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ASALA:Was it really necessary?

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  • ASALA:Was it really necessary?

    Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA)
    Date Formed:1975

    Estimated Membership:Unknown


    Area of Operations:Worldwide

    Leadership:ASALA-RM:Monte Melkonian, ASALA-M:Hagop Hagopian was leader; killed in Athens in 1988

    Other Names:ASALA-Revolutionary Movement(ASALA-RM), ASALA-Militant(ASALA-M)

    Sponsors:Suspected Relationships with Palestinian radical group Abu Nidal Organization, Kurdish Seperatist groups and Syria

    Political Objectives/Target Audiences

    Use revolutionary violence to force and end to "exploitation, repression, Kurdish-Turkish Colonialism" and the "imperialism" of NATO and Zionism
    Attack Turkish representatives and institutions anywhere in the world, as well as those of countries that support Turkey
    Affirm "scientific" socialism as the political doctrine of the reconstituted Armenian Homeland.
    Transform Soviet Armenia into a base for revolutionary struggle against Turkey

    ASALA is a transnational, ethnic terrorist organization that espouses a Marxsist-Leninist political ideology and solidarity with leftist and seperatist movemnets worldwide. Its principal goal is reestablishing "the historical Armenian homeland", an area includes eastern Turkey, northern Iran, and the Armenian Soviet Socialist republic of the USSR. ASALA also demands an admission of guilt from Turkey for "the alleged genocide of Armenians" during Ottoman Empire, as well as end to discrimination they claim Armenians "suffer" in Turkey.

    To further its goals ASALA has committed a series of assassinations, bombings and assaults.ASALA terrorism has progressed through two phases.During the first phase, the group carried out attacks against Turkish diplomatic personnel and installations to focus to attention "Armenian Question" and gain support among Armenians.In the second phase, ASALA expanded its operations to include attack against "imperialists" targets.The first of these were bombings in November 1979 against the KLM and Lufthansa offices in Paris and TWA's office in Madrid.In addition, the group launched attacks against the citizens and property of countries holding ASALA member in prison.

    The policy of indiscriminate violence and disputes over leadership eventually caused a split in ASALA.Following the July 1983 ASALA bombing of the Turkish Airlines ticket counter at Orly Airport in Paris that killed 7, a dissident group, ASALA-RM, was formed.ASALA-RM views indiscriminate "blind" terrorism detrimental to the Armenian cause and favors limiting attacks Turkish targets.ASALA-M continues to favor unrestricted terrorism against Turkish and "imperialist" targets.

    Since the split, ASALA's members apparently have been preoccupied with an internal power struggle, leading a reduction in terrorist activity.ASALA, however, was reported to have been among those involved in a series of bombings in Paris september 1986 that killed and injured some 200.The attacks were claimed by the Committee for solidarity with Arab and Middle Eastern Prisoners and were designed to pressure the French Government to release three terrorists prisoners, including ASALA member Varoujan Garabedjian.ASALA has continued to issue threats against French interests to force his release.

  • #2
    ASALA-"Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia"

    ASALA is the most talked-about Armenian terrorist organization, in the new period of the Armenian terrorism between 1973 and 1985. The firm information about its foundation, organization structure and activities are yet to be published. Various Armenian sources and publications give some information about some people and ASALA, and they often announce the results obtained from the publications of this organization and terrorist group. The information includes those desired to be disseminated or those which are not found inappropriate to announce. From one standpoint, ASALA's foundation is attributable to incidents emerged in Lebanon, it is regarded as part of activities of Palestinian Liberation Organizations in Lebanon, and it is supported that it is these activities which have inspired its foundation. On the other hand according to some publications, several Armenians gathered and founded a new terrorist organization which created the most striking and efficient terrorist activities in a short period of time. All of these are far from fully explaining the foundation of ASALA. The existing hesitations will continue for a long time unless the conditions under which ASALA has emerged as an organization, is known and the gap it has filled has been satisfactorily clarified.

    First of all, it must be known that the first movements of the Armenian terrorism in the new period have emerged as a requirement of the policies and objectives of the Tashnak Armenian terrorist organization. It has been clarified with various evidence that Tashnaks have completely supported the western view in the historical process and in the described period and that they have pursued a policy based on the Turkish objectives and implementing terrorism at a limited level. Actually, neither their structure nor their historical development is suitable to display any approach and conduct other than above. There is a gap in this environment. An attractive future, closely concerning the Marxist and new revolutionary generations and called new Armenian resistance organizations in particular as put in France, is presumed to be a gap related to the Soviets and the Eastern countries. In fact, this field has been already filled long time ago by Hınchaks. And since 1960, Hınchaks have been paving the ground for the new terrorism with various views. However, Hınchaks do not appear around, and a new terrorist organization called ASALA emerges with the desire to be seen as new in every aspect. Considering the preparatory factors of the new Armenian terrorism and reviewing in particular Hınchaks' goals, policies and objectives may lead us to think that Hınchaks constitute a terrorist group. Nevertheless, the conditions in Lebanon, new developments caused this group to appear before the world public opinion as a new Armenian Terrorist group, and this organization has become known with the terrorist incidents for which it has claimed responsibility. Actually, there is no remarkable change in the situation. In the historical process, both terrorist organizations are on the stage. One is more evident with its terrorist groups and teams, while the other is invisible with all manpower, experience in addition to the immaterial and psychological support remain under a cover of an Armenian terrorist group, and this group performs terrorist acts through groups and teams of lower level.

    1. Foundation and Organization Structure

    ASALA was founded in 1975. Of its founders comprised of 6-7 members, Agop Agopyan, one of the two most active members of the terrorist organization, was the known leader. The other was Agop Tarakçıyan who performed the murder acts himself and terrorist incidents and who made the organization survive while Agop Agopyan was absent. The latter died in 1981. The former remained as the leader of the organization except the periods of various injuries and treatments. He came to be known as a worker of the Palestinian Liberation Organizations. He bore the name Mucahit.
    The structure of the organization was suitable for the model of the Armenian terrorist organizations.

    The Lebanese Central Committee assumed the top management of the organization. In particular, in 1980, this committee took an important shape in Lebanon. And it got the air of Büron.

    Some of the assigned affiliated sub-institutions and bodies to the Central Committee were the Political Committee-Financial Committee Propaganda and Publication Committee-Intelligence Committee and Military Committee. The military committee was a body to which also the act teams were affiliated.

    2. Goals and Objectives

    ASALA published to the world public its political program declared in 1981 with its goals and objectives. Accordingly, the goal of ASALA was to found a democratic, socialist and revolutionary Armenia united under the leadership of the Government. It was clearly understood where this defined Government was. The Soviet Union and socialist states were requested every kind of assistance and the Soviet Armenia was regarded as a base for the long war of the public.
    The enemies fell under two groups in the political program. The first of these was called local reactionaries who were the Armenians against ASALA or not for ASALA, being Tashnak Armenian terrorist group, while the second was shown as the Turkish Imperialism supported by the international imperialism.

    ASALA accepted and proclaimed that the basic way for rescuing the Armenian territory (?) is to commit revolutionary violent acts. Under the program, ASALA would support those who refused the hegemony of the upper classes and make efforts to set up and strengthen coalitions within the international revolutionary movement. For which violence and terrorism were the bases.

    In order for the objectives to be achieved within ASALA, it did not matter if the terrorist acts were committed particularly against Turks or friends of Turks or if official or distinguished people were selected. "Terrorism was an incident and what mattered was the dimension of it. The objectives might be given secondary importance. For this reason, massacres, killings which would cause great repercussions and bombings were prioritized, and not much emphasis was placed on the casualties being a child, woman, Turk or being of any other nationality. However, every tine, Turks and Turkey were prioritized for the terrorist acts. The reasons of the attacks and massacres at the Ankara-Paris Airports, Istanbul and Kapalıçarşı and Orly attack were simply the effect and repercussion that the dimension of such incident would bring.

    3. Strategies, approaches and conducts

    The basic strategy in ASALA was to gather all the progressive Armenian movements all over the world at one point in Lebanon and to guide them from a center. . In short, the progressive Armenians would unite under one roof and initiate the "ASALA Public Movement". This would consequently enable the progressive Armenian powers to engage in a formal cooperation and to combine their powers.
    ASALA tried to implement this part of its strategy by calling for a meeting in Lebanon for all the progressive Armenians in the world. The wording "progressive" meant "socialist-Marxist".

    The second stage of the strategy was to spread terrorism through this union of power along with the assistance of the socialist governments, and start the war period. The Armenian terrorism was a part of the liberation struggles in the Middle East, and could unite with any movement against the integrity of Turkey. The cooperation between ASALA and PKK occurred as a result of this strategy.

    The approaches and conduct in ASALA reflected a full terrorism. Terrorism at every level of administration and implementation was considered to be symbol of this organization. Leaders killed one another and liquidated those whom they did not like and made them kill. Apart from these, every terrorist team was attempted to be introduced to the world public as a new terrorist organization and every kind of propaganda was made in this regard. The responsibility for the murders were claimed by various, newly-known organizations. Attached is a list at the end of the study regarding the efforts how the death-killing-bombing-rebel teams was shown as an organization under different names. The reader may carefully follow through this list what such a great number of Armenian organization may do. However, none of these could go beyond being a team or group, and remained as the machines of murder affiliated to and guided by ASALA.

    4. Political developments

    Regarding ASALA, which had been accepted to be founded in 1975, the political developments became effective in two phases. It was strengthened with new powers it had been provided during the Paris Armenian Conference held in 1979. It was reinforced in 1981. It was divided into two in 1983.

    The terrorist organization, which had been founded in 1975, performed its first act by assassination of the first secretary of the Turkish Embassy in Beirut, Oktay Cerit by one of its founders Agop Tarakçıyan in 16 February 1976. It was involved in the conflicts among Palestinians until 1979. Contacts were initiated with the Armenian terrorists in France during the Armenian conference held in Paris in 1979. And the organization gained new members; new blood. The most well-known ones among these were Alex Yenikomşiyan and Monte Melkiyan. In 1981,many terrorist acts were committed by these new groups. ASALA started to threaten Switzerland on one hand and France on the other hand. The New Armenian Resistance Organization in France announced that "Azad Hay" in Canada and "Gaitzer" in United Kingdom joined ASALA: The terrorism continued with great efficiency and became common during these years and conflicts started in the central staff In particular, the terrorist acts performed by ASALA, targeting also the innocent people discredited it in various public opinion polls. Following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the ASALA executives were compelled to leave Lebanon along with the Palestinians. The organization was divided into two in July 1983.

    The Agop Agopyan Group were settled in Greece and the Middle East. It continued terrorism without discriminating between the Turkish and foreign people or woman or child. Orly continued massacres and attacks.

    In the Western Europe, it got the name "ASALA Revolutionary Movement". It followed a policy which was based upon a more moderate approach and targeting only Turkish people. The two leaders of this movement were Monte Melkoyan and Ara Toranyan. Toranyan led a Paris-based group called Armenian National Movement. This group qualified the Orly attack as a completely Fascist attack.
    Melkonyan, on the other hand, stated that they aimed at establishing the political ground for the Armenian struggle. According to this, the movements had two aspects: (1) activate the Armenians (2)Cooperate with other powers which are taking action against Turkey. Melkoyan who was born in Iran put forward the strategy to forge alliances at the second stage. Agopyan continued his activities, too.

    5. Support and relations

    ASALA is provided a triple support as a result of its aims and ongoing policies: (1) Support by the Soviets-Eastern Block and Socialist countries (2) Support of countries, with a policy based upon weakening Turkey through internal and external threats and terrorism, as required by their geopolitical expectations: Greece, Syria etc. (3) Support provided by communist parties, indirectly from Hınchak Armenian terrorist organization and its sympathizers, and from the Armenian churches, though they hold counter-views.

    ASALA's relations were arranged, in line with the strategy they were implementing, by giving a priority to the non-Armenian terrorist organizations, which were in an attempt to pose a threat, and use terrorism against Turkey. These included at the stage between 1975 and 1980, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, communist parties, activist groups and secret organizations of some states. In April 1980, ASALA expanded its relations with the joint act agreement signed with PKK in Sidon, Lebanon. It is by this way, a unity in view and act was established between ASALA and PKK.

    In actuality, both organizations share the same aims, and have similar structure and views. At the stage starting after 1983, ASALA developed its relations in compliance with the strategy of Monte Melkoyan. The basis of the strategy was to focusing on the use of terrorism in Turkey, and establishing relations with every organization which was directly or indirectly capable of implementing this strategy in the form of acts. Some of the leading ones are PKK, similar institutions, TKP and other communist organizations.

    6. Publications and means of communication

    The most important and official publication of ASALA is "HAYASTAN".

    Besides, the magazines "Haykar", "Armenia" and "Kaytzer" published in London are included among the leading publications.

    ASALA started its radio broadcasts in Beirut in 1981, and made broadcasts one hour a day with the title "Voice of Lebanese Armenians". Apart from these, the communication means and public communication systems of the countries with which it has relations, are providing ASALA with support in broadcasting.


    • #3
      Levon Ekmekchian was one of the terrorists who fired on innocent people with machine guns and murdered 9 people in Esenboga Airpot in Ankara/Turkey.Then he was arrested by Turkish Security Forces.

      The letter of Ekmekchian which he wanted to be publicated has been distrubuted to press organs.The Armenian Terrorist, signed the letter, written with his hand writing both in Turkish and Armenian, with his code name of "Abu Raxxxx" at ASALA.The letter that has been signed with the code name of Abu Rashid by Levon Ekmekchian is as follows:

      Dear friends,
      It is a pity that I have believed all the things and history which were deviated and far away from reality, with the truth awakened recently and with what I feel I have proved today that these MILITANT ORGANIZATIONS opearting under the name of Saving our country are no different from TASHNAKS who were against us in the past.Kindly follow up my present ideas because the tomb of our ARMENIANSHIP is being dug nowadays.During my one month I lived in Turkey I felt the fact that I was fulfilled fith the ideas of my leaders all through my 24 years of my life.I will explain this fact to you.please, listen to me carefully.I have lived 30 days with Turks who were told to be our enemies.And I saw that our enemies are not the Turks.Our real enemies are our ancestors and those who have written histories.Believe in this and leave the wrong way you follow.Live as brothers and sisters with the TURKISH PEOPLE who love you and wish your wellfare.I am very sorry for being the reason of deaths of innocent people and my concience will always disturb me.My friendly request from you is that please, dont make the mistake that I have myself made, because your concience will disturb you as mine is disturbing me.My second request from you and the most important one is, please resist the hired dogs and clean them up so that the lives of your families and those of the ARMENIANS be brightened.I wish all of you success and clear minds in connection with this subject.

      I; Levon Ekmekchian, who has written this LETTER shall struggle against those dogs who have fooled us all our life with all my power.I shall first of all clean my own concience for the crime I have committed.I shall take this right granted to me by the TURKISH JUSTICE into my hands.

      After having written this letter something important came to my mind.Please, listen to me.Do not think that they have stressed pressure on me for writing this letter.Please, listen to me carefully, I am taking the cath on the Sacred Book and tomb of my brother...

      Code name: Abu Rashid

      Real name: Levon Ekmekchian


      • #4
        The letter of Artin Penik who burnt himself in order to protest against Armenian Terrorism which points to Turkey

        We hereby present the letter of Artin Penik, our Armenian Citizen, who committed suicide by burning himself in Taksim Square in Istanbul on 10 August 1982 in order to protest Armenian Terrorism against Turkey.This meaningful suicide of him made us sorry.

        Now, I am protesting you in the name of the Patriarche and all Turkish Armenians, and burning myself.

        You, ASALA murderers!Nothing can be done by killing innocent people.You are deceived by the imperialists.The history is told very wrong to you.Onehundredthousands of people disappeared by the trick of imperialists.Keep your mind!They are misleading you.Now, there are some thousands of armenians living here and there.Do you intend to abolish them, too?But you will never manage to do that.We want to continue our way of life that we are leading fraternally together with Turkish people.But, if you go on killing innocent people without mercy, I swear in the name of God that you will be all exterminated.Keep your mind!As far as we know, Armenians are brave and never kill innocent people from behind.We never regard you as Armenians.We are cursing you.You, the former president of France, Gizcard Estaing, we all Armenians are cursing you.

        If you had not disregarded their actions to get their votes, they would not have been so arrogant.

        I have many more things to write, but I find no reason to do it.When necessary, Turkish Nation will punish you.

        I wish God bless those who have lost their lives up to now, and patience to their relatives.May God give patience to my Turkish Citizens, Bye.

        Artin PENIK


        • #5
          Statement of General Secretary Dikran KEVORKYAN, Information Council of Armenian Patriarchate

          "Armenians have never established "the independent Armenia" as they claimed because of locating on the roads of prehistoric immigrations and have never got the the conditions which make a nation a state except 60 years period.

          Turks had got hold of Anatolian Lands without fighting against Armenians and they first established the Selhjuk State, then the Ottoman Empire.Armenians had lived under sovereignty of Ottoman Empire with huge tolarates for long years, they had owned the happiness and richness which they could not have owned during Byzantum Empire.

          Armenians have wanted to establish an independent Armenia for long years, but they could not do that when Ottoman Empire was too powerful.But, when Russians invaded Ottoman Lands in 1877-1878 war and came to Erzurum and Yesilköy(Ayastefanos), Armenians began to announce their desires about independent Armenia.Meanwhile Russian spies had provoked the Armenians who lived under Ottoman soverignty to rebel and make easier to invade Ottoman Lands in Eastern Anatolia.

          In this period imperialist foreign countries which wanted to control India-Europe trade lines, petrolium and mine sources, reach warm water of Meditterenean intervened the Armenian problem for their benefits in the region.

          Let me talk about "genocide":

          First of all what does "genocide" mean?Genocide means exterminating whole of a community which have never rebelled.You must answer this guestion.Like Inka and Astek genocide by Spanishes, American Indian Genocide by Europeans or Jewish genocide by Nazis.Armenians want Turkey to approve an unexisting "genocide".They could have benefited from the freedoms and the democratic situations of Western countries, esp. France, and they succeeded to effect people about "so-called Armenian Genocide" by publishing books, newspapers, making films and even they succeeded to eefect bureocratic persons about the subject.Because of these successes, Western public opinion has been supporting theatrocities against Turks since 1973.

          There is a subject to be stressed:

          Had Armenians rebelled to establish an independent Armenia in Ottoman Lands between 1878-1915, in World War I had they collobarated with Russian Army and shot Ottoman Army behind, had they threatened the background zone of war in Eastern Anatolia or not?The ones who claim "genocide" and attack Turkish targets must answer these questions.

          Let me talk about Turkey Armenians:

          Armenians in Turkey live in peace of mind with their schools, churches, economical, traditional and cultural activities for long years.On the 75th anniversary day of establishment of an Armenian newpaper in Istanbul our president Kenan Evren sent us a telegram:"Every Turkish citizen who recognizes these lands as motherland will survive under the keeping wings of our country, like the past, whatever their languages, religions and ethnicities are...Turkey Armenians are aware of these.They strive to tell the truth, a spiritual leader, as an admisitrator, as a citizen and inform the public opinion in the right way, never approve the atrocities against Turks in the name of Armenianism and worry about these murders.

          Turkey Armenians have already learnt by heart Turkey as their own land, Turkish flag as their own flag and Turkish nation as their own nation.Nothing can stop this belief."



          • #6
            ASALA is NOT an active organization at this time,
            since it has served its purpose of raising awareness of the Armenian Cause.

            “We find the information of the existence of the offices of ASALA in Armenia and Nagorni Karabakh currently to be inaccurate.”



            • #7
              Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA)
              Orly Group
              3rd October Organization
              In the last decades of the nineteenth century, the Armenians' tendency toward Europeanization antagonized Turkish officials and encouraged their view that Armenians were a foreign, subversive element in the sultan's realm. In 1895 Ottoman suspicion of the westernized Armenian population led to the massacre of 300,000 Armenians by special order of the Ottoman government.

              The Ottoman government ordered large-scale roundups, deportations, and systematic torture and murder of Armenians beginning in the spring of 1915. Estimates vary from 600,000 to 2 million deaths out of the prewar population of about 3 million Armenians. By 1917 fewer than 200,000 Armenians remained in Turkey.


              Marxist-Leninist Armenian terrorist group formed in 1975 with stated intention to compel the Turkish Government to acknowledge publicly its alleged responsibility for the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915, pay reparations, and cede territory for an Armenian homeland. Led by Hagop Hagopian until he was assassinated in Athens in April 1988.


              Initial bombing and assassination attacks directed against Turkish targets. Later attacked French and Swiss targets to force release of imprisoned comrades. Made several minor bombing attacks against US airline offices in Western Europe in early 1980s. Bombing of Turkish airline counter at Orly Airport in Paris in 1983--eight killed and 55 wounded--led to split in group over rationale for causing indiscriminate casualties. Suffering from internal schisms, group has been relatively inactive in the 1990s, although in 1992 it claimed an unsuccessful attack on Turkish Ambassador to Hungary. The organization has not recently engaged in terrorist activity.


              A few hundred members and sympathizers.

              Location/Area of Operation

              Lebanon, Western Europe, Armenia, United States, and Middle East.

              External Aid

              Has received aid, including training and safehaven, from Syria. May also receive some aid from Libya. Has extensive ties to radical Palestinian groups, including the PFLP and PFLP-GC



              • #8
                Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia
                The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) is a defunct terrorist group. It also operated under the names The Orly Group and the 3rd October Organization.

                Founded by Hagop Tarakchian and Hagop Hagopian and led by Hagopian. The Marxist-Leninist group formed in 1975. Its aim was to force the Turkish government to acknowledge its role in the Armenian genocide of 1915, compensate the survivors or their families and cede territory to Armenian SSR.

                The group's activities began with bombing and assassination attacks on Turkish targets. The first bombing was an attack on the World Council of Churches (WCC) office in Beirut. Their first acknowledged killing was the assassination of the Turkish diplomat, Oktay Cerit, in Paris on February 16, 1976. The group's eight point manifesto was published in 1981.

                The group's most destructive attack was on August 7, 1982 when nine people were killed and seventy wounded in an bombing at Ankara airport. Another bombing on July 15, 1983 at Orly Airport killed eight and wounded over fifty. The attack precipitated a split in the group over tactics, between the Nationalists (ASALA-Militant) and the 'Popular Movement' (ASALA-Mouvement Révolutionnaire).

                The group received aid from Syria and Libya in the 1980s and possibly the Soviet Union and France. It had links to the PLO, PFLP and PFLP-GC. With the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 the group lost much of its organization and support. Transferred to Syria, it found itself distanced from the PLO, and it is reported that tensions between the two became such that the PLO passed materials to the French intelligence services in 1983, detailing Asala operatives.

                Hagop Hagopian was assassinated in his Athens home on April 25, 1988 (Tarakchian died of cancer in 1980) and the group fell into inactivity and internal schisms, associating more closely with the PKK



                • #9
                  Are you trying to restart the ASALA movement? I see you are very much interested in this subject? Are you a fan?


                  • #10
                    I voted yes because that’s the only way the world and politicians would ever consider the Armenian issue, I don’t support the killing of the innocents but the movement’s heart was in the right place. Even Israel was found with these kind of actions, and Sharon was one of the masters.