism-Turkish Embassy, December 22, 1979, at Paris, France (JCAG); (12) Galip Ozmen, attaché-Turkish Embassy, July 31, 1980, at Athens, Greece (ASALA); (13) Neslihan Ozmen, daughter of attaché-Turkish Embassy, July 31, 1980, at Athens, Greece (ASALA); (14) Sarik Ariyak, consul general of Turkey, December 17, 1980, at Sydney, Australia (JCAG); (15) Engin Sever, driver of consul general, December 17, 1980, at Sydney, Australia (JCAG); (16) Resat Morali, labor attaché-Turkish Embassy, March 4, 1981, at Paris, France (ASALA); (17) Tecelli Ari, religious affairs official-Turkish Embassy, March 4, 1981, at Paris, France (ASALA); (18) Mehmet Yerguz, official-Turkish Consulate General, June 9, 1981, Bern, Switzerland (ASALA); (19) Cemal Ozen, security official-Turkish Consulate General, September 24, 1981, at Paris, France (ASALA); (20) Kemal Arikan, consul general of Turkey, January 28, 1982, at Los Angeles, U.S.A. (JCAG); (21) Orhan Gunduz, honorary consul general of Turkey, May 4, 1982, at Boston, U.S.A. (JCAG); (22) Erkut Akbay, commercial attachéTurkish Embassy, June 7, 1982, at Lisbon, Portugal (JCAG); (23) Atilla Altikat, military attaché-Turkish Embassy, August 27, 1982, at Ottawa, Canada (JCAG); (24) Bora Suelkan, administrative attaché-Turkish Consulate General, September 9, 1982, at Burgas, Bulgaria (JCAG); (25) Galip Balkar, ambassador of Turkey, March 9, 1983, at Belgrade, Yugoslavia (JCAG); (26) Dursun Aksoy, attaché-Turkish Embassy, July 14, 1983, at Brussels, Belgium (ARA); (27) Cahide Mihcioglu, wife of charge d’affaires-Turkish Embassy, July 27, 1983, at Lisbon, Portugal (ARA); (28) Ismail Pambukcu, military attaché-Turkish Embassy, March 27, 1984, at Teheran, Iran (ASALA); (29) Erdogan Ozen, trade and labor attaché-Turkish Embassy, June 20, 1984, at Vienna, Austria (ARA); and (30) Enver Ergun, deputy director-UN Center for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs, November 20, 1984, at Vienna, Austria (ARA).

As mentioned above, the first two diplomatic assassinations were committed by a 78-year-old Armenian-American, Gourgen Yanikian, as an individual act of revenge to atone for the murder of numerous members of his family in Turkey during World War I. For his crime Yanikian was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released on January 31, 1984, because of his declining health, and died less than a month later on February 26. After his death an independent American-Armenian newspaper, as noted above, declared that Yanikian had “opened [a] new era of political struggle” and “changed the course of Armenian history.” 3

In January 1985 the “ASALA-RM History” claimed that Hagop Darakjian had assassinated Oktay Cirit in Beirut, Lebanon, on February 16, 1976. Given the context in which the claim was made, it is probably true. According to the same source, Darakjian died of leukemia on March 17, 1981.

Mardiros Jamgotchian was apprehended by Swiss authorities after he assassinated Mehmet Yerguz in Bern, Switzerland, on June 9, 1981. He is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence for the deed. Kevork Guzelian was given a light sentence for murdering Cemal Ozen in Paris on September 24, 1981, and made eligible for release from prison as early as 1984.

Hampig Sassounian is serving a life sentence for assassinating Kemal Arikan in Los Angeles on January 28, 1982. Harutiun Levonian and Raffi Elbekian were given twenty-year prison sentences for killing Galip Balkar in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, on March 9, 1983. During the shooting that led up to their capture, the two also apparently killed by accident a young Yugoslavian student.

Four of the five so-called Lisbon Five (Setrak Ajemian, Ara Kuhrjulian, Sarkis Abrahamian, Simon Yahniyan, and Vatche Daghlian) died during an apparently accidental explosion after they had killed Cahide Mihcioglu in Lisbon, Portugal, on July 27, 1983. The fifth was killed by a Portuguese security official. With these exceptions, no other assassins of the Turkish diplomats are known.

The diplomatic assassinations notwithstanding, the single most deadly Armenian terrorist operations have been the indiscriminate attacks or bombings by ASALA on the Ankara Esenboga Airport on August 7, 1982 (10 dead, 71 wounded), and the Paris Orly airport on July 15, 1983 (8 killed, 54 wounded). An attack against the Istanbul Covered Bazaar on June 16, 1983, killed 2 and wounded 23.

The Ankara attack was staged by Levon Ekmekjian and Zohrab Sarkissian. Sarkissian was killed by Turkish police during the ensuing gun battle, while Ekmekjian was captured. Subsequently, he was tried and hanged in January 1983. The Orly bombing was the work of Varoujian Garbidjian, Sonner Nayir, and Ohannes Semerci. In March 1985 Garbidjian was sentenced to prison for life, Nayir for fifteen years, and Semerci ten years. Garbidjian was described by the French Court as the one who actually planted the bomb, and by the “ASALA-RM History” as the ASALA agent in France “responsible…for the anti-Turkish operations” and “anti-people bombings.” Several other accomplices were given minor sentences in Janaury 1985: Avedis Catanassian, Bedros Halebian, Nerses Tasci, Ohannes Catanassian, and Antoine Achkoyan.

The Istanbul attack was carried out by a lone gunman, Megerditch (Mgo) Madarian of Aleppo, Syria. According to the “ASALA-RM History,” Madarian “was an extremely religious youth.” ASALA “largely exploited Mgo’s religious convictions in portraying suicide as the ultimate sacrifice for our people’s saintly struggle.” To prepare for the operation “Mgo was kept in total isolation from February until June 14th.” When he had used up his ammunition “Mgo used his last grenade to kill himself.”

In addition to these deadly attacks, ASALA mounted a spate of less lethal bombings in several West European states during the early 1980s in attempts, sometimes successful, to force them to release certain ASALA agents they were holding. Thus the so-called October 3 campaign was a series of some eighteen bombings over a four-month period in late 1980 that eventually forced Switzerland to release Suzy Mahseredjian on January 12, 1981, and Alex Yenikomshian the following month. (Both had been apprehended after their bomb prematurely exploded in a Geneva hotel room on October 3, 1980. See above.)

The “June 9th” (1981) campaign to force Switzerland to release Mardiros Jamgotchian, however, failed. It consisted of some fifteen bombings, which killed one and wounded approximately thirty-five. The “September France” (1981) campaign also was an unsuccessful attempt to force France to release the four ASALA agents (the so-called Yeghia Keshishian Suicide Commandos, named after an Armenian executed by Iranian authorities apparently in 1981) who had mounted the “Van” operation. According to the “ASALA-RM History,” “‘September France’ like ‘June 9th’ was by nature a vicious anti-people campaign which apart from intending to cause senseless bloodshed was to cause very negative propaganda concerning the Armenian armed struggle in general.”

The first “Orly” bombing campaign in late 1981, on the other hand, did succeed in winning the release of Monte Melkonian, who had been arrested by the French authorities at Orly airport. Similarly, another “Orly” campaign in the fall of 1982 won the release of Vicken Tcharkhutian, whom the French were holding in consideration of an extradition request from the United States. (See below.) Neither “Orly” campaign resulted in deaths, but at least fifteen were wounded. Analyzing the effects of “Orly,” the “ASALA-RM History” later declared: “The Armenian patriotic struggle was being overshadowed by an antipeople campaign which was causing even operations against well-defined targets to be portrayed as ‘terrorism.’”

In late July and August of 1983 an anti-French bombing campaign in Iran was mounted in the names of ASALA and Orly once again. Additional bombings of French targets occurred in Lebanon too. According to the “ASALA-RM History,” however, “several factors” indicate that the bombing of the French Cultural Center in West Berlin in August 1983 that resulted in one death and twenty wounded, “was done as a ‘favor’ for Mujahed [Hagopian] by a non-Armenian force.” The purpose of this third ASALA-Orly campaign was obviously to retaliate for the crackdown against Armenians following the Orly bombing on July 15.

Because of these campaigns against other states, ASALA has left itself open to the charge by the “ASALA-RM History” that it has been neglecting the real enemy, Turkey: “Since Zeven Bedros[ian]’s arrest in London in September 1982 [see below], ASALA had been totally inactive against Turkey on all fronts.”

One exception to this accusation was the aborted attack on the temporary Turkish Embassy in Beirut in October 1983. According to the “ASALA-RM History,” this attempt “to kill… many people” failed due to poor planning. Instead of committing suicide as ordered, the perpetrator of the attempt, Mihran Sarkis (Nishan) Tanielian, was captured by Lebanese security guards and “now faces life imprisonment with forced labor.”

Although it is not always possible to be certain, since both ASALA and JCAG-ARA have on occasion claimed the same operation, as well as used different names, it appears that, as of December 1985 JCAG-ARA has assassinated more than twice as many Turkish diplomats or members of their immediate family (twenty) as has its rival, ASALA (eight). (See above.) On the other hand, ASALA has given the appearance of being more active because it has carried out many additional bombings and made many more public statements. These bombings by ASALA, as noted above, usually did not result in deaths. 4 Moreover, many of them have been directed against the interests of states such as France, Switzerland, and Italy, among others, in an attempt to force them to release ASALA agents they were holding. JCAG-ARA, on the other hand, has, as analyzed above, aimed its attacks solely against Turks.

One reasonably reliable way to distinguish which terrorist organization has carried out an operation has become apparent. The Dashnak press tends to give great publicity to JCAGARA operations, while practically ignoring those of ASALA. Thus, despite initial reports in the media that the “Armenian Revolutionary Army,” which attacked the Turkish Embassy in Lisbon in July 1983, was an ASALA offshoot, it is now clear that the Dashnaks (ARA) were the real perpetrators.

When questioned as to whether ASALA tries to pick “easy” countries in which to operate, Hagopian once replied: “All countries are easy for anybody who really wants to take action.” 5 Given the figures listed above, however, it is obvious that relatively open (democratic) countries that have followed rather lenient policies toward the terrorists (France is an obvious example) are “easier” than democratic countries such as the United States that have returned some very stiff sentences against apprehended terrorists. All of the more relatively closed societies, such as those of the Eastern bloc, see by far the fewest number of incidents, of course. In 1979, for example, Soviet authorities summarily hanged the Armenian perpetrators of a Moscow subway bombing.

In his 1980 interview, Hagopian added that ASALA “does not procure its weapons on the black market…[because] that would be the most dangerous way to do it in terms of maintaining the secrecy and security of our operations.” 6 As to where ASALA acquired its weapons, he merely stated: “We have had arms caches in many countries for quite some time.” 7


Financing of the terrorists is another important operational issue. On this point Hagopian declared: “Our strength is the Armenian people; that is where we get our support from. And from robberies.” 8 Similarly, the “ASALA-RM History” stated that after the “Van” operation in September 1981, Hagopian “went to France to collect money…. Due to the atmosphere, collecting money was not difficult and considerable sums were acquired.” After Hagopian moved to Damascus to escape the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the summer of 1982, added the “History,” “the collection of money…[there] within the Armenian community” also occurred.

The amply publicized fact that the Dashnaks in the United States were able to raise over $250,000 in small donations for Sassounian’s legal defense, 9 as well as some $160,000 in Canada for the defense of the so-called LA-5, 10 indicates that these claims of broad-based Armenian financial support are not empty. For the legal defense of the accused murderers of the Turkish ambassador to Yugoslavia, “fundraising committees have visited Armenian homes” in Europe and “everyone has been very generous with their donations,” claimed another Dashnak report. 11

Other reports, however, indicate that the terrorists have extorted funds from fellow, nonviolent Armenians. 12 Further such evidence regarding ASALA emerged during the trial of three young ASALA agents, charged with conspiring to bomb the freight terminal of Air Canada in Los Angeles in May 1982 to gain freedom for four Armenians held in Canada, and with conspiracy to extort money from wealthy Canadian-Armenians in Toronto. 13 Vicken Tcharkhutian—who was apparently involved with the three Armenians on trial, but who managed to escape to France where the government refused to extradite him back to the United States—was also charged on a separate count of attempting to extort $150,000 from the Haserjian brothers, owners of a chain of carpet stores throughout the Los Angeles area.

In addition, according to the “ASALA-RM History,” ASALA was apparently able to acquire money from “Abu Nidal [the anti-PLO Palestinian terrorist] and certain governments” by performing “operations as gestures of revolutionary solidarity.” Thus is explained the bizarre ASALA attempt to bomb the Kuwait Airlines office in Athens from a motorcycle on December 8, 1982. The plot failed, causing the death of one ASALA agent, Karnik Vahradian, and the imprisonment of the other, Vahe Khutaverdian. Nevertheless, Hagopian “used Karnik’s death to extract even more financial aid and other ‘favors’ out of Abu Nidal and/or some governments,” according to the “ASALARM History.” The Athens operation was “portrayed…as proof of the willingness of Armenian revolutionaries to struggle to the death in cooperation with Arab revolutionaries against imperialism.” ASALA, concluded the “History,” “had become a mercenary for, [other] governments and organizations.”

Further reports indicate ASALA was probably running a “drug ring” 14 and “the huge revenue generated from this trafficking was being directed for use by the underground radical group.” Three Armenians were convicted for this operation in Sweden and are now incarcerated there for the crime.

Testifying before the U.S. Senate’s Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Nathan M.Adams, a senior editor of Reader’s Digest, who stated he had been investigating “the connection between drug trafficking and international terrorism… over the past several years,” declared: “Armenian terrorist groups of both the left and the right were estimated a year ago to be 90 percent financed through the sale or barter of narcotics.” 15 Adams then elaborated on “the case of Noubar Soufoyon, a notorious Armenian drug trafficker now believed sheltering in Lebanon.”

In June of 1981, Soufoyon “was indicted in New York for importing heroin” and Interpol alerted. The Greek authorities who arrested him, however, rejected an American application for extradition and chose instead to send him to Lebanon, where he was promptly released. Soufoyon, testified Adams, “is capable of dealing as much as 100 kilos of heroin at a single time [and]…has helped finance both Armenian terrorist factions with the profits from drug sales.” Adams added that Soufoyon “was convicted in Switzerland of the financing of a series of bomb attacks against Turkish financial and cultural establishments in Zurich the year before.” The Swiss authorities, however, merely banned him from their country for five years.

Similarly, Francis M.Mullen, Jr., the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration of the U.S. Department of Justice, added: “Documented heroin and hashish trafficker Noubar Soufoyon was connected with the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide…. He remains a fugitive from U.S. justice and his current whereabouts are unknown.” 16


Although there are more than 6,000,000 Armenians around the world today, the terrorists themselves are young (in most cases in their twenties), 17 probably number less than 1,000, 18 and are either recent immigrants or living in areas such as Lebanon where violence is a way of life. 19 Although often tacitly sympathetic, 20 older Armenians, who are more established in their adopted countries, are not normally directly involved.

Until recently, very few terrorists had ever been apprehended. There were a number of reasons for this state of affairs. In the first place, the tacit sympathy so many states and individuals around the world had for the Armenian cause made it unlikely that many would seriously seek to capture them. A resolution adopted by the Turkish Consultative Assembly aptly summed up the situation: “The fact that only six suspects were caught in 128 assassination attempts is proof of this tolerance.” 21 In addition, the terrorists used threats and intimidation to prevent potential informers emerging either from the Armenian community itself or the much broader outside community. 22

Finally, the fact that outside of Lebanon the terrorists apparently operated only in small cells, the members of which recognized each other only on a need-to-know basis, as well as the Armenians’ distinctive national character, served to preclude police penetration. Thus, as a result of all these factors, an aura of deadly mystery developed around the contemporary terrorists. For a long time many, including the Turks, were not even willing to grant that Armenians were really the perpetrators.

In the past few years, however, this veil of secrecy has been partially lifted because a number of Armenian terrorists began to be captured. What is more, in the United States, where two Turkish officials had been murdered by the terrorists as recently as 1982, the FBI apparently managed to infiltrate their organizations. 23 As a result, attempts by JCAG to blow up the Turkish Consulate in Philadelphia and by ASALA to do likewise to an Air Canada facility at the Los Angeles International Airport were foiled and a total of eight suspects apprehended. In addition, the recent polemics the two ASALA factions have hurled at each other also have served to reveal a number of interesting facts. Based on these developments, then, some understanding of the personal characteristics of the Armenian terrorists became possible.

Levon Ekmekjian, the ASALA terrorist captured by the Turks during the attack on the Ankara airport in August 1982, was a Lebanese national born in 1958. 24 Ten days after Israel invaded Lebanon in June 1982, Ekmekjian was recruited for the mission. During his trial in Turkey he stated he had joined ASALA due to pressures put on him by two other Armenians, whom he identified as Mahram Arabian and Minnas Simonian. Once he joined, Ekmekjian was taken to a camp near Beirut, where he received political and military training. The political portion consisted of allegations that the Turks had killed 1½ million Armenians in 1915, deported the rest, and thus deprived them of their homeland.

Steven John Dadaian, a member of the so-called LA-5 arrested in November 1982 by the FBI along with four other accomplices for possessing and transferring explosives with the intention of bombing the Turkish Consulate in Philadelphia, was described by a next-door neighbor in Canoga Park, California, as “a nice guy. I just can’t believe it. If someone walked up to me and said he’d done something the FBI would arrest him for, I’d deny it.” 25 The neighbor added that Dadaian attended junior college in the San Fernando Valley.

Dadaian was the only American-born member of the group. The other four (Viken A.Hovsepian, the leader of the group; Karnik K.Sarkissian; Dikran S.Berberian; and Viken V.Vacoubian) are immigrants from the Middle East. All are members of the Armenian Youth Federation, the youth affiliate of the Dashnaks. If they had been successful in their plot, JCAG probably would have claimed responsibility. As of this writing, Dadaian, Hovsepian, and Sarkissian had been given light, foursix-year sentences, while the other two’s sentencing was pending.

The trial in 1984 of the four ASALA agents who seized the Turkish Consulate in Paris on September 24, 1981, killing its Turkish guard and wounding the consul general, revealed further such details. 26 Kevork Guzelian, who killed the guard, spoke in “smooth French.” He was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, but considered himself a refugee. Before joining ASALA, he had been a member of the Hunchaks. His mother further testified that Guzelian had had to quit school at the age of 13 to help his father make ends meet. The Lebanese civil war began two years later, and thus he became exposed to violence as a way of life.

Vazken Sislian, the leader of the operation, told the court that his grandfather had been a “freedom fighter” against the “Turkish oppressors.” For many years he himself had participated in the annual commemoration of Martyrs Day on April 24 but had come to view it as “a futile activity which failed to provide redress for the Armenian people.” Sislian told how during the Lebanese civil war he joined the Hunchak militia to defend the Armenian quarter of Beirut known as Bourj Hammoud from attacks by the Phalangists. “It was then that I realized that we did not live on our lands, and although we carried Lebanese identity papers, Lebanon was not our homeland.”

Hagop Joulfayan told the Court he had been orphaned in France at a young age. He had grown up at an orphanage in Anjar and vividly remembered stories his grandfather told him about the massacres. A turning point in his life occurred when the Armenian Martyrs Monument in Bikfaya, Lebanon, was bombed. This incident “made him realize that he was a man without a country.” Thus he chose “to join ASALA and participate in the struggle for justice for his people.”

Like Guzelian and Sislian, Kevork Basmajian also hailed from Lebanon. In his case, however, he originally belonged to the Dashnaks. The “sufferings of the Armenian people had always been a major preoccupation in his own household.”

The so-called Lisbon-Five, who died during their assault on the Turkish Embassy in Portugal on July 27, 1983, were also from Lebanon. For their mission they reserved hotel rooms from a public telex in Beirut and then rented three cars in Lisbon after they had entered Portugal as tourists bearing Lebanese passports. 27 All five—Setrak Ajemian, 19; Ara Kuhrjulian, 20; Sarkis Abrahamian, 21; Simon Yahniyan, 21; and Vatche Daghlian, 19–were raised in Bourj Hammoud, the teeming Armenian quarter of Beirut. 28 There they heard stories about the “genocide” that occurred decades earlier, and were constantly subjected to anti-Turkish slogans plastered over the walls: “Turks, return Armenian lands,” “Turks, you will pay for your crimes,” “We will never forget the homeland of our martyrs,” and so on.

“Even if I had known what he was going to do beforehand, I would have kissed his forehead and said, ‘May God bless you, my son,’” declared Vatche Daghlian’s father, a 73-yearold shoemaker. The activities that led the Lisbon-Five to their end came as a “surprise,” stated their family and friends. “I admire the secrecy with which my brother worked,” said Daghlian’s older brother. Daghlian had attended an Armenian school in Beirut but never received a diploma, His father claimed, however, his son was a voracious reader. Until he left for Lisbon on July 18, young Daghlian had worked at an auto repair garage. He had told his family he was going to Greece for a vacation.

Setrag Ajemian repaired television sets and sold video cassettes. His parents too claimed they knew nothing of his intentions. In the past, when his mother expressed apprehension at his absences, young Ajemian would reply: “Mom, I’m not a child any more.” His older brother added that Ajemian would often borrow the car saying he was “going to visit a friend.”

His father, a butcher, declared: “I’ve told my children everything about the Turks,” and claimed that 117 members of his family had been massacred by them during World War I. “I had always encouraged them [my children] and sparked their patriotic feelings. I wouldn’t object if my other children followed Setrag’s example,” he added.

In March 1984 Canadian police arrested Haroutium Kevork, 43; Haig Balian, 27; Haig Karakhanian, 19; and Melkon Karakhanian, 22, charging them with the attempted murder of Kani Gungur, a commercial attaché at the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa in 1982. 29 All four were legal residents of Toronto, and had been previously arrested on charges of extorting money from local Armenians on behalf of ASALA. Balian originally came from Lebanon, while the Karakhanian brothers were Iranian Armenians.

The three Armenians Hratch Kozibioukian, 31; his wife, Siranouche, 22; and Varant Chrinian, 29, who were convicted of trying to bomb the Air Canada facility at the Los Angeles airport on May 30, 1982, apparently did so in an attempt to force Canada to free the four Canadian Armenians, referred to above, when they originally were arrested on the extortion charge. 30 An FBI telephone tap monitored a call from ASALA in Beirut to the three Los Angeles Armenians telling them to: “Put it on the Canadians.” During their trial, however, the three claimed they were forced to place the bomb by Vicken Tcharkhutian, who somehow escaped to France where the authorities refused to extradite him back to the United States. The three Armenians who were apprehended were recent immigrants from the Middle East. Kozibioukian had been employed as a jeweller in Van Nuys, California.

Soon after the Orly bombing on July 15, 1983, Varoujian Garbidjian, 29, an Armenian from Syria was arrested for the crime and later sentenced to life in prison for actually planting the device. Garbidjian came from a broken family. 31 While young, he traveled throughout the Middle East, finally settling in Beirut, where he attended an Armenian secondary school. This is where he came in contact with and soon joined ASALA. Beginning in 1975 he received special commando training in Palestinian camps located in Lebanon and later appeared in France with a valid passport, visa, and residence permit.

According to a later report, somewhat different information emerged. 32 During his trial in March 1985 Garbidjian stated: “My parents were farmers in Syria and presently live in the United States. We were obliged to live in Lebanon in the interim.” Continuing, he declared that “when I began to be old enough to understand life, I understood I was a child deprived of his rights.” Garbidjian’s grandfather told him “how we [the Armenian people] had been massacred and he instilled vengeance in me.” Apparently, Garbidjian also slept with a pistol under his pillow and “starting at the age of twelve, I knew how to use this pistol which represented an ideal for me.”

The French police also arrested Sonner Nayir, a young Turkish Armenian, for the Orly bombing. Later he was sentenced to a fifteen-year term in prison. An electronics specialist, Nayir designed the firing circuits for the Orly bomb. 33 As a youth Nayir had been taken to study at the Seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem, which many Turks feel is a center for Armenian radicals. He spent close to eight years there. On summer vacation in Beirut he joined ASALA and later moved to Paris, France. His father still lives in the Sivas area of Turkey and has been quoted as saying his son should be hanged for treason against Turkey. Nayir’s Turkish-sounding name has been explained by the fact that many Turkish-Armenians have assumed Turkish names in recent years. Earlier he carried the surname Nayirian.

The third accomplice in the Orly bombing, Ohannes Semerci, is also an Armenian from the Turkish interior who studied at the Seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem before moving to France for permanent residence. He received a ten-year prison sentence for hiding in his house a large supply of weapons Garbidjian had given him.

Zaven Bedrosian, 32, an Armenian from Syria, was sentenced to eight years in prison by a British court in August 1983. 34 During his trial Bedrosian openly admitted he was an agent of ASALA who had come to England to take the Turkish ambassador hostage so that an exchange could be made for Levon Ekmekjian, the ASALA terrorist who had attacked the Ankara airport in 1982. Bedrosian was apprehended only a few hours before his planned attack. The “ASALA-RM History” added that Bedrosian “had had absolutely no ties with ASALA before preparation for the operation, and he was still unacquainted with the organization even as he departed.” He was recruited in such “a very irresponsible way” by “appeal[ing] to his emotions,” since he “was known for his patriotic convictions and militant inclinations.” Bedrosian also apparently had a wife and child in Damascus.

The so-called Shoe Repairmen’s Ring, a drug smuggling operation of ASALA referred to earlier, involved a group of twenty Armenians in Sweden who had originally come from the Middle East. 35 The group received its name from the fact that the majority of them were involved in shoe repair work. Only three were given lengthy prison sentences, however: Kevork Vartanian, Diran Zanazanian, and George Makloof. Zanazanian, a native of Beirut, had become a Danish citizen after living there for ten years. Thus he was able to move easily between the Scandinavian countries that do not require passports from each other’s citizens. Makloof, also originally from Lebanon, was extradited from the United States to stand trial in Sweden.

Hampig Sassounian, a 19-year-old native of Lebanon living in Los Angeles at the time, was convicted of having killed the Turkish consul general in that city in 1982. His elder brother, Harout, 21, was also convicted of fire bombing the consul’s house two years earlier. Hampig’s alleged accomplice, Krikor (Koko) Saliba, vanished and was believed to have fled to London. 36

Monte Melkonian, 30, the dissident ASALA leader referred to earlier, was born in Dinuba, California. 37 Considered “an intellectual type,” he supposedly is able to speak eight different languages. In 1982 he served as the interpreter for a Japanese Red Army leader. He also was arrested at the Orly airport in 1981 and charged with traveling on a faked Cypriot passport identifying him as Dimitriu Georgiu. After spending a month in a French prison he was released and allowed to travel to Beirut. Further evidence indicates that Melkonian might have been involved in the attack on the Turkish consul in Rome in October 1981.

Suzy Mahseredjian was a 23-year-old American-Armenian from Canoga Park, California, who, according to the “ASALARM History,” joined ASALA in May 1980, at the same time as her American compatriot, Monte Melkonian. She has been described by Jose Antonio Gurriaran, a Spanish journalist with ASALA connections, as a “former Cal State student” studying “speech-communication.” 38 She returned to California after serving eleven months in a Swiss jail for the premature bombing, referred to earlier, that cost her associate, Alex Yenikomshian, his sight.

One may catch further glimpses of the ASALA terrorists from interviews they gave in Lebanon in September 1981 and August 1982. 39 During both interviews most of the terrorists wore either black hoods or masks that covered their faces except for their eyes. In the earlier interview the main ASALA representative was Hagop Hagopian, who wore a checkered shirt and blue jeans. He appeared intense, smoking a cigarette through a slit in his hood. His hooded comrades stood behind him, holding machine guns or clipboards. His Armenian was translated by the previously mentioned Alexander Yenikomshian from Switzerland.

The room in which Hagopian spoke was located in the basement of a building in West Beirut that housed the Voice of the Arab Revolution radio station and the Workers News Agency, both affiliates of the Lebanese Arab Army, a leftist militia receiving support from Libya. It was festooned with portraits of nineteenth-century-type Armenian heroes sprouting handlebar mustaches, crisscrossed bandoliers of ammunition, and turbans or rounded fur hats. Halfway through the conference, photographs of present-day terrorists were shown. One was of a young man dressed in a surfer’s T-shirt embellished with the soles of two feet and the slogan “Hang Ten.”

During the Al-Majallah interview, the ASALA representative also spoke in Armenian with a few Turkish words interspersed. An unmasked ASALA official using the code name Abu Mujahid translated. “Mujahid” earlier had led the representative of Al-Majallah to the two-room, primitively constructed ASALA base in a mountainous location in Lebanon set within and concealed by trees.

Jose Antonio Gurriaran, the Spanish journalist mentioned earlier, visited “on March 10, 1982…ASALA’s training camp in a mountainous region east of Sidon [Lebanon], known as Fatahland…in South Lebanon.” 40 It took him two hours to be driven there from the Commodore Hotel in Beirut. The base contained “an old, three-story stone house in an isolated patch of rugged countryside.” When Gurriaran arrived he was met by “a group of terrorists…standing outside, wearing black hoods emblazoned with ASALA’s symbol.”

As he was led to his room for the night, Gurriaran saw “several hooded terrorists [who] were already asleep, pistols tucked beneath their pillows.” He also heard “a Brahms lullaby played on a tape cassette” and “a jeep [which] noisily prowled around the hills on patrol.”

The following day Gurriaran had conversations with several terrorists who apparently had placed the bomb that had blown off his legs in Madrid, Spain, on December 19, 1980. He identified one of them as “Aram,” a 19-year-old former medical student from Argentina; the other two were a woman and another man. All three were hooded.

Following these conversations Gurriaran was driven “up a steep mountain path to a firing range where the other terrorists were waiting. Trying to impress…the Armenians ran up and down a hill in mock assaults on Turkish positions, firing hundreds of rounds from their AK-47s and grenade launchers.”

According to Gurriaran the training camp he visited was destroyed “during the first day” of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in June 1982 by “an elite commando team landed from helicopters.” In subsequent weeks “Israeli shellfire devastated ASALA’s West Beirut office with heavy loss of life. The remnants of the organization withdrew from West Beirut with the PLO in August 1982 and regrouped several months later under Syrian auspices in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.” This scenario concerning ASALA’s exodus from Beirut largely squares with the details given by the “ASALA-RM History,” mentioned previously, which added that at this time “much of the files were burned, whatever could be retained was retained, some comrades left Beirut and others remained till the end of the siege when they left by boat to Syria.”

1. For these two lists of Armenian terrorist incidents, which I have combined here, see Andrew Corsun, “Armenian Terrorism: A Profile,” U.S. Department of State Bulletin, August 1982, p. 33; and Judith Perera, “An End to Armed Propaganda?” The Middle East (London), September 1983, p. 20.

2. The New York Times, September 27, 1981, p. 7, reported over 200 incidents as of that date. The discrepancy in totals can be explained only by the uncertainty sometimes involved when deciding whether or not a particular incident was of Armenian origin.

3. The Armenian Reporter, March 8, 1984, p. 1.

4. That so few deaths have occurred from these bombings is as fortuitous as much as intentional. Indeed, according to the “ASALARM History,” Hagopian tried to kill as many people as possible during ASALA’s attacks. Only the unwillingness to do so on the part of many who later broke with Hagopian prevented greater bloodshed. The deaths that did occur during the ASALA attacks on the Ankara and Paris airports, however, illustrate that this intention to kill was undoubtedly real.

5. Armenian Terrorist Leader Hagopian Interviewed: Milan Panorama in Italian, 1 Sept. 80, pp. 62–65,” in Joint Publications Research Service: Western Europe, No. 1628, September 24, 1980, pp. 1–6.

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. See the reports in The [Armenian] California Courier, September 22, 1983, p. 2; and ibid., December 8, 1983, p. 9.

10. The Armenian Weekly, November 19, 1983, p. 1; and ibid., December 10, 1983, p. 5.

11. Ibid., October 1, 1983, p. 1.

12. See “UnArmenian Activities,” The Economist, February 6, 1980, p. 20.; New York Times, April 17, 1983, Section 1, p. 20; ibid., July 31, 1983, p. E2; ibid., August 1, 1983, p. A6; and Los Angeles Times, November 12, 1982, part 1–B, p. 9.

13. See the report on this case in The Armenian Reporter, August 18, 1983, p. 1. The three tried in Los Angeles were convicted.

14. For details, see the account in ibid., August 25, 1983, p. 1. At this time ASALA even threatened to kidnap the king of Sweden and other prominent citizens of that country unless the three convicted Armenians were released. Shortly afterward leading Swedish tennis players were also threatened. Nothing, however, came of the threats. Also see Tarik Somer, “Armenian Terrorism and the Narcotic Traffic,” in International Terrorism and the Drug Connection (Ankara: Ankara University Press, 1984), pp. 19–27.

15. This and the following citations were taken from the “Statement of Nathan M.Adams Senior Editor of Reader’s Digest August 2, 1984; Room 428 Dirksen Senate Office Building Before the Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse,” (mimeographed), pp. 3–5.

16. “Statement of Francis M.Mullen, Jr., Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration U.S. Department of Justice on Drug-Related Terrorism Before the United States Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Paula Hawkins, Chairman, August 2, 1984,” (mimeographed), p. 6.

17. Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 15, 1982, p. 8–AA; New York Times, September 25, 1981, p. A3; Boston Sunday Globe, May 30, 1982, p. 2; and Los Angeles Times, October 23, 1982, part 1, p. 1.

18. Time, August 23, 1982, p. 38. Also see, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, January 31, 1982, p. F3.

19. See, in general, Christian Science Monitor, November 18, 1980, pp. B17, B19; notes 24 and 25 in chapter 2; and the following discussion.

20. See the accounts in New York Times, April 24, 1975, p. 59; ibid., March 1, 1980, p. 4; and ibid., April 24, 1980, Section 2, p. B3; and in virtually every issue of The Armenian Weekly, the Dashnak publication out of Boston. Also see “Behind the Armenian Murders,” The Economist, May 2, 1981, p. 50.

21. Cited in Turkey Today (published by the Turkish Embassy in the U.S.), July 1982, p. 3.

22. On this point, see Heath Lowry, “Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Armenian Terrorism: Threads of Continuity,” in International Terrorism and the Drug Connection (Ankara: Ankara University Press, 1984), p. 75; and the much earlier account, K.S.Papazian, Patriotism Perverted (Boston: Baikar Press, 1934) in general.

23. The Armenian Reporter, March 22, 1984, p. 15.

24. The following discussion is based on an article that appeared in NewSpot: Turkish Digest, September 10, 1982, p. 3. Although Ekmekjian’s apparently sincere repentance during his trial was generally admired by many Turks, a reprieve was out of the question, given the magnitude of his crimes, and he was executed early in 1983.

25. See the Los Angeles Times, October 23, 1982, part 1, p. 22, for this citation. Further details were taken from the report in The Armenian Reporter, January 31, 1985, p. 1.

26. The following discussion is based on a lengthy report in The Armenian Reporter, February 9, 1984, p. 2.

27. New York Times, July 31, 1983, Section 1, p. 17.

28. The following discussion is based on The Armenian Weekly, August 20, 1983, p. 1; and The Armenian Reporter, September 15, 1983, p. 13.

29. See The Armenian Reporter, March 22, 1984, p. 1, for this and the following information.

30. See ibid., August 18, 1983, p. 1; and ibid., August 25, 1983, p. 10, for the sources upon which the following discussion is based.

31. See ibid., July 28, 1983, p. 7, for this information.

32. The following data are based on the report in The Armenian Weekly, March 16, 1985, pp. 6 and 13.

33. See The Armenian Reporter, July 28, 1983, p. 7; ibid., November 10. 1983, p. 1; and ibid., November 24, 1983, p. 10, for this and the following information.

34. The following is based on a report appearing in ibid., August 11. 1983, p. 1; and “Report on Armenian Conference in Lausanne: London Al-Dustur in Arabic No. 298, 8 August 1983, p. 35,” in Joint Publication Research Service: Armenian Affairs, No. 2831, October 3, 1983, pp. 15–16.

35. See The Armenian Reporter, August 11, 1983, p. 14; and ibid., August 25, 1983, p. 1, for the following analysis.

36. See New York Times, January 21, 1982, p. A10; and ibid., January 25, 1982, p. A5.

37. See The Armenian Reporter, January 12, 1984, p. 4, for the following description.

38. See “Spanish Journalist, Victim of ASALA Bombing Becomes Expert on Armenian Cause,” ibid., November 15, 1984, p. 2; and ibid., November 22, 1984, p. 12.

39. Reported in New York Times, September 27, 1981, p. 7; and “Nadim Nasir Report: Al-Majallah Visits an Armenian Secret Army Base in Lebanon,” in Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), Daily Report (Middle East and Africa), September 1, 1982, p. G8. The following discussion is based on these two sources.

40. The following details are taken from The Armenian Reporter, November 15, 1984, p. 2; and ibid., November 22, 1984, p. 12.

6 Transnational Sources of Support

Most Turks, including their government, feel that the Armenian terrorists have been receiving aid and sympathy from various groups and states around the world. Indeed, there is a tendency to blame anyone who might favor a weakened Turkey. “Armenian terrorism…has been part of a larger picture of international terrorism instigated and heavily supported by the countries of Eastern Europe,” testified a Turkish scholar before a U.S. Congressional committee hearing. 1

In taking this position, the Turks have no doubt been influenced by the memories of how earlier Armenian aspirations in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were often instigated by European imperialist schemes to weaken and eventually divide the Ottoman Empire. 2 Although the Turks probably overemphasize the importance of the foreign connections and downplay the degree of Armenian self-support, there is no doubt that the contemporary Armenian terrorists have received both material and especially moral support from a number of foreign sources. In fact, ASALA itself confirmed such links when its spokesman asserted: “We have relations with all the European revolutionary movements except the Basques of Spain, and do not ask me why.” 3 Similarly, the “ASALA-RM History” stated: “Mujahed [ASALA’s leader] had turned more and more to collaboration with foreign governments and organizations of questionable character,” adding that “most of his dealings with governments were kept completely secret, and most members didn’t even know that ASALA had relations with any government at all.”

In analyzing these transnational connections, however, it must be emphasized that the vast majority of today’s transnational Armenian groups and organizations have nothing to do with terrorism. Nevertheless, some of them at times, and a few of them often, pursue their work in such a manner as to support terrorism against Turkey implicitly and even overtly. The purpose of this chapter is to analyze this situation.


Due to the deportations they were subjected to in the distant past by the Byzantine Empire and Iran, as well as various other more voluntary migrations—and especially the more recent deportations by the Turks during World War I—Armenians presently find themselves living in a host of different countries. There are, for example, Armenian communities today in such disparate states as (1) the Soviet Union (4,000,000), (2) the United States (600,000), (3) France (350,000), (4) Iran (200,000+), and (5) Lebanon (200,000). In addition, smaller Armenian communities exist in Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Greece, India, Iraq, Romania, Syria, and the United Kingdom, among others.

Since Armenians tend to be a closely knit group who in their own language distinguish themselves from odars (non-Armenians), the Armenian diaspora around the world has provided a unique, transnational system of contacts and supports. Thus, while the actual terrorists are few in number, they often are able to draw tacit support from this broader, transnational Armenian community. Recently, for example, an Armenian American newspaper published “an appeal to all Armenians,” which declared: “Since 1975, underground groups have been formed to use effective forceful means to pursue the Armenian cause. Armenians have a moral responsibility to support these activities with all available means.” 4 The fact that over $250,000 in small donations were raised in the United States to defend Hampig Sassounian, 5 who was eventually convicted of murdering the Turkish consul in Los Angeles in 1982, further illustrates this support.

Particularly, one should note a number of specific, transnational Armenian organizations. Three traditional Armenian political parties, for example, still have numerous branches throughout the world: (1) the Dashnaks (the Armenian Revolutionary Federation), (2) the Hunchaks, and (3) the Ramgavars. As analyzed earlier, evidence indicates that the Dashnaks—by far the largest of the three with affiliates among youth groups, sport clubs, and political activist groups—sponsored one of the two main contemporary Armenian terrorist groups, the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide (JCAG). 6

The Armenian Church is an even more important transnational Armenian organization. Since A.D. 301, when the Armenians became the first people in the world to adopt Christianity as their official state religion, the church has played probably the key role in the survival of the Armenian identity.

Today the Armenian apostolic church is divided into two rival branches: (1) the Mother See in Etchmiadzin, Soviet Armenia, and (2) the Cilician See in Antelias, Lebanon. Each is headed by a catholicos or pope, who presides over a transnational, ecclesiastical hierarchy. In recent years the Cilician See has been under the tight control of the Dashnaks. One must assume that the Mother See in Soviet Armenia has close ties with the Soviet government. In addition, one should note the existence of Armenian patriarchates in Istanbul and Jerusalem, each of which has been in existence for hundreds of years and owes allegiance to the Mother See.

Although much smaller in numbers, there also are Armenian Protestant and Roman Catholic churches. Particularly important are the Mekhitarists, an Armenian Roman Catholic congregation that established the noted island monastery of San Lazzaro in Venice in 1715. On their island sanctuary the Mekhitarists have long operated a printing press, possessed a fine library, and issued a noted scholarly journal. Another Mekhitarist order has operated from Vienna since 1811.

In addition, there are a whole array of Armenian charitable and educational organizations. Possibly the most famous is the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), which operates in a number of different countries. Its current president for life is the noted Armenian American philanthropist Alex Manoogian. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is a similar organization.

Finally, it should be noted that Armenian aspirations against Turkey tend to elicit a great deal of public and private support and sympathy around the world from non-Armenians because of the widespread belief, referred to earlier, that the Ottoman Turks ruthlessly massacred tens of thousands of Armenians in the latter part of the nineteenth century and then committed genocide against them during World War I. Add to these damning accusations that the Islamic Ottoman Empire was one of the leading historical enemies of Christian Europe, while the Christian Armenians were usually viewed much more sympathetically—as well as the fact that the Armenians enjoyed a much better facility with different languages than the Turks and thus were able to get their view across to the rest of the world better—and one can readily appreciate the Armenians’ special transnational position today.


It was argued previously that the Lebanese Civil War of the mid-1970s and the Palestinians acted as catalysts for Armenian terrorism. Behind the lawlessness rampant in Lebanon, ASALA was able to draw physical and spiritual succor from a Palestinian ideological ally with whom it shared such common attributes as a lost homeland and a large diaspora. As Hagopian himself asserted, “Many Armenians since 1966 participated in the Palestinian Arab struggle from which they learned many things.” 7 Indeed, according to one report, if the PLO eventually wins statehood for itself, ASALA will try to use the precedent to achieve an independent Armenia. 8

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)—a small, radical faction of the PLO led by George Habash—has almost certainly provided training and logistical support for ASALA. “An observer would notice the similarity in the tactics of the Armenian Secret Army and the Popular Front…with which it has close ties,” 9 began a 1982 interview with ASALA leaders. According to Claire Sterling, “Habash had been training his Armenian wards in Lebanon and South Yemen for years.” 10 On April 8, 1980, Habash’s PFLP held a press conference for ASALA and a “Kurdistan Workers’ Party” at a hideout in the ancient Casbah of Sidon, Lebanon. The fourteen hooded ASALA representatives, who were protected by Palestinians, “emphasized their links with Marxist Palestinian formations.” 11

The ASALA terrorists who seized the Turkish Consulate in Paris in September, 1981, told the police they were trained in Palestinian camps. 12 Evidence exists that “extremist [Palestinian] factions” collaborated with ASALA in its bloody attack on the Ankara airport in August, 1982. 13 After its forces overran the PLO strongholds in Lebanon during the summer of 1982, Israel reported that captured PLO documents confirmed the ASALA-PLO connection. 14

A detailed Wall Street Journal report stated that ASALA “trained with radical left-wing Palestinian groups (the PFLP and PDFLP) and sent more than 100 members through Fatah’s school for foreign terrorists in Hamouriah, south of Damascus in Syria.” 15 A high-ranking Turkish officer, who had access to the testimony of some 43,000 Turks who had been detained after the Turkish military came to power in September 1980, told Claire Sterling in early 1982: “The Palestinians gave training, aid, ammunition, and arms to leftists, rightists, Kurdish separatists, and Armenians.” 16

Despite all this evidence, ASALA has denied a Palestinian connection, claiming that while it “considers the Palestine cause to be its own cause,” the relationship was one of “comradeship, not organizational…. But we have no links whatsoever with the PLO.” 17 Farouk Kaddorimi, the head of the PLO’s political bureau, has also denied that his organization has supported ASALA. 18 Readers may judge for themselves whether such denials ring true or not based on the admittedly incomplete evidence presented above.


The Russians and the Turks have been enemies for centuries. Over the past 200 years no country has benefited more than Russia from the decline of what Tsar Nicholas I once termed “the sick man of Europe.” Indeed, the Russians waged three successful wars in the nineteenth century to gain Turkish territory. In each one, the Russians attempted to use the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire as a fifth column, with varying degrees of success. Even Lord Bryce, the great friend of the Armenians, admitted this: “When foreign armies enter [the Ottoman Empire] whether it be Bulgaria or Armenia, they are welcomed as deliverers by the subject populations.” 19 The famous commander of the Russian army that invaded eastern Anatolia in 1877 was a Russian Armenian—General Loris-Melikoff. His original surname, Melikian, simply had been Russianized. The deportations and massacres of Armenians in World War I took place against the background of Ottoman-Armenian support for the invading Russian armies.

After that struggle, the new Soviet regime eventually established, as one of its constituent federal entities, an Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) on the Turkish border. In time this new Soviet Armenia became a magnet for Armenian support throughout the world because the Soviet authorities allowed the native Armenian genius an amazing amount of free expression and development. The result has been “perhaps the most thriving, vigorous and open society anywhere in the Communist world…. Its economic performance can today compare with that of advanced industrialized nations of similar size.” 20 Many Armenians have played leading roles in Soviet society, operating as dentists, doctors, engineers, generals, and scientists throughout the country. The former president of the Soviet Union, Anastas Mikoyan, was probably the best known.

The Soviet authorities also have permitted Armenian national feelings to manifest themselves by allowing the representation of Mt. Ararat, a symbol of Armenian nationalism and now located just across the border in Turkey, on the insignia of the Armenian SSR. On the outskirts of Erevan a somber, impressive monument to the Armenian victims of 1915 testifies to the Soviet support of a cause often forgotten by others. In the village of his birth a small bust of General Antranik, an Armenian hero in the struggle against the Turks during and after World War I, now stands. Not surprisingly, Armenians around the world tend to have a positive and even grateful feeling toward the Soviet Union, and therefore can be used by that state to whip up support or at least win favorable acquiescence for certain types of policies.

Immediately after World War II, for example, the Soviet Union made territorial demands on portions of eastern Turkey that had been held by Russia from 1878 until the end of World War I. Since these lands were part of the Armenian irredenta, Armenian communities around the world threw their support to the Soviet cause. 21 Only the beginnings of the Cold War and the support given Turkey by the United States under the Truman Doctrine probably prevented the enlargement of Soviet Armenia at the expense of Turkey.

Now that Turkey is a member of NATO, of course, that alliance guarantees the existing border. Any Soviet attempt to encroach upon it, therefore, has to be subtle. Many Turks feel that in ASALA the Soviets have found a “proxy” 22 to accomplish just this purpose. “The same territorial demands are repeated this time by the Soviet-supported terrorists… I refer to the Armenian terrorists, Asala, who said this openly. …” 23 Since it is an avowedly Marxist group that feels, in its own words, that “Soviet Armenia should be to us, what Hanoi was for the Vietnamese during their liberation war,” 24 ASALA would indeed make a natural proxy for Soviet ambitions toward Turkey. Similarly, Paul Henze, the CIA station chief in Turkey during the mid-1970s, has argued that “to exacerbate Turkey’s relations with her [NATO] alliance partners” is one of the real aims of ASALA. “We see this happening over and over again as each Armenian assassination of a Turkish diplomat generates strain in Turkish relations with the country where it has occurred.” 25 As the U.S. under secretary of defense for policy, Fred Ikle, recently noted concerning ASALA: “If it were to be successful in its aims it would lead directly to the expansion of the Soviet Union.” 26

Dismantling the southeastern anchor of NATO is not the only benefit the Soviets would receive if ASALA’s territorial aims were satisfied. A truncated Turkey would eliminate it as an attractive model for the Turkic and Islamic populations of the Soviet Union, which now constitute 27 percent of the entire Soviet population.

In her study of international terrorist connections, Claire Sterling devoted an entire chapter to detailing the extent of Soviet attempts to destabilize Turkey in the 1960s and 1970s. 27 The strong possibility of a Soviet hand in back of Mehmet Ali Agca’s attempt to kill the pope, further illustrates how the Soviets might use proxies, such as ASALA, to serve their ulterior purposes. 28 Elsewhere, Henze asked: “Are these Armenians likely to have developed their deadly professional skill without benefit of training by seasoned professionals? Where else, except through the KGB, can such training be readily arranged—whether given under PLO or other auspices?” 29 In a letter to me, Mr. Henze further argued that the Armenian murders of Turkish diplomats “are designed only to anger and exacerbate—there is no basis in them for any kind of reconciliation, concessions or bargaining. The viciousness of that approach leads me to believe that there has to be Soviet encouragement, if not instigation, behind it.” 30 As for Soviet denials of any role here, Henze pointed out that “the Soviets have never had any problems in making contradictory statements or in covering their covert support for various groups by making pious and selfrighteous denials. Consider for example the Soviet position on the massacre of Polish officers in Katyn Forest.” 31

After the military government of General Kenan Evren came to power in Turkey in September 1980 and cracked down on domestic terrorism, huge amounts of weapons were seized. The general consensus as to their origin was the Soviet Union. 32 According to another report, “much evidence is surfacing of the remarkably close tie-up between Asala, the Russians and extremist factions of the… PLO, as well as possible links to Syria.” 33 Based on his extensive experience with Armenian terrorism, the bomb squad head of the Los Angeles Police Department, Detective Arleigh McCree, recently declared that investigations have “developed a strong Russian connection.” 34 Commenting on the recent work concerning “the tragic events of World War I” by Professor John Giragosian, the late minister of foreign affairs of Soviet Armenia, The Armenian Reporter asserted: “There is reason to believe that these articles are not coincidental to the surge of Armenian terrorism directed at Turkish diplomats.” 35 In fact, claims have been made that the Soviets have tried to destabilize Turkey through the Armenians as early as 1928, when the International Minority Movement Front in Odessa gave financial aid to a combination of Armenians, Kurds, and anti-Kemalist Turks. 36 Yonah Alexander recently stated that he had seen evidence the Soviets had planted whole families of Armenian emigres in Lebanon as early as the 1930s so that they someday might be used against Turkey. 37

Thus it is possible to make a strong circumstantial case for Soviet support of ASALA. Tangible proof, however, is not possible to achieve. What is most likely is that the Soviets simply have been playing their usual game of trying to destabilize their potential foes, actions not foreign to American behavior, it should be noted. ASALA probably has been just one of many terrorist groups attempting to strike at Turkish stability that has received some covert Soviet aid.

As one of the two superpowers in world politics today, however, the Soviet Union often has an inherent interest in not promoting instability. Levon Manasserian and Vardan Voskanyan, two Soviet Armenian foreign affairs officials, declared, for example, that Soviet “foreign policy must be made in Moscow, not in Armenia. Steps against Turkey, a NATO member, would involve our overall relations with NATO, and the need to maintain world peace.” 38 A Russian journalist, who spent time in Soviet Armenia before immigrating to the West in 1977, stated that the Soviets wanted to be “very careful about…nationalist trends in Armenia which the Soviets are trying to check.” 39 Certainly, too much Soviet support for the Armenians might cause ill will among the Turkic and Muslim populations, which in the Soviet Union vastly outnumber the Armenian population.

The question of Karabagh specifically illustrates how the Soviets have to be careful here. Karabagh is an autonomous region contiguous with Soviet Armenia but politically attached to the (Turkic) Azerbaijani Soviet Republic with which it does not share a common boundary. Although some 85 percent of the population of Karabagh is Armenian, the region remains part of Azerbaijan. In recent years the Armenians have unsuccessfully tried to have the boundary altered in their favor, but no action has been taken, “evidently for fear of arousing the ire of Muslim people.” 40

That there is probably less to the Soviet role in Armenian terrorism than some have concluded is possibly verified by ASALA itself. In the Al-Majallah interview the ASALA representative declared that Soviet Armenia “should be a springboard for liberation, but this is not happening, apparently because they [the Soviets] believe only in what they call ‘democratic struggle’ as far as Turkey is concerned.” 41 And in an earlier interview Hagop Hagopian replied to the query “Does the USSR agree with your program?” in the negative. “Unfortunately no. To fight Turkey, which is a part of the Western bloc, we need the support of the socialist countries, but the Soviets consider efforts to liberate Armenia from the Turks as being directed against them and last year, to give you an example, they hanged three Soviet Armenian patriots.” 42

Therefore, the verdict on the Soviet role here must be postponed, probably indefinitely. It is not likely that a hand deliberately designed by a secretive, totalitarian government and known to only a very small circle in the KGB and upper Soviet hierarchy, and purposely programmed to leave no evidence, would be able to be documented much better than has been done here.


Although estimates vary, there are probably some 600,000 people of Armenian descent living in the United States today. 43 This constitutes a figure second only to the well over 4,000,000 Armenians reported by the 1979 Soviet census as living in that country.

Armenians have achieved prominence in virtually every avenue of American life in numbers much higher than their relatively small percentage of the American population. 44 The United States hosts, for example, an estimated 10,000 physicians, 5,000 attorneys, over 2,000 university professors, thousands of engineers and businessmen, and over 100 millionaires of Armenian descent. In addition, Armenians are present in the entertainment industry, sports, politics, the military, and mass media. The famous author William Saroyan, entertainer “Cher,” and California Governor George Deukmejian are only a few very well known examples.

At the present time there also are 18 Armenian day schools functioning in the United States; 28 different periodicals, of which 10 are in English; and 4 major resource and research centers dealing with Armenians. In California alone there are over 200 separate Armenian organizations such as churches, political parties, athletic organizations, cultural associations, social groups, and professional societies, which are constantly sponsoring activities. As one source put it, “there are probably 10 different Armenian activities during any one weekend night in Los Angeles.” 45 The vast majority of these Armenian organizations and activities, of course, have nothing to do with terrorism. However, a number of them sometimes, and a few of them often, pursue the Armenian cause in a manner that overtly supports hatred of Turkey and at times even implicitly condones violence.

Harry Derderian, a leading official of the Armenian National Committee (the Dashnak’s political arm), for example, told a reporter: “If the terrorism is a contributing factor in getting people’s attention, I can go along with it.” 46 Commenting about the events of 1915 and the current terrorism, Armand Arabian, a superior court judge in California, declared: “It is the right of Armenians to seek redress…. Some seek it on street corners.” 47 After Hampig Sassounian was found guilty of murdering the Turkish consul in Los Angeles in 1982, some Armenians in Boston announced: “What occurred throughout Hampig’s trial was a mockery of justice, an attempt to stop the Armenian people from actively pursuing their cause.” 48 Referring to the same case, Bishop Yeprem Tabakian, the prelate of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, stated: “Hampig’s conviction is an indictment directed against all Armenians.” 49 Archbishop Vatche Hovseptian, the primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, added: “I am truly shocked about the verdict.” 50 George Mason, the moderate publisher of The [Armenian] California Courier, concluded: “There are many Armenian Americans in California who feel great sympathy and support for the Armenian terrorists. I have talked to numerous peaceful, fair and thoughtful men who have expressed support for the terrorists.” 51

Levon Marashlian, a Glendale College professor of Armenian history and culture, said Armenian terrorists are “patriots who have been waiting for 70 years….” 52 An Armenian student of Dr. Dennis Papazian, a professor of history at the University of Michigan in Dearborn, was quoted as saying: “In a way I’m kind of proud of the terrorists.” 53 Referring to the trial of two Armenian terrorists who had murdered the Turkish ambassador to Yugoslavia in March 1983, the Dashnak newspaper in Boston, Massachusetts, declared: “To consider it a criminal act distorts the selfless struggles of the Armenian youth, who are pursuing the just cause of their people.” 54 Speaking at a benefit luncheon for the LA 5, who were arrested in October 1982 for attempting to bomb the Turkish Consulate in Philadelphia and later convicted, the mother of one of them was quoted as saying: “We believe in the same things they believe in. If they’re criminals, so are we. We raised them.” 55

In early 1984 there were four separate resolutions before the U.S. Congress dealing with the Armenian cause. House Joint Resolution 247 would have designated April 24, 1984, as a National Day of Remembrance of Man’s Inhumanity to Man. Under its provisions the people of the United States would have been called upon “to observe such a day as a day of remembrance for all the victims of the genocide, especially the one and one-half million people of Armenian ancestry who were victims of the genocide perpetrated in Turkey between 1915 and 1923….”

House Resolution 171 and Senate Resolution 124 were identical. They each would have recognized that “the Armenian genocide was conceived by the Turkish Ottoman Government and implemented from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the extermination of one and a half million Armenian men, women, and children” and would have made it “the policy of the United States” to “embrace these historical events.” Finally, Senate Joint Resolution 87 resolved that “April 24, 1984 be designated as a day of remembrance for all victims of genocide especially those of Armenian ancestry.”

Although House Resolution 247 apparently achieved enough promised votes to be passed in the spring of 1984, in the end it and the other three failed to be carried due to the intervention of the U.S. State Department. The Reagan administration felt that passage of the resolution would “muck up relations with Turkey” and encourage certain Armenians to continue terrorist strikes. 56 Nevertheless, in September 1984, the U.S. House of Representatives reversed itself and unanimously passed Resolution 247. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee then approved another resolution (241) “expressing the sense of the Senate that the foreign policy of the United States should take account of the genocide of the Armenian people.”

Commenting upon these events in an editorial entitled “ASALA’s Day,” the Wall Street Journal concluded: “In a week when Congress is examining ways to prevent attacks on our embassies, it is particularly ironic to consider resolutions that will be widely interpreted as endorsing terrorism against the diplomats of a democratic ally.” 57 Although the Reagan administration managed to block any further action at this time, Armenian political power in the United States had been demonstrated once again.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Council provides still another example of this Armenian political power. This committee was established by the U.S. Congress in 1980 as an independent agency to create a memorial museum in Washington, D.C., for the victims of the Jewish Holocaust in World War II. The Holocaust Museum will contain approximately 70,000 square feet of floor space divided into exhibit areas, a library, seminar rooms, and offices. It will be located opposite the famous Washington Monument. In April 1981, due to heavy Armenian lobbying, by a unanimous vote of the Holocaust Council, it was resolved that “the Armenian genocide should be included in the Holocaust Museum Memorial.” The museum is scheduled to open to the public in 1986. The negative repercussions of all of this for Turkey should be obvious.

“Genocide studies” represent yet another Armenian attempt to present their case to the American public. In recent years a number of public school systems in the United States have adopted curriculums dealing with the horrors of modern genocide. Although the original focus was to be on the Jewish genocide of World War II, Armenians in the United States have been able to include “the Armenian genocide” into a number of these programs. “The result will be…that this forgotten Genocide of the Armenians will be once again remembered,” 58 concluded an Armenian sympathizer. Another Armenian observer reported enthusiastically on “genocide studies,” which included the Armenian cause in states such as Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Illustrating the hypocritical political bias of the Armenian position here, this observer claimed that “the primary handicap to this study is the inclusion of Turkish sources.” 59

In other words, Turkey should be accused, tried, and convicted without the benefit of any defense, and all in the supposed cause of scholarly endeavor! As Sukru Elekdag, the Turkish ambassador to the United States, has concluded: “The continued propagation of this distortion of history breeds vengefulness from generation to generation and plays into the hands of Armenian terrorists.” 60 Similarly, the Turkish Foreign Policy Institute, in surveying the host of Armenian activities here, declared: “Inevitably this propaganda gave way to the creation of Armenian terrorism in the years following 1973.” 61

In pursuing their cause, American Armenians have won over such prominent American politicians as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill. On October 6, 1983, for example, the Armenian National Committee held a $150-a-plate dinner in the Los Angeles area home of attorney Walter Karabian. More than 200 people, including a number of elected officials attended. They heard O’Neill tell them that “during the 40 years he has represented Armenians in his district near Boston, he has been made aware of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and the Armenian people’s longing for…the time when Armenia would be a free country and they would be able to get back to it.” 62 More than $30,000 was raised at the reception by the Dashnak-affiliated organization. Less than two months later the same group raised close to $100,000 at a $250-per-person reception for Walter F.Mondale, the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee in 1984. The money was donated to Mondale, who told the gathering about the “Genocide in which the Armenian people were literally subjected to mass annihilation.” 63 Numerous other prominent American politicians—such as U.S. Senators Carl Levin (D., Mich.) and Pete Wilson (R., Calif.) and U.S. Representatives Tony Coelho (D., Calif.), Nancy Johnson (R., Conn.), and Charles Pashayan (R., Calif.), among others—are also strongly identified with the Armenian cause.

Nevertheless, the courts of the United States have recently returned some stiff sentences against convicted Armenian terrorists such as Hampig Sassounian. This tough action stands in marked contrast to France where the recent trial of the four ASALA agents who seized the Turkish Consulate and killed its guard in September 1981 “emerged [as] a major victory for the Armenian cause.” 64 With good behavior “our boys,” as the terrorists were affectionately referred to by French Armenians, may be released within a few years. The American political sympathy for the Armenian cause also falls far short of the much more blatant support a number of prominent French politicians have given it.


The French sympathy for the Armenian cause is largely based on continuing historical affinities dating back almost 1000 years and contemporary political realities involving electoral politics. Together these two factors have led to a situation where today (1) the President of France, along with several of his highestranking ministers, has uttered blatantly pro-Armenian statements, (2) French courts have returned amazingly light sentences against Armenian terrorists who openly admitted to murdering Turks, (3) Paris served as the backdrop for a showcase “trial” that convicted Turkey of “genocide” in April 1984, and (4) the government itself apparently made secret deals with ASALA, while probably creating a situation that has permitted France to serve as that organization’s headquarters in Western Europe. 65

Historically, the French Armenian connection dates back at least to the days of the First Crusade, a largely Frankish attempt to recapture the Holy Land from the Seljuk Turks. 66 After an exhausting march through hostile territory, the Crusaders, in 1097, entered Cilicia, where they were welcomed by friendly Armenians. Thus began a close and fruitful relationship that lasted even beyond the fall of Cilician Armenia in 1375 as the last Armenian king of Cilicia was ransomed from his Muslim captors and given a royal welcome in France. When he died in 1393 he was buried in the Basilica of St. Denis next to the tombs of the kings of France.

In the succeeding centuries this French Armenian relationship continued through various commercial contacts. During the era of Jean Colbert (1665–83), for example, Armenians apparently introduced coffee into general use in France and established the first Parisian cafés. Later Napoleon expressed political and cultural interests in the Armenians, seeing in them a possible agent for his future plans against India. In Paris the emperor created an Armenian chair at the School of Living Oriental Languages and appointed an Armenian cleric, Jacques Chahan de Cirbied (Hakovb Tjerpetian Shahaniants) to head it.

During the Zeytun Rebellion of 1862 French pressure helped to force the Porte to recall a large army advancing against that Armenian stronghold. The unofficial journal of the Armenakans, the first Armenian revolutionary party of the nineteenth century, was published in France during the 1880s and sent to subscribers in Van.

The Armenians defending Musa Dagh on the shores of southeastern Anatolia against overwhelming odds in 1915 were miraculously rescued by a French naval contingent. The story has been told in a fictionalized account by Franz Werfel in The Forty Days of Musa Dagh and is one of the most famous and dramatic rallying points for Armenians today. (An Armenianmade film about the event is presently making the rounds of the Armenian community in the United States.)

After World War I Armenians temporarily returned to Cilicia under French protection until their final ejection by the Nationalist forces of Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) in 1920. This story is told in part by Stanley E.Kerr in The Lions of Marash and represents still another epic in the Armenian pantheon. During the interwar period thousands of Armenian refugees grew up in Lebanon and Syria under French protection. Historical occurrences such as these, then, help to explain why today the French and Armenians feel a special bond.

At present the Armenian community in France numbers well over 350,000, and thus is by far the largest in Western Europe. The world-renowned singer Charles Aznavour, movie director Henri Verneuil, World War II Resistance hero Missak Manouchian, and academician Gerard Chaliand are only a few of its best-known members. Until the recent rise of Armenian terrorism, however, this French community was apparently well on its way to being totally assimilated. Now all this has changed dramatically.

The Armenian National Movement (ANM), which is headed by Ara Toranian, has emerged as a dynamic political force, supporting ASALA and advocating terrorism as a method for achieving Armenian goals. The ANM also publishes a highly inflammatory periodical called Hay Baykar (Armenian Struggle). Dozens of French Armenian youths donate their time for free to help put it out.

Although there is no estimate of how many members the ANM has, an independent source stated that on April 24, 1983, almost 5000 French Armenians carrying 1000 ASALA flags marched under its leadership. In contrast, only 300 people participated in a Dashnak demonstration that was staged at the same time. Similarly, the Armenian Apostolic Church in France has also failed to keep up with changes in the French Armenian community and clearly is not the rallying point it traditionally was and still is in most other Armenian communities. The death of Archbishop Serovpe Manoukian in 1984, however, may in time alter this situation.

An important characteristic of the Armenian community in France is the warm relations it enjoys with a number of leading French politicians, particularly the socialists who came to power under Francois Mitterrand in 1981. At least three cabinet members in this government are also mayors of cities with large concentrations of Armenians. Gaston Defferre, for example, is a veteran politician who presently serves as mayor of Marseille and the minister of interior. Some French commentators openly accused Defferre of sympathy for the Armenian terrorists when he gave the order to arrest Sonner Nayir, one of the perpetrators of the Orly bombing, before Nayir could lead the police to his contacts in Marseille. Earlier, on April 24, 1982, while speaking to a large Armenian crowd in Marseille, Defferre had declared: “France will assist you to triumph in the pursuit of your just cause.” 67

Other leading governmental figures who have manifested open sympathy for the Armenian cause include (1) Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy; (2) Louis Mermaz, the president of the French National Assembly and mayor of Vienne; (3) Charles Hernu, the minister of defense; (4) Claude Cheysson, the minister of foreign affairs; and (5) Joseph Franceschi, the minister of public safety and antiterrorist activities and also the mayor of Alfortville, a suburb of Paris that has a very large Armenian population. In June 1982 Foreign Minister Cheysson rejected a Turkish offer toward coordinating antiterrorist campaigns between the two countries. Minister of Defense Hernu told a large Armenian rally in his home city of Villeurbane on October 10, 1982: “Whenever there are aggressions, we must raise the question as to who the real aggressor is. Are the aggressors the people that survived a genocide committed by the Turks or the Turks themselves?” 68

The president of France himself, François Mitterrand, appeared on January 7, 1984, at an Armenian Christmas celebration in a suburb of Lyons. There he told the gathering: “It is not possible to erase the genocide which has struck you. This genocide must be inscribed in the memories of everyone, and the tragic fate of the Armenian people must serve as a lesson for the youth.” 69

The encouragement such statements from French officials give to Armenian terrorists and their sympathizers in France is obvious. As one Armenian observer concluded, “Such support for the Armenians is seen nowhere else in the world.” 70 “We condemn you…the past President of France, Giscard d’Estaing. If you hadn’t tolerated the actions of them [the Armenian terrorists and their sympathizers] in return for their votes, those murderers would not have lost their self-control, and acted like this today,” 71 wrote Artin Penik, a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, who committed suicide by setting himself on fire to protest ASALA.

Three weeks after President Mitterrand’s remarks cited above, the trial began of the four ASALA agents who seized the Turkish Consulate in Paris in 1981, murdered its guard, seriously wounded the consul himself, and held fifty-six people hostage for sixteen hours under the threat of death. As partially described earlier, the entire affair became largely a platform for the Armenians to denounce the Turkish “genocide,” and a “victory for the Armenian cause.” The president of the court ruled that the defendants could not be referred to as “terrorists,” the defendants were allowed to make long speeches denouncing Turkey, irrelevant anti-Turkish letters from singer Charles Aznavour and the movie director Henri Verneuil were admitted as evidence, and the defendants were finally given such light sentences that with good behavior might lead to their early release. The entire affair contrasted strongly with the trials of Armenian terrorists being held at the same time in the United States and Yugoslavia, where maximum sentences were returned. No wonder the Turkish government and people feel bitter toward France. 72

Less than three months later the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal opened in Paris. 73 Organized by the aforementioned French Armenian academician Gerard Chaliand, this “tribunal” heard statements from a number of prominent Armenian scholars, such as Richard Hovannisian and Gerard Libaridian, among others. It then pronounced Turkey guilty of genocide and condemned the international community for its indifference. Although some attempts at independence and objectivity were obviously made—Nobel Prize recipients Sean McBride, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, and George Wald were part of the juryits decision was a foregone conclusion. It would have been far better somehow to have combined this Parisian proceeding with its opposite number held at the same time in Ankara, Turkey, the International Symposium on Terrorism. 74 To this latter session a number of foreign and Turkish scholars supportive of the Turkish position were invited.

Reports that the present French government struck a deal with ASALA in 1981 75 further reveal the French position concerning Armenian terrorism. Prime Minister Mauroy reportedly agreed with ASALA that in return for French recognition of “the 1915 genocide,” there would be no further terrorist attacks on French soil. Further terrorist demands, which apparently were met to some extent, included leniency for Armenian terrorists held in French prisons, unrestricted use of French airports by ASALA members, and even permission to store arms and equipment on French soil.

That there was some truth to this reported deal is indicated by the fact that Hagop Hagopian was not arrested but merely followed and photographed when he was in Paris as recently as April 1983. The ease with which the French police rounded up so many Armenian terrorists immediately after the Orly bombing is also revealing. Indeed, it is probably fair to state that if the French authorities had taken a stronger stance against the terrorist activities in the first place, the Orly bombing might well have been prevented. Its perpetration, however, demonstrated the bankruptcy of the French policy. As the Turkish foreign minister, Ilter Turkmen, pointedly observed, “Those who support or tolerate terrorism should now realize…terrorist acts can also cause serious damage for themselves.” 76 In March 1985, therefore, a French court returned much stiffer sentences against the perpetrators of the Orly airport bombing. It should be noted, however, that in this case, the French Armenian community did not support the terrorists, as it had before, due to the current dissension within ASALA.


Sporadic intercommunal violence between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, punctuated by much heavier outbursts in 1964, 1967, and again in 1974, led in 1974 to a Turkish invasion of the island and the establishment of a de facto Turkish Cypriot state in the north to balance the continuing de jure (Greek) Cypriot state in the south.

Many Turks feel that the Greek Cypriots support the Armenian terrorists in revenge for this Turkish invasion. 77 The largely circumstantial argument has been stated by a respected leftist university professor and columnist, Mumtaz Soysal. “Why has this [Armenian] violence been revived suddenly after a pause of half a century[?]… The re-starting date of this organized violence coincides with the date of the 1974 Turkish landing in Cyprus…. To be more specific, the Armenian cause has been included in the ‘long-term struggle policy’ of the Greek Cypriots, to ‘save Cyprus.’” 78

Turkish officials have compiled a large file concerning this alleged Greek Cypriot connection. Leaflets and press clippings with statements made by Armenians and Greek Cypriots supposedly verify the accusation. Archbishop Makarios, for example, promised the Armenian patriarch Koren in August 1977 that “we will give every material and moral support to the Armenians in a bid to internationalise the Armenian question.” The new Greek Cypriot president Spyros Kyprianou “has been the recipient of the biggest Armenian award by the hand of Koren for his ‘services to the Armenian cause.’” Kyprianou also received an award from the Armenian National Council in New York “for the continued support of the Armenian cause.” 79

More to the point, the Turks have charged that “the Armenian Institute, founded by the Melkonian Brothers in Nicosia under the name ‘Melkonian Institute,’ is training elements for the Armenian terrorist organisation.” More general claims are made that “there is concrete evidence in the hands of the Turkish Cypriot administration that supporters of the ‘Armenian cause’ and the members of the Armenian organisation are being sheltered in the Greek Cypriot sector. 80 “Armenian terrorists are known to have already gathered in the Greek part of Cyprus where they have been engaged in certain activities for some time,” 81 added another Turkish report. Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, brought up the subject of Armenian terrorist camps when he met with the commander of the UN peacekeeping force on Cyprus. 82 Hurriyet, the largest selling daily in Turkey, gave a detailed report on what it claimed was a camp near Nicosia of “Armenian murder gangs” training and planning sabotage. 83

The Turkish belief in the reputed connection was given new possible substance when PLO evacuees from Beirut transited through Cyprus in August 1982. At that time, Turkish newspapers claimed that between 250 and 1200 Armenian guerrillas had surreptitiously entered Cyprus along with their PLO allies evacuating Beirut. 84

In the summer of 1983 further reports again indicated that after the fall of Beirut some Armenian terrorists escaped to Cyprus, 85 as well as to several other locations. A detailed report in the Turkish press told how on “July 24, [1983,] the Greek Cypriot administration gave permission to Armenian terrorists to establish a ‘training camp’ at the ‘Cacopetria’ region of the Troodos mountains.” 86 An accompanying map even pinpointed the location in the center of Cyprus. It was claimed that approximately 160–170 Armenian terrorists were being trained at the camp and that two more such camps were also operating. Greek officers from “motherland Greece” supposedly were training the terrorists at all three locations.

Although there undoubtedly is sympathy among Greek Cypriots for the Armenian terrorists and a small Armenian community has long existed in Cyprus, the Greek Cypriot government has denied that it supports the terrorists, and independent investigations in Cyprus have yielded no evidence to the contrary. 87 Indeed, Greek Cypriot support for the Armenian terrorists probably would be insanely suicidal given the present political, geographical, and military facts of life. It is doubtful, therefore, that the Greek Cypriots have knowingly given substantial material support to any Armenian terrorists.


There are a number of other states that have demonstrated a certain amount of support for the Armenian cause, probably as a means to pressure, indirectly, their historical enemy Turkey. Chief among them appear to be Greece, Syria, and Iran. In fact, for Greece this hostility is very current given the disputes with Turkey over the Aegean Sea and Cyprus.

In addition, more so than his immediate predecessors, the present Greek prime minister, Andreas Papandreou, has been particularly bellicose in his references to Turkey, declaring that Greece needed NATO’s protection, not from the north (the Soviet Union), but from the east (Turkey). Given such feelings, it does not take much imagination to see the possibilities of a Greek-Armenian connection. Tangible evidence, however, is lacking.

A small, but active Armenian community does exist in Greece. It often has manifested overt sympathies for terrorist acts against Turkey, while being active in fund-raising to defend JCAG terrorists such as Harutiun Levonian and Raffi Elbekian, who assassinated the Turkish ambassador to Yugoslavia in March 1983. Hrair Maroukhian, the head of the Dashnaks’ powerful bureau and possibly a leader of its terrorist arm, JCAG-ARA, has reportedly “lived mostly in Athens, particularly since the outbreak of civil war in Lebanon.” 88 He was denied entry into Britain on the grounds of his possible terrorist connections in the fall of 1984.

Papandreou’s socialist (PASOK) government has relaxed the entry procedures and security checks for those seeking to enter Greece. In addition, the country possesses excellent air connections to Europe, the Middle East, and the Soviet bloc. All of this obviously would facilitate terrorist activities. Indeed, a number of reports indicated that elements of both ASALA and JCAG fled to Greece, as well as to Syria and Iran, after the fall of Beirut in 1982. 89 Recently Panos Kondogiorgia, a representative of PASOK, told a gathering of Greek Armenians that in their struggle that “is being waged on all fronts by every method, PASOK is on your side.” 90 Joseph Kasesyan, an ASALA spokesman in Athens, said his organization had participated in a youth festival organized by PASOK in 1981, but was refused entry in 1982. 91 “Most of the [ASALA] publications received by the Armenian Reporter now [as of early 1985] show Athens as the mailing point.” 92

According to the “ASALA-RM History,” “the only body in Europe which still towed the ASALA line was the newly established and very small ‘Popular Movement’ in Greece. This group was established in early 1982, and it gained certain momentum after the summer of the same year.” Similarly, an independent source referred late in 1984 to “a statement made in Athens, Greece by the Armenian Popular Movement, a group which openly supports the Hagop Hagopian wing of ASALA.” 93

Early in 1985 Le Monde claimed that since the time Hagopian fled from Beirut, in the summer of 1982, he has been “residing alternately in Damascus, Syria, and Athens, Greece.” The paper went on to declare that “the socialist government of Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou and his P.A.S.O.K. party accepted the Armenian underground leader with ‘open arms’ and are still providing him with assistance simply because of Greece’s traditional enmity with Turkey.” 94 As mentioned earlier, however, tangible proof of this Greek connection is lacking.

Harder evidence exists of Syrian-Armenian connections. In fact, smoldering animosities concerning the Turkish annexation of Hatay (Alexandretta) province in 1939, as well as current problems dealing with the waters of the Euphrates River, have long kept Turkish-Syrian relations cool. In addition, Syrian support for ASALA’s vendetta against the Dashnaks in Lebanon would appear to be taking place within the overall framework of much larger efforts to destabilize and restructure Lebanon so as to pave the way for the eventual imposition of Syrian hegemony in Lebanon. A number of sources have indicated that some of ASALA’s leaders fled to Syria after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. 95 As noted previously, the “ASALA-RM History” declared: “By September 1982 the core of ASALA had been relocated to Damascus and the [Syriancontrolled] Beka’a Valley in Lebanon…. In Damascus… by November [the organ] ‘Armenia’ was again being printed and the first numbers of ‘Hayastan-Veratartz’ were issued as the ‘Organ of the Popular Movement for ASALA.’”

The Turkish government was convinced of such “possible links to Syria…[and] the remarkably close tie-up between Asala, the Russians, and extremist factions of the… PLO.” 96 On the very day of the bloody Ankara airport attack in August 1982, a Syrian diplomatic courier was detained at the Istanbul airport. His diplomatic pouch contained an assortment of weapons and explosives destined for the Syrian Consulate in Istanbul. Since the two ASALA agents who attacked the Ankara airport had traveled in Syria or possessed Syrian passports, the Turks speculated that there was a link. 97

Tercuman, a Turkish daily, recently printed the names, addresses, and photographs of high-ranking ASALA leaders. All were living in Syria or Syrian-controlled parts of Lebanon. This information was supposedly verified by experts. 98

In the summer of 1983 it was reported that Syria had “apparently succeeded in coopting the pro-Soviet middle eastern section [Hagopian’s grouping] of… ASALA…. Syria now cooperates with ASALA in training, the planning of operations and the supplying of arms and forged documents.” Specific training sites for the terrorists on Syrian soil included Kamishli on the Turkish border, a location near the ancient city of Horns, and Camp Tadmur As-Sahra near Damascus. In Syrian-controlled Lebanon, ASALA bases were located in the Bekaa Valley village of Anjar and in the northern city of Tripoli. In this latter site, ASALA operated under the pink-uniformed militia al Fursan-al Arab (the Arab Horsemen), the organization established by Rifaat al-Assad, the brother of Syria’s president. Indeed, the report declared: “The entire ASALA setup in Syria falls under the patronage of the elite Defence Brigades commanded by—Rifaat al-Assad.” 99 The younger Assad, of course, is notorious for doing his brother’s dirty work and has been mentioned as a possible successor to the Syrian leadership itself.

In March 1983 the Turkish foreign minister conferred with President Assad in Damascus but apparently failed to convince him to end his support for ASALA. In fact, after it fled from Turkey, ASALA’s reputed ally the Kurdish Workers Party was granted refuge in Syria. In June 1983 and again in October 1984 Turkish military forces entered northern Iraq with Iraqi permission, routing Kurdish and Armenian units, which had been raiding across the border into eastern Turkey. With their Iraqi base thus threatened, Syria may become an even more important haven for Turkish enemies in the future.

Over the past several years a number of Armenian terrorist attacks against Turks have occurred in Iran. Several more during the spring of 1984 culminated in the murder of the Turkish Embassy’s military attaché and a Turkish businessman. Thus, Iran too has provided a base for the Armenian terrorists. In this case, however, it is not clear to what extent, if any, the present regime in that country condones the situation.

An Armenian who fired on a policeman guarding the Turkish Embassy in Teheran on April 24, 1981, for example, was later arrested and executed. Following the series of attacks Armenians staged upon Turks in Iran during the spring of 1984, Iranian authorities arrested at least seven Armenians. 100 Shortly afterward, ignoring death threats from ASALA, the Turkish prime minister successfully visited Teheran. In the fall of 1984 Iranian authorities apparently foiled an attempt by the so-called Mesrop Mashdotz Commandos (an Armenian underground group) to assassinate the Turkish ambassador. 101

In contrast to the situation with the Greeks and Syrians, then, the Armenians and Iranians are historical enemies who were warring against each other some 1500 years before the Turks first entered Anatolia. Ancient Armenia constituted a satrapy in the Persian Empire of Darius the Great. In A.D. 484 one of the frequent unequal wars between the two was concluded by the Treaty of Nuvarsag. To the Armenians, this event still symbolizes national and religious freedom against tremendous odds. In 1984 most Armenians throughout the world celebrated the 1500th anniversary of this event. Past Iranian conquests of former Armenian lands and forced migrations of Armenians to Iran, as well as more voluntary movements, then, have led to a situation in which Iran today hosts maybe the largest concentrations of Armenians in the Middle East. Reports indicate the figure to range anywhere from 200,000 to as high as 500,000. Recently Armenian sources have begun to complain about Iranian persecution. 102

On the other hand, the Ottoman and Persian empires were also historical enemies. In the late nineteenth century “Persia …became the launching ground for [Armenian] operations in nearby Turkish Armenia.” 103 Thus, no dramatic reorientation of policy was necessary for either Turkey or Iran to view the other in a hostile light. Even before the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, for example, Iranian authorities reportedly had encouraged ASALA to relocate in their country. “The Armenians were then given bases and barracks on the Turkish borders and provided with instructors in the use of various weapons.” 104 The Israeli invasion caused additional elements of ASALA to move to Iran. In July and August 1983 ASALA began to issue its first communiqués from Teheran.

There is also some evidence Iran recently supported ASALA assaults on France because France supports Iraq in its war against Iran and also provides a refuge for Iranian foes of Khomeini. One Armenian leader who met an Iranian foe of Khomeini in Paris was quoted as declaring, “Khomeini may be a Judas to you but he is the spirit of holiness to us, for he gives us money and arms.” 105

The “ASALA-RM History” stated that “in early 1980 a group of progressive [Iranian] Armenians had already found[ed] the ‘Marxist Group Sympathetic to ASALA.’” In late 1980 contact between this group and ASALA “was initiated…through Monte’s [Melkonian] acquaintances in Iran.” Nevertheless, “due to Iran’s isolation” no organizational link could be established: “At no time was an organic link ever achieved between the group in Iran and ASALA.” The Armenians in Iran were “for the most part…on their own in determining policies.” Hagopian “was satisfied that ASALA’s name was simply being promoted and he wasn’t concerned with the direction of the group’s work as long as they continued to do things.”

By late November 1982, however—again according to the “ASALA-RM History”—a division had arisen in “the fourmember governing body of the group.” A pro-Hagopian member of this governing body,” ‘Antranig Pasha’ managed to take over almost all of the group’s resources.” When Garlen Ananian arrived at ASALA’s “Damascus Office” in mid-January 1983 to appeal the situation, he was arrested and eventually executed in August 1983 as part of the intra-ASALA violence that split the organization at that time. (See earlier discussion.) In fundamentalist Iran, politics is apparently making for strange bedfellows. The ambiguous position of the Armenians in Iran is only one minor example.

1. Professor Aydin Yalcin, cited in “Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate on Turkish Experience with Terrorism,” (Serial No. J–97–43), 97th Cong., 1st sess., 1981; hereafter referred to as “U.S. Senate Hearings on Turkish Terrorism.”

2. For the Turkish position here, see the mammoth compilations edited by Bilal N.Simsir, British Documents on Ottoman Armenians Volume I (1856–1880) (Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 1982); and British Documents on Ottoman Armenians Volume II (1880–1890) (Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 1983).

3. “Nadim Nasir Report: Al-Majallah Visits an Armenian Secret Army Base in Lebanon,” in Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), Daily Report (Middle East and Africa), September 1, 1982, p. G8, hereafter “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA.”

4. Cited in The Armenian Weekly, July 2, 1983, p. 2. The Armenian Weekly, published in Boston, Massachusetts, is an official organ of the Dashnaks.

5. See the reports in The [Armenian] California Courier, September 22, 1983; p. 2; and ibid., December 8, 1983, p. 9. For numerous other egregious examples of such tacit support of terrorism, see the articles in ibid., September 13, 1983, p. 3; October 13, 1983, pp. 8 and 12; October 20, 1983, p. 3; December 1, 1983, p. 11; January 12, 1984, p. 8; March 8, 1984, p. 9; and August 23, 1984, p. 8; The Armenian Weekly, September 3, 1983, p. 6; October 21, 1983, p. 1; November 26, 1983, p. 2; December 24, 1983, p. 1; February 11, 1984, pp. 6–7; June 9, 1984, pp. 2 and 15; August 11, 1984, p. 2; and August 18, 1984, p. 8; The Armenian Reporter, June 2, 1983, p. 3; September 15, 1983, p. 11; April 12, 1984, p. 3; July 5, 1984, p. 1; and the following text.

6. See the analysis in chapter 4.

7. “Armenian Terrorist Leader Hagopian Interviewed: Milan Panorama in Italian, 1 Sept. 80, pp. 62–65,” in Joint Publications Research Service: Western Europe, No. 1628, September 24, 1980, pp. 1–6, hereafter “Panorama Interview.”

8. “Behind the Armenian Terrorists,” Foreign Report (England), August 19, 1982, p. 2.

9. “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA.”

10. Claire Sterling, The Terror Network: The Secret War of International Terrorism (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1981), p. 244.

11. Ibid., p. 243.

12. The Economist, October 3, 1981, p. 51. Also see the lengthy report in The Armenian Reporter, February 9, 1984, p. 2.

13. “Behind the Armenian Terrorists,” p. 1.

14. See Z.Michael Szaz, “Armenian Terrorist Ironies,” Washington Times, September 2, 1982, p. A8. Also see New York Times, August 1, 1983, p. A6.

15. James Ring Adams, “Lessons and Links of Anti-Turk Terrorism,” The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 1983, p. 32.

16. Claire Sterling, The Time of the Assassins: Anatomy of an Investigation (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1983), p. 73.

17. “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA.”

18. New York Times, April 17, 1983, Section 1, p. 20.

19. James Bryce, Transcaucasia and Ararat (London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1896), p. 425.

20. Christopher Walker, Armenia: The Survival of a Nation (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1980), p. 371. See also, in general, Mary Matossian, The Impact of Soviet Policies in Armenia (Leiden: E.J.Brill, 1962). One might also note that the “Committee for Cultural Relations with Armenians Abroad” has been “developing a closer link between the Armenian motherland and the Armenians dispersed to the four corners of the world. Formed in 1964, the Committee has won the confidence of Diaspora Armenians…” (“20th Anniv. of Spiurk Committee Marked,” The Armenian Reporter, November 15, 1984, p. 3).

21. For details, see Walker, Survival of a Nation, pp. 360–63.

22. “U.S. Senate Hearings on Turkish Terrorism,” p. 5.

23. Ibid.

24. “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA.”

25. Paul Henze, “Coping with Terrorism: What Do We Know? What Can Be Done?” (Discussion paper presented at the “Conference of the Political and Social Studies Foundation” held at Istanbul, Turkey, October 3–6, 1982), p. 16.

26. “Testimony by the Honorable Fred C.Ikle, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Before the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” (Washington: mimeographed, March 11, 1982), p. 6.

27. Sterling, Terror Network, pp. 228–46.

28. On the Soviet connection in the plot to kill the pope, see Sterling, Time of the Assassins; and Paul Henze, The Plot to Kill the Pope (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1983).

29. Henze, “Coping with Terrorism,” pp. 16–17.

30. Paul Henze, letter to me, dated March 14, 1983.

31. Ibid. For an insightful analysis of Katyn Forest, see Z.K.Zawodny, Death in the Forest: The Story of the Katyn Forest Massacre (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1962).

32. “US Senate Hearings on Turkish Terrorism.” On this point, see especially, by the Turkish General Staff, Anarchy and Terror in Turkey; as well as, by Paul Henze, Goal: Destabilization—Soviet Agitational Propaganda, Instability and Terrorism in NATO South (European American Institute for Security Research Reprint Series, 1981), pp. 43–44; and “The Long Effort to Destabilize Turkey,” Atlantic Community Quarterly 19 (1981/82), pp. 472–73.

33. “Behind the Armenian Terrorists,” p. 1.

34. Cited in Wall Street Journal, August 9, 1983, p. 32.

35. The Armenian Reporter, March 1, 1984, p. 2.

36. See Gwynne Dyer, “Correspondence,” Middle Eastern Studies 9 (1973), p. 382.

37. Yonah Alexander, comments made during a news conference concerning his new book to be published with Ray S.Cline, Terrorism: The Soviet Connection (New York: Crane Russak, 1984), Washington, D.C., January 23, 1984.

38. Cited in Christian Science Monitor, December 28, 1982, p. 13.

39. Cited in New York Times, August 1, 1983, p. A6.

40. Ronald Grigor Suny, Armenia in the Twentieth Century (Chico, California: Scholars Press, 1983), p. 81.

41. “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA.”

42. “Panorama Interview.” After Soviet Premier Nikolai Tikhonov visited Ankara in December 1984 and reassured Turkey that his country recognized Turkey’s territorial integrity, reports even circulated that ARA might soon begin to launch attacks against Soviet diplomats. See The Armenian Reporter, January 10, 1985, pp. 1 and 5.

43. The 1980 U.S. census reported only 212,621 Americans of Armenian heritage. The figure is so low because the census probably counted many Armenians as Lebanese, Iranians, Syrians, etc. There are probably some 200,000 Armenians in the Los Angeles area alone and maybe as many as 400,000 in California, which since 1982 had had a governor of Armenian descent, George Deukmejian. The number of Armenians should not be exaggerated, however, because at the most they constitute no more than 1.5 percent of the population of California and barely .2 percent of the overall population of the United States. Nevertheless, the point is that there are many more Americans of Armenian descent than Turkish.

44. The following discussion is based on Vahe Oshagan, “The Armenian-American Contribution,” The Armenian Weekly, January 21, 1984, p. 3; as well as various issues of The [Armenian] California Courier. Also see the lengthy account about Armenians in the Los Angeles magazine, reprinted in four separate parts by The [Armenian] California Courier, beginning with the issue of August 25, 1983.

45. The [Armenian] California Courier, December 1, 1983, p. 4.

46. Cited in Russell Warren Howe, “Unraveling the Motivations for Armenian Terror,” The Washington Times, August 3, 1983, p. A7.

47. Cited by Michael Leahy, “LA Armenian Community Grows Fastest in State,” The [Armenian] California Courier, August 25, 1983, p. 7.

48. Cited in The Armenian Weekly, January 14, 1984, p. 7.

49. Cited in The [Armenian] California Courier, January 12, 1984, p. 2.

50. Ibid.

51. Ibid., February 7, 1985, p. 8.

52. Ibid.

53. Cited in The Armenian Reporter, September 8, 1983, p. 8.

54. The Armenian Weekly, January 14, 1984, p. 1.

55. Cited in “LA Five Draw Zealous Support from Community,” The [Armenian] California Courier, November 10, 1983, p. 2.

56. See The Armenian Weekly, June 2, 1984, p. 1.

57. “ASALA’s Day,” The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 1984, p. 30. Similarly, the U.S. secretary of defense, Caspar Weinberger, testifying before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January 1985 about a new, similar resolution, declared that “such resolutions are counter-productive in that they serve to encourage Armenian terrorism.” Cited in The [Armenian] California Courier, March 7, 1985, p. 1. This new resolution (H.J. Res. 192) failed to receive the required two-thirds majority when a vote was taken on June 4, 1985, although 233 members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted for it and only 180 against. As this book goes to press in December 1985, Armenian supporters in Congress are attempting to bring the resolution up for still another vote. Most of those who support the resolution, of course, do not advocate terrorism. In fact, they argue strongly that such a resolution would serve as an antidote to terrorism by allowing Armenian feelings about their history to be expressed legally, instead of through violence.

58. “NAASR Marks 25th Anniversary,” The Armenian Mirror-Spectator, April 7, 1979.

59. Gary A.Kulhanjian, “Genocide Studies: A Benefit to All,” The Armenian Weekly, January 7, 1984, p. 2.

60. “Elekdag Eulogizes Arikan; Condemns Terrorism,” Turkey Today (Published by the Turkish Embassy in the U.S.), February 1982, p. 3.

61. The Armenian Issue in Nine Questions and Answers (Ankara: Foreign Policy Institute, 1982), foreword.

62. “O’Neill Guest at ANC Reception: Reaffirms Support for Armenian Cause,” The Armenian Weekly, October 15, 1983, p. 1.

63. “Mondale Backs Armenian Cause: $100,000 Raised,” The [Armenian] California Courier, December 15, 1983, p. 1.

64. The Armenian Reporter, February 16, 1984, p. 11.

65. See “Background, Activities of Armenian Organizations Explored: Cairo Al-Musawwar in Arabic, 12 August 1983, pp. 20–21,” in Joint Publications Research Service: Armenian Affairs, No. 2838, October 17, 1983, p. 10. A purported picture of Hagop Hagopian, incidentally, appears in ibid., p. 11.

66. The following discussion is based largely on David M.Lang, The Armenians: A People in Exile (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1981), pp. 27, 37, and 59–69; Louise Nalbandian, The Armenian Revolutionary Movement: The Development of Armenian Political Parties Through the Nineteenth Century (Berkeley and Los Angeles: The University of California Press, 1963), pp. 37–38, 71, and 96; and Edward Boghosian, “The Armenian Community of France—A Potential Force,” The Armenian Reporter, February 23, 1984, pp. 1–2.

67. Cited in The Armenian Reporter, July 28, 1983, p. 7.

68. Ibid.

69. The Armenian Weekly, January 21, 1984, p. 1.

70. Boghosian, “Armenian Community of France,” p. 2.

71. Cited in NewSpot: Turkish Digest, Supplement to issue of August 13, 1982, p. 1.

72. See, for example, “Armenian Terrorism and the Paris Trial: Views and Evaluation of Ankara University,” 1984; and Turkish Daily News, February 3–9, 1984, p. 1.

73. Its proceedings have been published as Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, A Crime of Silence: The Armenian Genocide (London: Zed Press, 1985).

74. Its proceedings have been published as International Terrorism and the Drug Connection (Ankara: Ankara University Press, 1984).

75. William Echikson, “Armenian Bombing at Orly Ends Pact Between Socialists and Terrorists,” Christian Science Monitor, July 19, 1983, p. 4; The Armenian Weekly, July 23, 1983, p. 1; and The Armenian Reporter, November 15, 1984, p. 12.

76. Cited in New York Times, July 16, 1983, p. 1.

77. See Marvine Howe, “Turks Blame Cypriots for Attacks in Name of Armenians,” in ibid., February 28, 1980, p. A3. In addition, see Marvine Howe, “Most Armenians in Beirut Support Attacks on Turks,” in ibid., March 1, 1980, p. 4; Marvine Howe, “Turkish Armenians Haunted by Fear of Persecution,” in ibid., March 13, 1980, p. A2; and “The ‘Armenian Connection’ in Bombings,” The Guardian, December 19, 1979, p. 2.

78. Mumtaz Soysal, “The Trigger and the Finger,” (translated and reprinted from the Turkish daily, Milliyet), Turkish News, April 1980, pp. 20–21.

79. Ibid., p. 21.

80. Ibid.

81. NewSpot: Turkish Digest, September 3, 1982, p. 2.

82. “Denktas Asks about the Armenian Plots,” in ibid., September 10, 1982, p. 6.

83. See the accounts in New York Times, February 28, 1980, p. A3; and David Barchard, “Greek-Armenian,” Special News Bulletin, August 23, 1980, p. 2.

84. See the press accounts in New York Times, August 29, 1982, p. E2; and NewSpot: Turkish Digest, September 10, 1982, p. 2.

85. See “Syria, Greece Reportedly Support Armenian Terrorist Groups: Tehran Alik in Armenian, 27 August 1983, pp. 2, 7,” in Joint Publications Research Service: Armenian Affairs (JPRS: AR), No. 2839, October 20, 1983, p. 3; “Report on Armenian Conference in Lausanne: London Al-Dustur in Arabic, August 8, 1983, p. 35,” in ibid., No. 2831, October 3, 1983, p. 3; and The Armenian Reporter, September 15, 1983, p. 13.

More recently, see The Armenian Reporter, October 4, 1984, p. 1; and ibid., November 15, 1984, p. 12.

86. Yusuf Kanli, “Armenian Terrorists Reported Training in Troodos Mountains,” Turkish Daily News, September 12–18, 1983, p. 5; and “Greek Paper Admits: There Are At Least Three Armenian Camps in Troodos Mountains,” ibid., October 3–9, 1983, p. 3.

87. See Cyprus Bulletin (Issued by the Press and Information Office, Cyprus), April 2, 1983, p. 4; New York Times, February 28, 1980, p. A3; and ibid., March 1, 1980, p. 4.

88. See the report in “Top Dashnag Leader Refused Entry into Britain,” The Armenian Reporter, November 29, 1984, p. 12.

89. Robert Kaplan, “Armenian Terrorists Find New Bases from Which to Wage Their Battle for a Homeland,” Christian Science Monitor, July 14, 1983, p. 12; The Armenian Reporter, March 1, 1984, p. 1; and JPRS: AR, No. 2839.

90. Cited in JPRS: AR, No. 2839.

91. Turkish Daily News, January 20–26, 1984, p. 1.

92. The Armenian Reporter, January 24, 1985, p. 1.

93. Ibid., December 6, 1984, p. 1.

94. See ibid., February 7, 1985, p. 11.

95. See, for example, ibid., September 15, 1983, p. 13; ibid., December 29, 1983, p. 2; ibid., October 4, 1984, p. 1; and The Armenian Weekly, July 30, 1983, p. 8.

96. “Behind the Armenian Terrorists,” p. 1.

97. Ibid.

98. See JPRS: AR, No. 2839.

99. See “The Terrorists,” Wall Street Journal, September 19, 1983, p. 32. Similarly, see the report in The Armenian Reporter, August 18, 1983, p. 12; and ibid., December 13, 1984, p. 1.

100. See “New Details Offered on ASALA Attack in Teheran, March 28,” The Armenian Reporter, April 19, 1984, p. 10.

101. See the report in The Armenian Reporter, September 27, 1984 p. 1.

102. See, for example, the reports in The [Armenian] California Cour ier, October 6, 1983, p. 8; The Armenian Reporter, January 5, 1984, p. 1 ibid., May 31, 1984, p. 1; and ibid., September 27, 1984, p. 1.

103. Nalbandian, Armenian Revolutionary Movement, p. 173.

104. This and the following are based on “Armenian Groups Re portedly Move Headquarters to Teheran: London Al-Dustur in Arabic September 5, 1983, pp. 19–20,” in JPRS: AR, No. 2856, November 25 1983, pp. 27–29.

105. Cited in ibid.

7 Turkish Counterterror and Harassment?


Armenian terrorism against Turks has inevitably given rise to speculation concerning possible Turkish countermeasures. Several years ago a former Turkish intelligence officer published a proposal to organize antiterrorist groups abroad to seek out those who were killing Turks and take action “on the Israeli model.” Sadi Kocas, a former military official and Turkish senator, reported as well that other Turks had asked him to “organize the anarchists who are killing each other and direct them to Armenian targets.” He declined the offer. 1

Some two years later the Turkish foreign minister, Ilter Turkmen, declared in an interview that “it should be remembered that terror inevitably leads to counterterror.” 2 After the bloody ASALA attack on the Ankara airport that summer and the murder of another Turkish diplomat in Canada, the Turkish president, Kenan Evren, bluntly declared: “The Turkish nation is patient. But there is a limit to patience…. From now on, the Turkish state, the Turkish nation will feel free to take retaliatory measures.” 3 Speaking immediately after the Orly bombing in July 1983, Turkmen vowed: “The Turkish nation’s retaliation will be as heavy as its patience has been great.” 4 Still another report at that time stated that “the situation may ultimately require Turkey’s sending ‘death squads’ to pursue individual members of the Secret Army [ASALA].” 5 After a Turkish UN official, Enver Ergun, was assassinated by ARA on November 21, 1984, Salali Umer, a young Turkish doctor, was quoted as saying, “I have never had anything against Armenians before, but after the last attack, I met an Armenian in Cairo and I could scarcely control myself from—from doing something to him.” 6

Other reports, however, indicated that “Turkish officials—rather than planning a counterattack—admit to a ‘fatalistic’ attitude in regard to Armenian terrorism.” 7 A Turkish diplomat about to go abroad, for example, declared: “Turks are generally not cowards, though they would be wiser if they were…. If they [assassins] can kill a President of the United States, they can kill anybody.” 8 A Turkish news editor gave another reason that counterterror was not necessarily in the offing: “Our long history as a state and as an empire gives Turkey a psychological security…. We don’t feel the need to hit back like the Israelis.” 9 The same article in which this statement was carried added that Turkey “probably lacks the ability to carry put commando-style operations with the surgical accuracy of the Israelis.” 10 In addition, “a highly informed” Turkish source added that Turkish press reports that “hit teams were ready for action” were misleading. “Such teams are already deployed by the security forces but their mission is to combat any guerrilla attack within Turkey and not any operation outside the country.” 11 Similarly, Turkish President Kenan Evren stated in 1983: “We must be calm. It is they [the Armenian terrorists] who are barbarians. Let the world know that Turkey will have no part in irrational revenge.” 12

It would seem unlikely, therefore, that Turkey is seriously contemplating counterterrorist strikes against Armenian terrorists. Unfounded and inaccurate claims on the part of certain Armenian sources and others concerning “Turkish terrorism,” however, obfuscate reality here. The false charges of Turkish conspiracy concerning the attempted assassination and abduction of a number of prominent Armenians are an excellent example of this tendency. Without any proof, Armenian sources have indignantly proclaimed: “Several Armenian centers and monuments have been bombed by Turkish agents in Paris and Beirut. Some young Armenians were assassinated in Holland, Greece, Lebanon and Iran.” 13 A similar statement denounced “Turkey’s…murder of four alleged ASALA members in parts of Europe.” 14

The French press has generally attributed a number of hostile incidents against Armenians in that country to Turkish groups. In one such case a so-called “Islamic Turkish Revolutionary Army” claimed credit. 15 Following the bombing of an Armenian memorial in Alfortville, France, on May 3, 1984, a man with “an oriental accent” calling from The Hague claimed responsibility on behalf of the “Anti-Armenian Organization.” 16 Earlier in 1984 a caller claiming to represent the Turkish Organization for Armed Struggle threatened to bomb the French Film Society during the screening of two Armenian movies in Paris. The threat forced the movies to be rescheduled. 17

Menacing letters signed by a so-called Third Generation of Black Sea Turks Massacred by Armenian Guerrillas were received by the Armenian Cultural Center in London. 18 In the summer of 1983 William Lau Richardson, who professed to be a former CIA agent, claimed that a Turkish group in Canada offered him money to kill an Armenian woman in that country as a reprisal for the rash of Armenian terrorist attacks against Turks, but added that he had turned them down. 19 Given Richardson’s checkered career, however, it is likely his story was bogus. On October 21, 1984, Levon Ouzounian, one of the wealthiest Armenians living in Cyprus and reputed “to have provided substantial financial assistance to ASALA,” 20 was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The report of the incident “speculated that he [Ouzounian] could have been killed by Turks for his support of ASALA.”

More substantial, but still unverified, reports claimed that Dursun Aksoy, the Turkish diplomat assassinated in Brussels, Belgium, in July 1983 was “a member of [a] special unit created by Turkish security agencies to track down and kill Armenians suspected of fighting for the underground organization [ASALA].” 21 In addition, ASALA claimed that one of its members, Noubar Yelemian, had been killed in Holland on November 5, 1982, by “Turkish special units assigned to hunting down and killing Armenian terrorists or ASALA members.” 22

The two ASALA members killed by Monte Melkonian’s ASALA-RM faction in July 1983 (see earlier discussion) were initially reported by Hagopian’s ASALA faction as having been “killed by Turks as the result of a tip off by two ASALA informers.” 23 Another ASALA report blamed agents of the United States CIA and the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) for the deed. Both agencies were said successfully to have infiltrated anti-Turkish Kurdish groups to carry out the operation. 24

After he was apprehended for an attempt to bomb the Kuwaiti Airlines office in Athens that instead resulted in the accidental death of his accomplice (Karnik Sarkis Vahradian), Vahe Khudaverdian “insisted that he and his friend were actually targeted by Turkish agents for an assassination.” 25 The “ASALA-RM History,” however, declared that “Mujahed [Hagopian] fabricated the lie that Karnik and Vahe were the targets of an MIT plot so as to cover-up the real nature of the event.” In this case, ASALA-RM’s interpretation of ASALA’s accusation concerning Turkish counterterror was similar to that of the Greek court, because Khudaverdian was found guilty and sentenced to fourteen years in prison.

After thus revealing how ASALA at times deliberately “fabricated…lie[s]” about Turkish counterterror, however, the “ASALA-RM History” did claim that Minnas Simonian and Garabed Pashabezian “were most probably the victims of true MIT sponsored plots.” Simonian apparently was killed with a silenced pistol in late December of 1982 as he was driving in Beirut, and Pashabezian was killed in March 1983 in his Beirut home. According to the “ASALA-RM History,” the identity of both had been revealed by Levon Ekmekjian, the perpetrator of the Ankara airport attack, “as those who helped introduce him to ASALA during his ruthless interrogation and torture by Turkish police before he was hung.” In addition, Pashabezian’s photo had frequently appeared in ASALA’s Beirut organ, Armenia, and he also had made public statements on behalf of ASALA.

The Armenian tendency to exaggerate their innocence and the Turks’ guilt was illustrated recently by the disappearance of Apo Ashjian, a Dashnak leader in Beirut, Lebanon, on December 29, 1982. (See chapter four.) On the first anniversary of this occurrence, a Dashnak publication carried a front-page article about the matter and included a copy of a telegram sent to President Reagan that charged that Ashjian “was abducted under mysterious circumstances which lead us to believe this unconscionable act was perpetrated by Turkish agents.” 26 Another Armenian publication in the United States quickly picked up this issue, also blaming Turkish agents for attempts on the lives of Ara Toranian, an Armenian activist in Paris, France, and Melkon Eblighatian, an Armenian member of the Lebanese parliament. It then declared: “The most prominent example of these Turkish attacks against Armenians took place in Beirut, Dec. 29, 1982…when Abraham Ashjian…was abducted …while on his way to work.” 27

Shortly afterward, however, a more responsible Armenian publication revealed that Ashjian probably “was a victim of a power struggle between a left- and a right-wing grouping within the Dashnag party in Lebanon,” and added: “Later the [Dashnak] party made the most of the incident to exploit it for itself and successfully portrayed him [Ashjian] as a victim of Turkish counter terror.” The report also indicated that Eblighatian, the Lebanese-Armenian parliamentarian, probably had been involved in similar intramural Dashnak violence. 28

What is more, Monte Melkonian, the ASALA-RM leader referred to above, stated in an interview with a French journalist that the attempts to kill the French-Armenian leader, Ara Toranian, had been made by ASALA itself. “Hagopian has liquidated several of our comrades who opposed him. For example, the car of Ara Toranian…was rigged with a bomb by Hagopian’s people.” 29

ASALA, however, countered that it was Toranian himself who had bombed the Armenian memorial in Alfortville (see earlier discussion) in May 1984, not the Turks as was generally believed. 30 Similarly, an explosion that resulted in minor injuries at the Marie-Nubar Armenian Student Center in Paris on June 23, 1984, was supposedly claimed by “a Turkish underground group.” 31 The report of this bombing, however, also revealed that the bombing might also have been the work of “radical [Armenian] students who have openly supported Armenian terrorism” and have had past disputes with the management of the student center. The claim that the Turks were guilty is thus questionable.

On November 29, 1984, a powerful bomb exploded in front of the Salle Pleyel in Paris, an hour before more than 2000 Armenians were expected to attend a celebration honoring the anniversary of Soviet Armenia. 32 Six Armenians were wounded, two seriously. The Turks, of course, were blamed for the deed. An elderly Armenian, who was in a nearby coffee house, for example, claimed he saw “two suspicious individuals…[who] looked like two young Turkish men” drop “a package and immediately take off.” The French police quoted the elderly Armenian as stating, “I am certain they were Turks. I can tell a Turk when I see one.” A young Armenian likewise exclaimed: “They definitely are Turks. They killed in the past and they are still murdering.”

Since the perpetrators of this bombing have not been apprehended, however, other theories of who did it are equally as plausible. The anti-Soviet Dashnaks, for example, were one of the few Armenian groups in Paris who were not planning to participate in the event. Given the recent spate of intramural Armenian violence analyzed above, the possibility certainly exists that the Dashnaks or some other Armenian group were responsible for the bombing, not the Turks. It would certainly not be the first time that such a scenario of blaming the Turks for intramural Armenian violence had occurred.

Turkish military forces, with the permission of Iraq, did strike at Kurdish and ASALA units in northern Iraq in June 1983. At that time, ASALA claimed “22 of our revolutionaries, including one leading militant, have been lost.” 33

Although official details have never been released, this author understands, through reliable sources in Turkey, that the problem was this. ASALA, operating with the indulgence of Kurds, who for all practical purposes were running their own areas in northern Iraq autonomously (the Baghdad government being too preoccupied with fighting the war against Iran), tried to establish a base for operating into Turkey. When the Turks discovered what was happening, they took the issue up with the Iraqis and received a “no objections” to their suggestion that they move in and clean ASALA out, at the same time helping the Iraqis control their Kurdish dissidents. 34

With Iraqi permission again, a similar Turkish incursion into northern Iraq occurred in October 1984. Published reports indicated that some “250 Armenian men, all members of ASALA …[were] fighting with these Kurdish forces.” 35

With the exception of these two military incursions, however, no definite proof of Turkish counterterrorist activities abroad against Armenians exists. Although the hand of individual, private Turks, embittered by years of contemporary Armenian terrorism, or the acts of official Turkish agents cannot categorically be ruled out in some of these other cases reported previously, without any further proof it must be concluded these incidents are just as likely the result of Armenian agent provocateurs, Armenian intramural violence, or some other unexplained causes such as groups that might be seeking to perpetuate and/or provoke Turkish-Armenian animosities for their own reasons.


Armenian accusations from outside of Turkey that the Turkish government today harasses, persecutes, and even terrorizes its few (c. 60,000) remaining Armenian citizens, pose a somewhat similar, but analytically distinct problem. As with the question of premeditated genocide during World War I, one is again presented with two so diametrically opposed positions that it is difficult to believe they purport to describe the same situation. In this case, however, the question concerns what is happening now, not what occurred seventy years ago; so presumably the facts can be more readily discerned.

The case against Turkey is broadly based: It is asserted that Turkish Armenians suffer from cultural, educational, legal, and religious persecution. Armenians and those sympathetic to their cause fill their publications with examples. A few will suffice to illustrate the point. In a wide-ranging analysis Professor Dickran Kouymjian of California State University, Fresno, claimed that contemporary Turkish policy to eliminate Armenian historical monuments takes a number of different forms, including (1) use of churches as “convenient targets for artillery practice during maneuvers by the Turkish army in the East,” (2) employment of “finely cut stones used on the facades of Armenian churches” by Turkish peasants “in the construction of village dwellings,” (3) “conversion of Armenian churches into mosques, prisons, granaries, stables, farms, and museums,” (4) “destruction by failure to provide maintenance,” (5) “demolition for the construction of roads or public works,” and (6) “neutralization of a monument’s Armenian identity by the effacing of Armenian inscriptions.” 36

A weekly commentator in one American-Armenian newspaper declared that “restrictions on Armenian church properties were endless and ultimately aimed to disappropriate the Armenian community.” 37 The Armenian patriarch in Istanbul, Shnork Kaloustyan, was quoted by a well-known American periodical as stating, “There are bureaucratic discriminations…. We cannot build new churches or repair old ones…. But the Turks can build new mosques…. Our church properties are unfairly taxed…. We are second-class citizens.” 38 A young American-Armenian law student who recently visited Turkey related how Kalustyan grew so tired of requesting permission from the Turkish government to paint the building that houses the Armenian patriarchate of Istanbul that “in an act of desperation, he climbed a ladder and tried to paint it himself. He was stopped by Turkish authorities.” 39 Another report told how the patriarch was prevented from visiting “an Armenian children’s camp on the island of Kenali [Kinali]…only a few steps from his own summer residence.” 40 Yet another account stated that “Armenian churches and institutions are frequent targets for bomb attacks” and claimed that “many other churches have been converted to barns or museums.” 41

Discussing the present-day plight of Turkish Armenians, “a recent returnee from Turkey” declared: “If they are to live in Turkey, they are forced to change their names…. Their language is forbidden as the language of instruction; the headmaster has to be a Turk.” 42 Yet another report explained that the reason “Turks are appointed sub-directors of all Armenian schools…is to ‘turkify’ the schools as soon as possible.” 43 “Armenian students are not allowed to enter Armenian schools on the pretext that the students are not really Armenians,” 44 affirmed an additional account.

A lengthy update on the present situation in Turkey reported that “during the summer of 1980, a group of Turkish students debarked on the island [of Kinali] shouting insults to the Armenians who were sunbathing there. Witnesses reported that the students threatened and harassed the Armenians who, filled with fright, fled the area. No action was taken against the group of students.” 45 Continuing, the same report related that “although few Turks like to admit it…popular opinion would like to see reprisals against the Armenian leaders for the killing of…Turkish diplomatic personnel. The Armenians should pack up and get out of Turkey,’ one wellknown, Ankara journalist said.” 46

An eminent American Armenian author, who visited Turkey in the 1970s, claimed that two Armenians were hanged in Erzurum in eastern Turkey after Yanikian murdered the two Turkish consuls in Los Angeles in 1973. He added that perhaps a dozen more were beaten in Istanbul, one so savagely he no longer could see.” 47 As the National Geographic article cited previously summed it up, “It is the old hatred.” 48

In June 1982, it is claimed, Turkey threatened reprisals against Turkish Jews because Armenian scholars were invited to an international conference in Israel on the Holocaust and other genocides. The Turkish pressure, it is claimed, forced the Israeli government to withdraw its official support from the conference and led to nearly one-third of the 400 registered participants not attending. 49 At the end of 1984 another report asserted that “the Turkish government resorted without success to extensive measures of pressure, including threats and blackmail [against Turkish Jews], attempting to force the cancellation of several recent lectures sponsored by American Jewish organizations on the Armenian Genocide.” 50

The case of the Turkish Armenian priest, Father Manuel Yergatian (also known as Haig Eldemir), declared one Armenian source in the United States, “is typical of the Turkish government’s…oppression of Armenians in Turkey.” 51 Yergatian was born in Istanbul in 1954. When he was only 14 he went to Jerusalem for theological studies at its Armenian patriarchical seminary. In 1973 he returned to Turkey to serve his required military obligation. Upon its completion he was ordained a celibate priest in Istanbul in 1976. The following year he joined the St. James Brotherhood (Sourp Hagop) in Jerusalem.

On October 10, 1980, Father Yergatian was arrested while boarding a plane in Istanbul for Jerusalem. With him were four young Turkish Armenian boys he was taking to Jerusalem to study at its Armenian patriarchical seminary. The Turkish authorities charged Yergatian with involvement in activities against the integrity and security of the state. At the time of his arrest he was supposedly carrying cassette tapes of Armenian folk music, a map of historical Armenia, and the address of a wellknown terrorist. He also was accused of currency violations and naming one of his dogs Ataturk. More to the point, the Turkish authorities believed Yergatian was taking the four young students to Jerusalem to have them trained as terrorists. (Sonner Nayir, one of two Turkish Armenian terrorists convicted of the Orly bombing in 1983, had spent eight years at the same seminary. The other, Ohannes Semerci, also had studied there.)

During his trial one of the Jerusalem seminary students testified that Yergatian had taught that eastern Turkey belonged to the Armenians who had been mistreated in 1915 and should have their lands returned. The testimony also indicated that Yergatian had helped decorate the seminary hall for observation of Martyrs Day on April 24, 1980.

Armenian sources claim that the charges against Yergatian are trumped up. The “subversive materials” in his possession were simply the autobiography of Father Shigaher, who had described the massacres of 1915, while the map of Armenia was one published by the Mekhitarist fathers of Venice in 1888. The excess money he was charged with carrying simply belonged to the children he was escorting.

The real reason for Yergatian’s arrest, feel the Armenians, was his participation in the April 24, 1980, commemoration in Jerusalem. Also, add the same sources, the Turkish authorities were displeased he was rescuing Turkish Armenian “descendants of the survivors of the genocide from Turkification and giving them an opportunity to receive [an] Armenian education in Jerusalem.” During his trial Yergatian himself denied any connection with Armenian terrorism, professed his loyalty to Turkey, and claimed that his imprisonment was in retaliation for Armenian terrorist attacks against Turkish diplomats.

During his long pretrial incarceration, charge Armenian sources, Yergatian was “reportedly tortured by having his fingernails and toenails pulled out.” Finally, after a nine-monthlong trial, he was sentenced on March 19, 1983, by the Istanbul Martial Law Command Court to fourteen years imprisonment and five years of internal exile. Recent reports state that Yergatian’s health has deteriorated in prison and a representative of the Armenian patriarchate of Istanbul has been refused permission to visit him.

During his visit to the United States in the fall of 1984, Shnork Kaloustyan, the Armenian patriarch of Istanbul, who usually assumes a pro-Turkish position, stated that “Father Yergatian unfortunately had a lot of bad luck during his trials. First of all, he was the victim of baseless accusations by one of his students.” 52 In addition, “when Armenian ‘terrorists’ captured the Turkish consulate in Paris [ASALA’s ‘Van’ operation in September 1981] one of their demands was the release of Father Yergatian, which naturally resulted in his case being subjected to further investigation…to see if he belongs to ‘ASALA.’ This made his case worse.” Finally, added the patriarch, “during his trial, the notorious grave incident took place in Yugoslavia during which a Turkish diplomat [Galip Balkar, March 9, 1983] was assassinated.” Thus, concluded Kaloustyan, “his only proven guilt is that as a Turkish-Armenian, he had participated in an anti-Turkish rally for which he may have been sentenced to a few years in jail. However, the aforementioned and other incidents, unfortunately, directly or indirectly aggravated his situation.”

In May 1983 the famous and highly respected private international organization Amnesty International (AI) adopted Yergatian as a prisoner of conscience. At that time, AI pointed out that the facts of Yergatian’s detention and trial made it clear that he had not been convicted of any involvement in violence, and a member of the Turkish foreign minister’s Advisory Committee on Foreign Relations. In 1958 he received a two-year Fulbright Scholarship to study in the United States, where his first child was born. His wife, Alis, is a leading soprano in the Istanbul State Opera. Some twenty other Armenians sing in the opera chorus. All were trained, free, at Turkish state conservatories.

Manukyan himself visits the United States annually. “I could live anywhere in the world,” he declared, but “I want to live here. Why shouldn’t I? It is my home country. And I think my son will return to live here, too, after he finishes his American education.” Concerning the Muslim Turks, Manukyan stated that “we live as brothers without separation or difference…. Christians and Muslims are not so different in our basic morals. We have the same life patterns and the same values here.”

Regarding the Armenian terrorists, Manukyan declared that they “could not have come out of our life here, which is peaceful and happy.” He added that “we have 33 of our own churches, 30 schools, our own sport and cultural clubs and halls, our own alumni associations. Life is liberal and free here. We don’t feel any pressures. If we did, most of us would leave.”

Karabet Arman, the chief physician at the Yedikule Armenian Hospital in Istanbul, said the Muslim Turks and Turkish Armenians are “kardes gibi,” or “like brothers.” He told how he had been trained in the Istanbul University Medical School. “In the 30 years since, I have been the head of three university clinics as well as the medical director of several prominent businesses.” He added that “the Armenian doctors are given full scholarships in Turkey and also all expenses to study in Germany, England, and the United States, like the Turks.” Although he often visits his brother in the United States, Arman declared that he did not want to emigrate. He also affirmed that Armenian churches are open every day, that Armenians feel equal and safe in the midst of the Muslim majority, and that during the religious festivals “the bells of our churches ring so loud that even the voices of the muezzin [the Muslim cleric who calls the faithful to prayer] will be drowned in it.”

Ara Kuyumcuyan heads large iron, steel, and concrete companies. Hundreds of Turks work for him. In an interview he declared: “My father was born in Istanbul. We Armenians have a very good life in Turkey…. We live in peace.” Another wealthy businessman, who said terrorists had threatened and blackmailed Armenians in foreign countries, asked that his name not be used. He stated that “all people are equal here…. There is no attempt to discriminate…. Life is cok, cok iyi—very, very good here.” Still another Armenian, studying electronic engineering in Switzerland, was home for the summer. He too had friends who had been threatened by terrorists in Switzerland, but declared: “I definitely plan to return to Turkey to live and work…. I feel that I have a great future in Turkey in computers.”

Calouste Gulbenkyan, the oil magnate, was quoted as saying, “Today in Turkey no distinction whatsoever is made between the Turks and the Armenians. The Turkish Armenians live peacefully and in prosperity.” Krikor Gunbeyan, a shoemaker, stated: “There is no discrimination among the citizens of the Republic of Turkey because of difference in language, religion and race.”

In reply to the foreign Armenian accusation that Turkish Armenians are afraid to tell the truth, the writer Torkom Istepanyan declared: “I may be accused of being a ‘hireling’ by some persons outside the country. Let them understand clearly that the blood in my veins is at least as much Armenian as theirs. In fact, it is the very purity of my blood that compels me to be faithful to the truth, and the truth is that we Turkish Armenians with our independent churches and community schools, live here in an atmosphere of complete freedom, far removed from futile vendettas.”

Ironically, the Armenian patriarch in Istanbul, who was quoted above as criticizing the situation in Turkey, stated that “the young people, the terrorists, have been exposed to misrepresentations. They have been fed distorted views on what happened in 1915.” He went on to tell how under the Turkish Republic the Armenians, like the other minorities in Turkey, have all the freedoms and responsibilities of citizenship. He even volunteered that the Turkish Armenians recently rebuilt the handsome, new cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator in the heart of Istanbul’s business district.

During his visit to the United States in 1984, the Armenian patriarch similarly stated: “Our government insures our freedom and safety and gone are some of the restrictions that had existed in the past relative to the day-to-day life of our community organizations.” 56 When Armenian terrorists kill Turkish diplomats abroad, added Kaloustyan, “the Turkish government immediately takes measures to provide protection for us by posting policemen at Armenian institutions to prevent any retaliation.”

During the trial for the Orly bombers in March 1985, Professor Simon A.Hatchinlian, a Turkish Armenian lecturer at the University of the Bosphorus, testified for the prosecution. He was reported to have “noted that as an Armenian living in Turkey, he has never been discriminated against from the time he served in the Turkish Army to the present.” 57 Hatchinlian was reported as adding that “he uses an Armenian name without anyone telling him to change it, enjoys all types of privileges granted to all Turkish citizens and that he has the respect of all his Turkish colleagues.”


What, then, is the actual position of the Armenians in Turkey today? It is true that Republican Turkish policies toward minorities have not always achieved the laical ideal. (What country has?) The claim in the 1920s that the Kurds were simply “mountain Turks”; the notorious Varlik Vergisi (Capital Levy) of 1942–43, which blatantly discriminated against minorities; the anti-Greek riots over Cyprus in September 1955; and the Kurdish unrest in eastern Turkey during the 1980s are illustrative. What is more, of course, Republican Turkey only arose from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire after a desperate war against the Greeks in the West, and a lesser but still serious war against the Armenians in the East. Indeed, their deaths from this latter conflict are counted by the Armenians today when they number their losses for the period they claim was the Turkish genocide against them.

Turkish sensitivities about minorities and a desire to have a Turkey for the Turks is understandable, however, given the former empire’s loss of vast amounts of territory in the past, the resulting forced migrations of Muslims from these lands to Anatolia, and the attempts by the Greeks and the Armenians—as well as the Allies—after World War I to carve out large sections of Anatolia for themselves. Turks came late to the idea of a nation-state, but after it had helped to destroy their multinational empire and threatened the very existence of their Anatolian heartland, they too learned to value one for themselves.

Certainly, it would not be reasonable to expect the residue of attitudes in Turkish society, which in the past resulted in de facto discrimination and sometimes hostile behavior, to be eradicated overnight any more than it proved possible to eliminate racial prejudices in the United States after the Civil War. In the Turkish case, as in that of the United States, however, practice has come to conform with law over time. There have been no outbreaks of antiminority violence on any significant scale in Turkey for thirty years despite the actions of Armenian terrorists who have tried to foment it. Given the history of Armenian-Turkish relations in the past, especially as viewed from the Turkish perspective, the position of the Armenians in Turkey today is probably much better than could otherwise be expected.

Unofficial pressures to conform culturally and religiously undoubtedly exist in Turkey today, but how is this different than in any other country? The situation in Turkey is certainly not unique. In actual practice, despite the protestations of Armenians abroad, those in Turkey are probably better off than their co-ethnics in such other Middle Eastern countries as Iran and Syria.

As for the numerous bureaucratic problems Armenians face in Turkey today, these are often difficulties from which Muslim Turks too suffer. As anyone—native or foreign—who has dealt with it can attest, the Turkish bureaucracy is far from being the most efficient. This is regrettable, but in most cases probably not a valid criticism as far as the Armenian minority goes. Indeed, in the case of Hrant Guzelian, the Turkish Armenian who testified at the 1984 trial in Paris of the four ASALA agents, the inefficiencies of the Turkish bureaucracy apparently came to his aid. In short, therefore, these bureaucratic problems (which may often appear to be harassment to outsiders) are endemic in the country, not peculiarly aimed at just one minority grouping. The solution lies in education and reform, not in biased diatribes.

What about the charges that ancient Armenian churches and other historical monuments are being allowed to fall into ruin or being otherwise mistreated? Although it is true that contemporary Turkish studies downplay the historical Armenian presence in eastern Anatolia, there can be absolutely no doubt that the government of Republican Turkey has made strenuous efforts to preserve the vast archeological heritage. Anyone who has visited the country can attest to this fact. While isolated incidents of vandalism may occur and adequate funds for preservation are not always available, there is no evidence that the Turkish government is destroying historical Armenian churches and monuments as an official policy. On the contrary, as even foreign Armenians who visit Turkey can testify, historical Armenian sites in eastern Anatolia and ancient Cilicia are being preserved and protected better than might be expected for a country that is not yet blessed with all the necessary required means the more fortunate might possess.

At Aghtamar, for example, the famous island in Lake Van that once was the center of an independent Armenian Catholicosate, efforts recently have been made at maintenance and landscaping. 58 Numerous tourists come to see the magnificent Armenian church, built more than 1000 years ago. The Turkish military has even built a helicopter pad on the island to facilitate VIP visits. The ancient Armenian capital of Ani, right on the Soviet border, is readily accessible, and the military, who control the area, provide permits and escorts for visitors. A number of French Armenians, among others, visit the site annually. The Armenian cathedral in Kars has recently been cleaned up and restored.

On the other hand, some Armenian churches are still used for storing hay or firewood, and as stables. The complex on Mt. Varag east of Van is a case in point. But this is no different from the condition of numerous former Christian churches of denominations other than Armenian in many parts of Anatolia. In addition, one does not have to search far to find abandoned mosques, caravanserais, and great complexes of Muslim tombs, such as the ones at Ahlat on the northwestern shore of Lake Van, which are also in a sad state of neglect. Turkey has so many historical monuments that the entire national budget could be spent in any given year on their restoration and maintenance. Given the poor state of overall Turkish-Armenian relations during the past century and the economic problems of Turkey in recent years, the wonder is that so many historical monuments, including Armenian ones, are so well preserved and maintained. Armenian allegations to the contrary are specious, but they feed on themselves. Armenians living abroad believe them because they are fed a steady diet of misinformation, distortion, and outright falsehoods.

How about the accusation that the Turkish government threatened reprisals against Turkish Jews if Jewish organizations in the United States or an Israeli conference in Tel Aviv permitted Armenians to present lectures and papers on the Armenian genocide? According to an apparently reliable Turkish source, 59 the charges concerning such events in the United States are baseless. All the Turks attempted to do here was to request that Jewish organizations not permit Armenians to participate in conferences about the Jewish Holocaust or genocide in general. No threats, either overt or implied, were made. Regarding the 1982 conference in Israel, however, a certain Turkish official did make unauthorized pronouncements that might have been construed as threats. When this was discovered the Turkish government disowned the statements.

Finally, how might the situation of Father Yergatian and others, whom Amnesty International has commented upon, be explained? First of all, of course, Turkey is not a completely Westernized country. Despite the Westernization that has occurred since the inception of the Republic, cultural norms concerning what is and what is not proper treatment of prisoners inevitably differ from the West. Torture does occur (although not to the extent some claim). This may be regrettable for Westerners raised with different values but ought to be understandable, 60 especially since in most cases it does not appear to be official governmental policy. In fact, the government disciplines those who are discovered using it. 61

Furthermore, since Turkey is a democracy, it is more open than most other countries. Reports about prison conditions can be more readily made. To the superficial observer, therefore, it may seem that the situation may be worse than in many closed societies, when in reality, of course, the flow of information is simply much less in these places.

In closing, one must realize that in the late 1970s Turkey was in the grip of a vicious cycle of leftist-rightist terrorism that was claiming almost thirty lives per day, had brought some sectors of the economy to a standstill, and had seen the entire country overcome by fear. At last, on September 12, 1980, the military stepped in to restore order and began to pull the country back from the brink of collapse. 62

It was not easy. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, it might have been necessary to amputate a limb in order to save the body. Nobody pretends that the military used kid gloves. Few wanted it to. The public support for General Kenan Evren’s measures was phenomenal. Even more incredible, moreover, was the relative leniency the military government showed toward those accused of terrorism. It is extremely doubtful that a house in such terroristic disorder could have been set in order as lightly as was done after 1980.

Even more noteworthy, however, was the Turkish military’s attitude toward genuine democracy. Despite dire predictions and much hypocritical criticism from the West, the military government held elections in November 1983 that resulted in the party it favored, placing last, while the one it preferred least, Turgut Ozal’s Motherland Party, winning an impressive victory. True to the dictates of Ataturk, the military, having reinstituted a stable democracy, stepped aside and permitted Ozal to assume power. Given the inherent difficulties involved, it would be very difficult to find a more impressive track record concerning democracy and the values Westerners associate with it. In conclusion, therefore, it should be stated that while isolated examples of prejudices and persecutions against Armenians undoubtedly exist among the Muslim majority—the case against Father Yergatian might be one such example—there can be no doubt that today the Turkish Armenians enjoy a wide degree of real equality and prosperity.

1. See the New York Times, February 28, 1980, p. A3. Kocas also has written a book in Turkish on Turkish-Armenian relations. See Sadi Kocas, Tarih Boyunca Ermeniler ve Turk-Ermeni Iliskileri (Ankara: Altinok Matbaasi, 1967).

2. Cited in Christian Science Monitor, May 7, 1982, p. 5.

3. Cited in Turkish Daily News, August 30, 1982, p. 3.

4. Cited in Los Angeles Times, July 16, 1983, part 1, p. 17.

5. “Report on Armenian Conference in Lausanne: London Al-Dustur in Arabic, August 8, 1983, p. 35,” in Joint Publications Research Service: Armenian Affairs, No. 2831, October 3, 1983, p. 16.

6. Thomas C.Goltz, “Armenian Terror Rouses Turkish Liberal Anger,” The Daily Star [Beirut, Lebanon], December 5, 1984, as cited in The Armenian Weekly, January 12, 1985, p. 2.

7. Robert Kaplan, “Armenian Terrorists Find New Bases from Which to Wage Their Battle for a Homeland,” Christian Science Monitor, July 14, 1983, p. 12.

8. Cited in New York Times, February 28, 1980, p. A3.

9. Cited in Kaplan, “Armenian Terrorists Find New Bases.”

10. Ibid.

11. Cited in Turkish Daily News, August 30, 1982, p. 1.

12. Cited in Goltz, “Armenian Terror Rouses Turkish Anger.”

13. The [Armenian] California Courier, November 16, 1983, p. 4.

14. Aram H.Kailian, “Is Anyone Listening?” The Armenian Weekly, September 3, 1983, p. 2.

15. See The Armenian Reporter, May 10, 1984, p. 14.

16. The Armenian Weekly, May 12, 1984, p. 1.

17. “Turkish Terror,” The [Armenian] California Courier, February 16, 1984, p. 2.

18. “Turkish Threats,” in ibid., March 1, 1984, p. 2.

19. See the reports in The Armenian Reporter, August 11, 1983, p. 11; and The [Armenian] California Courier, August 25, 1983, p. 8.

20. For this and the following citation in the text, see “ASALA Supporter Said to Have Been Killed by Hit & Run Car on Cyprus,” The Armenian Reporter, December 6, 1984, p. 12.

21. “Dutch Consent to Extradite Armenian Suspect to Belgium,” in ibid., September 8, 1983, p. 13. Also see “Dutch to Extradite Armenian Suspect,” in ibid., January 5, 1984, p. 1.

22. “Belgium Calls on Holland to Extradite Suspect in Assassination of Diplomat,” in ibid., August 11, 1983, p. 14.

23. “ASALA Executes Two Accused Traitors,” in ibid., September 8, 1983, p. 16.

24. “ASALA Provides New Details on the Killing of Two Leaders by Turkish Agents: Accuses CIA of Complicity,” in ibid., September 22, 1983, p. 8.

25. See “ASALA Man Given 14 Years for Attack on Kuwait Airways in Athens,” in ibid., January 31, 1985, p. 1.

26. The Armenian Weekly, January 7, 1984, p. 1.

27. Harut Sassounian, “Turkish Anti-Hye Threats Should Not Be Ignored,” The [Armenian] California Courier, January 19, 1984, p. 4.

28. “New Light Shed on Kidnapping of ARF Leader in December of 1982,” The Armenian Reporter, January 26, 1984, pp. 1 and 8. Also see “Cypriot Paper Implies Apo Ashjian Has Been Killed by Other A.R.F. Leaders,” in ibid., June 7, 1984, p. 1. For additional examples of intramural Armenian violence over the years, see Robert Mirak, Torn Between Two Lands: Armenians in America, 1890 to World War I (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983), pp. 231–32, 240, and 245–47; and K.S.Papazian, Patriotism Perverted (Boston: Baikar Press, 1934), pp. 15–16, 60–65, and 68–73.

29. Cited in The Armenian Reporter, January 12, 1984, p. 4. See also the similar claims in the “ASALA-RM History.”

30. For this claim, see “ASALA Discloses Names of Former Members Involved in Various Acts,” The Armenian Reporter, September 13, 1984, p. 12.

31. For the details of this event, see “Armenian Students’ Center in Paris Is Target of Bombing by Turkish Group,” ibid., August 9, 1984, p. 13.

32. This and the following details are mostly taken from the report in “Bomb Blast Rocks Hall in Paris Where Armenians Were Gathering: Passerby Hurt,” in ibid., November 29, 1984, p. 1.

33. “Secret Army Indicates a Loss of 22 Members in Border Skirmish,” in ibid., June 16, 1983, p. 1. Also see Sam Cohen, “Turkey’s Mysterious Strike in Iraq Underlines Ongoing Effort to Uproot Kurdish Nationalism,” Christian Science Monitor, July 14, 1983, p. 12.

34. The following explanation, which dovetails with media reports at the time, comes from reliable Turkish sources that prefer not to be cited directly.

35. See the reports on this Turkish military strike in The Armenian Reporter, October 25, 1984, p. 1; and The Armenian Weekly, November 3, 1984, pp. 1 and 12.

36. The [Armenian] California Courier, May 31, 1984, p. 1.

37. Harut Sassounian, “Turkish-Armenians Live Deprived of Their Rights,” in ibid., December 8, 1983, p. 4.

38. Robert Paul Jordan, “The Proud Armenians,” National Geographic 153 (June 1978), p. 851.

39. The Armenian Weekly, November 5, 1983, p. 2.

40. The Armenian Reporter, January 19, 1984, p. 2.

41. The [Armenian] California Courier, December 8, 1983, pp. 4–5.

42. Cited in The Armenian Weekly, July 16, 1983, p. 10.

43. Cited in ibid., December 17, 1983, p. 11.

44. The [Armenian] California Courier, December 8, 1983, p. 4.

45. Cited in The Armenian Weekly, December 31, 1983, p. 7.

46. Ibid.

47. Michael Arlen, Passage to Ararat (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1975), p. 285.

48. Jordan, “The Proud Armenians,” p. 847.

49. See the accounts in the New York Times, June 3, 1982, p. A1; and The Armenian Reporter, October 11, 1984, p. 12. See also, however, the Turkish reply in the New York Times, June 5, 1982, p. 3.

50. See “Turkey Pressures Jews to Silence Armenians,” The [Armenian] California Courier, January 31, 1985, pp. 1 and 11.

51. The Armenian Reporter, November 3, 1983, p. 15. Unless otherwise stated, the following discussion is based on the lengthy report in The [Armenian] California Courier, January 26, 1984, pp. 1 and 11; ibid., April 26, 1984, p. 4; The Armenian Reporter, November 24, 1983, p. 10; ibid., November 17, 1983, p. 14; and ibid., October 4, 1984, pp. 16–17.

52. The following citations are taken from “Patriarch of Turkey Calls Father Yergatian a Victim,” The [Armenian] California Courier, November 7, 1984, pp. 1 and 10.

53. Amnesty International Report 1983 (London: Amnesty International Publications, 1983), pp. 281–82. Also see Torture in the Eighties (London: Amnesty International Publications, 1984), pp. 217–20; and various other AI bulletins and reports concerning human rights violations in Turkey today. In addition, see, by Helsinki Watch, “Human Rights in Turkey’s ‘Transition to Democracy,’” (New York and Washington: U.S. Helsinki Watch Committee, 1983); and “Straws in the Wind: Prospects for Human Rights and Democracy in Turkey,” (New York and Washington: U.S. Helsinki Watch Committee, 1984); as well as the following MERIP Reports: “Turkey: The Generals Take Over,” (No. 93, January 1981); “State Terror in Turkey,” (No. 121 February 1984); and “Turkey Under Military Rule,” No. 122, March/April 1984.

Since the materials cited here concern the general situation in Turkey and not the specific condition of the Armenians, they are beyond the scope of my present inquiry. In addition, of course, they do not reflect the official Turkish position or explanations. Nevertheless, I have cited them in the interest of being as thorough as possible.

54. This citation and the following information were taken from The Armenian Reporter, February 16, 1984, p. 14.

55. Unless otherwise noted, the following discussion is based largely on “Armenians Attest to Happy and Prosperous Life in Turkey, Speak Out Against Terrorism,” Los Angeles Times, November 12, 1982, Part 1–B, pp. 8 and 9; and also on Ralph J.Kaplan, “In Turkey, Armenians Put the Past Behind Them,” Los Angeles Herald Examiner, November 23, 1983, p. All; and Facts from the Turkish Armenians (Istanbul: Jamanak, 1980).

56. This and the following citation are taken from The Armenian Reporter, November 15, 1984, p. 1.

57. This and the following citation are taken from “Istanbul Armenian Testifies for the Prosecution in Paris,” in ibid., March 14, 1985, p. 17.

58. I would like to thank Paul B.Henze, who has traveled widely and frequently throughout Turkey for a number of years and is presently a foreign affairs consultant for the Rand Corporation, for much of the information upon which my following discussion is based.

59. The source of this information appears reliable but prefers to remain anonymous.

60. In general, see Adda B.Bozeman, The future of Law in a Multicultural World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971).

61. For the official position of the Turkish government, see The Human Rights Situation in Turkey: Facts vs. Allegations (Ankara: Prime Ministry Directorate General of Press and Information, [1984]).

62. For pithy analyses, see Lucille W.Pevsner, Turkey’s Political Crisis: Background, Perspectives, Prospects (New York: Praeger, 1984); and C.H.Dodd, The Crisis of Turkish Democracy (North Humberside, England: The Eothen Press, 1983).

8 Conclusions

Based on the above analysis it is obvious that the Armenian terrorists are a deadly, secretive, and important manifestation of contemporary international terrorism. In one short decade they have managed to accomplish what peaceful and legitimate Armenian organizations have failed to do in the past seven decades—bring the Armenian case to the attention of the international system. Now that this has been accomplished, however, what more can be done?

The present territorial situation—which many Armenians, including the terrorists, seek to overturn—was sanctioned by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 1 and has born the imprimatur of conventional international law ever since. It would be totally uprecedented, not to mention unrealistic, to overturn it at this late date in favor of the earlier, but stillborn Treaty of Sevres.

What is more, the Armenian terrorists’ stated goal of dismembering eastern Turkey challenges the twin concepts of (1) the territorial integrity of states and (2) the self-determination of peoples—two pillars upon which the contemporary international system of states is built. Stated concisely, international law, as developed in the practice of the United Nations, grants statehood to the majority in a given geographical area and prohibits the partition of an existing state to create a new state for some minority. 2

The reasons for such international laws are too obvious to require extended mention. If any minority on earth, having some historical association with a piece of land presently contained within some other state’s territory, could legally claim a portion of that state’s territory, most existing states would become potential candidates for dismemberment. Furthermore, while admittedly a less than perfect solution, sovereignty and independence in the form of statehood for any geographical area can be granted only to the majority because to do so for a minority would deny the democratic ideal of majority rule, as well as create a crazy patch quilt of conflicting territorial claims superimposed over one another. That even the Armenian apologists recognize this cardinal point is illustrated by their arguments on behalf of the Greek Cypriot majority in Cyprus against the rights of the Turkish Cypriot minority. 3 Thus, Armenian attempts to give a superficial international legal gloss to their demands for eastern Turkey on the grounds of self-determination 4 egregiously fail to negate the fact that to create an independent Armenia out of a portion of Turkey in an area where today virtually no Armenians even live would totally violate the international legal doctrines of the territorial integrity of states and self-determination of peoples.

If at this late date the Armenians were to be granted legal possession of the territory, the Cherokee Indians might as well be allowed to assume sovereignty in middle Tennessee, the English in northwestern France, or for that matter the Turks in the Balkans, from which they were evicted in the nineteenth century.

Nobody, of course, would seriously maintain such rights for the aforementioned groups, and similarly no reasonable person could possibly argue that the Armenians have such a right in eastern Anatolia. To maintain otherwise would open up essentially every state’s territory on earth to some other nation’s claim. The sheer injustice and chaos of the ensuing result would be its own best refutation.

All of this is generally well known. This is why virtually no one besides the Armenians has actually tried to argue that the Armenians have a legal right to eastern Turkey. What is generally not known, however, is that even before 1915 the Armenians were a minority in the very land they called Armenia. This extremely important point, which was mentioned in chapter one, reduces even further the legitimacy of any Armenian claim to an independent Armenia in eastern Anatolia.

Justin McCarthy, as detailed in chapter one, has made a careful analysis of the official Ottoman census, incorporating into it the necessary adjustments to correct for undercounting and other problems. His work is clearly the best available on the subject and merits the close attention of any serious scholar interested in this question. What patently emerged from McCarthy’s study is that in 1911–12 the Armenians constituted a minority in the six vilayets of what was historical Armenia. 5 As McCarthy concluded, “One fact is obvious…. All Anatolian provinces had overwhelming Muslim majorities, not simply pluralities…. In the centuries of Turkish rule Asia Minor had become thoroughly Islamicized.” 6

It is clear, therefore, that at this late date the Armenians have absolutely no international legal or even moral claim to eastern Anatolia. Nevertheless, as a stateless people who suffered a wrong that has never been rectified, and since they are a party to the contemporary terrorist movement against Turkey, it behooves us to search for a possible solution to the current impasse.

In a thoughtful essay on just this question, 7 Richard Hovannisian pointed out that “there are various gradations in the… Armenian desiderata.” Demands for financial and territorial recompense would be regarded by many as “maximalist.” “Through discussion and compromise…intermediate positions” could be reached. However, “the one demand that is shared universally by Armenians of all walks of life and at all stages of acculturation is for an admission of wrong-doing” by Turkey. Such action would extend “recognition and dignity to the hundreds of thousands of victims whose very memory the Turkish authorities and the rationalizing revisionists would eliminate.”

Professor Hovannisian’s implication is that by doing this, Turkey would satisfy the vast majority of moderate, law-abiding Armenians around the world, who would then disown and isolate the small group of hard-core terrorists. It also would initiate a “dialogue” through which an “ultimate resolution might be achieved.”

In making this suggestion, Hovannisian pointed out that “it is not a step without serious risks and it requires enormous courage.” Recognizing that the Turks are possessed of just such courage, however, Hovannisian then declared: “The Turkish government should be encouraged by its friends and allies to take the necessary first step toward the initiation of dialogue.”

I too concur with this recommendation, because not only do the Turks possess ample amounts of courage, but, as by far the stronger party in this ancient feud, they also are precisely the ones best situated to manifest magnanimity toward their antagonist. Certainly, an official statement that the Turkish government deeply regrets the tragedies suffered by the Armenians during World War I could be made without doing harm to the Turkish contention that they too suffered grievously during these years. In addition, since such a declaration would be made from a position of magnanimous strength, it could in no way be interpreted as giving in to terrorism.

Smaller gestures of goodwill also might be made, such as the commutation of Father Yergatian’s sentence and his early release on humanitarian grounds. Again, such an action if performed discretely could create a favorable impression among moderate Armenians without impugning the integrity of the Turkish political or judicial system. Furthermore, there is no reason similar actions could not be taken with equally positive results when analogous situations might be found to exist. A more forthright analysis of the Armenian historical contribution to the development of Anatolian history is a specific example. (Not a single artifact is identified as being Armenian, for instance, in Ankara’s Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, with its rich endowment and tasteful exhibits.) The point is that Turkey should demonstrate by small, but visible deeds what her friends already know she is so richly capable of accomplishing.

Precisely with whom the Turks would carry on a dialogue, of course, presents a problem. Unlike the Turks the Armenians are a stateless people who, in addition, are even more divided politically and religiously than one would expect, considering their relatively small numbers.

Although important, this problem should not present impossible barriers given goodwill on both sides. Once a Turkish statement of regret has been made, any one of a number of moderate but respected Armenian organizations might gracefully acknowledge the initiative and then add to it by making some type of conciliatory gesture toward the Turks. This might involve a statement of regret concerning Turkish suffering during World War I, accompanied by an appeal to end the contemporary terrorism. Further dialogue should involve, on the part of each, a more honest examination of the historical relationship between the two peoples. Such an analysis it is hoped would reveal the more positive sides of their past historical association, while admitting candidly the transgressions each had committed against the other.

That my above suggestion does not represent an impossibility is made clear by a number of statements that already have been made by both parties. Thus, numerous Armenians have repeatedly stated that if only the present-day Turkish government would admit that the Armenians suffered unfairly, the past could be put aside and the contemporary Armenian terrorists isolated. “We Armenians only request that the Turkish government admit to the atrocities committed circa World War I,” 8 wrote an Armenian in the United States. “I would like to forget and forgive, provided Turkey acknowledges that some ‘Young Turks’ and Ottomans wronged my people,” 9 stated another. New Jersey State Assemblyman Charles (Garabed) Haytaian added: “To this day, the fact that the Turkish government is not admitting that those things happened truly upsets many Armenians. What I would like to see is the Turkish nation say, ‘Look we admit that these atrocities occurred. We are sorry.’” 10

In an important interview with a Turkish correspondent, Charles (Chip) Pashayan, the only Armenian member of the U.S. House of Representatives, also agreed:

I feel that Turkey must, sooner or later, realize that by recognizing her guilt, she will reveal her greatness. If Turkey undertakes such a change in its position, the matter will largely end…. The majority of the Armenian people is willing to accept such a solution…. Then there will remain no ground for the terrorists to continue their activities…. I can assure you that once that happens, wounds of the past will heal in no time, and the issue would resolve itself once and for all. 11

Regarding financial restitutions and the creation of an independent Armenian state on Turkish territory—two points that are unacceptable to the Turks but which they feel would inevitably arise once Turkey began to change her position—Representative Pashayan was also reasonable: (1) Financial claims “can simply be symbolic in nature. It would not become a heavy burden for the Turkish government.” (2) Although “most Armenians” desire an independent Armenia, it is “simply a dream.”

For their part, a number of individual Turkish scholars have privately told me that they, as Turks, would be willing to admit that Armenians were massacred and that they regret what happened. Indeed, a Turkish group acknowledged wrongdoing by telling the King-Crane Commission shortly after World War I “that those who had been guilty of the massacres should be punished.” 12

In an amazing volume that has the ring of truth to it, the remnant of the Ottoman government itself, shortly after World War I, described what happened as “the immense wrong done to the Armenian people,” but claimed “extenuating circumstances.” 13 “The Turks massacred and murdered Armenians, plundered and devastated their homes. Yes. But did not the Armenians massacre and murder Turks, plunder and devastate their homes and were they not the first to start the sinister game?” 14

While the guilt for first causes here ought properly to be parceled out in a more bilateral manner, the willingness of the Turks to admit their share of the blame, at least, is commendable. Magnanimous is the declaration that “the Turkish people bows its head. It does so in grief for the Armenian people and in shame for itself.” 15

In succeeding years, of course, the new Turkish governments have disavowed such admissions on the grounds of Allied coercion. That such statements were not made by quislings or extracted forcibly by the victorious Allies becomes clear, however, as one reads through the volume cited above. For the most part, it is a hard-hitting condemnatory analysis of the Armenian “Committees” who “in their feud with Turkey… raised falsehood and fraud to the rank of a science and art.” 16 In fact, the accusations made by the volume against Armenian treachery in World War I could come right out of a standard, contemporary Turkish government publication. This Turkish volume, then, might bear careful analysis in the attempt to synthesize the conflicting Turkish and Armenian interpretations of what occurred and thus help lead to an eventual resolution of the current impasse.

Helpful too is the proposal “Negotiations with the Armenians” made early in 1985 by the former Turkish ambassador for cultural affairs and currently an influential journalist in Istanbul, Talat Halman. 17 The former ambassador began by declaring that the Turks “should accept some bitter truths” and “admit our policy concerning the Armenian Question was handled by inexperienced people and the result has been unsatisfactory.” Accordingly, Halman suggested that the Turks “should establish contact and start negotiations between Armenian leaders of Western Europe and [the] United States and also with the Armenian Churches.” Recognizing that “perhaps our government is not willing to take this course officially,” Halman proposed that if such is the case, “indirect approaches and semiofficial meetings, etc. could be arranged and Armenians from [the] United States and Europe can take part in these meetings.”

Significantly, Halman then wrote that at such meetings “Turkey will make her position clear cut and benevolently grant a few concessions towards the Armenians.” Although “deadlock might be expected,” Halman argued that “contact…might lead to better relations [and] to the solution of some of the standing problems.” The former Turkish ambassador concluded hopefully that “The great majority of the Armenian people are good like the Turkish people. If the good people on both sides come together, they might silence those who are working in the dark.”

Similarly useful is a proposal by Professor Vazken L.Parsegian of Troy Hills, New York, “to renounce violence in all its forms between the Turkish and Armenian versions of the events of World War I through a cooperative restudy of these events.” 18 For such a study to be carried out successfully, however, “the effort must be of academic quality and objectivity, by a team of respected Turkish, Armenian and neutral historians.” These scholars “would need the guidance…of respected international leaders,” access “to national archives” and “funding… through an educational organization.” Their work should be supplemented by meetings and studies between other Turkish and Armenian “cultural and academic groups.” However, “the study cannot and must not attempt to propose solutions to the political issues.” Still, such a “study, properly conducted and made available both to Armenians and Turkish readers and to the world at large can improve the historical perspective of both peoples.”

In his proposal Professor Parsegian also stated that he already had “discussed the matter with Turkish nationals,” as well as with “an official of the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C. and with the Turkish Desk of our Department of State, both of whom strongly favored the study being undertaken.” Although a recent letter “to President Evren of Turkey to ask for his help for access to the Turkish Archives for the study” went unanswered, it “was published in a Turkish newspaper with strong editorial endorsement for the study.”

On the basis of such proposals as advocated above, then, the Turks may in time find it possible to surrender their position of beleaguered innocence and admit that things got terribly out of hand in 1915, causing the unjustified deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians. The Armenians, on the other hand, may be able to bury their hoary image of the Turks as inhuman perpetrators of genocide and see their own actions leading up to and into 1915 as at times provocative, and thus see themselves as something less than innocent victims.

The Armenians and Turks were able to live in peace together for hundreds of years in the past. Even today they share many common cultural attributes. Turks, for example, have expressed to me an obvious pleasure with the fact that Armenians can often speak the difficult Turkish language with them. An Armenian banquet, on the other hand, would not be complete without shish kebab, a preparation that is one of the Turkish national dishes. The fact that some 60,000 Armenians live peacefully and in many cases quite prosperously in Turkey—at least if the Turkish Armenians, as distinguished from others, are to be believed—also indicates that Turks and Armenians can live in peace.

Once a dialogue is successfully initiated, foreign Armenian visits to Turkey, which already occur without great publicity, might increase. This could not only further a positive dialogue but promote the Turkish tourist business as well. Eventually, it is conceivable that the inherent Armenian genius for business ventures might be channeled into certain Turkish investments with mutual benefits for both parties. Indeed, the possibilities are endless for two long-separated, but still interrelated peoples who finally have buried their ancient feud.

Whether such positive steps as these can be achieved remains to be seen. Certainly, however, there is a need for both sides to reach out beyond the present sterile diatribes. As Enver Ziya Karal, a Turkish history professor, has written: “We cannot forget those who have fallen dead both from the ranks of the Armenians and the Turks…. We should reverently bow before their memory and wish for the reinstatement and continuance of the old ties of friendship between the Turks and the Armenians….” 19 If the memory of those who have suffered and died so horribly is indeed to be honored, what better way than that they shall have sown the seeds for a future reconciliation that would allow their children to live in mutual peace, instead of reenacting their tragic past?

1. Although an analysis of the Treaty of Lausanne is beyond the scope of this book, the interested reader may refer to the relevant chapters of the following books: Roderic H.Davison, Turkish Diplomacy from Mudros to Lausanne (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1953); John A.DeNovo, American Interests and Policies in the Middle East 1900–1939 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1963); Laurence Evans, United States Policy and the Partition of Turkey 1914–1924 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1965); and Harry N.Howard, The Partition of Turkey: A Diplomatic History 1913–1923 (New York: Howard Fertig, 1966).

2. For a much fuller development of these important points, see my “Self-Determination in the Recent Practice of the United Nations,” World Affairs 137 (Fall 1974), pp. 150–65; “Self-Determination or Territorial Integrity: The United Nations in Confusion,” World Affairs 141 (Winter 1979), pp. 203–16; and the many citations of other scholarly analyses therein.

In addition, see Louis Henkin, et al., International Law: Cases and Materials (St. Paul, Minn.: West Publishing Co., 1980), pp. 211–12; Gerhard von Glahn, Law among Nations: An Introduction to Public International Law (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. 1981), pp. 127–28; Michael Akehurst, A Modern Introduction to International Law (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1982), pp. 248–251; and Rupert Emerson, “Self-Determination,” American Journal of International Law 65 (July 1971), pp. 459–75.

3. See, for example, The Armenian Weekly, December 3, 1983, pp. 2 and 6–7.

4. See, for example, Shavarsh Toriguian, The Armenian Question and International Law (Beirut: Hamaskaine Press, 1973), pp. 74–86.

5. Justin McCarthy, Muslims and Minorities: The Population of Ottoman Anatolia and the End of the Empire, (New York and London: New York University Press, 1983), pp. 46–88, 109–16, and 121–30. Note especially the summary tables on pp. 110–12.

6. Ibid., p. 115. See chapter 1 for more evidence on this point.

7. The following discussion is based on Richard Hovannisian, “The Armenian Case: Toward a Just Solution,” The [Armenian] California Courier, December 1, 1983, p. 9. Professor Hovannisian is clearly the most articulate and scholarly of the numerous Armenian writers.

8. Edward Hatchadourian of Pompano Beach, Florida, letter to the editor, Christian Science Monitor, September 12, 1983, p. 22.

9. Levon K.Toporizian, cited in The Armenian Weekly, September 17, 1983, p. 3.

10. Cited in The [Armenian] California Courier, October 20, 1983, p. 3.

11. This and the following citations are taken from the transcript of the interview that appeared in The Armenian Reporter, October 11, 1984, pp. 1 and 12. Sami Cohen, a writer for the Istanbul daily, Milliyet, and a part-time correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, was the interviewer.

12. Cited in Harry N.Howard, An American Inquiry in the Middle East: The King-Crane Commission (Beirut: Khayats, 1963), p. 165.

13. The Turco-Armenian Question: The Turkish Point of View (Constantinople: The National Congress of Turkey, 1919 [reprinted]), pp. 83 and 85.

14. Ibid., pp. 117–18.

15. Ibid., p. 116.

16. Ibid., p. 94.

17. The proposal appeared in the Turkish daily, Milliyet, on January 10, 1985, and was graciously translated verbatim into English as “Armenian-Turkish Negotiations: A Turkish Columnist Proposes,” in The Armenian Weekly, February 2, 1985, pp. 1 and 13. The following citations are taken from this translation.

18. Vazken L.Parsegian, “April 24, 1985–A Time for Change,” The Armenian Reporter, October 4, 1984, p. 3. The following citations are taken from this article.

19. Enver Ziya Karal, Armenian Question (Ankara: Gunduz, 1975), p. 26.

Selected Bibliography

For numerous additional references, the reader should refer to the notes at the end of each chapter.


Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS). Arlington, Virginia: Translated by Joint Publications Research Service and distributed by National Technical Information Service.

Note: “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA,” which I cited on numerous occasions in my text, came from this source. The full citation of this interview is: “Nadim Nasir Report: Al-Majallah Visits an Armenian Secret Army Base in Lebanon,” FBIS, Daily Report (Middle East and Africa), September 1, 1982, pp. G7–8.

Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS). Springfield, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, U.S. Department of Commerce.

Note: “Panorama Interview,” which I also cited on numerous occasions in my text, came from this source. Its full citation is “Armenian Terrorist Leader Hagopian Interviewed: Milan Panorama in Italian, 1 September 1980, pp. 62–65,” in JPRS: Western Europe, No. 1628, September 24, 1980, pp. 1–6.


“An Appeal to All Armenians.” In The Armenian Weekly, July 2, 1983, p. 2. JCAG appeal for financial and moral support.

Andonian, Aram (ed.). The Memoirs of Naim Bey: Turkish Official Documents Relating to the Deportations and Massacres of Armenians. London, 1920, reprinted, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania: Armenian Historical Research Association, 1964.

Armenian Revolutionary Army. “Communique.” (Dated June 20, 1984), in The Armenian Weekly, July 14, 1984, p. 3.

——. “Communique.” (Dated October 12, 1984), in The Armenian Weekly, November 3, 1984, p. 2.

——. “Communique.” (Dated November 19, 1984), in The Armenian Weekly, December 29, 1984, p. 2.

Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia. “ASALA’nin Siyasal Programi” [The Political Program of AS ALA]. In Hay Baykar (Mouvement National Armenien pour L’ASALA, Paris, France), No. 1 [1982], p. 3.

——. “Declaration.” Published as “ASALA Releases Declaration Following Munich Meeting,” in The Armenian Reporter, January 24, 1985, p. 8.

Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia-Revolutionary Movement. “Statement.” (Dated August 16, 1983), published as “Armenian Secret Army Denounces Orly Attack: Claims Separate Faction Responsible,” in The Armenian Reporter, September 1, 1983, p. 12.

——. “ASALA-RM History.” Published as “Booklet Giving History of ASALA’s Existence Gives New Insight into the Revolutionary Movement,” in nine consecutive issues of The Armenian Reporter, January 10, 1985–March 7, 1985.

Balian, Ohan. “Keynote Address at Lisbon Five Rally.” In The Armenian Weekly, February 11, 1984, pp. 6, 7, and 9. A statement of the current theoretical position of ARA and presented as a speech on January 29, 1984.

Documents. Ankara: Prime Ministry Directorate General of Press and Information, 1982.

Documents on Ottoman-Armenians. Vol. II. Ankara: Prime Ministry Directorate General of Press and Information, 1983.

Facts from the Turkish Armenians. Istanbul: Jamanak, 1980.

Great Britain. The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915–16, Parliamentary Papers Miscellaneous No. 31. London: Joseph Cavston, 1916. Commonly referred to as the Bryce/Toynbee Blue Book.

Hovannisian, Richard. The Armenian Holocaust: A Bibliography Relating to the Deportations, Massacres, and Dispersion of the Armenian People, 1915–1923. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Armenian Heritage Press, 1978.

Ikle, Fred C. “Testimony by the Honorable Fred C.Ikle, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Before the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the [U.S.] Senate Judiciary Committee.” (Mimeographed) March 11, 1982.

Simsir, Bilal N. (ed.). British Documents on Ottoman Armenians. Volume I (1856–1880). Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 1982.

——. British Documents on Ottoman Armenians. Volume II (1880–1890). Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 1983.

Sonyel, Salahi R. (ed.). Displacement of the Armenians Documents. Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Belleteninde Yayinlanmistir, 1978.

“Statement of Francis M.Mullen, Jr. Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration U.S. Department of Justice, on Drug-Related Terrorism Before the United States Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Paula Hawkins, Chairman.” (Mimeographed) August 2, 1984.

“Statement of Nathan M.Adams, Senior Editor of Reader’s Digest, August 2, 1984; Room 428 Dirksen Senate Office Building Before the Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.” (Mimeographed) August 2, 1984.

Yalcin, Aydin. Testimony in “Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate on Turkish Experience with Terrorism.” Serial No. J–97–43, 97th Cong., 1 sess., 1981.


The Armenian Horizon (University of California—Los Angeles)
The Armenian Reporter (Flushing, New York)
The Armenian Weekly (Boston, Massachusetts)
The [Armenian] California Courier (Fresno, California)
Hay Baykar [Armenian Stuggle] (Paris, France)

ATA-USA: Bulletin of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (Washington, D.C.)
NewSpot: Turkish Digest (Ankara, Turkey)
Turkey Today (The Turkish Embassy, Washington, D.C.)
Turkish Daily News (Ankara, Turkey)

Boston Globe
Christian Science Monitor
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Economist (England)
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
Los Angeles Times
Manchester Guardian Weekly Edition (England)
New York Times
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post
Washington Times

Gunter, Michael M. “The Armenian Terrorist Campaign Against Turkey.” Paper presented at the 79th Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, Illinois, September 2, 1983.

——. “Contemporary Aspects of Armenian Terrorism.” Paper presented at the International Symposium on Terrorism, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey, April 17, 1984.

——. “The Historical Origins of the Armenian-Turkish Enmity.” Paper presented at the National Conference on Genocide and Human Rights, Bentley College Massachusetts, April 19, 1985.

——. “Transnational Sources of Support for Armenian Terrorism.” Paper presented at the 26th Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, Washington, D.C., March 6, 1985.

Henze, Paul. “Coping with Terrorism: What Do We Know? What Can Be Done?” Discussion paper presented at the Conference of the Political and Social Studies Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey, October 3–6, 1982.

Kouymjian, Dickran. “Armenian Militancy: Present Contexts and Future Conjectures.” Paper presented at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association, Chicago, Illinois, November 4, 1983.

Libaridian, Gerard. “Roots of Political Violence in Recent Armenian History.” Paper presented at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association, Chicago, Illinois, November 4, 1983.

Marashlian, Levon. “The Armenian Question Today: NATO, Moscow, and the Peoples of Anatolia.” Paper presented at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association, Chicago, Illinois, November 4, 1983.

Melson, Robert. “Provocation or Nationalism: A Critical Inquiry into the Armenian Genocide of 1915.” Paper presented at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association, Chicago, Illinois, November 4, 1983.

Miller, Donald E. “Interpreting the Past: An Oral History of Armenian Survivors.” Paper presented at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association, Chicago, Illinois, November 4, 1983.

Corsun, Andrew. “Armenian Terrorism: A Profile.” U.S. Department of State Bulletin 82 (August 1982), pp. 31–35.

Daniel, Robert L. “The Armenian Question and American-Turkish Relations, 1914–1927.” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 46 (September 1959), pp. 252–75.

Davison, Roderic. “The Armenian Crisis, 1912–1914.” American Historical Review 53 (April 1948), pp. 481–505.

——. “Turkish Attitudes Concerning Christian-Muslim Equality in the Nineteenth Century.” American Historical Review 59 (July 1954), pp. 844–64.

Dyer, Gwynne. “Turkish ‘Falsifiers’ and Armenian ‘Deceivers’: Historiography and the Armenian Massacres.” Middle Eastern Studies 12 (January 1976), pp. 99–107.

“Forum: The Armenian Question.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 9 (1978), pp. 379–400.

Gunter, Michael M. “The Armenian Terrorist Campaign Against Turkey.” Orbis 27 (Summer 1983), pp. 447–77.

——. “The Armenian Terrorist Campaign Against Turkey.” Orient 24 (December 1983), pp. 610–37.

——. “Contemporary Armenian Terrorism.” Terrorism 8 (No. 3, 1986), pp. 213–252.

——. “The Historical Origins of Contemporary Armenian Terrorism.” Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 9 (Fall 1985), pp. 77–96.

——. “Transnational Sources of Support for Armenian Terrorism.” Conflict Quarterly 5 (Fall 1985), pp. 31–52.

Henze, Paul. “The Long Effort to Destabilize Turkey.” Atlantic Community Quarterly 19 (Winter 1981/82), pp. 468–73.

Jordan, Robert. “The Proud Armenians.” National Geographic 153 (June 1978), pp. 846–73.

Lowry, Heath. “The United States Congress and Adolf Hitler.” Political Communication and Persuasion 3 (No. 2, 1985), pp. 111–40.

Perera, Judith. “An End to Armed Propaganda?” The Middle East, September 1983, pp. 18–20.

Ravitch, Norman. “The Armenian Catastrophe: Of History, Murder & Sin.” Encounter, December 1981, pp. 69–84.

Sonyel, Salahi R. “Yeni Belgelerin Isigi Altinda Ermeni Tehcirleri” [The Armenian Deportations: A Reappraisal in the Light of New Documents]. Belleten 36 (1972), pp. 31–69.

——. “Tehcir ve Kirimlar Konusunda Ermeni Propagandasi Hristiyanlik Dunyasini Nasil Aldatti” [How Armenian Propaganda Deceived the Christian World on Deportations and Massacres]. Belleten 40 (1977), pp. 137–88.

Szaz, Z.Michael. “Armenian Terrorists and the East-West Conflict.” Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies,Winter 1983, pp. 387–94.

Talaat. “The Posthumous Memoirs of Talaat Pasha.” Current History 15 (1921), pp. 287–95.

Walker, Christopher J. “The Armenian Holocaust in Its Modern Historical Context.” Ararat 24 (Spring 1983), pp. 43–45.

Wilkinson, Paul. “Armenian Terrorism.” World Today 39 (September 1983), pp. 344–50.

Armenia: The Continuing Tragedy. Geneva: Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, World Council of Churches, 1984.

The Armenian Issue in Nine Questions and Answers. Ankara: Foreign Policy Institute, 1982.

Ataov, Turkkaya. The Andonian “Documents” Attributed to Talat Pasha Are Forgeries! Ankara: Ankara University, 1984.

Documents relatifs aux atrocités commises par les Arméniens sur la population musulmane. Constantinople: Publication du Congrès National, 1919 (reprinted).

Documents sur les atrocités arméno-russes. Constantinople: Société Anonyme de Papeterie et d’Imprimerie, 1917 (reprinted).

Hassassian, Manuel S. A.R.F. as a Revolutionary Party 1890–1921. Jerusalem: Hai Tad Publications, 1983.

——. Armenia’s Struggle for Self-Determination. Jerusalem: Hai Tad Publications, 1983.

Henze, Paul. Goal: Destabilization—Soviet Agitational Propaganda, Instability and Terrorism in NATO South. Marina del Rey: European American Institute for Security Research, 1981.

Karal, Enver Ziya. Armenian Question. Ankara: Gunduz, 1975.

Kevenk, Kerim C. History Perverted: Jewish Holocaust vs. Armenian Claims. Chicago: United Turkish Americans, 1980.

Setting the Record Straight on Armenian Propaganda Against Turkey. Washington, D.C.: Assembly of Turkish American Associations, 1982.

Simsir, Bilal N. The Deportees of Malta and the Armenian Question. Ankara: Foreign Policy Institute, 1984.

Sonyel, Salahi R. Displacement of the Armenians Documents. Ankara: Baylan Matbaasi, 1978.

Anadol, Cemal. Tarihim Isiginda [In the Light of History]. Istanbul: Turan Kitabevi, 1982.

Arlen, Michael, Jr. Passage to Ararat. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1975.

Aspirations et agissement revolutionnaires des comités arméniens avant et après la proclamation de la constitution ottomane. Istanbul, 1917 (reprinted).

Atamian, Sarkis. The Armenian Community. New York: Philosophical Library, 1955.

Boyajian, Dickran H. Armenia: The Case for a Forgotten Genocide. Westwood: Educational Book Crafters, 1972.

Bryce, James. Transcaucasia and Ararat. London: Macmillan and Co. Ltd. , 1896.

Chaliand, Gerard and Yves Ternon. The Armenians: From Genocide to Resistance. London: Zed Press, 1983.

Davison, Roderic H. Reform in the Ottoman Empire 1856–1876. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963.

Demur, Neside Kerem. The Armenian Question in Turkey. 1980. (No other information provided.)

Der Nersessian, Sirarpie. The Armenians. New York: Praeger, 1970.

Djemal. Memories of a Turkish Statesman, 1913–1919. New York: George H.Doran Co., 1922.

Fisher, H.A.L. James Bryce. Vols. I and II. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1927.

Gibbons, Herbert. The Blackest Page of Modern History: Events in Armenia in 1915. New York and London: Putnam, 1916.

Gurun, Kamuran. Ermeni Dosyasi [The Armenian Files]. Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 1983.

Hovannisian, Richard G. Armenia on the Road to Independence, 1918. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967.

——. The Republic of Armenia. Vol I: The First Year, 1918–1919. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971.

——. The Republic of Armenia. Vol II: From Versailles to London, 1919–1920. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982.

Keller, Werner. Diaspora: The Post-Biblical History of the Jews. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1969.

Krikorian, Mesrob K. Armenians in the Service of the Ottoman Empire 1860–1908. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977.

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——. The Armenians: A People in Exile. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1981.

Langer, William. The Diplomacy of Imperialism, 1890–1902. Boston: Knopf, 1951.

Lepsius, Johannes. Armenia and Europe: An Indictment. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1897.

——. Bericht über die Lage des armenischen Volkes in der Türkei. Potsdam: Tempelverlag, 1916.

Laqueur, Walter. Terrorism. Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1977.

Lewis, Bernard. The Emergence of Modern Turkey. London: Oxford University Press, 1968.

McCarthy, Justin. Muslims and Minorities: The Population of Ottoman Anatolia and the End of the Empire. New York and London: New York University Press, 1983.

Mickolus, Edward. Transnational Terrorism: A Chronology of Events, 1968–79. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1980.

Mirak, Robert. Torn Between Two Lands: Armenians in America, 1890 to World War I. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983.

Morgenthau, Henry. Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story. Garden City and New York: Doubleday, Page, 1919.

Nalbandian, Louise. The Armenian Revolutionary Movement: The Development of Armenian Political Parties Through the Nineteenth Century. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1963.

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a Abdul Hamid (Sultan), 8, 9, 10, 11
Abrahamian, Sarkis, 70, 79
Abu Iyad (Salah Khalaf), 34, 50
“Abu Mujahid,” 83
Abu Nidal (Sabri al-Banna), ASALA connections and, 50, 75
Achkoyan, Antoine, 71
Adams, Nathan M., 75
Aeroflot, 52
Agca, Mehmet Ali, 96
Aghtamar (Turkey), 139
Ahlat (Turkey), 140
Air Canada, 74, 77, 80
Air France, 2
Aivazian, Vicken (John Lulu), 43, 50, 62
Ajemian, Setrak, 70, 79–80
Akbay, Erkut, 69
Aksoy, Dursun, 60, 69, 125
Alexander, Yonah, 97
Alfortville (France), 106 ;
bombing of Armenian monument in, 125, 127
Alitalia, 2
Altikat, Atilla, 69
Amnesty International (AI):
accusations against Turkey, 134, 140 ;
adopts Father Yergatian as a “prisoner of conscience,” 133–34
Amsterdam, bombing of Turkish Airlines office in, 2
Ananian, Garlen, 51, 115
Ananian, Kevork, 48
Anatolian Civilizations, Museum of (Ankara), 150
Andonian telegrams, 23, 25 n.21
Ani (Turkey), 139
Anjar (Lebanon), 78, 113
Ankara, International Symposium on Terrorism held in, 107
Ankara airport. See Esenboga (Ankara) airport
Ansha (Armenian National Committee for Homeless Armenians), 3
Antelias (Lebanon), 34, 91
“Anti-Armenian Organization,” 125
“Antranig Pasha,” 115
Antranik (Ozanian), General, 94
April 24 (Martyrs or Commemoration Day), 31–32, 38 n.12, 78, 132
ARA (Armenian Revolutionary Army), 55, 118 n.42;
characteristics of members, 76, 79–80 ;
compared with ASALA , 56, 58, 60, 73 ; ARA (continued)
Dashnak connections, 55–61, 73, 111 ;
operations, 59, 62–63, 69, 124 ;
program, 57–59, 60 ;
successor of JCAG, 5 n.7, 56–57, 60, 61.
See also Armenian terrorism;
Arabian, Armand, 99
Arabian, Mahram, 77
Ararat, Mt., 94
ARF (Armenian Revolutionary Federation). See Dashnaks
ARF Revolutionary Movement, 61.
See also Armenian terrorism;
ASALA, violence against Dashnaks;
Dashnaks, intramural violence
Argentina, 90
Ari, Tecelli, 43, 69
Arikan, Kemal, 2, 33, 69, 70
Ariyak, Sarik, 69
Arlen, Michael, Jr., 4, 37
Arman, Karabet, 135
Armenakans, 104
Armenia, 11, 94, 114, 148, 149.
See also Armenian Republic;
Cilician (New) Armenia;
Russian Armenia;
Soviet Armenia;
Turkish Armenia
Armenia (ASALA’s Beirut organ), 44, 47, 112, 126
Armenian Church, 33–34, 91, 105, 130, 153 ;
divisions in, 91
Armenian Cultural Center (London), 125
Armenian diaspora, 76, 90, 150–51 ;
Britain, 90 ;
Canada, 90 ;
Cyprus, 110 ;
France, 36–37, 90, 104–6 ;
Greece, 90, 111 ;
Iran, 44, 90, 114–15 ;
Lebanon, 33–35, 90 ;
Syria, 90 ;
United States, 90, 98–99, 118 n. 43
Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), 92
Armenian genocide, 1, 92, 102–3, 106, 108, 131, 133, 140 ;
analysis of, 15–17, 19–23 ;
Armenian position on, 5 n.4, 13–15, 77, 79, 100–103, 137 ;
Turkish position on, 5 n.4, 17 19, 137
Armenian National Committee (Dashnaks), 99, 102
Armenian National Movement (France), 46, 105.
See also Armenian Struggle;
Democratic Front;
Toranian, Ara
Armenian Popular Movement (Greece), 111
Armenian Question, 4, 153 ;
Armenian position on, 7–9 ;
Turkish position on, 9–12
Armenian Reporter, The (U.S. indepen dent weekly), 39 n.14, 97, 111
Armenian Republic (1918–1920), 20, 55.
See also Armenia;
Armenian Revolutionary Army. See ARA
Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF). See Dashnaks
deportations and massacres of (1915), 4, 12–19, 90, 92, 94, 132, 152
(see also Armenian genocide);
massacres of (1890s), 9, 92 ;
minority in historic Armenia, 11, 149 ;
nationalist and revolutionary movements in Ottoman Empire, 8–9, 11–12 ;
opposed to terrorism, 37, 119 n.57, 154 ;
position in Ottoman Empire, 7–12 ;
position in Turkey today, 129–42, 155 ;
prejudices against Turks, 20, 23, 27 n.55, 128, 154 ;
similarities with Turks, 155 ;
support terrorism implicitly, 2, 23, 37, 56, 74, 76, 79, 90, 99–100, 111.
See also various other listings concerning Armenians
Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia. See ASALA
Armenian Struggle, 46.
See also Armenian National Movement;
Democratic Front;
Toranian, Ara
Armenian terrorism:
bombings by, 2 3, 70–72 ;
causes of, 4, 30–32, 33–35 ;
diplomatic assassinations by, 1, 32–33, 43, 68–70, 96 ;
drug dealing and, 75–76 ;
financing of, 74–75, 80, 90–91 ;
geographical locations of, 67, 73 ;
goals, 36–37, 57, 60 ;
historical precedents for, 4, 11–12, 29–30 ;
impact of, 147 ;
infiltration of, 77 ;
intramural violence and, 47–48, 51, 60–62, 68, 127 ;
justifications of, 1–2, 29–30, 36–37, 99–100 ;
personal characteristics of terrorists, 76–85 ;
solutions to, 149–55 ;
support by general Armenian community for, 1–2, 23, 37, 56, 74, 76, 79, 90, 99–100, 111 ;
transnational sources of support for, 34–35, 76, 89–115 ;
victims of, 1, 46, 68–70.
See also names of Armenian terrorist organizations
Armenian Weekly, The (U.S. Dashnak weekly), 63 n.1
Armenian Youth Federation (Dashnaks), 78
Arsacids, 20
Artsruni principate of Van, 20
ASALA, 3, 5 n.7, 31, 33, 92, 107, 114, 124, 125, 126, 128–29, 133 ;
Abu Nidal and, 50, 75 ;
characteristics of members, 76, 77, 78–79, 80–85 ;
compared to JCAG-ARA, 56, 58, 60, 73 ;
creation of, 33, 35, 41, 42 ;
development of, 34, 42–45 ;
drug trafficking, 75–76 ;
evacuates Beirut (1982), 46, 50, 111 ;
finances of, 74–75, 80, 125 ;
operations of, 42–43, 44, 46, 68–73, 75 ;
Palestinian connections, 34–35, 50, 92–93, 96 ;
“popular movements” for, 44, 45, 46, 51, 105 ;
program of, 36, 41, 45, 57–58 ;
Soviet connections, 41, 45, 58, 95–96, 112 ;
split within, 34, 45–53, 62, 108, 115, 126, 127 ;
transnational connections, 44, 107–8, 112–13, 115, 128–29 ;
violence against Dashnaks, 58, 62, 112.
See also Armenian terrorism;
Hagopian, Hagop;
Melkonian, Monte
ASALA-Revolutionary Movement.
ASALA-RM, 38 n.14, 51, 126 ;
apparent failure of, 53 ;
creation of, 46 ;
denounces ASALA, 47–49, 54 n.16, 71–72 ;
program of, 46, 49–50, 52–53.
See also Armenian terrorism;
Melkonian, Monte
“ASALA-RM History,” 34, 38–39 n.14, 46
Ashjian, Apo, 62 ;
possible head of JCAG, 61 ;
probable victim of intramural Dashnak violence, 61, 126–27
Assad, Hafez, 113
Assad, Rifaat, 113
Ataturk, Mustafa Kemal, 104, 141 ;
unfairly compared to Hitler, 20
Athens (Greece):
attack on Turkish embassy in, 2 ;
terrorists possibly live in, 50, 111, 112
Australia, 90
Azad Hay (Canada), 44
Azerbaijan (USSR), 21, 97–98
Azmi, 30
Aznavour, Charles, 105, 107
Aznavourian, Sarkis, 61

b Bagratids of Ani, 20
Bahaeddin, Shakir, 30
Balcioglu, Besir, 68
Balian, Haig, 80
Balian, Ohan, 58
Balkans, 21, 148
Balkar, Galip, 19, 69, 70, 133
Basmajian, Kevork, 79
Basques, 89
Baydar, Mehmet, 32, 68
Bedrosian, Zaven, 72, 81–82
Beirut, 2, 31, 33, 42, 61, 78, 79, 80, 109–10, 112, 125, 127 ;
ASALA base in, 43, 44, 46, 77, 84
Bekaa Valley (Lebanon), 50, 51, 84, 112, 113
Belgrade, attack on Turkish embassy in, 2
Benler, Ahmet, 68
Berberian, Dikran S., 78
Berlin, Treaty of (1878), 8, 10
Berne, attack on Turkish embassy in, 2
Bikfaya (Lebanon), bombing of Armenian Martyrs Monument in, 78
Black September massacre, 34, 35
Boghosian, Edward K., 37
Bosphorus, University of (Istanbul), 134, 137
Boston, Armenians in, 2
Bourj Hammond (Lebanon), 33, 47, 78, 79
Brazil, 90
Bristol, Mark L. (Admiral), 15
Britain, 41, 44, 90, 111
British Airways, 2
Brussels, attack on Turkish embassy in, 2
Bryce, James (Lord), 9, 10, 13, 15, 17, 94 ;
anti-Turkish biases, 16 ;
co-editor of Blue Book Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915– 16, 13 ;
pro-Armenian biases, 9, 16
Bulgaria, 9, 90, 94
Byzantine Empire, 90

c Cacopetria (Cyprus), 110
California, Armenians in, 99, 100, 118 n.43
Canada, 2, 42, 44, 74, 90
Canoga Park (California), Armenians in, 77, 83
Carim, Taha, 68
Carter, Jimmy, 95
Catanassian, Avedis, 71
Catanassian, Ohannes, 71
Catholicos (Armenian Pope), 91
Chahan de Cirbied, Jacques (Hakovb Tjerpetian Shahaniants), 104
Chaliand, Gerard, 105, 107
Chamoun, Camille, 34
“Cher,” 99
Cherokee Indians, 148
Cheysson, Claude, 112
Chrinian, Varant, 80
CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), 51, 61, 126
Cilicia, 104, 139
Cilician (New) Armenia, 20, 104.
See also Armenia
Cilician See (of Armenian Apostolic Church), 33–34, 91
Cirit, Oktay, 42, 68, 70
Coelho, Tony, 103
Cohen, Sami (Sam), 156 n.11
Colbert, Jean, 104
Colpan, Yilmaz, 68
Committee for the Defense of Armenian Political Prisoners, 44
Committee of Union and Progress, 13
Commodore Hotel (Beirut), 84
Congressional resolutions on Armenian genocide (U.S.), 100–1, 119 n.57
Constantinople, 23
Copenhagen, bombing of Turkish Airlines office in, 2
Costikyan, Edward, 37
reputedly by Turks against Armenians, 61, 123–29
Covered Bazaar (Istanbul), attacked by ASALA, 46, 70, 71
Cyprus, 20, 28 n.56, 137, 148 ;
reputed support of Armenian terrorists, 108–10

d Dadaian, Steven John, 77, 78
Daghlian, Vatche, 70, 79
Damascus (Syria), 49, 50, 74, 93, 112, 115
Darakjian, Hagop, 35, 42, 43, 70
Darius the Great, 114
Dashnaks (Armenian Revolutionary Federation, ARF, Dashnags), 8, 11 12, 34, 44, 55–63, 74, 78, 79, 91, 100, 105 ;
Bureau of, 61, 111 ;
decline of, 60, 62, 105 ;
deny terrorist links, 63 n.1;
intramural violence, 61, 127 ;
peaceful activities, 57, 102–3 ;
program of, 57, 128 ;
sponsor terrorism, 55, 56, 58–63, 73, 91 ;
violence against ASALA, 62, 112.
See also ARA;
ARF Revolutionary Movement;
Armenian terrorism;
Defferre, Gaston, 105–106
Demir, Behadir, 32, 68
Democratic Front, 46, 51.
See also Armenian National Movement;
Armenian Struggle;
Toranian, Ara
Denktash, Rauf, 109
Derderian, Harry, 99
Deukmejian, George, 99, 118 n.43
Dinuba (California), Monte Melkonian born in, 82
Djemal Azmi, 30
Djemal Pasha, 13, 30
Donabedian, Kevork, 63 n.1
Drug trafficking by Armenian terrorists, 75–76.
See also ASALA, drug trafficking;
“Shoe Repairmen’s Ring;”
Soufoyon, Noubar
Druze (Progressive Socialist) Party, 34
Dyer, Gwynne, 19

e Eblighatian, Melkon, 127
Egypt, 90
Ekmekjian, Levon, 70, 77, 82, 86 n.24, 126
El Al, 2
Elbekian, Raffi, 70, 111
Elekdag, Sukru, 102
Elkus, Abram, 15
Enver Pasha, 13, 14
Erevan (Soviet Armenia), 32, 94
Erez, Ismail, 68
Ergun, Enver, 69, 124
Erzincan (Turkey), 19
Erzurum (Turkey), 131
Esenboga (Ankara) airport:
attacked in 1979, 43 ;
attacked in 1982, 4, 46, 70, 77, 82, 93, 112, 123, 126
Etchmiadzin (Mother See of Armenian Apostolic Church), 91
Euphrates River, 112
Europe, Western, Armenian terrorism in, 67
Evren, Kenan, 96, 123, 124, 141, 153

f Fatah, 93
Fatahland (Lebanon), 84
FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) 80 ;
reportedly infiltrates ASALA and JCAG in U.S., 77
Financing of terrorists, 74–75, 80, 90–91
Forty Days of Musa Dagh, The, 104
France, 41, 44, 50, 73, 74, 80, 114 ;
Armenians living in, 36–37, 90, 104–6, 108 ;
historical connections with Armenians, 103–5 ;
reported deal with ASALA, 103, 107–8 ;
support for Armenians, 103–8 ;
threatened by ASALA, 2, 41, 114 ;
Turkish anger against, 52, 107
Franceschi, Joseph, 106
Frankfurt (Germany), bombing of Turkish Airlines office in, 2
French Film Society, 125
al Fursan-al Arab (Syria), 113

g Gaitzer (Britain), 44
Gallipoli, 20, 21
Garbidjian, Varoujian, 70, 71, 80–81
Gemayel, Pierre, 34
Geneva, bombing of Turkish consulate in, 2
Genocide studies (in U.S.), 101–2
Georgia (Georgians), 21, 30
Georgiu, Dimitriu.
See Melkonian, Monte
Giaour, 8
Giragosian, John, 97
Giscard d’Estaing, Valery, 106
Googoonian expedition (1890), 59–60
Greece, 46, 55, 90, 137 ;
apparent sympathy for Armenian terrorists, 75, 110–12
Gulbenkian Foundation, 92
Gulbenkyan, Calouste, 136
Gulumian, Pierre, 43, 49
Gunbeyan, Krikor, 136
Gunduz, Orhan, 69
Gungor, Kani, 2, 80
Gurriaran, Jose Antonio, 34, 83, 84
Guzelian, Hrant, 134, 138
Guzelian, Kevork, 70, 78

h Habbash, George, 35, 92, 93
Haddad, Wadi, 35
Hagopian, Hagop (Mujahed), 31, 41, 42, 44, 46, 51, 52, 72, 73–74, 75, 85 n.4, 92, 98, 108, 111, 115, 126 ;
attempts to kill other Armenians, 47–48, 62, 127 ;
falsely reported killed, 50 ;
method of dominating ASALA, 42, 47–49 ;
reported personal characteristics, 34–35, 83 ;
usage of different names, 35, 47 ;
visits France, 51, 108.
See also Mujahed
Hague, The, attack on Turkish embassy in, 2
Hai Tahd (Armenian Cause), 56–57
Halabian, Martin, 35, 37
Halebian, Bedros, 71
Halman, Talat, proposes talks with Armenians, 153
Hamidiye, 8
Hamouriah (Syria), 93
Harassment, reputedly of Armenians by Turks, 129–34
Hatay (Alexandretta), 112
Hatchinlian, Simon A., 137
Havarian, Khatchig (Abu Mahmoud), 43, 48–49, 50, 62
Hayastan-Veratartz (ASALA organ), 112
Hay Baykar (French Armenian organ), 105
Haytaian, Charles (Garabed), 151
Henze, Paul, 95, 96, 145 n.58
Hernu, Charles, 106
Hitler, Adolf, 20, 23 ;
Hitler quote on Armenians, 23, 27 n.55
Holocaust Memorial Council (U.S.), 101.
See also Holocaust Museum
Holocaust Museum (Washington, D.C.), 101.
See also Holocaust Memorial Council
Homs (Syria), 113
Hovannisian, Richard, 107 ;
leading Armenian scholar, 11 ;
recommends solution to Turkish-Armenian problem, 149–50
Hovsepian, Viken A., 78
Hovseptian, Vatche (Archbishop), 99
Hunchaks, 8, 11, 34, 44, 78, 91
Hurriyet (Turkish newspaper), 109

i Ikle, Fred, 1, 95
India, 90
International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide (Israel), 131, 140
International Minority Movement Front (USSR), 97
International Symposium on Terrorism (Turkey), 107
Iran, 44, 55, 72, 90, 110, 111, 128, 138 ;
ambiguous position on Armenian terrorists, 113–15
Iraq, 90, 113, 114 ;
Turkish strike against Kurds and Armenians in, 113, 128–29
Islamic Jihad, 41
“Islamic Turkish Revolutionary Army,” 125
Israel (Israelis), 35, 61, 124, 131 ;
invades Lebanon (1982), 46, 50, 68, 74, 77, 84, 93, 112, 114
Armenian patriarchate in, 91, 130, 133 ;
botched ARA bombing attempt in, 63
Istanbul University Medical School, 135
Istanbul (Yesilkoy) airport, attacked by ASALA in 1979, 43
Istepanyan, Torkom, 136
Italy, 2, 42, 52, 73
Ittihad ve Terakki, 13

j Jamgotchian, Mardiros, 43, 70, 71
JCAG (Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide), 5 n.7, 36, 62, 76, 77, 78, 111 ;
assassinations by, 68–69, 73 ;
compared to ASALA, 56, 58, 73 ;
creation of, 32–33, 34, 56 ;
Dashnak connections to, 55, 56, 91, 111 ;
program of, 36, 57 ;
succeeded by ARA, 56, 61.
See also ARA;
Armenian terrorism;
Armenian patriarchate in, 91 ;
Seminary of Armenian patriarchate in, 81, 132
Jewish Holocaust (Genocide), 101, 102, 131, 140
Ottoman Empire a haven for, 20 ;
Turkey denies making threats against Turkish Jews, 140 ;
Turkey reportedly threatens Turkish Jews, 131, 140
Johnson, Nancy, 103
Joulfayan, Hagop, 78
Jumblatt, Kemal, 34
“June 9th” campaign (of ASALA), 71
Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide. See JCAG

k Kaddorimi, Farouk, 93
Kaloustyan, Shnork (Patriarch):
accuses Turkey of harassing Turkish Armenians, 130 ;
comments on imprisonment of Father Yergatian, 133 ;
praises contemporary situation of Armenians in Turkey, 136–37
Kamishli (Syria), 113
Karabagh, 97–98
Karabian, Walter, 102
Karakhanian, Haig, 80
Karakhanian, Melkon, 80
Karal, Enver Ziya, 155
Kars (Turkey), Armenian cathedral in, 139
Kasesyan, Joseph, 111
Katyn Forest, 96
Kerr, Stanley, 104
Kevork, Haroutium, 80
KGB (Committee for State Security), 96, 98
Khomeini, Ruhollah (Ayatollah), 114–15
Khudaverdian (Khutaverdian), Vahe, 75, 126
Kinali (Kenali), 130, 131
King-Crane Commission, 152
Kinross, John (Lord), 9
Kiulkhandjian, Sarkis (Khomeini), 47
KLM, 2
Kocas, Sadi, 123, 142 n.1
Kondogiorgia, Panos, 111
Koren (Patriarch), 109
Kouymjian, Dickran, 129
Kozibioukian, Hratch, 80
Kozibioukian, Siranouche, 80
Kuhrjulian, Ara, 70, 79
Kuneralp, Necla, 68
Kurdistan (Kurdish) Workers’ Party, 93, 113
Kurds, 8, 9, 97, 126, 137 ;
ASALA alliance reported, 49 ;
attack Armenian deportation columns (1915), 14, 22–23 ;
Turkish strikes against Kurds and Armenians in Iraq, 113, 128–29
Kuwait Airlines office (Athens), 126
Kuyumcuyan, Ara, 135–36
Kyprianou, Spyros, 109

l “LA 5,” 74, 77, 100
Langer, William, 11
Laqueur, Walter, 12
Lausanne, Treaty of (1923), 147
Lebanese Arab Army, 83
Lebanon, 41, 55, 60, 72, 75, 79, 82, 111, 112, 113 ;
Armenian population in, 31, 33–34, 90, 97, 105 ;
base for Armenian terrorists, 34, 36, 61, 68, 76, 83–84 ;
civil war in (as Armenian terrorist catalyst), 33–35, 78, 92 ;
invaded by Israel, 46, 50, 68, 74, 77, 84, 93, 112, 114 ;
Palestinians in, 34, 80–81, 84, 93
Lepsius, Johannes, 25 n.22
Levin, Carl 103
Levonian, Harutiun, 70, 111
Libaridian, Gerard J., 31, 107
Libya, 83
Lincoln, Abraham, 141
Lions of Marash, The, 104
Lisbon, attack on Turkish embassy in, 2, 56, 70, 79
“Lisbon 5,” 56, 58–59, 70, 79–80
London, bombing of Turkish Airlines office in, 2
Loris-Melikoff, Mikhail T. (General), 9, 10, 22, 94
Los Angeles:
Armenians in, 99, 118 n.43;
bombing of Turkish consulate in, 2
Los Angeles airport, bombing attempt against, 74, 77, 80
Los Angeles Olympic Games (1984), 52, 54 n.24
Lufthansa, 2, 3
Lyons (France):
Armenians in, 106 ;
bombing of Turkish consulate in, 2, 36, 46

m McBride, Sean, 107
McCarthy, Justin, 11, 19, 149
McCree, Arleigh, 96
Madarian, Megerditch (Mgo), 71
Madrid, attack on Turkish embassy in, 2
Mahseredjian, Suzy, 43, 71, 83
“Al-Majallah Interview,” 83
Makarios, Archbishop, 109
Makloof, George, 82
Manasserian, Levon, 97
Manoogian, Alex, 92
Manouchian, Missak, 105
Manoukian, Serovpe (Archbishop), 105
Manukyan, Arman, 134–35
Marash (Turkey), 18
Marashlian, Levon, 100
Marie-Nubar Armenian Student Center (Paris), 127
Maroukhian, Hrair, 62, 111 ;
heads Dashnak Bureau, 61
Marseille, 105–6
Martayan, Lucika, 134
Marxist Group Sympathetic to ASALA (Iran), 115
Mason, George, 100
Massacres of Armenians.
See Armenian genocide;
Armenians, deportations and massacres of (1915);
Armenians, massacres of (1890s)
Matin, Le (Paris newspaper), 34
Mauroy, Pierre, 106, 108
Mekhitarists (Austria), 91
Mekhitarists (Italy), 52, 91, 132
Melkonian, Monte (Dimitriu Georgiu), 39 n.14, 43, 44, 62, 72, 83, 115 ;
arrested in France (1981), 72 ;
arrested in France (1985), 53 ;
criticizes Hagopian’s ASALA, 46–49, 127 ;
heads ASALA-RM, 46, 52 ;
personal characteristics, 46, 82 ;
violence against Hagopian’s ASALA, 51.
See also ASALA;
“ASALA-RM History”
Melkonian Institute (Cyprus), 109
Mermaz, Louis, 106
Mesrop Mashdotz Commandos (Iran), 114
Mihcioglu, Cahide, 69, 70
Mihranian, Mihran, 47.
See also Hagopian, Hagop
Mikoyan, Anastas, 94
Milan, bombing of Turkish Airlines office in, 2
millet, 7
millet-i-Sadika, 7
MIT (Turkish Intelligence Agency), 126, 127
Mitterrand, François, 105, 106, 107
Mondale, Walter F., 103
Monde, Le (France), 111
Morali, Resat, 43, 69
Morgenthau, Henry, 14, 15 ;
anti-Turkish biases, 16 ;
author of pro-Armenian book Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, 13
Moskovian (Mosgofian), Hamo, 48, 51
Motherland Party (Turkey), 141
Mujahed (Hagop Hagopian), 47.
See also Hagopian, Hagop
Mullen, Francis M., Jr., 76
Munich Olympic Games (1972), 35
Musa Dagh, 104

n Nalbandian, Louise, 12
Nansen, Fridtjof, 9
Napoleon I, 104
Narodniki, 8
Natali, Shahan (Hagop Der Hagopian), 29
National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), 35
National Geographic, 131
NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), 41, 95, 97, 110
Nayir, Sonner, 70, 71, 81, 106, 132
Nemesis, 29, 31.
See also Dashnaks
New Armenian Resistance, 44
Nicholas I (Russia), 94
Nishan, 47
Nuvarsag, Treaty of (A.D. 484), 114

o “October 3” campaign (of ASALA), 71
odar, 37, 90
O’Neill, Thomas P. (“Tip”), 102
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), attack on Turkish delegation to, 2
Orly (Paris) airport, attacked in 1983, 46, 47, 50, 70, 80–81, 106, 108, 123, 132, 137
“Orly” campaign (of ASALA), 72
Ottawa, attack on Turkish embassy in, 2, 63
Ottoman Empire, 7, 9, 18, 22, 89, 92, 94, 114, 137, 152.
See also Turkey
Ouzounian, Levon, 125
Ozal, Turgot, 141
Ozen, Cemal, 69, 70
Ozen, Erdogan, 69
Ozmen, Galip, 43, 68
Ozmen, Neslihan, 43, 68

p Pambukcu, Ismail, 69
Pan Am, 2
Papandreou, Andreas, 110, 111, 112
Papazian, Dennis, 100
Papazian, Mardiros, 52
“Paragraph 30” (of UN report), 31, 38 n.9
attack on Turkish embassy in, 2 ;
Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal held in, 107 ;
seizure of Turkish consulate in, 2, 44–45, 78, 93, 103, 107, 133, 134 ;
Turkish diplomats slain in, 43, 68, 69
Parsegian, Vazken L., proposes Turkish-Armenian study, 154
Pashabezian, Garabed, 126
Pashayan, Charles (Chip), 103, 151–52
PASOK, 111, 112
PDFLP (Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine), 93
Penik, Artin, 107
Perez Esquivel, Adolf, 107
Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (France), 107
Persian Empire, 114
PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), 35, 92–93
Phalangists, 34, 78
Philadelphia, attempt to bomb Turkish consulate in, 77, 100
PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization):
ASALA connections, 34–35, 50, 92–93, 96, 109–10, 112 ;
catalyst for Armenian terrorism, 33–35, 92
Pope, threatened by ASALA, 3
“Popular Movements” (ASALA), 44, 45, 46, 51, 105
Portugal, threatened by ASALA, 2

r Ramgavars, 91
Rayah, 8
Reagan, Ronald, 101, 127
Richardson, Richard Lau, 125
Romania, 90
attack on Turkish consul in (1981), 43, 82 ;
bombing of Turkish Airlines office in. 2
Russia, 7, 10 ;
traditional enemy of Turkey, 94 ;
used Armenians as a fifth column against Turks, 9, 94.
See also Soviet Union
Russian Armenia, 7.
See also Armenia
Russo-Turkish War of 1877, 8, 9, 10

s Sabena, 2
Said Halim, 30
St. James Brotherhood (Sourp Hagop—Jerusalem), 132
Sts. Vartanantz Church (U.S.), 56
Saliba, Krikor (Koka), 82
Salle Pleyel (Paris), 128
San Stefano, Treaty of (1878), 8, 10
Sansmetti, Charles, 52
Sarkissian, Karnik K., 78
Sarkissian, Zohrab, 70
Saroyan, William, 99
Sassoun (Turkey), Armenian insurrection in (1894), 8–9
Sassounian, Hampig, 1–2, 56, 60, 70, 74, 82, 91, 99, 103
Sassounian, Harout, 82
Schaefer, William D., 3
Self-determination, 147–49
Seljuk Turks, 20, 104
Semerci, Ohannes, 71, 81, 132
“September France” campaign (of ASALA), 71
Sever, Engin, 69
Sevres, Treaty of (1920), 20, 57, 147
Shaw, Stanford J., 3
Shigaher, Father, 132
Shirakian, Arshavir, 30
“Shish Kebab,” 37
“Shoe Repairmen’s Ring” (of ASALA), 82
Sidon (Lebanon), 84, 93
Simonian, Hrand, 35
Simonian, Minnas, 77, 126
Sislian, Vazken, 78
Sivas (Turkey), 18, 81
Soufoyon, Noubar, 75–76
South Yemen, 93
Soviet Armenia. 32, 45, 55, 58, 91,
Soviet Armenia, 32, 45, 55, 58, 91, 94–98, 128.
See also Armenia;
Soviet Union, Armenians living in;
Soviet Union, caution concerning Armenians
Soviet Union, 55, 58, 73, 110 ;
Armenians living in, 90, 94–95 ;
attempts to destabilize Turkey, 96, 98 ;
caution concerning Armenians, 73, 97–98 ;
reported support for ASALA, 41, 95–96, 112 ;
territorial demands on Turkey (1945), 95 ;
Turkic and Muslim populations in, 96, 97.
See also Russia
Soysal, Mumtaz, 109
Spain, Muslims in, 20
Spiurk Committee (Soviet Union), 117 n.20
State Department Bulletin (U.S.) on Armenian genocide, 27–28 n.56
Sterling, Claire, 93, 96
Suelkan, Bora, 69
Sweden, 2, 42, 75, 82, 86 n.14
Swissair, 2
Switzerland, 2, 3, 42, 43, 71, 73, 76, 136
Syria, 81, 85, 90, 105, 138 ;
ASALA bases in, 49, 111, 112–13, 115 ;
reported sympathy for Armenian terrorists, 84–85, 96, 110, 112–13

t Tabakian, Yeprem (Bishop), 99
Tadmur As-Sahra, Camp (Syria), 113
Talaat Pasha, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20
Tanielian, Mihran Sarkis (Nishan), 72
Tasci, Nerses, 71
Tcharkhutian, Vicken, 72, 74, 80
Teheran (Iran), 113, 114
Tehlirian, Soghomon, 19
Tembeckjian, Robert, 37
Tennessee, 148
Tercuman (Turkish newspaper), 112
Territorial integrity of states, 147–48
Terzian, Pierre (Bedros), 33
“Third Generation of Black Sea Turks Massacred by Armenian Guerrillas,” 125
Tigranes the Great, 20
Tikhonov, Nikolai, 118 n.42
Toomajanian, Sosi, 56
Toranian, Ara, 35, 46, 47, 51–52, 105, 127.
See also Armenian National Movement;
Armenian Struggle;
Democratic Front
Tourian, Ghevond (Archbishop), 55
Toynbee, Arnold J., 15 ;
co-editor of Blue Book Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915–16, 13 ;
partial retraction of anti-Turkish opinion, 15–16
Tripoli (Syria), 113
Troodos Mountains (Cyprus), 110
Truman Doctrine, 95
Tunaligil, Danis, 33, 68
Turan, 13
Turkey, 20, 41, 46, 72, 95, 99, 100, 110, 149 ;
Armenian atrocities against (World War I), 18–19, 152 ;
Armenian terrorist attacks in, 6 n.14, 43, 50, 113 ;
denies genocide accusations, 17–19 ;
denies it persecutes its Armenians today, 134–37 ;
domestic terrorism of 1970s in, 6 n.14, 96, 124, 141–42 ;
genocide accusations against, 1, 5 n.4, 13–15, 77, 79 ;
military strikes at Kurds and ASALA, 113, 128–29 ;
position of Turkish Armenians today, 81, 129–42 ;
prejudices against Armenians, 19–20, 138, 150 ;
reputed counterterror against Armenians today, 61, 123–29 ;
reputed harassment of Armenians today, 129–34 ;
reputed threats against Turkish Jews, 131, 140 ;
rise of Republican Turkey in 1920s, 137 ;
Soviet attempts to destabilize, 96–98 ;
torture in, 133, 134, 140–41.
See also Ottoman Empire
Turkish Airlines (THY), 2
Turkish Armenia, 12, 114.
See also Armenia
Turkish Foreign Policy Institute, 102
“Turkish Organization for Armed Struggle,” 125
Turkmen, liter, 108, 123
TWA, 2

u Umer, Salali, 124
United Nations, 147 ;
bombing of Turkish Center at, 2
United States of America, 82, 138, 140 ;
Armenians living in, 55, 90, 98–99, 104, 118 n.43, 153 ;
Armenian terrorism in, 1, 2, 3, 74, 80, 99–100 ;
ASALA denounces, 41 ;
Congressional resolutions memorializing Armenian genocide, 100–1, 119 n.57;
genocide studies in, 101–2 ;
Holocaust Museum in, 101 ;
State Department Bulletin on Armenian genocide, 27–28 n.56;
stiff sentences for Armenian terrorists, 103 107

v Vacoubian, Viken V., 78
Vahradian, Karnik Sarkis, 75, 126
Vahramian, Vahram, 47.
See also Hagopian, Hagop
Van (Turkey), 18, 22, 104
Van, Lake (Turkey), 139, 140
Van Nuys (California), Armenians in, 80
“Van” Operation (of ASALA), 45, 71, 74, 133
Varag, Mt. (Turkey), 139
Varjabedian, Nerses, 10
Varlik Vergisi (Capital Levy), 137
Vartanian, Aram (Abu Elias), 51
Vartanian, Arsen (Abu Ammar), 47
Vartanian, Kevork, 82
Vatican, threatened by ASALA, 3
Verneuil, Henri, 105, 107
Vienna (Austria), Armenian terrorist attacks in, 32, 63
Vienne (France), 106
Vietnam, 95
Villeneuve, Charles:
interviews Hagopian, 50 ; Villeneuve, Charles (continued)
interviews Melkonian, 50
Villeurbane (France), 106
Voice of the Arab Revolution (Lebanon), 83
Voice of the Lebanese Armenians (Lebanon), 44
Voskanyan, Vardan, 97

w Wald, George, 107
Wall Street Journal, 93
Weinberger, Caspar, 119 n.57
Werfel, Franz, 104
West Germany, ASALA denounces, 41
“White” genocide, 37
Wilson, Pete, 103
Workers News Agency (Lebanon), 83
World Council of Churches, 3 ;
Beirut office bombed by ASALA, 33

y Yahniyan, Simon, 70, 79
Yanikian, Gourgen, 39 n.15, 68 ;
assassinates two Turkish consuls, 32, 69, 131 ;
death of, 33, 39 n.15, 69 ;
hero to Armenians, 33, 70
Yedikule Armenian Hospital (Istanbul), 135
Yeghia Keshishian Suicide Commandos (of ASALA), 71
Yelemian, Noubar, 126
Yener, Talip, 68
Yenikomshian, Alex, 42, 43, 71, 83
Yergatian, Manuel (Haig Eldemir), 131–34, 140, 142, 150
Yerguz, Mehmet, 69, 70
“Youthcide,” 37
Yugoslavia, stiff sentences for Armenian terrorists, 107

z Zanazanian, Diran, 82
Zeitlian, Sarkis, 62 ;
Dashnak Bureau member, 61 ;
abducted, 61
Zeytun (Turkey), 22
Zeytun Rebellion (1862), 104
Zoryan Institute (U.S.), 31

About The Author

Michael M.Gunter is Professor of Political Science at Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, Tennessee. His articles have appeared in Terrorism, Orbis, International Organization, and the American Journal of International Law.


West Would Not Support Armenian Position On Karabakh: Interview: Professor Michael Gunter, Tennessee Technological University, USA & The International University, Vienna, Austria

President Aliyev accused US, Russia and France in attempts to improve economic situation in Armenia but not putting pressure on Yerevan in Karabakh issue to make it liberate occupied lands of Azerbaijan, what would ensure prosperity of Armenia and the whole region. So why international community is interested in improving situation in Armenia more than in the Karabakgh settlement?

Turkey opening its border with Armenia would greatly aid Armenia’s ailing economic situation and also redound favorably for the entire Caucasus region as well as Turkey. However, surely Armenia would gain the most economically from any settlement that resulted in open borders. The international community (read the culturally Christian West) has an inherent sympathy for Christian Armenia and against the Turkic Muslim world which was the historic enemy of the West. This of course is simply a background factor. More immediately, the West has a built-in favoritism toward the Armenians because of the West’s perception that the Turks committed genocide against the Armenians in World War I.

President Sargsyan said after meeting with prime-minister Erdogan that Armenia will never accept compromises in “genocide” issue and Karabagh problem. How real are the improvements between Armenia and Turkey and Armenia and Azerbaijan in this regard?

Sargsyan has to say these things to prevent his constituency from getting rid of him. However, this does not mean that Sargsyan will not continue to negotiate. Otherwise, he never would have signed the protocols in the first place. Of course, Sargsyan must bargain for the best possible deal for the Armenians. This is part of the initial bargaining process leading up to the eventual ratification of the protocols signed in October 2009.

The Armenian side says that getting independence for Karabakh is the only way to solve the conflict. Its clear that Azerbaijan will never recognize it. Can Armenia expect support from international community if Yerevan first will declare this “independence”?

Despite the inherent Western sympathy for Armenia, this Western support would not go so far as to support the Armenian position on Nagorno Karabakh. Independence for Nagorno Karabakh would fly in the face of the sacred principle of territorial integrity and no Western state is interested in doing this as it would amount to inviting its own possible dismemberment in the future.

There is an opinion that the Karabakh problem harms Armenia more than Azerbaijan and it would be easier to solve the Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia (which is in economical crisis) if there were no interruption from Armenia diaspora, which don’t accept any compromises. How would you comment on this point of view?

There can be no doubt that the wealthy and economically satisfied Armenian diaspora opposes ratification of the protocols as well as any compromise on Nagorno Karabakh more that Armenia or Azerbaijan for whom these problems are much more immediate and therefore demand a compromise solution. Compromise for the Armenian diaspora is much more difficult because continuing enmity for Turkey and Azerbaijan is the only bond or glue strong enough to bind the otherwise territorially, linguistic and religiously diverse diaspora communities together.

A striking example of the inflexibility assumed by the Armenian diaspora follows. While meeting with Armenian President Sargsyan during his trip to the United States, Dashnak Central Committee Chairman Antranig Kasbarian declared that the protocols were a “dangerous course” that would make “Armenia’s predicament go from bad to worse.” He also invoked the memory of former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson as a “guarantor of Western Armenia” which of course is eastern Turkey. The United Kingdom might as well cite its medieval claim to half of France!

How would you estimate role of Russia as a mediator in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia?

Given its historic ties from Soviet times and even earlier, Russia certainly has a possible role as a knowledgeable mediator. However, we also must realize that Russia has always had an historic bias in favor of the Armenians due to cultural and religious factors.

What are prospective of the soon progress in the Karabakh settlement? Can it be resolved in 2010?

It is highly unlikely that the Nagorno Karabakh issue will be solved in 2010. What is more likely is that this issue will continue to fester for the foreseeable future. Only a great deal of time is likely to gradually lead to some type of understanding.

Aliyah Fridman, News.Az, 16 April 2010


Labels: Armenian TERROR

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