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Contemporary Aspect of Armenian Terrorism

Michael M. GUNTER*

 .nªPle="text-align: juÿ )Contemporary Aspect of Armenian Terrorism935¼t-weight: bold;">CONTEMPORARY ASPECT OF ARMENIAN TERRORISM

A great deal of scholarly researh has been produced concerning international terrorism.[1] Very little in the way of objective analysis, however, has appeared about the Armenian terrorist attacks against Turkish diplomats and property, a campaign recently termed by the United States Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Fred Ilde as “one of the most dangerous and most neglected of all terrorist movements...”[2] and by a journalist who interviewed one of the terrorist leaders as “the most mysterious and best-organized armed formation operating in the Middle East and Europe”[3]

Outraged over the alleged genocide of some 1 million Armenians by the Turks during World War I [4] and the resulting loss of their ancestral homeland, in the past decade Armenian terrorists have murdered 28 Turkish diplomats or members of their inunediate families, including 4 in the United States. In addition some 34 non-Turks have been murdered and over 300 wounded because they happened to be in the terrorists line of fire.[5] Indeed, Armenian terrorists have been described by Interpol as second only to the Irish terrorists in the number of acts of political violence committed.

When the terrorists have been apprehended however, Armenian apologists have implied they have a right to murder and should not be persecuted. After Hampig Sassounian was found guilty of murdering Kemal Ar?kan, the Turkish Consul General in Los Angeles in 1982, for example, 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... We are outraged by the... guilty verdict...” “Armenians protest misuse of judicial system,” proclaimed another article in the same Armenian-American newspaper. Referring to the trial of two other Armenian terrorists, who had murdered the Turkish Ambassador to Yugoslavia in March 1983, the same publication declared: “To consider it a criminal act distorts the selfless struggles of the Armenian youth, who are pursuing the just cause of their people.”[6]

Embassies of Turkey in such disparate locations as Athens, Beirut, Belgrade, Berne, Brussels, Lisbon, Madrid, Ottawa, Paris, The Hague, and Vienna, as well as the Turkish delegation to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Turkish Center at the United Nations also have come under attack. The Turkish Consulate in Geneva has been bombed on two separate occasions, the one in Los Angeles and Lyons once, and the Paris Consulate seized and occupied.

The Turkish Airlines (THY) offices in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Geneva, London, Milan, Paris, and Rome have been bombed too, making good a terrorist threat against “any Turkish institution that lies within its striking limits” Foreign governments have been cautioned to “lift the protection thus far accorded” to Turksh and Turkish property or else be “held responsible for the innocent victims within their own personnel [sic],” while travelers have been advised against using any form of Turkish transportation “because they might become the innocent victims of our rage.”[7] Furthermore, non-Turkish airlines or their offices, such as Air France, Ailtalia, British Airways, El Al, KLM, Lufthansa, Pan Am, Sabena, Swissair, and TWA, have been hit because of their commercial relations with Turkey.

Indeed, even foreign governments such a Canada, France, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland have been threatened because they tried to apprehend Armenian terrorists within their jurisdictions. After seriously wounding Kani Güngör, the Turkish commercial attache in Ottawa, Canada, for example, a message from ASALA menacingly declared: “We warn the Canadian authorities against all initiatives agaist our compatriors as weil as the utilization of any kind of force or violence against them”[8] In another overt threat, this time to French authorities, ASALA warned that unless political asylum were granted to four terrorists who seized and occupied the Turkish Consulate in Paris: “there is no doubt there will be a confrontation between them and us.”[9] ASALA also threatened to attack “all Swiss diplomats throughout the world”[10] unless that government released two Armenians held because a bomb they were preparing exploded prematurely in their hotel room in Geneva. Lufthansa offices in Rome were bombed “as a punishment for the German government which helps Turkish fascism..[11]” Even the Vatican and the Pope speciffically have been threatened with a “hit” because of their support for Ansha, an affiliate of the World Council of Churches aiding in “the traffic of Armenian emigrants.”[12]

In the United States, the Turkish State Folk Dance Ensemble performances in California were cancelled because of threats and a bombing, the Atatürk Centennial night organized by the American-Turkish Association of Houston was disrupted, and in January 1982, Armenian extremists broke up a Turkish history class at UCLA being conducted by Stanford J. Shaw, a prominent professor of Ottoman studies. In addition, Professor Shaw’s home was bombed, his office at the university broken into and ransacked, and frequent verbal and written threats of violence hurled at him. Finally, he was forced to cancel his regularly scheduled classes and go into hiding. The apparent reason for this harassment was the pro Turkish views he expressed in his History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, 1977. Replying to an enquiry concerning this matter, William D. Schaefer, the Executive Vice Chancellor at UCLA, wrote: “Because an international terrorist organization is involved, the University’s power to remedy the situation is limited.”[13] On August 7, 1982, striking for maybe[14] the first time on Turkish soil itself, Armenian terrorists indiscriminately slew nine passengers at the Ankara (Esenbo?a) International Airport, while wounding seventy-two others. Illustrative of the hatred motivating them, Levon Ekmekjian, one of the terrorists captured during the Ankara raid, declared: “It wasn’t enough,” when police told him how many had been killed and wounded. In reference to the massacres of Armenians by the Turks in 1915, one of the gunmen yelled, as he fired at his victims: -More than a milli on of us died! What’s the difference if 25 of you die?”[15] As Michael J: Arlen, Jr., A measured Armenian critic of the present terrorist campaign has explained elswhere: “It was as if a particular poison had entered the [Armenian] system several generations back, and had remained within it: a poison that once might up to a point live with but that caused the limbs suddenly to twitch, or the mouth - perhaps in mid-sentence - to grimace grotesquely.”[16]

Although their present terrorist activities began only in the 1970s, Armenian terrorism itself is nothing new. Neither is the strategy behind it or even the international support it has elicited. To analyze objectively the contemporary Armenian terrorist campaign and the talcit international sympathy it often has evoked, this article will employ both pro-Turkish and pro-Armenian sources. Speciffically analyzed will be the causes and goals of the terrorism, its modus operandi, connections with and sympathy elicited from other groups, and finally some tentative conclusions. My hope is to throw some objective light on a subject which all too often has been the private game preserve of self righteous, polemical apologists.


Nemesis.- Today’s Armenian terrorism had a shadowy predecessor when, for a few years in the early 1920s, a secret Dashnak network knowns as “Nemesis” (after the ancient Greek goddess of retributilve justice or vengence) relentlessly pursued and murdered several former Ottoman officials living in exile in Western Europe. According to one of these terrorists, the Dashnaks organized in 1919 “the Office in Charge of Assassination” in the building of Jagadamard, an Armenian newspaper in Istanbul.[17]

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.[18] The German court found Tehlirian innocent, a precedent frequently cited by Armenian activists today as a moral justiffication for murdering Turkish diplomats in the 1980’s. A Dashnak newspaper, for example, recently proclaimed that the trial of the two Armenian terrorists who had Miled 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.[19] I frustrative of the continuing magnitude of the Armenian hatred, years after the Talaat murder, the author of a National Geographic article on 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.”[20]

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.[21] Many years later, in a reference to the deportations and massacres which occured 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”[22] Although today’s terrorists claim to be following in Shirakian’s footsteps, they would do well, however, 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.”[23] 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 which 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 which 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.

Causes.- Terrorism is a phenomenon which usually stems from the failure of its perpetrators to develop sufficient political and 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 weil-known cliche explains as: “One man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter?’ During the recent trial in Pairs 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 the defendants would not be allowed to be referred to as “terrorists” by someone who opposes that struggle. 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, but 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.”[24] 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 the “Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” When Turkey objected in the UN Commission on Human Rights, however, paragraph 30 was deleted, and the Armenians frustrated.[25] As Gerard J. Libaridian, the director of the Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research in Cambridge, Massaschusetts 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.”[26] 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.”[27] In 1965, anti-Turkish demonstrations were organied 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 “Commernoration Day.”[28] 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.[29]

In 1972, Jean-Marie Cazoni, the son of an Armenian-French painter, called for coordinated acts against Turkey while speaking in Marseilles.[30] Then, on January 27, 1973, in what was apparently an individual act of revenge not connected to any organized effort, a seventy-eight-year old Californian of Armenian descent, Gourgen Yanikian, lured Mehmet Baydar and Bahad?r 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.[31] It is generally agreed that this double murder served as the immediate 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).

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 Cuhurches, for promoting the emigration of Armenians to the United States”[32] In a 1980 “communique” released to the press in Beirut, Lebanon, ASALA claimed it was celebrating the fifth anniversary of its revolutionary movement “to liberate Armenia” Its terrorist campaign had begun in Vienna on October 22, 1975, when it murdered the Turkish Ambassador to Austria, Dani? Tunal?gil. [33] 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.”[34] According to the French-Armenian journalist, Pierre (Bedros) Terzian, ASALA’s first communique was issued on January 20, 1975, while JCAG first surfaced publicly on October 23, 1975. [35] Whatever, it is clear that the contemporary Armenian terrorist movement first emerged in 1975.

The Lebanese catalyst.- 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 a 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 per cent of that country’s population.[36]

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 in. ternecine 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 left-wing Progressive Socialist Party and various factions of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).[37]

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 created their own terrorist organization, JCAG, to keep their young party members from abandoning the ranks and files to join ASALA.[38] After JCAG unsuccessfully tried to murder the Turkish ambassador to the Vatican in early 1980, the reputed leader of ASALA, Hagop Hagopian, declared in Beirut: “The Tashnag [Dashnak] Party is trying to imitate us in order to regain lost ground. The 18 April [1980] attack in Rome against the Turkish ambassador to the Holy See... was organized by Tashnag which used the name of a revolutionary group, “Conunando of the Avengers of Armenian Genocide.”[39]

The Lebanese roots of contemporary Armenian terrorism were further demonstrated during the trial of the four ASALA agents in Paris who had seized the Turkish Consulate there on September 24, 1981 and killed its Turkish guard. Kevork Guzelian, who was charged with the murder, was born in Beirut and testified that he had first been a member of the Hunchaks before he joined ASALA.[40] A number of other Armenian terrorists, including Hamping Sassounian, the convicted murderer of the Turkish Consul in Los Angeles in 1982, hailed from Lebanon. All five of the so-called “Lisbon 5”, who died in an explosion when they seized the Turkish embassy in Lisbon, Portugal, on July 27, 1983, had come directly from Lebanon. As Hrand Simonian, a leader of the Armenian community in Los Angeles, explained: “Many [of the terrorists] are newcomers from Lebanon who learned to do violent things” in the many years of civil violence there.[41] 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.[42]

Goals.- A number of Armenian publications have sunimed 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.[43] “We will continue our attack until the day when there is justice for the genocide that took place in 1915,”[44] an ASALA spokesperson proclaimed after an attack on the Turkish consulate in Lyons, France had left four wounded. “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,”[45] declared JCAG. “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,”[46] announced the “Avengers [Justice Commandos] of the Armenian Genocide” after it carried out a series of bombings in Paris during July 1979.

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.

Regarding the Armenian territorial demands, for example, the Turks themselves have pointed out: “It would be even difficult to imagine into what kind of an anarchy the world would have been thrown if every nation or ethnic group had been tempted into and involved in capturing the territories where they lived before.”[47] Indeed, the same analysis points out “that currently there are no Armenians living in Eastern Anatolia, “while” more than twelve million Turkish people [are] living today in Eastern Anatolia.”[48] What is more, “Armenians [probably] would not be willing to leave their countries where they are today living prosperously”[49] One suspects, therefore deeper roots to the present terrorist campaign.

“Who speaks today of the Armenians?” Hitler allegedly responded when his followers queried whether Germany’s genocidal assault on the Jews might one day bring down retribution on them.[50] Publicity for their cause and the desire to reawaken a sense of Armenian identity of 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.”[51] “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.[52] 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,”[53] according to Edward K. Boghosian, the editor of The Armenian Reporter.

Assimilation has been called “white genocide” by many Armenians, who in their native language refer to a non-Armenian as an odar. “Shish Kebab” is a somewhat perjorative term for an Americanized Armenian in California. “Youthicide” is a term which refers to the assimilation of Armenian youth into the general population of the host country.

On the other hand, the publicity achieved from the terrorism has been called “repulsive” by Martin Halabian of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research in the United States.[54] “Even by current standards of political terror, the Armenian ‘hits’ were reprehensible,” concluded the famous American-Armenian author Michael J. Arlen.[55] Nevertheless, 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.”[56] The fact that over $250,000 in small donations was raised in the United States for Hampig Sassounian’s defense,[57] and Armenian churches in a number of American cities have been filled for “requirem masses” in memory of the “Lisbon 5,”[58] amply ilustrate the broad base of sympathy the terrorists enjoy.


Usage of different names.- Most reports about Armenian terrorists mention numerous different groups. In his massive compilation for example, Edward F. Mickolus lists some eleven different Armenian terrorist organizations.[59] A New York Times report on the attempted assassination in 1981 of Cavit Demir, the labor counselor at the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen, stated that there were four different groups.[60] After JCAG assasinated the Turkish Consul Kemal Ar?kan in Los Angeles, the same newspaper declared that the perpetrators of the deed were “one of several Armenian terrorist groups.”[61] Analyzing the overall situation, the Boston Sunday Globe stated there were “at least six Armenian terrorist groups..”[62] A publication of the Turkish government itself refers to “several clandestine Armenian ‘liberation’ movements.”[63]

Despite a veritable plethora of organizational titles,[64] there appear to be only two main Armenian terrorist groups: (1) the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), and (2) the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide (JCAG). In most cases the other different names were either used by ASALA for various reasons or clearly refer to JCAG. By using so many different names, ASALA probably hopes to give a bandwagon impression of a wide range of involvement within the international Armenian community both to impress the general international public and also their Armenian compatriots. The employment of so many names is also undoubtedly intended to sow confusion in the minds of security forces attempting to counter their actions.
ASALA.- ASALA was 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, are seen as allies.

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.”[65] 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”[66]

In the early 1980s Switzerland became a leading target of ASALA because two of its members, Alexander Yenikomechian and Suzy Mahseredjian, were arrested after a bomb they were making prematurely detonated in their Geneva hotel room. Under the name “October 3 Organization,” ASALA then waged a bombing campaign against Swiss interests throughout the world. The two ASALA agents finally received eighteen-month suspended sentences and were prohibited from entering Switzerland for fifteen years. Using the title “June 9 Organization”, ASALA launched another bombing, campaign against Switzerland when that state captured one of its agents, Mardiros Jamgotchian, who had murdered an oLicial at the Turkish consulate general in Bern. As pounted out in the introduction to this article, a number of other states, such as Canada, France, Italy and Sweden, also have been threatened by ASALA because they tried to apprehend Armenian terrorists within their borders. In pursuing its aims, ASALA has claimed the leadership among all other Armenian groups, both terrorist and peaceful. As its leader Hagop Hagopian 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.”[67] In the same interview Hagopian contended: “As for the rest [of the Armenian terrorists] it is evident that they moved along a trail already blazed by us”[68] Hagopian went on to boast that “some of the leaders of Tashnag [the Dashnaks] and Henshang [the Hunchaks] have secretely joined EM, [ASALA].”[69] Indeed, the existence of “popular movements for ASALA” in such places as France, Canada and the United States, Iran, England, India, Greece, and Cyprus indicates that Hagopian’s claims might not have been entirely empty bornbast.[70]
At the end of 1981, ASALA published an eightpoint political program which was described as “the political fine that the Popular Movement for ASALA will support”.[71] The program was apparently the results 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 floundered upon the general Armenian tendency towards divisive factionalism manifested throughout the past century and specifically upon the negative reaction most Armenians, including many in ASALA itself, had to the deadly and wantonly indiscriminate bombing at the Orly airport in Paris on July 15, 1983. The attack left 7 dead and over 60 wounded.

Similar discontent also had been manifested among ASALA’s supporters about the suicide attack organized by the organization inside Istanbul’s famous Covered Bazaar in June 1983 and against Ankara’s Esenbo?a airport in August 1982. The Istanbul attack killed 2 (ASALA claimed 25)[72] and wounded about 20, while the Ankara assault led to 9 deaths and over 70 wounded. 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 1983, ASALA split into two general groups: (1) Hagopian’s more militant faction concentrated apparently 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 which advocated more selected terrorist strikes against only Turkey along with increased political work.[73] This more moderate faction eventually 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 thirty-year old Armenian born in the United States and 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 organization with the “Popular Movements” in Western Europe and North America to form the “Democratic Front.”[74]

The program of this relatively more moderate ASALA faction can be analyzed by a statement it released on August 16, 1983,[75] and an interview with Monte Melkonian published in early 1984.[76] Hagopian’s ASALA faction was said to have perverted “the path of genuine struggle, diverting it with lies, falsillications, 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 “totaly anti-revolutionary, fascist and gangster-type activities” Continuing, the statements asserted that “inocent Turkish and foreign lives have been lost by exploiting... young Armenian fighters” It claimed “that by far the majority of ASALA members are totaly against this type of activities”. In a speciffic reference to the Orly bombing, the statement declared: “After the events of July 15, 1983, there exists a division within the ranks of ASALA”. (As Melkonian explained in his interview: “Orly claimed innocent lives. It debases our struggle.”)
“The primary responsibility” for what was termed this “gangster-system” was identified as belonging to “the dictator and gangster kown as ‘Mujahed’, better known as Hagop Hagopian, Mihran Mihranian, Vahram Vahramian, and also working under other names. (Ara Toranian admitted that, although he once travelled 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.[77]

Indeed, Melkonian claimed that “Hagopian has liquidated several of our comrades who opposed him”. The attempt to assassinate Ara Toranian,[78] for example, was specifically made at Hagopian’s instigation: “the car of Ara Toranian... was rigged with a bomb by Hagopian’s people,” Melkonian charged in his interview.

In contrast to Hagopian’s faction, Melkonian claimed that he “wishes to reestablish the political line of the struggle.” We speciffically “envisage two lines of operations: (1) mobilization of Armenians [and] (2) forging alliances with certain liberation movements, notably in Turkey and with Kurds” Concluding, he declared: “Our first operations will involve striking in Turkey but not to the exculision of Turkish interests in countries having strong Armenian communities.” Similarly, the ASALA-RM statement ended with the slogan: “Armed struggle and the correct political line is the road leading to Armenia”

Hagopian himself apparently 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 apparently shifted his activities to Damascus, Syria, and began a working relationship with the anti-PLO Palestinian radical Abu-Nidal.[79]

If this information is correct, it would help explain the recent cooling in PLO-ASALA relations. In an interview given in August 1982, for example, Hagopian’s ASALA faction 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.[80] When Fatah leader Abu-lyad (Salah Khalaf) visited France in December 1982, he gave the French intelligence details of ASALA activists, including photopraphs. This enabled the French to identify Hagopian when he secretly visited France in April 1983 to reorganize ASALA’s inflastructure. Instead of arresting Hagopian, however, the police followed bini 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. Apprehending them before the bombing, of course, would have proved more effective.

Further reports indicate that the intra-ASALA violence Melkonian has accused Hagopian with, however, has not been all unilateral. Apparently, two top leaders of Hagopian’s faction, Viken Ayvazian and Khatchik Havarian, were killed at Melkonian’s instigation on July 15, 1983, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Hagopian’s faction then apprehended the two perpetrators of the deed 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.[81]

A Hagopian supporter has denounced “Ara Turanian and his friends as collaborators with the French government against the Armenian people’s interests.”[82] While admitting that “Most of ASALA’s popular movements members in France” have joined Toranian’s group, he claimed that neither the majority in England and North America, nor any group in the Middle East has. Toranian’s “Democratic Front” was called “petty-bourgeois” and by implication ASALA-RM was censured as “reactionary” What exactly all this portends for the future remains unclear, but it is certain that ASALA has undergone a traumatic split which will sorely test its continuing viability.

JCAG.- Although its members deny it, this rightwing, nationalist terrorist organization appears to be an offshoot of the Dashnaks,[83] who were originally created in 1890 as the Hal 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.[84] The Dashnaks also formed the government of the sholt-lived Armenian Republic (1918-1921), 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 1921.

Until 1975, the Dashnaks tended to view the Soviet Union as their main enemy,[85] 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 apparent reason was the Archbishop’s support of Soviet Armenia, a concept the nationalistic Dashnaks did not accept.[86]

After 1975, to avoid losing its young, action-prone members to what they tended to percieve as the more dynamic ASALA group, the Dashnaks apparently formed their own terrorist version.[87] In recent years, JCAG members who have been 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, the “Lisbon 5,” and the two accused murderers of the Turkish Ambassador to Yugoslavia in March 1983, are cases in point.[88] The Dashnak press for example reported that “a political memorial”[89] 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 filed 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 have been 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 appears to lead a more shadowy existence. This is probably because JCAG is not really a separate organization as is ASALA, but rather a secret branch of the Dashnaks which can be publicized or not whenever or however the parent organization sees fit. Indeed, for reasons known best to them, the Dashnaks disdained even to employ the JCAG label during the Lisbon operation, preferring instead to carry it out under the rubric of the “Armenian Revolutionary Army” To analyze JCAG’s 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 which have been issued specifically in the name of JCAG.

“Hal Tahd” or “the Armenian Cause” of the Dashnaks is to reestablish an independent, noncommunist Armenia as specified in the defunct Treaty of Sèvres and to seek recompense from Turkey for the alleged crimes it committed against the Armenian people. (As a Marxist group, oú the other hand, ASALA, as pointed out above, sees the Soviet Union as a natural ally and would like to annex eastern Turkey to Soviet Armenia.) Unlike ASALA, JCAGA apparently shuns other international terrorist connections and strikes only at Turkish targets. After it murdered the Turkish Consul General in Los Angeles in 1982, for example, JCAG announced in part: “Our sole targets are Turkish diplomats and Turkish institutions.”[90]

In a recent (January 1984) theoretical analysis of what in effect was the present JCAG program, Ohan Ballan made the following observations.[91] 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 on 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 achivement of our goals”

An old maxim states that whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. According to The Armenian Reporter, which is probably the most responsible and respected Armenian newspaper in the United States, “the conviction of [the JCAG agent] Sassounian is believed to have struck a serious blow to the ARF [Dashnaks]. The party has already alienated almost all of its American-born Armenians, who have dropped out in recent years, particularly since the political organization has turned to terrorism.”[92] The report continued by noting that: “Only a handfull American-born Armenians still remain on the roster of the party, which now appears to be under the control of newcomers, mostly from Lebanon..” A warning was issued, however, that “as a result, new acts of terrorism in this country stages... by party militants and diehards is also not ruled out” Indeed, on July 12, 1983, FBI Director William Webster told the press he was training a special anti-terrorist unit for the Los Angeles Summer Olympics in 1984, and that possible Armenian terrorism was a major concern.[93]

As if all this were not enough trouble for the Dashnak militants, another recent account reports that ASALA has charged the Dashnaks with harassment of ASALA members in Beirut, Lebanon in an effort to maintain the Dashnak’s hold over the local Armenian community.[94] ASALA warned the Dashnaks to discontinue such tactics or suffer “a severe blow”, adding that: “When scores of intelligence agencies of major countries failed to silence us, would anyone expect that Armenian dwarfs would scare us?” Thus, as has ASALA, JCAG too has hit upon difficult times.

Operations.- Although the precise figures vary according to the accounts read, one authoritative report states that since 1973, Armenian terrorists have murdered 28 Turkish diplomats and some 34 non-Turks, while wounding over 300 others because they happened to be in the terrorists line of fire,[95] In addition to the diplomatic murders and array of bombings, deadly attacks have been staged on the Ankara (Esenbo?a) airport in August 1982, the Istanbul Covered Bazaar in June 1983, and the Paris (Orly) airport in July 1983.

Although simple counts of incidents can be misleading, since one major terrorist attack can have a much greater effect than dozens of minor bombings which result in only minor property losses, some broad picture of the range of Armenian terrorist operations is still offered by such a list. Combining two separate counts[96] and adding a few others from recent media sources, the following pattern emerges over the time period 1973-March 1984. Geographically, the terrorist operations have occurred on four different continents: North America, Asia, and Australia, with the majority being in (Western) Europe, France (37), Switzerland (25), Italy (20), Lebanon (17), the United States (15), Turkey (13), and Spain (11) have witnessed the most incidents, while others have occurred in Iran (7), Belgium (6), England (5), Denmark (4), Canada (4), Greece (4), West Germany (4), the Netherlands (2), Portugal (2), Austria (1), Australia (1), Iraq (1), the USSR(1), Bulgaria (1), and Yugoslavia (1). This makes for a total of 182 incidents, a figure which may be too low if other counts are to be credited.[97]

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. Possibly reflecting the loss of the Lebanese home base after the Israeli invasion of 1982 and the divisions which split ASALA Shortly afterwards, the number of incidents decreased to 26 in 1982, 13 in 1983, and none as of March 1984. The fact that 1983 witnessed some of the bloodiest individual attacks so far, however, indicates that any requiem for Armenian terrorism would be premature.

Although it is not always possible to be certain, since both ASALA and JCAG have on occasion claimed the same operation, as well as using different names, it appears that ASALA has been much more active than JCAG. One easy way to distinguish responsibilites, however, has become apparent. The Dashnak press tends to give great publicity to JCAG operations, while practically ignoring those of ASALA. Thus, despite initial media reports 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 (JCAG) were the real perpetrators.

When questioned as to whether ASALA tries to pick “easy” countries in which to operate, Hagopian once replied: “AU countries are easy for anybody who really wants to take action.”[98] Given the figures listed above, however, it is obvious that relatively open (democratic) countries which have followed rather lenient policies towards the terrorists (France is an obvious example) are “easier” than democratic countries such as the United States which has recently returned some very stiff sentences against apprehended terrorists. All the more of course, relatively closed societies, such as those of the eastern bloc, see by far the fewest number of incidents. In 1979, for example, Soviet authorities summarily hanged the Armenian prepetrators 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.”[99] As to where ASALA acquired its weapons, he merely stated: “We have had arms caches in many countries for quite some time.[100]

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.”[101] 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,[102] as well as some $160,000 in Canada for the defense of the so-called “LA5”,[103] indicates that Hapogian’s claim of broadbased Armenian financial support is not entirely 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.[104]

Other reports however indicate that the terrorists have extorted funds from fellow, non-violent Armenians.[105] During the trial of three young Armenians for 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 charged with conspiracy to extort money from wealthy Canadians in Toronto, further such evidence regarding ASALA emerged.[106] Vichen Tcharkhutian - who was apparently involved with the three Armenians who were convicted but managed to escape to France where the goverment refused to extradite him back to the United States - was also charged on a separate account of attempting to extort $150,000 from the Haserjian brothers, owners of a chain of carpet stores throughout the Los Angeles area.

Further reports indicate ASALA was probably running a “drug ring”[107] 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. Another report detailed how, unlike thes Dashnaks, the Committee for the Support of Armenian Political Prisoners (France) “periodically publishes an accounting of all its expenditures.”[108] Indeed, added the account, “the ARF... has even disciplined a few party members who had demanded an accounting during party meetings.”


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.[109]

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.[110] Although the Turks probably over-emphasize 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. Indeed, 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.”[111]

While there are a number of reasons for this external support and sympathy, the original basis for it probably stems from the widespread belief around the world that the Ottoman Turks ruthlessly massacred tens of thousands of Armenians in the latter part of the nineteenth century and than committed genocide against them during World War I.[112] Add to these 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, and one can readily understand Turkey’s inherent publicity problems today.

Other, more immediate reasons also, of course, exist. Radical Palestinians apparently have aided ASALA for ideological reasons. (In addition, it sometimes appears that certain Palestinian groups are simply in the business of training any would-be terrorist who happens to show up.)[113] The Soviet Union probably has given covert aid to Armenian terrorists because it seeks to destabilize Turkey for strategic reasons. The French government has manifested overt sympathies towards the terrorists for domestic political reasons since a relatively large Armenian population presently resides in that country. Others, such as the Greeks, Greek Cypriots, and Syrians, probably tend to sympathize with the terrorists because of their historical animosity for Turkey, as well as perceived strategic reasons. Finally, the United States, although a strong, official NATO ally and supporter of Turkey, also contains a relatively large Armenian population. Thus, a great deal of implicit moral succor for the terrorists and the general “Armenian cause” comes from the Armenian-Americans and their supporters in the United States. Although a thorough analysis of these connections is beyond the scope of the present article, certain links should be discussed.

The Palestinians. It was argued that the Lebanese Civil War of the mid-1970s acted as a catalyst for Armenian terrorism. Behind the lawlessness rampant in that unfortunate country, ASALA was able to draw physical and spiritual succor from an ideological, Palestinian 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”[114] Indeed, according to one report, if the PLO eventually wins statehood for itself, ASALA will try to use the precedent to achieve an independent Armenina.[115],The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) - a small, radical terrorist 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 for the Liberation of Palestine with which it has close ties”[116] began a 1982 interview with ASALA leaders.[Testifying before a U.S. Senate subcommittee dealing with terrorism in Turkey, Professor Ayd?n Yalç?n, who based his information on Turkish “government sources:’ stated that Turkish terrorists “are generally trained in either Al Saika camps in Syria or G. Habash’s camps in Lebanon.” He then added; “Armenian terorists specializing in... advanced electronic bomb courses” were also trained in these camps.[117]

The ASALA terrorists who stormed the Turkish consulate in Paris in September 1981, told the police they were trained in Palestinian camps.[118] Evidence exists that “extremist Palestinian factions” collaborated with ASALA in its bloody attack on the Ankara airport in August, 1982. Only the timely intervention of Turkish security police who “arrested some Palestinians bearing Jordanian passports” prevented a parallel Palestinian attack on Israeli targets in Istanbul.[119]

According to Clair Sterling, “Habash had been training his Armenian wards in Lebanon and South Yemen for years.”[120] On April 8, 1980, Habash’s PELP held a press conference for ASALA and a “Kurdistan Workers’ Party” at a hideout in the ancient Casbah of Sidon, Lebanon. The twelve men and two women representing ASALA, all of whom wore black hoods with slits for eyes, were protected by Palestinian gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs. During the conference, the Armenian terrorists “emphasized their links with Marxist Palestinian formations.”[121]

After its forces overran the PLO offices in Lebanon during thne summer of 1982, Israel reported that captured PLO documents confirmed the ASALA-PLO connection.[122]

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.”[123] A highranking 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.”[124]

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”[125] Farouk Kaddoumi, the head of the PLO’s political bureau, has also denied that his organization has supported ASALA.[126] The reader may judge for himself whether such denials ring true or not based on the admittedly incomplete evidence presented above.

The Soviets. The Russians and the Turks have been enemies for centuries. Over the past 200 years, no country has benefitted more than Russia from the decline of what Czar 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.”[127] The famous commander of the Russian army which 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 on the Turkish border. In time this new Soviet Armenian 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”[128] Many Armenians have played leading roles in Soviet society, operating as dentists, doctors, engineers, generals, and scientists throughout the country. The former Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, Anastas Mikoyan, was probably the best known.

The Soviet authorities also have permitted Armenian national feelings to manifest themselves by allowing Mt. Ararat, a symbol of Armenian nationalism and now located just across the border in Turkey, to be represented 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 towards 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 which 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.[129] 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 more subtle. Many Turks feel that in ASALA the Soviets have found a “proxy”[130] 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...”[131] Since it is an avowedly Marxist group which feels, in its own words, that “Soviet Armenia should be to us, what Hanoi was for the Vietnamese during their liberation war,”[132] ASALA would indeed make a natural proxy for Soviet ambitions towards Turkey. Similarly, Paul Henze 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.”[133] As the U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Fred Ilde, recently noted concerning ASALA: “If it were to be successful in its aims it would lead directly to the expansion of the Soviet Union.”[134]

Dismantling the southeastern anchor of NATO is not the only beneffit 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 terrorists connections, Claire Sterling devoted an entire chapter to detail the extent of Soviet attempts to destabilize Turkey in the 1960s and 1970.[135] The strong possibility of a Soviet hand in back of Mehmet Ali A?ca’s attempt to kill the Pope, further illustrates how the Soviets might use proxies, such as ASALA, to serve their ulterior purposes.[136] 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?”[137] 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.”[138] 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 self-righteous denials. Consider for example the Soviet position on the massacre of Polish officers in Katyn Forest.”[139] 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.[140] 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.”[141] Based on his extensive experience xith 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.”[142] Commenting about the recent work on “the tragic events of World War I, by Professor John Giragosian, who is also the 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.”[143] Indeed, claims have been made that the Soviets have been trying to destabilize Turkey through the Armenians since 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.[144] Yonah Alexander recently stated that he had seen evidence the Soviets had planted whole families of Armenian emigres in Lebanon as early the 1930’s so that they someday might be used against Turkey.[145]

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 one of just 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.”[146] 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.”[147] Certainly, teo much Soviet support for the Armenians might cause fil will among the Turkic and Muslim populations who in the Soviet Union vastly outnumber the Armenian population.

The question of Karabagh specifically filustrates how the Soviets have to be careful here. Karabagh is an autonomous region contiguous to 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 year, 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.”[148]

That there is probably less to the Soviet role in Armenian terrorism tham 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 for as Turkey is concerned.”[149] And in an earlier interview, Hagop Hagopian replied to the query: “Does the USSR agree with your program?” in the negative. “Unfortunateiy 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.”[150]

Therefore the verdict on the Soviet role here must be postponed, probably indeffinitely. It is not likely that a hand deliberately designed by a secreteive, totalitarian goverment to be 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.

The United States. Although estimates vary, there are probably some 600,000 people of Armenian descent living in the United States today.[151] This constitutes a figure second only to the well over 6,000,000 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 parcentage of the American population.[152] The United States hosts,  for example, an estimated 10,000 physicians, 5,1000 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 organizatioi?s 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.”[153] The vast majority of these Armenian organizations and activities, of course, have nothing to do with terrorism. A number of them, however, sometimes and a few of them often pursue the Armenian cause in a manner which overtly supports hatred of Turkey and at times even implicitly condones violence. The purpose of this section is to illustrate such Armenian activities with a number of specific examples.

At the present time there are four separate resolutions before the U.S. Congress dealing with the Armenian cause.[154] House Joint Resolution 247 would designate April 24, 1984 as a “National Day of Remembrance of Man’s Inhumanity to Man.” Under the provisions of this resolution, the people of the United States would be 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...” At the present time there are 118 co-sponsoprs for this resolution which needs a majority (218) of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives to be passed.

House Resolution 171 and Senate Resolution 124 are identical. They would each recognize 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 make it “the policy of the United States to “embrace these historical events.” Presently, the House resolution has won 99 cosponsors and the Senate effort 22.

Finally Senate Joint Resolution 87 resolves: “That April 24, 1984 be designated as a day of remembrance for all victims of genocide especially those of Armenian ancestry.” This resolution has earned 23 co-sponsors.

In addition to all this, House Resolution 148 previously designated April 24, 1975 as a “Day a Remembrance... for all victims of genocide, especially those of Armenian ancestry who succumbed to the genocide perpetrated in 1915…” A number of American states and other public institutions already annually commemorate April 24 as “Martyrs Day” for the Armenians. Such resolutions are able to be passed because of the Armenian political power in the United States.

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 an 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 be opened to the public in 1986. The negative repercussions of all of this for Turkey should be obvious. “Genocide studies” represents 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.”[155] concluded an Armenian sympathizer. Another Armenian observer reported enthusiastically about “genocide studies” which included the Armenian cause in states such as Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Illustrating the hypocritial political bias of the Armenian position here, this observer claimed that “the primary handicap to this study is the inclusion of Turkish sources.”[156]

In other words, Turkey should be accused, tried, and convicted without the benefit of any defense, and all in the supposed causes of scholarly endeavor! As ?ükrü Elekda?, 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”[157] 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”[158]

In pursuing their cause, American-Armenians have won over such prominent American politicians as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, William 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 teil 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 fot… the time when Armenia would be a free country and they would be able to get back to it.”[159] 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, a leading candidate for the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination 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.”[160] Numerous other prominent American politicians such as U.S Senators Carl Levin, Paul Tsongas, and Pete Wilson; and U.S Representatives Les Aspin and Charles “Chip” Pashayan, are also strongly identified with the Armenian Cause.

In August 1982, 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 genocide against the Armenian people.”[161] Outraged protests from American-Armenians, 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”[162] 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, and once again demonstrated how Armenian political strength in the United States can often make that country seem “soft” on terrorism.

Nevertheless, the courts of the United States have recently returned some still sentences against convicted Armenian terrorists such as Hampig Sasounian, and the so-called “LA5” and “LA3”. 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.”[163] With good behavior “our boys,” as the terrorists were affectionately referred to by French-Armenians, may be released before the end of 1984. The American political sympathy for the Armenian cause also falls far short of the much more blatant support a number of prominent French politicians such as President François Mitterrand, Minister of Foreign Affairs Claude Cheysson, Minister of Defende Charles Hernu, and Minister of the Interior Gaston Deferre have given it.


Based on the above, it is obvious that the Armenian terrorists are a deadly, secretive, and important manifestation of contemporary international terrorism. What is more, their stated goal of dismembering 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.

The reasons for such international laws are too obvious to require extended mention. If any minority on earth could legally claim a portion of some other state’s territory, every single state on earth would be dismembered. Furthermore, while admittedly a less than perfect solution, sovereignty and independence in the form of statehood for any geographical area can only be granted to the majority because to do so for a minority would deny the democratic ideal of majority rule.[164] That even the Armenian apologists recognize these cardinal points is illustrated in their arguments on behalf of the Greek Cypriot majority in Cyprus against the right of the Turkish Cypriot minority.[165] Thus, Armenians attempts to give a superficial international legal gloss to their demands for eastern Turkey[166] fail egrogiously 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.

All this, of course, is generally 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, the site of much of what was historic Armenia. What is generally not known, however, is that even before 1915, Armenians were a minority in the very land they called Armenian. This is an extremely important point which, when fully established, reduces even further the legitimacy of any Armenian claim to an independent Armenia in eastern Anatolia.

Justin McCarthy 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, disinterested scholar. What patently emerges from his study is that in 1911-1912 the Armenians constituted a minority in the six vilayets of what was historic Armenia.[167] 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 throughly Islamicized.”[168]

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 own historic homeland.[169] Similarly, Lord Bryce - the great defender of the Armenians vis-a-vis the Turks, a man referred to by his biographer as “the member for Armenia in the British House of Commons[170] admitted that the Armenians “were a scattered people, and everywhere, except in a corner of Cilicia and in a few districts round Lake Van, a Christian minority in a Muslim population”[171] As the famous British General Baker Pasha likewise wrote in 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.”[172]

It is clear, therefore, that the Armenians have absolutely no international legal or even moral claim to eastern Anatolia. Nevertheless, as a stateless people who suffered a wrong which has never been rectified, the Armenians represent a specific example of a serious problem which promises to continue disrupting stable international politics in the years to come. From the testimony of the Armenian terrorists themselves, it would appear that they opted for violence only because their peaceful attempts in the previous half century had proven a total failure. Terrorism, at least, has called the existence of their forgotten case to the attention of the world. It also has demonstrated once again, however, the need to develop international or bilateral institutions somehow able to handle volatile situations pecaefully before they reach the violent stage. Certainly, in the present case, there is a need for both sides to reach out beyond the present sterile diatribes. If the memory of those who have suffered and died is to have any positive meaning, what better way than that these hallowed dead 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] The reader may gain some idea of the vast extent of this literature by referring to the following two bibliographic studies: August Norton and Martin Greenberg, International Terrorism: An Annotated Bibliograpy and Research Guide (Boulder, Colo: Westview, 1980); and Edward Mickolus, The Literature of Terrorisnv A Selectively Annotated Bibliography (Westport, Comi.: Greenword, 1980).
[2] “Testimony by the Honorable Fred C. Ikie, 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.
[3] “Armenian Terrorist Leader Hagopian Interviewed: Milan Panormain Italian, 1 Sep. 80, pp. 62-65,” in Joint Publications Research Service: Western Europe, No. 1628, September 24, 1980, hereafter, “Panorama Interview.”
[4] The number of Armenians killed and the circumstances involved therein are in dispute. The Armenians claim that what happened was genocide will fully perpetrated by the Turkish government. The Turks, howver, claim that only afar smaller number of Armenians died as an unfortunate result of general wartime conditions and that, in addition, hundreds of thousands of Turks also were killed at the time. For an attempt at an objective analysis of the conflicting claims, see my “The Armenian Terrorist Campaign Against Turkey,” Orbis 27 (Summer 1983), pp. 450 L.; and my forthcoming book on the subject.
[5] See E. J.[ Dionne, Jr., “Armenian Terror: Tangle of Motives” New York Times, August 1, 1983, p. A6, for those figures.
[6] Cited in The Armenian Weekly, January 14, 1984 pp. 1, 6, and 7.
[7] Communique issued by the “General Revolutionary Command, Armenia of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA),” one of the two main Armenian terrorist groups, as cited in C.L Sulzberger, “Deadline for More Terror,” New York Times, April 9, 1977, p. 9.
[8] Cited in New York Times, April 10, 1982, p. 5.
[9] Cited in John Kifner, “Armenians Assert Suicide Squads are Ready” New York Times, September 27, 1981, p. 7.
[10] Ibid., January 5, 1981, p. A1O. Indeed, some forty bombings were carired out against Swiss interests. See Andrew Corsun, (Threat Anlysis Group. Office of Security) “Armenian Terrorism: A Profile,” U.S. Department of State Bulletin, August 1982, p. 34.
[11] Cited in “Excerpt from Chronology of Actions by ASALA and Justice Commandos,” data compiled by Bonnie Cordes of the Rand Corporation.
[12] “Panorama Interview”, p. 5.
[13] Letter to Professor William J. Griswold, Colorado State University, October 21, 1982. For the Turkish position concerning Professor Shaw, see ATA-USA: Bulletin of the Assembly on Turkish American Associations, March 1982, p. 12; and Ibid., April and July 1983, p. 45. For the Armenian viewpoint, see The Armenian Horizon (Published by the UCLA Armenian Students Association) No. 2,
1983, p.1; ant TheArmenian Reporter, August 4,1983, p. 11; and Ibid., August 18, 1983, p. 3.
[14] Shortly before the Ankara Airport attack, the military commander of an ASALA base in Lebanon  boasted: “I want to say that, over the years, we have carried out scores of military operations inside Turkey, including the the assassination of some U.S. personnel.” Cited in “Nadim Nasir Report: Al-Majallah Visits an Armenian Secret Army Base in Lebanon,” in Foreign Broadcast Information Servisce (FBIS), Daily Report (Middle East and Africa), September 1, 1982, p. G8, hereafter “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA.” In an earlier interview, the ASALA spokesman also claimed that his organization had “struck... in Turkey itself.” “Panorama Interview,” p.3. Andrew Corsun lists 12 incidents of Armenian terrorism as having occurred in Turkey over the years. “Armenian Terrorism,” p. 33. Whatever, the attack at Esenbo?a was certainly the most visible up to that time. The others, if they indeed occurred, were probably lost in the sea of domestic terrorist attacks that were engulfing Turkey before the military coup of September 12, 1980. ASALA claimed it kiled 25 and wounded 32 others in an atacck on Istanbul’s famous Covered Bazaar in June 1983. See The Armenian Reporter, June 30, 1983, p. 1 for details.
[15] Time, August 23, 1982, p. 38.
[16] Michael Arleyn Jr., Passage to Ararat (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1975), p. 186.
[17] Arshavir Shiragain, The Legacy: Memoirs of an Armenian Patriot (Bostorn Hairemk Press, 1976), p. 37.
[18] For further details, see Oliver Baldwin, The Questing Beast (London: Grayson Grayson, 1932), pp 201-204.
[19] “The Belgrade 2 Trial: Becoming Like Tehlirian Trial,” The Armenian Weekly (Boston), December 24, 1983, p. 1.
[20] Robert Jordan, “The Proud Armenians,” National Geographic, June 1978, p. 862.
[21] Shiragian, The Legacy, pp 103.117 169-181.
[22] Ibid., p. 136.
[23] Ibid., p. 135.
[24] Los Angeles Armenian National Committee, letter to the editor published in Christian Science Monitor, April 3, 1981, p. 22.
[25] For the Armenian point of view on the issue of “paragraph 30,” see The [Armenian] California Courier, September 15,1983, p.2; and The Armenian Weekly, August 27, 1983, p. 6.
[26] Cited in Christian Science Monitor, October 20, 1983, p. 21
[27] Cited in “Panorama Interview,” The other main factor Hagopian cited was the Palestinian influence. See the discussion below.
[28] See Pierre Terzian, “La Question Armemenne Aujord’hui” in the special issue of Critique Socialiste, 55 (No.4,1982) entitled “Arménie du Genocide 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 supposedly arrested, deported, and eventually executed.
[29] For further details, see Ronald Grigor Suny, Armenia in the Twentieth Century (Chico, California: Scholars Press, 1983), p. 78.
[30] C.L. Sulzberger, “Deadline for More Terrorism,” New York Times, April 9, 1977, p. 9.
[31] Yanikian was convicted on two counts of murder and sentenced to a life term in prison. He was releasede 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 eighty-eight. Upon his death, a respected Armenian newspaper in the United States declared that Yanikian had “opened [a] new era of political struggle” and “changed the course of Armenian history”. See The Armenian Reporter, March 8, 1984, p. 1.
[32] “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA”. The bombing occurred “because the aim of that office was to get as many Armenians as possible to emigrate to the United States”. Ibid.
[33] New York Times, March 1, 1980, p. 4.
[34] Ibid., January 29, 1982, p. 1.
[35] Terzian, “La question Arménienne aujourd’hui”, p. 55.
[36] The following discussion is largely based on Christopher Walker, Armenia: The Survival of Nation (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1980), pp. 363 ff.
[37] The Ensuing analysis is based in part on Andrew Corsun, “Armenian Terrorism: A Profile”, U.S. Department of State Bulletin, August 1982, pp. 32 ff; Sato Papazoian, “Sept annees de lutte armée”, Ray Baykar (published in Paris, France, by the Mouvement National Armenian Pour L’ASALA), December 22, 1982, pp. 8-9; and Terzian, “La question arménienne aujourd’hui”, pp. 51-58 and 62-65.
[38] On this point, see especially The Armenian Reporter, January 5, 1984, p. 1; and Ibid., Feburary 2, 1984, p. 2.
[39] Cited in “Panorama Interview”.
[40] See The Armenian Reporter, February 9, 1984, p. 2.
[41] Cited in The [Armenian] California Courier, July 28, 1982, p. 7.
[42] Cited in Christian Science Monitor, May 6, 1982, p. 5.
[43] See, for example, The Armenian Weekly, December 1-, 1982, p. 3. To these “3 R’s” might well be added a fourth, “revenge”.
[44] Cited in Christian Science Monitor, August 6, 1980, p. 2.
[45] Cited in Corsun, “Armenian Terrorism”, pp. 33-34.
[46] Cited by Edward Mickolus, Transnational Terrorism: A Chronology of Events, 1968-79 (Westport, Conn.: Grenewood, 1980), p. 856.
[47] Turkish Daily News, September 11-12, 1982, p. 2.
[48] Ibid.
[49] Ibid.
[50] Although this quote from Hitler is famous, it probably is apocryphal.
[51] Cited in Mickolus, Transnational Terrorism, p. 856.
[52] Cited in “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA”.
[53] The Armenian Reporter, February 2, 1984, p. 1.
[54] Christian Science Monitor, May 6, 1982, p. 5.
[55] New York Times, March 11, 1980, p. 19.
[56] The Armenian Reporter, August 4, 1983, p. 2.
[57] See The [Armenian] California Courier, September 22, 1983, p. 2 and Ibid., December 8, 1983, p. 9.
[58] The Armenian Weekly, February 11, 1984, p. 6.
[59] Mickolus, Transnational Terrorism, p. 918.
[60] New York Times, April 4, 1981, p. 6.
[61] Ibid., January 29, 1982, p. 1.
[62] Boston Globe, May 30, 1982, p. 2, For the same figure, see the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, January 31, 1982, p. F3.
[63] Turkey Today (published by the Turkish Embassy in the U.S.), January 1981, p. 3.
[64] Corsun states that “Armenian extremists have carried out attacks under 19 operational names. See his “Armenian Terrorism”, p. 33. Somewhat incongruently, Hagop Hagopian claimed: “There is only one organization ELA [ASALA]. But we have three groups”. “Panorama Interview”.
[65] “Panorama Interview”.
[66] Cited in New York Times, August 1, 1980, p. 3.
[67] “Panorama Interview”
[68] Ibid.,
[69] Ibid.,
[70] See Terzian, “La question arménienne aujuord’hui”, p. 57 for a list of these “popular movements”.
[71] “ASALA’n?n Siyasal Program?”, Hay Baykar (Paris) (No. 1, 1982).
[72] See The Armenian Reporter, June 30, 1980, p. 1.
[73] See The Armenian Reporter, July 21, 1983, p. 2., and Ibid., September 1, 1983, p. 1.
[74] See Judith Perera, “An End to Armed Propaganda?” The Middle East (London), September 1983, p. 18-19.
[75] See The Armenian Reporter, September 1, 1983, p. 12. This program herefater wil be referred to as “ASALA-RM Program”.
[76] Ibid., January 12, 1984, p. 4, hereafter referred to as “Melkonian Interview”.
[77] Ibid., December 8, 1983, p. 5.
[78] For detalis see Ibid., p. 1.
[79] This and the following details are based on the useful analysis by Perera, “An End o Armed Propaganda?” p. 19.
[80] “Al-Majallah Interview ASALA”.
[81] The Armenian Reporter, January 19, 1984, p. 13.
[82] This and the following information is based on a letter to the editor in Ibid., January 5, 1984, p. 2.
[83] 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. Recently, 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. Probably, most Dashnak members are not members of JCAG, choosing instead to sympathize with it tacitly, but turning a deaf ear to the evidence of overt links.
[84] See, for example, the studies by Richard G. Hovannisian, Armenian on the Road to Independence, 1918 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967); and The Republic of Armenia; vols. 1 & 2, (Berkeley: University of California, 1971 and 1982). See also Louise Nalbandian, The Armenian Revolutionary Movement: The Development of Armenian Political Parties through the Nineteenth Century (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967). For balance, consult Stanford Shaw and Ezel Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, vol. 2, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977); East Urns, Tarihte Ermeniler ve Ermeni Meselesi (Istanbul: Belge Publications, 1976); and Kâmuran Gürün, Ermeni Dosyas? (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1983).
[85].    On this point, see “Threatening Skies over the Diaspora: An Analysis of the Political Line of the A.R.F., “TheArmenian Reporter, December 8, 1983, p. 3; and Ibid., December 22, 1983, p. 4.
[86] 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 Magge Lewis “Armenian Americans”, Christian Science Monitor, November 18, 1980, p. B19.
[87] On this point, see TheArmenian Reporter, August 18,1983, p.10; Ibid., September 29, 1983, p. 1; Ibid., November 10, 1983, pp. 1 & 8: Ibid., November 24, 1983, p. 12; Ibid., December 22, 1983, p. 4; and Ibid., January 5 1984, p. 1.
[88] Issue after issue of the Dashnak organ, The Armenian Weekly is filled with eulogies and panegyrics to these JCAG 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 & 4; and January 28, 1984, p. 1.
[89] The following discussion is based on “Political Rally for Lisbon Five in N.J. Moving for 400” The Armenian Weekly, February 11, 1984, pp 6-7.
[90] New York Times, January 29, 1982, p. 1.
[91] The ensuing analysis is based on the “Keynote Address at Lisbon Five Rally”, The Armenian Weekly, February 11, 1984, pp. 6, 7 & 9.
[92] The Armenian Reporter, January 19, 1984, p. 1.
[93] See James Ring Adamas, “Armenian Terrorism: L.A.’s Mideast Connection”, Wall Street Journal, August 9, 1983, p. 32.
[94] “ASALA Charges ARF Harassment,” The Armenian Reporter, December 29, 1983, p. 1.
[95] See New York Times, August 1, 1983, p. A6 for these figures.
[96] For these two lists of Armenian terrorist incidents which I have combined here, see Corsun, “Armenian Terrorism”, p. 33; and Perera, “An End to Armed Propaganda?” p. 20.
[97] The New York Times, September 27,1981, p.7, reported over 200 incidents as of that date. The discrepancy in totals can only be explained by the uncertainty sometimes involved when deciding whether or not a particular incident was of Armenian origin.
[98] “Panorama Interview”.
[99]     Ibid.
[100] Ibid.
[101] Ibid.
[102] See the reports in The [Armenian] California Courier, September 22, 1983, p. 2; and Ibid., December 8, 1983, p. 9.
[103] The Armenian Weekly, November 19,1983, p.1; and Ibid., December 10, 1983, p. 5.
[104] Ibid., October 1, 1983, p. 1.
[105] See “On Armenian Activities”, The Economist, February 6,1980, p. 20; New York Times, April 17, 1983, p. 8; Ibid., July 31, 1983, p. 2E; Ibid., August 1, 1983, p. A6; and Los Angeles Times, November 12, 1982.
[106] See the report on this case in The Armenian Reporter. August 18, 1983, p. 1. The three tried in Los Angeles were convicted.
[107] For details see the account in The Armenian Reporter, 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 afterwards leading Swedish tennis players were also threatened. Nothing, however, came of the threats.
[108] Ibid., January 12, 1984, p.4. This committee, stated the report, has equally supported both ASALA and JCAG members who needed legal aid.
[109] Professor Ayd?n Yalç?n, 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 “US Senate Hearings on Turkish Terrorism”.
[110] For the Turkish position here, seethe mammoth compilation edited by Bilal N. ?im?ir, British Documents on Ottoman Armenians Vol I (1856-1880) Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu, 1982)
[111] “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA”.
[112] Out of a plethora of pro-Armenian sources, two in particular are most frequently cited to back the Armenian claims here: (1) the massive compilation by the senior British statesmen Lord James Bryce and the then young, but later world-renowned historian, Arnold J. Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915-16, Great Britain, Parliamentary Papers. Miscefraneous no.31 (London: Joseph Cavston, 1916); and the memoirs of the U.S Ambassador to Turkey at that time, Henry Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgethau’s Story (Garden City and New York: Doubleday, Page, 1919). For a recent presentation of the Turkish position, see Documents on Ottoman-Armenians, Vols, I and II, (Ankara: Prime Ministry Directorate General of Press and Information, 1982 and 1983). An analysis of the Armenian clamis and Turkish counterclaims concerning this issue is beyond the scope of this article. Most of what exists is highly subjective and polemical. For an attempt at an objective analysis, see my earlier study referred to in footnote 4.
[113] In making this observation I wish in no way to denigrate the years of selfless sacrifice so many Palestinians have put into achieving their inherent right to some type of national self-determination.
[114] “Panorama Interview”.
[115] Foreign Report (England), August 19, 1982.
[116]  “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA”.
[117] “U.S Senato Hearings on Turkish Terrorism,” p. 36.
[118] The Economist, October 3, 1981, p. 51.
[119] Foreign Report (England), August 19, 1982.
[120] Claire Sterling, The Secret War of International Terrorism (New York: Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1981), p.244. See also Christian Science Mmonitor, May 7, 1982,. p. 5; and Corsun, “Armenian Terrorism”, Op. 35.
[121] Sterling, The Terror Network, p. 243.
[122] See Z. Michael Szaz, “Armenian Terrorist Ironies”, Washington Times, September 2, 1982, p. 8A, Also see New York Times, August 1, 1983, p. A6.
[123] James Ring Adams, “Lessons and links of Anti-Turk Terrorism”, The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 1983, p. 32.
[124] Claire Sterling, The Time of the Assassins: Anatomy of an Investigation (New York: Holt, Rinehard and Winston, 1983), p. 73.
[125] “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA”.
[126] New York Times, April 17, 1983, p. 8.
[127] James Bryce, Transcaucasia and Ararat (London: Macmilan and Co., Ltd., 1896), p. 425.
[128] Walkery, Survial of a Nation, p. 371. See also, in general, Mary Matossian, The Impact of Soviet Policies in Armenia (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1962).
[129] For detalis, see Walker, Survival of a Nation, pp. 360 ff.
[130] See the statement of Professor Ayd?n Yalç?n in “US Senato Hearings on Turkish Terrorism”, p. 5.
[131] ibid.
[132] “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA”.
[133] 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 in Istanbul, Turkey, October 3-6, 1982), p. 16.
[134] Testimony Before US Senato Subcommittee. See footnote 2 for full citation.
[135] Sterling, Terror Network, pp. 228-246.
[136] On the Soviet connection in the plot to kill the Pope, see Claire Sterling, The Time of the Assassins’ Anatomy of an Investigation (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1983); and Paul Henze, The Plot to Kill the Pope (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1983).
[137] Henze, “Coping with Terrorism”, pp. 16-17.
[138] Paul Henze, letter to me dated March 14, 1983.
[139] 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).
[140] “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 (1981/1982), pp. 472-473. 141. Foreign Report (England), August 19, 1982.
[142] Cited in Wall Street Journal, Augusta, 9, 1983, p. 32.
[143] The Armenian Reporter, March 1, 1984, p. 2.
[144] See Gwynne Dyer, “Correspondence”, Middle Eastern Studies 9(1973), p. 382.
[145] Yonah Alexander, comments made during 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.
[146] Cited in Christian Science Monitor, December 28, 1982, p. 13.
[147] Cited in New York Times, August 1, 1983, p. A6.
[148] Suny, Armenia in the Twentiethy Century, p. 81.
[149] “Al-Majallah Interviews ASALA”.
[150] “Panorama Interview”.
[151] 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 consitute 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 there are many more Americans of Armenian than of Turkish descent. France with maybe (3500,000), Lebanon (200,000), and Iran (150,000) host the next largest concentrations of Armenians around the world.
[152] The following discussion is based on Vahe Oshange, “The Armenian-American Contribution,” The Armenian Weekly, January 21, 1984, p.3; as well as various issues of The [ArmenianJ California Courier. Also see the lengthy account about Armenians in the Los Angeles area by Michael Leahyin the August1983 issue of the Los Angeles magazine, reprinted in four separate parts by The [Armenian] California Courier beginning with the issue of August 25, 1983.
[153] The [Armenian] California Courier, December 1, 1983, p. 4.
[154] For a convenint text of all of them, The Armenian Weekly, July 9, 1983, p. 4, may be consulted.
[155] “NAASR Marks 25th Anniversary”, The Armenian Mirros-Spectator, April 7, 1979.
[156] Gary A. Kuihanjian, “Genocide Studies: A Benefit To All”, The Armenian Weekly, January 7, 1984, p. 2.
[157] “Elekda? Eulogizes Ar?kan; Condemns Terrorism”, Turkey Today (Published by the Turkish Embassy in the US), February 1982, p.3.
[158] The Armenian Issue in Nine Questions and Answers (Ankara: Foreign Policy Institute 1982), foreword.
[159] “O’Nefi Guest at ANC Reception: Reafirms Support for Armenian Cause”, The Armenian Weekly, October 15, 1983, p. ff
[160] “Mondale Backs Armenian Cause: $100,000 Raised”, The [Armenian] California Courier, December 15, 1983, p. 1.
[161] Corsun, “Armenian Terrorism”, p. 35.
[162] US. Department of State Bulletin, April 1983.
[163] The Armenian Reporter, February 16, 1984, p. 11.
[164] For a much fuller development of these important points, see my “Self-Determination in the Recent Practice of the United Nations”, World Affairs 137 (Fail 1974), pp. 150-165; “What Happened to the United Nations Ministate Problem?” American Journal of International Law 71 (January 1977), pp. 110-125; “Self Determination or Territorial Integrity: The United Nations in Confusion”, World Affairs 141 (Winter 1979), pp. 203-216; and the many citations to other scholarly analyses there in.
[165] See, for example, The Armenian Weekly, December 3, 1983, pp.2,6.7.
[166] See, for example, Shavarsh Toriguian, The Armenian Question and International Law (Beirut: Hamaskaine Press, 1973), pp. 74-86.
[167] Justin McCarthy, Muslims and Minoritier The Population of Ottoman Anatolia and the end of the Empire, (New York and London: New York University Press, 1983), pp. 46-88, 109-116, and 121-130. Note especially the summary tables on pp. 110-112.
[168] Ibid., p. 115.
[169] Richard G. Hovannisian,Armenia on the Road to Independence, 1918 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967), p. 37.
[170] H.A.L. Fisher, James Bryce, VoL I, (New York The Macmilan Com. pany, 1927), p. 183.
[171] Bryce, Transcaucasia and Ararat, p. 482.
[172] Letter from Baker Paslia to Sir Layard, the British Ambassador at Constantinople, dated February 1, 1880, in ?im?ir (ed.), British Documents on Ottoman Armenians, pp. 685-6.
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ERAREN - Institute for Armenian Research

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