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Ömer Engin LÜTEM, Retired Ambassador
27 January 2006 - ?KSAREN
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="justify">Thirty-three years ago, on January 27, 1973, Mehmet Baydar, Turkish Consul-General and Mehmet Demir, Turkish Consul in Los Angeles were assasinated by an Armenian.

Ñterrorist activities was not as common as today, this event was shocking because the assasin did have no personal problem with those he had assasinated. The only reason of these awful murders was that the victims were representatives of the Turkish Republic.

Everything started with the application of a person called Gurg Yaniki to the Turkish Consulate-General in Los Angeles in October 1972. He declared that he had a painting of Italian painter G. Fureli, which had been abducted from the palace of Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid, and that he wanted to grant it to the Turkish government. The Consulate-General sent the photographs of this painting to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs delivered these photographs to the Ministry of Culture. In the reply of the Ministry of Culture, it was written that this grant would be welcomed and that Yaniki should be thanked. The Consulate-General informed Yaniki and a meeting was arranged in the Bitmore Hotel in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles for the delivery of the painting. On the day of meeting, Consul General Baydur and Consul Demir came to the hotel and ascended to the room of Yaniki. Yaniki had killed both with a gun before they sat for lunch.

Yaniki was arrested and it was understood that his real name was Gurken M?g?rd?c Yan?kyan, who was 77 years old and had come from Turkey 27 years ago. Yan?kyan said that he commited this murder to take the revenge of the 1915 events. He also said that he had prepared a 122-page document in order to explain the reasons of this murder and sent it to some well-known newspapers of the United States.

US President Richard Nixon and UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim sent letters of condolences to Turkish government. Even, the Cathogigos of Etchmiadzin, the highest religious authority of the Armenians, Vazken I, sent a letter of condolence to Turkish President Cevdet Sunay via Armenian Patriarch in Istanbul, Kalustyan.

With an instruction from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkish Embassy in Washington protested this event against the US Secretary of State. What is more, it demanded from the US government to make the necessary investigations, to punish the offenders and to take precautionary measures to protect Turkish representations in the US.

In those days, when terrorist activities was not as common as today, this event was perceived as surprising by the European and American media. They reflected this murder quite detailly; however, in doing that, they also referred to the so-called Armenian Genocide. Thus, this event was extensively used to announce the Armenian allegations to the world public opinion. This is what Yan?kyan actually wanted.

On the other hand, this awful assasination was used as a model by the Armenian militants in order to proclaim the genocide allegations. As a result, two years later, systematic assasinations were begun to be organized against Turkish diplomats. In these attacks, within eleven years, 32 Turkish diplomat and members of their families were killed; four of them being ambassadors.

Yan?kyan was sentenced to life-long imprisonment on July 20, 1973. After ten years of imprisonment, he was released due to health reasons and died soon after.

We commemorate all the martyrs of Armenian terror and the first victims of it, Mehmet Baydar and Bahad?r Demir, with mercy.

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