2332) Do We Ever Remember Anything?

January 27, 1973, Santa Barbara…Mehmet Baydar, Bahadir Demir…Gurgen (Karakin) Yanikyan,…Do this date, place and these names remind you of something? Yes, it has been 35 years since then. However, it would be good to remember some incidents at least sporadically. The youngsters who did not witness those days should better read the materials they can access by one click . . at the Internet.

We are talking about the ASALA terror. 70-year old Yanikyan started the ASALA terror when he invited Mehmet Baydar, Los Angeles General Consul, and Bahadir Demir, the Consul, to the Baltimore Hotel in Santa Barbara, on the pretext of giving a painting of Abdulhamit as a present, and shot them dead.

This was the chain of murders and bombings that continued until 1994. The targets of the ASALA murderers were the Turkish diplomats. Among the ones who were murdered, there were ambassadors, attachés, children of the diplomats, security personnel and drivers. Furthermore, the ASALA terrorists carried out raids and bomb attacks against many places such as the Esenboga, Yesilkoy and Orly Airports and the Kapalicarsi.

During the attacks, more than 50 individuals, both Turkish and foreigners, lost their lives and hundreds were wounded. Unfortunately, only few of the murderers were captured. Especially in France, where six attacks took place, the murderers were ridiculously sentenced to a few-year imprisonments. The trials turned into circuses. It was not the murderers but the victims who were blamed. Well-known Armenian fairytales were told.

Well, what had we done? In every funeral furious speeches were given. We always said that “the terrorists will be revenged for the victims’ blood”.

Since a very long time, nobody talks about the victims of the ASALA terror. During the anniversaries, silent ceremonies are made at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the newspapers or on the televisions, the famous “panel discussion makers”, “experts”, “strategists”, “intellectuals” (!) who stick their nose in every subject, never talk about this subject. Lets admit that neither we said or wrote anything about this subject since a long time. Retired Ambassador Bilal Simsir, who won the Sedat Simavi Award on Social Sciences, made a brief speech at the ceremony organized by the Journalists Association of Turkey and reminded us all about out fault.

Simsir mentioned “I visited the high schools from which the martyred diplomats had graduated. I could not see even a small memorial plaque in either of them.” Not at the high schools. We wonder if there are any at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We do not know. Even if there are, they were never on the media.

Well, were their names given to the streets or parks at the cities they were born and grown up? It must be questioned it was the subject of how many researches or doctoral thesis? How many books were written on this subject? Did the famous series producers, who use the boring stories repeatedly, try to use this subject?

We would like to apologize if all the above-mentioned had been realized but it was us who did not see.

O.K., but how did the ASALA terror end suddenly?

Whether we like it or not, when Israel occupied Lebanon in 1981, the camps in which the ASALA terrorists took shelter were destroyed.

Greece, which received the terrorists with arms wide open, slowed down when the things began to get out of control. In the meanwhile, some courageous people stabbed many times the ASALA leader Agop Agopyan in Athens. The Greek papers claimed “it was the spies”, used the headline “Commandoes of the Universe”. Who ever they were, thanks, it was a good job…

The more importantly, France, the major protector of ASALA, ruined ASALA over one night, when 4 French individuals were killed as a result of the bomb explosion in front of the THY office at the Orly Airport on July 15, 1983. As a result of the attack, 8 individuals, namely 2 Turks, 4 French, one US, one Swiss citizens were killed and 63 others were wounded. A short while after the incident, the Armenian lobby which supports terrorism, was silenced in the USA, and the open and clandestine ASALA cells were destroyed.

The Westerners do not take action until they are hurt… Examples? The ASALA, the Al-Qaida, the PKK…

We should better “REMEMBER” some facts.

Zafer Atay – Dunya Newspaper – January 24, 2008