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20 April 2011

3251) Remembering The Orly Attack

ASALA Armenian Terror Orly Attack© This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com

19 April 2011
Updated: 6 May 2011

By Maxime Gauin*

ABSTRACT

The bombing of the Orly airport, on July 15, 1983, one the two most bloody attacks by Armenian terrorists in the 1970’s and 1980’s, is not an accident or a crime whose responsibility could be attributed only to a tiny group of extremists. It is rather a logical consequence of a decade of violence. The attack did not stop the Armenian terrorism after July 1983; and the sincerity of “critiques” pronounced by the main Armenian diaspora’s associations is at least questionable. If the trial of 1985 was a great victory against the terrorism, the “recognition” of the “Armenian genocide” claims in the French Parliament, against the dispositions of the French Constitution, was a reward to terrorism, and a decisive help to the release of the main perpetrator of the Orly bombing.

KEYWORDS

ARF, ASALA, Armenian terrorism, Türkkaya Ataöv, criminal law, Hagop Hagopian, Hunchak, JCAG, Jean Loyrette, François Mitterrand, Orly, PKK, Ramkavar, Mümtaz Soysal, Jean-Marc Ara Toranian, Jacques Vergès
. .

On July 15, 1983, was perpetrated the worst terrorist attack which happened in France since the end of World War II, and the worst perpetrated in peace time. A bomb placed by the Armenian Secret Army for Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) in Orly airport (one of the two main airports of Parisian agglomeration) killed eight tourists (four French, two Turks, one American, one Swedish), wounded 90, including around 60 seriously, including several who remained infirm for life. As confessed Waroujan Garbidjian (Karapetian), chief of ASALA in France, sentenced to life for the attack, the goal was to destroy a plane of Turkish Airlines (and so to kill all his passengers and staff); it is only by accident that the explosion happened in the airport. “Orly” remained the symbol of bloody terrorism against Turkey and related targets.

Arrested on July 20, 1983 and sentenced to life on March 3, 1985, Mr. Garbidjian was released in April 2001. The purpose of this paper, published on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of this release, is to clarify the context and the consequences of this terrorist attack; especially, to rectify the various and frequent errors about this crime.

The Road to the Bombing

ASALA was created in 1971 within the Lebanese branch of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), and also with the participation of some members of Hunchak, another Armenian nationalist party.[1] The ARF did lose quickly the control of the group, which taken over by two Palestinian terrorist leaders: George Habbash (a former admirer of Nazism who turned to far left in the 1960’s) and Waddi Haddad (who became a KGB agent in 1971, precisely[2]). As a result, the ARF created in December 1972 her proper terrorist group, the so-called “Justice Commandos against Armenian Genocide” (JCAG), later named Armenian Revolutionary Army (ARA); to prevent any dissidence, the JCAG/ARA were directly subordinated to the World leadership of ARF.[3]

The Armenian terrorism was re-launched in practice by the double murder of Turkish general consul Mehmet Baydar and his deputy Bahadır Demir, perpetrated by Gourgen Yanikian (ASALA’s reference) on January 27, 1973, in Santa Barbara.[4] ASALA started officially its attacks in January 1975 (but likely as early as 1973, under the name of “Yanikian Commandos”); the JCAG began on October 22, 1975, by the assassination of Daniş Tunalıgil, Turkish ambassador in Vienna.[5]

“France after Turkey, was the country who suffered the most of the Armenian terrorism: 18 peoples were killed on French soil from 1975 to 1983, namely six Turkish diplomats and staff members (including the Turkish ambassador İsmail Erez and his driver)[6], two Turks in the consulate of Lyon, on August 5, 1980, one French secretary in bombing Marmara agency (see below), eight persons in Orly attack, one in the bombing of an exposition hall in Marseille, on October 1st, 1983.[7]”

The existence of an important Armenian community in France is not the single reason of this exceptionally bloody situation. After 1979-1980 and the rising of ASALA, there was a contest between the political branch of this group one side, and the ARF on the other side, for the control of the Armenian community in France. The strong popularity of terrorism, especially among the most active Armenians, led ASALA to increase, again and again, the number and the violence of terrorist attacks, especially in France. Because the arrest of Dashnak terrorist Max Hraïr Kilndjian in 1980, and the victory of Socialists in national elections of 1981, ARF preferred to stop the attacks in France — which did not mean to stop the terrorism in other countries, as we will see in the next part on this article.

Anyway, in addition to the competition between JCAG/ARA and ASALA, the questionable conduct of the trials of two Armenian terrorists were, in practice, encouragements to continue and increase the violence. Indicted for attempt of murder against the Turkish ambassador in Switzerland, the Dashnak Max Hraïr Kilndjian was sentenced as only as accomplice, to two years of jail, by the tribunal of Aix-en-Provence. The witnesses of the attack were threatened to death, so one dared to go Aix-en-Provence. The lawyers of Mr. Kilndjian argued mostly on “genocide” allegations, and were helped by several witnesses, including the main self-proclaimed historians who diffused the “Armenian genocide” allegation in France: Jean-Marie Carzou (Zouloumian), Gérard Chaliand (Chalian) and Yves Ternon. The lawyer of Turkish ambassador received no contra-genocide argument, and so, focused on the case itself and on the danger of terrorism.[8] A huge Dashnak crowd attended to the trial, to intimidate the jury and the magistrates. The line of ARF was clearly expressed since the very beginning: “Guilty or not, we support Max Kilndjian”.[9] It is not needed to say that Mr. Kinldjian’s slight sentence was welcomed with a big enthusiasm by the Dashnaks. Every issue of Haïastan, the monthly of Young Dashnaks in France, is full of articles vehemently supporting Mr. Kilndjian, from 1980 to 1982. But at least the ARF considered that the necessary complementary counterpart of such an arrogant and aggressive attitude was to end the terrorist attacks in France.

However, ASALA was of a different opinion. To obtain the release of its terrorists, ASALA used extensively the intimidation and blackmail by bombings and threats of bombings. But interestingly, the same staff of lawyers defended ASALA and JCAG terrorists in France and Switzerland, except for the Orly attack, and this exception is mainly due to the decision of ASALA itself. The “Comité de soutien aux prisonniers politiques arméniens” (CSPPA, “Support Committee to Armenian Political Prisonners”), in charge of paying the lawyers’s costs, was leaded by Jean-Marc “Ara” Toranian, who was also the chairman of the Mouvement national arménien (MNA), a group which was the political branch of ASALA until 1983.[10] The CSPPA supported both ASALA and JCAG indicted terrorists.

Tried for the bombing of a Parisian office of Turkish Airlines, in January 1983, the ASALA terrorist Abraham Thomassian was sentenced, on July 7 of the same year, to only 30 months of jail. Monte Melkonian revealed later that Hagop Hagopian gave inadvertently to Mr. Thomassian offensive grenades, instead of defensive, i.e. much less dangerous explosives, only by ignorance; that is why nobody was killed.[11] However, the goal was actually, like in Orly, to kill maximum number of persons. By comparison, another ASALA terrorist, Zaven Bedros, was sentenced on July 23, 1983, by a London’s tribunal, to eight years of prison for illegal storing of weapons and explosives and conspiracy to take the Turkish ambassador hostage.[12]

On February 28, 1983, ASALA bombed an office of the travel agency Marmara, which is a French company, killing one French secretary and wounding four other French citizens. Hay Baykar, the newspaper edited by Mr. Toranian, slammed only those who called this act “terrorist” and “criminal”, and considered the bombing as completely excusable; Hay Baykar insinuated even that those condemned these acts were motivated by an anti-Armenian “racism”.[13] This attack was not the first successful blind bombing by ASALA. As early as March 10, 1980, a bomb killed two persons and wounded at least twelve others, mostly Italians, at the Turkish Airlines office of Rome.[14] No one perpetrator was arrested; it was the same for all the other attacks of the Armenian terrorists in Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal.

On August 7, 1982, a suicide-attack of ASALA at the Ankara airport killed nine tourists (including one German and one American) and wounded 71 others (including one American).[15] Hay Baykar presented warm congratulations to ASALA for this carnage.[16] One month before the Orly attack, ASALA committed a suicide attack in Istanbul’s bazaar, killing two persons (ASALA claimed twenty-five) and wounded twenty-three.[17] One more time, Hay Baykar praised the crime: “Meguerditch Madarian fell as martyr in the flower of his youth, an image of Armenian youth which despair and cynicism about the success of our cause have led the most awful, the most insane sacrifice — Madarian, dead on the enemy’s soil.”[18] Similarly, in its issue of November 24, 1982, Hay Baykar published an article entitled “Notre lutte et l’opinion publique” (“Our Struggle and Public Opinion”), recommending to Armenian terrorists to commit criminal acts well beyond the assassination of only Turkish diplomats, and to not take too much care of the reactions of the public opinion. The perpetrators of Orly bombing did nothing but to follow these recommendations. The crime of Orly was the absolutely logical consequence of precedent bombings, of encouraging comments made by ASALA’s political branch, and of the lack of efficient repression against terrorist acts, especially in France.

But the Orly attack provoked the quick dismantlement of ASALA in France; Yves Bonnet, head of the Direction de la surveillance du territoire (DST, French counter-terrorist and counter-intelligence police) received the green light from the government for an operation which he hoped to organize since his nomination, in 1982: the arrest of the whole ASALA network in France, by a coordinated operation of all the national police forces.

The Reactions of the Main Armenian Diaspora’s Associations: “Critiques” Contradicted by Facts

According to the French association “SOS-attentats”, the official condemnation of the Orly bombing by the French Armenian associations was published only “more than one year” after the event.[19] Anyway, there are other reasons to doubt of the sincerity of the “condemnation” of this attack.

The medal of hypocrisy has surely to be awarded to the MNA of Mr. Toranian, not only because MNA, as we saw, supported fully the strategy of ASALA until the Orly attack. Indeed, Hay Baykar, despite his so-called “critique” of Orly attack, claimed impunity for the perpetrators, and slammed the verdict (life imprisonment for Varoujan Garbidjian, 15 years of jail for Soner Nayir, 10 years for Ohannes Semerci): “the rise of anti-Armenian repression, which we denounce tireless since months, culminated this Sunday March 3, 3 hours a.m. […] These three condemnations are a new blow to the Armenian cause.”[20] Hay Baykar supported also unconditionally Soner Nayir[21], who designed the firing circuits of Orly’s bomb;[22] one member of MNA was sentenced to jail for concealment of criminal (i.e. Soner Nayir); Mr. Toranian himself was sentenced to four months of suspended jail, but relaxed by the appeal court: he gave money to a friend, who used this money to help Soner Nayir; the first-instance court decided that Mr. Toranian could not ignore completely the destination of his money, the appeal court gave him the benefit of doubt.

Similarly, Mr. Toranian stated in an interview to Le Nouvel Observateur, in 1986, that Hagop Hagopian, the chief of ASALA, was a “fascist” and an “anti-Semite”[23], failing to explain why his newspaper and his association supported this “fascist” during several years — including at the time (1980) when ASALA bombed the office of El Al in Rome airport, and stated that the “Zionist Jews” are among the main enemies of the Armenians.[24] Mr. Toranian failed also to say why, as editor-in-chief of Hay Baykar, he allowed the publication of several articles which called the Israeli government and the whole Israel’s Jewish population “terrorists” and “Nazis”[25], a comparison which is a classical topic of the Arab and Iranian anti-Semitism.[26]

Anyway, the so-called “critique” of Orly attack did not mean the end of appeals to terrorism by MNA. Quite the contrary, the group became in practice to the dissident terrorists of ASALA-Revolutionary Movement what it was to ASALA prior to Orly attack. Only the arrests of its members by the French police prevented ASALA-RM to commit crimes on French soil.[27] During the trial of Monte Melkonian, chief of ASALA-RM, for possession of fake passport, illegal storing of weapons and conspiracy, Mr. Toranian himself testified for the terrorist, and justified his crimes.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation was roughly as self-contradictory in “condemning” the Orly attack. It is a legend that the Dashnak terrorists of JCAG/ARA refrained to use bombs in public and non-diplomatic locations; quite the contrary, JCAG carried out the first bombings of this kind, on May 29, 1977, in Yeşilköy (today Atatürk) airport and Sirkeci railroad station of Istanbul (5 deaths, 64 wounded).[28] In October 1982, the FBI arrested five Dashnak terrorists who wanted to blow the whole building where the Turkish Honorary Consulate of Philadelphia is located. According to FBI estimates, approved by the appeal court, the bomb “would at least 100 casualties. A daytime explosion could inflict as many as 2,000 to 3,000 casualties.”[29] Speaking on behalf the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA, political branch of ARF), local representative Leon Kirakosian “condemned this effort by the FBI and local police agencies to do Turkish dirty work against the Armenian people.”[30] The chief of the group, Vicken Hovsepian, sentenced to six years of prison (the prosecutor asked 25 years)[31] is currently a member of ARF’s World Bureau and the supreme representative of ARF in USA. Before 1983, the ARF saw no necessity to “condemn” any act of ASALA; in Autumn 1982, during a series of ARF’s meetings in France, the participants rejected explicitly the idea to “make the trial of ASALA”; the single shortcoming of ASALA, according to them, was to refuse an united front with ARF.[32]

The Orly attack did not dissuade the ARF to continue terrorism, including attempts of bombing in public places. During the year 1984, ARA assassinated two Turkish diplomats[33]; two ARA’s terrorists were killed by their proper bomb, accidentally, in the car park of Topkapı’s palace, in Istanbul[34] — a touristic place where non-Turkish tourists could have been very likely victims if the bombing was successful. On March 12, 1985, ARA carried out its most organized attack, against the Turkish embassy in Ottawa; it failed only because the sacrifice of the guardian Claude Brunelle and the important number of Pinkerton agents who protected the embassy. The cold-blood murder of a non-Turkish did not prevent ARF, of course, to present her three criminals (sentence to life) as “heroes”.[35]

The meetings organized by ARF in Paris, Lyon and Marseille, in the end of 1985, about “Ten years of armed struggle” showed that the activists of the ARF wanted the continuation of terrorism, and not at all any stop.[36] In the end of 1986, The Armenian Weekly, official publication of ARF in Boston (Massachusetts), published an article asserting that the Armenians can “only be excited by these acts of violence, as ‘acts of creation’ since the destruction of any representative of the Oppressor, Turkey, means the assertion of Armenian dignity”.[37] According to the account made by Gaïdz Minassian of the ARF’s congresses which decided to suspend for one year (1985) then sine die (1986) the activities of ARA, the arguments used by the partisans of suspension — chiefly Hracht Dasnabedian (1928-2001) — did not mention the Orly attack, but above all practical reasons: the terrorism was getting increasingly expensive, the effectiveness of the polices in the countries where Dashnak terrorist acts are perpetrated and the pressure of various governments were increasing also. Mr. Minassian gives also this interesting precision: the ARF’s specialists in explosives were sent, in 1985-1986, to the camps of PKK[38], one of the most violent terrorist groups in the world.[39]

The Hunchak party was not much convincing in “condemning” the Orly attack. An official of this political organization said in Spring 1982, about ASALA’s attacks that “actually our party is not against these operations; on the contrary, we support them.”[40] This statement, which happened after the first blind and murdering bombing by ASALA, takes a special sense, because two of the four ASALA terrorists who attacked the Turkish Consulate in Paris were ex-members of the Hunchak party.[41]

Unlike the ARF, the Ramkavar did not have a terrorist branch, and unlike Hunchak, there was no explicit statements in favor of terrorism; but individuals and local groups were totally allowed to support terrorists by words and by giving money to pay lawyers’ costs; and as far as 2000, when the main columnist of Ramkavar in USA, Moorad Mooradian (1935-2009), recalled the Armenian terrorism, he justified the assassinations of Turkish diplomats and said absolutely nothing, not a single word of critique, on Orly attack, or any other bombing in public places.[42] Speaking few after the Orly attack, Larry Cretan, former director of the Ramkavar-dominated Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), said “I am disturbed by those kinds of acts because I feel they’re counterproductive,” — so not because they are criminal — and added he could “understand the motivations behind them.”[43]

The Armenian Reporter, an Armenian American daily independent of any political parties, was probably more sincere, because he started to criticize terrorism before the Orly attack; however, these critics should not be overestimated. Indeed, until 1982, The Armenian Reporter accepted to publish articles inciting to murder and terrorism, including some statements of ASALA.[44] The daily agreed to criticize any terrorist act committed after the carnage of Ankara airport, and this carnage itself, but maintained integrally his praising of the majority of terrorist acts committed before the Summer 1982. Especially, in its issue of March 8, 1984, The Armenian Reporter published, in the first page, a necrology of Gourgen Yanikian, saying that Yanikian, in perpetrating his double murder, “opened [a] new era of political struggle” and “changed the course of Armenian history.”

The peak of support to terrorism by Armenian groups and individuals — Dashnaks and non-Dashnaks — in France happened after the Orly attack, in January-February 1984, i.e. around the trial of the four ASALA terrorists who attacked the Turkish Consulate in Paris on September 24, 1981, killed one guard, Cemal Özen, and seriously wounding the consul, Kaya İnal: a crowd of nationalist Armenians attended to the trial to intimidate the jury, the prosecutor and the plaintiffs’ representatives; the famous singer Charles Aznavour and the film maker Henri Verneuil (Achod Malakian) sent written statements of support, together with other Armenian personalities; the trio Jean-Marie Carzou (Zouloumian), Gérard Chaliand (Chalian) and Yves Ternon testified one more time; the slight verdict (seven years of jail for every terrorists) was slammed as too severe by Armenian newspapers.[45] The trial of Hampig Sassounian, in the beginning of 1984, marked also, in USA, the peak of support from ARF, its activists and sympathizers, for terrorism.[46] And as far as February 1985, one year and a half after the Orly attack and few before the trial, the Armenian American journalist George Mason wrote, with regret: “There are many Armenian Americans in California who feel great sympathy for the Armenian terrorists. I have talked to numerous peaceful, fair and thoughtful men who have expressed support to terrorism.”[47]

The almost disappearance of Armenian terrorism in USA after 1982 (the main exception being the attempt of assassination against Bonnie Joy Kaslan, in Spring 1985[48]) has nothing to do with the Orly attack and everything with the efficient operations of FBI following the assassination of Honorary Consul in Boston Orhan Gündüz[49] and the strong protests of Ankara to Washington. As we saw before, the end of the Armenian terrorism in France is due to similar causes. And from 1988 to 1994, a second campaign of Armenian terror targeted Azerbaidjan, in the context of Armenian-Azeri conflict.[50]

The Trial: The Success of Truth, Courage and Coherence

The political context of the Armenian issue and the approach to terrorism in France improved quickly after the trial of January 1984 and the vehement Turkish protestations. François Mitterrand realized his serious error to call the fate of Ottoman Armenians as “genocide” during a speech pronounced in the beginning of 1984, for electoral reasons. In July 1984, when he changed largely his government, almost all the pro-Armenian ministers lost their position, or changed their affectations. As a result, there was a deal between François Mitterrand, the Turkish Ambassador Adnan Bulak, and Jean Loyrette, principal of Gide-Loyrette-Nouel firm law (actually the second best French firm law, and now currently the first) [51] and Counsel of French ministry of Foreign affairs. For the precedent trials (Max Kilndjian 1982, Abraham Thomassian 1983, the attackers of the Turkish consulate 1984), the Turkish diplomacy paid famous lawyers, but gave no (1982, 1983) or too few (1984) arguments about the tragedy of World War I. Mr. Loyrette is not only one of the best French lawyers of the XXth century, but he has also a Ph.D. in contemporary history, obtained from Oxford University.

In December 1984 and January 1985, during two separate trials of terrorists, where the Turkish side was represented by Mr. Loyrette and his firm, the change of situation showed itself. Charged for illegal storing of explosives, Avétis Catanessian was sentenced to four years of jail (more than Mr. Thomassian, who was charged for bombing, in 1983). Other terrorists were sentenced to two or three years of jail, for the same charge, or for concealment of criminal.

For the trial of Orly attack (February-March 1985), the DST agreed with the Turkish Embassy to prevent the nationalist Armenians to attend the trial and to intimidate the tribunal. Only Turks and French were allowed to attend in the room. An important protection device was deployed. There was nothing like the hysterical crowd of Kilndjian trial, or the very mixed attendance of trials which happened in December 1984 and in January 1985.

The plaintiffs had three lawyers: Gilles de Poix and Christian de Thezillat, associates of Jean Loyrette, argued on the guilt of the three indicted persons; Jean Loyrette himself argued on the Armenian terrorism and against the “Armenian genocide” allegation. To reinforce this argumentation, four Turkish scholars — Sina Akşin, Türkkaya Ataöv, Hasan Köni and Mümtaz Soysal — testified against the “genocide” allegations; Avedis Simon Hacinliyian, senior lecturer at the Bosphorus University, testified against the allegation of “persecution” of Armenians in Turkey.[52]

Jean-Marie Carzou, Gérard Chaliand and Yves Ternon, accustomed to tribunal rooms since 1981, did not dare to participate at the trial as witnesses of defense, likely because the enormity of the crime, possibly also because there were afraid of the cross-examination by Jean Loyrette. But their books were used, among others, by the lawyers of defense. There was a real controversy, and the plaintiffs’ side was largely winner.

However, on a purely legal level, the defense had initially some advantages. Indeed, in 1985 (it changed as early as 1986), the French law did not authorize to restrict the release, during the trial, of the methods of investigation used against terrorists; all the conditions of the research of evidences had to be mentioned during the trial. So, the DST refrained from exposing all the material in the legal file, being afraid that other terrorists, including members of ASALA, could use such information to prepare future attacks with more safety. As a result, even the principal perpetrator of attack, Waroujan Garbidjian, was sentenced as an accomplice, not as an assassin.[53]

So, if Mr. Garbidjian was sentenced to life, it was not only because the majority of the victims killed were non-Turks, but also because the plaintiffs were able to challenge efficiently the “genocide” claims.

Because the bitterness of Hagop Hagopian, chief of ASALA, against his former comrade Jean-Marc “Ara” Toranian, the three terrorists charged for the Orly attack refused the help of the CSPPA, and chose as main Counsel Jacques Vergès — in addition to Christian Bourguet, Raffi Pechdimaldjian and Michel Zavrian. Mr. Vergès was the lawyer of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian terrorists since 1960’s, and defended also the war criminal Klaus Barbie, so this choice was in fact an handicap more than an advisable decision.

The single error of the Turkish side during the period mid-1984-1986 was to sue Mr. Toranian only for concealment of criminal, and not for glorification of terrorism and outrage to magistrates. Many articles of his newspaper Hay Baykar offered occasions for such court cases.

The “Recognition” of the so-called “Genocide”, or the Reward to Terrorism

Soner Nayir, sentenced to 15 years, served more than 11 years in jail, i.e. roughly three quarters of his sentence;[54] almost no convict serves more than the three quarters in France, since the end of XIXth century. Similarly, ASALA-RM’s leader Monte Melkonian, sentenced to six years, including two suspended, served more than three years (November 1985-January 1989).[55] So, it is not possible to say that, from the end of 1984 to the middle of 1990’s, the Armenian terrorists convicted by French justice benefited of slight enforcement of sentences.

But the “recognition” of “Armenian genocide” claims by the French Parliament (1998-2001), which, incidentally, violated the Constitution[56], permitted an exceptionally clement treatment for Mr. Garbidjian. His new lawyers argued of the “recognition” to obtain, with success in 2001, his liberation by the tribunal d’application des peines (parole board)[57], despite the absence of regrets and excuses by the terrorist.[58] Patrick Arapian, the main counsel of Armenian Revolutionary Federation in France — and a former associate of Jacques Vergès — played a capital role in this release.[59] If an evidence of ARF’s real opinion about Orly case was still needed, this fact would furnish it.

Anyway, Waroujan Garbidjian was released after less than 18 years in prison. A comparison with similar cases of 1980’s is self-explanatory. The far left terrorists of Action directe sentenced to life for murder (one or two murders for every) served more than twenty years, excepted Joëlle Aubron (18 years), released for serious health reasons; for instance 21 years for Nathalie Ménigon, 23 years for Maxime Frérot, 24 years for Georges Cipriani, 26 years for Régis Schleicher. The far right terrorist Michel Lajoye, sentenced to life for a bombing which did not kill or wound anybody (despite the intent of this criminal) served twenty years. The Lebanese terrorist Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, sentenced for his participation to the murder of two diplomats (one American and one Israeli) is in jail since 1984, with very few hopes of release. The Islamist Tunisian terrorist Fouad Ali Saleh, sentenced to life for several bloody attacks in Paris, is in jail since 1987.

Even more remarkable is the silence in France and the reactions in Armenia. Except an article in the daily Libération, the release of this terrorist provoked very few reactions in main French medias, and even less in French political world. Waroujan Garbidjian, despite his Syrian citizenship, was kindly expelled to Armenia.[60] He was welcomed in Erevan by the actual Prime Minister, Antranik Markarian, and by the mayor of Armenia’s capital, Robert Nazarian, who pledged to provide him with employment and accommodation.[61] This attitude was by no means exceptional. Mardiros Jamgotchian, member of ASALA and assassin of Mehmet S. Yergüz, secretary of Turkish consulate in Geneva[62], was welcomed in Armenia the Armenian Benevolent Association Gtutiun — the very first NGO created in Armenia — after his release of a Swiss prison, in 1991.[63] The four attackers of Paris consulate immigrated in Armenia after the independence; and as far as 2010, the Armenian Ministry of Culture supported financially the publication of a book glorifying the attack, and presented to the press by its author, Grigor Janikyan, with two of the perpetrators.[64]

In France, the main Armenian associations threw definitely out their mask in 2003, when Mr. Toranian was elected as president of Coordination Council of France’s Armenian Association (CCAF). He spent four years in this presidency, and was reelected in 2010 as co-president, together with the Dashnak Mourad Papazian, who was the most strident supporter of JCAG/ARA in France during the 1980’s.[65] There is definitely no clear limit between the Armenian activism, in France and several other countries, and the Armenian terrorism. The Wall Street Journal called appropriately “ASALA’s Day” the approbation, in September 1984, of the resolution designating April 24 as “National Day of Remembrance of Man’s Inhumanity to Man”.[66] The “recognition” of “Armenian genocide” claims in France was another “ASALA’s Day”, by every aspects.

Conclusion: Crimes and Double Standards

In a letter to President Woodrow Wilson dated of March 23, 1920, colonel Charles Furlong an Army intelligence officer and U.S. Delegate to the Paris Peace Conference, elaborated: “We hear much, both truth and gross exaggeration of Turkish massacres of Armenians, but little or nothing of the Armenian massacres of Turks. […] Our opportunity to gain the esteem and respect of the Muslim world […] will depend much on whether America hears Turkey's untrammeled voice and evidence which she has never succeeded in placing before the Court of Nations.”[67] In several telegrams to French War Office, especially on February 2, February 28 and March 5, 1919, General Hamelin, chief of French armies in the Near East in 1918-1919, warned that crimes perpetrated by Armenian soldiers were not less cruel than crimes perpetrated by Turks and Kurds, that these crimes will damage the image of France in the Muslim world, and that France will never be awarded by any gratitude of Armenian groups, who saw Hamelin’s country only as a source of money and a military force.[68]

These warnings have been neglected by these so numerous politicians who pretend write history for their own political purpose, and electoral interest. But, in addition to these double standards of war crimes, the Turks suffered of double standard on terrorism. No monument, plaque, nothing commemorates the Orly bombing, already largely forgotten. However, after the assassination of Hrant Dink, his name was given to two streets of Lyon and the main city of Lyon’s suburb, Villeurbanne, only to satisfy ultra-nationalist organizations which hated the deeds of Hrant Dink but now use his assassination for their political agenda.

The free speech in Turkey about Armenian issue is so far that Khatchig Mouradian, the editor-in-chief of the Dashnak Armenian Weekly — a newspaper which praised, as we saw, the Armenian terrorism, after to have praised the Armenian branch of Nazism[69] — was allowed to make a speech in Ankara about the so-called “reparations” which Turkey is supposed to have to pay[70] — without any legal basis. However, Turkey is still presented in EU and USA as restricting free speech on Armenian issue. And almost no protest came from the West in 2009, when the association of ASALA’s veterans silenced the Australian-Armenian scholar Armen Gakavian, who wanted to launch an apologies petition for Armenian terrorism of 1970’s and 1980’s, and for war crimes of Armenian soldiers and volunteers of Russian army during WWI.[71]

Finally, let’s notice that if the — mostly moderate — Muslims of Western countries are frequently criticized by xenophobes for their supposed lack of condemnation of terrorism — an unfair accusation for the majority, is it needed to say? —, almost no non-Turkish groups and individuals asks to the Armenians to condemn the terrorism. The ASALA terrorist Vazgen Sislian argued in 2010 that “Luckily, 99% of the Diaspora supported those actions and the mood in Soviet Armenia was also positive.”[72] Mr. Sislian’s figure is surely an exaggeration; but not even 1% of the Armenians, outside of Turkey, demonstrated by public statements that Mr. Sislian is wrong.


*Maxime Gauin is a visiting researcher at USAK.


[1] Gaïdz Minassian, Guerre et terrorisme arméniens, Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 2002, pp. 28-29.

[2] Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB Battle for the Third World, New York: Basic Books, 2005, pp. 246-253.

[3] Gaïdz Minassian, op. cit., pp. 22-23, 28 and 32-34; Francis P. Hyland, Armenian Terrorism: the Past, the Present, the Prospects, Boulder-San Francisco-Oxford: Westview Press, 1991, pp. 61-62; Yves Ternon, La Cause arménienne, Paris: Le Seuil, 1983, pp. 218-221.

[4] Michael Bobelian, Children of Armenia, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009, pp. 141-163; Bilâl N. Şimşir, Şehit Diplomatlarımız (1973-1994), Ankara: Bilgi Yayinevi, 2000, tome I, pp. 80-117.

[5] ATAA, Report on Armenian Terrorism and JCAG Terrorist Hampig Sassounian, p. 23 http://www.ataa.org/reference/Supporting_Documents_Hampig_Sassounian.pdf ; Gaïdz Minassian, op. cit., p. 44; Michael M. Gunter, “Pursuing the Just Cause of their People”. A Study of Contemporary Armenian Terrorism, Westport-New York-London: Greenwood Press, 1986, pp. 33 and 68.

[6] Michael M. Gunter, op. cit., pp. 68-69 ; Gaïdz Minassian, ibid. ; Bilâl N. Şimşir, op. cit., pp. 156-190, 300-312, 378-405 and 424-458.

[7] http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=198310010001

[8] See the proceedings of the trial, published by ARF: Comité de soutien à Max Kilndjian, Les Arméniens en cour d’assises. Terroristes ou résistants ?, Marseille: Parenthèses, 1983.

[9] Yves Ternon, op. cit., pp. 223-224.

[10] Gaïdz Minassian, op. cit., pp. 45 and 65-66; Michael M. Gunter, op. cit., pp. 35 and 105.

[11] « L’ASALA sur et contre elle-même », Notes et études de l’institut de criminologie de Paris, n° 11-12, October 1989. http://www.drmcc.org/download_statique.php?dl=ne11_12.pdf

[12] Armand Gaspard (Gasparian), Le Combat arménien, Lausanne: L’Âge d’homme, 1984, p. 78; Michael M. Gunter, op. cit., pp. 81-82; Francis P. Hyland, op. cit., p. 210.

[13] Hay Baykar, March 17, 1983.

[14] http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=198003100033 ; Sedat Laçiner, Ermeni Sorunu, Diaspora ve Türk Dış Politikası, Ankara: USAK, 2008, p. 251.

[15] http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=198208080008

[16] Hay Baykar, September 29, 1982, and February 10, 1983.

[17] Michael M. Gunter, op. cit., pp. 70-71.

[18] Quoted in Stephen Segaller, Invisible Armies. Terrorism into the 1990’s, London: Sphere Books/Penguin Books, 1987, p. 68.

[19] http://www.sos-attentats.org/fiche-temoignage-reaction.asp?id={D7B3D942-B91C-4C0A-8C55-B709AC73F6F2}&c=Temoignages&lan_id=fr

[20] Hay Baykar, March 11, 1985.

[21] Hay Baykar, October 13 and 27, 1983; March 11, 1985.

[22] Michael M. Gunter, op. cit., p. 81.

[23] http://referentiel.nouvelobs.com/archives_pdf/OBS1145_19861017/OBS1145_19861017_046.pdf

[24] http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=198002180004 ; Sedat Laçiner, ibid.

[25] See, especially, Hay Baykar, April 19 and September 29, 1982; and March 4, 1983.

[26] Bernard Lewis, “Muslim Anti-Semitism,” The Middle East Quarterly, June 1998, pp. 43-49 (http://www.meforum.org/396/muslim-anti-semitism).

[27] Michael M. Gunter, op. cit., pp. 49-53.

[28] Armand Gaspard (Gasparian), op. cit., p. 75; Yves Yernon, op. cit., p. 221.

[29] http://ftp.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F2/841/841.F2d.959.85-5037-5039.html

[30] Report on Armenian Terrorism and JCAG Terrorist Hampig Sassounian, op. cit., p. 51.

[31] Bruce Fein, “Armenian Terrorism with a North American Component: Sentencing Examples,” p. 3, in ATAA, Victims’ Impact Statement, 2000. http://www.ataa.org/reference/topalian/ATAA_Victim_Impact_Pleading.pdf

[32] “Mise au point et bilan de sept années d’actions armées”, Haïastan, October 1982.

[33] Michael M. Gunter, op. cit., p. 69; Bilâl N. Şimşir, op. cit., tome II, pp. 780-815.

[34] http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=198409030001 ; Michael M. Gunter, op. cit., p. 63; Francis P. Hyland, op. cit., p. 219.

[35] For instance: http://www.fra-france.com/print_article.php?id=57

[36] “Dix ans de lutte armée”, Haïastan, December 1985.

[37] Aram Khaligian, “The Necessities of Violence and National Culture in the Liberation Struggle,” The Armenian Weekly, December 31, 1986, p. 15.

[38] Gaïdz Minassian, op. cit., pp. 108-109 and 114.

[39] Andrew Mango, Turkey and the War on Terror. For Forty Years We Fought Alone, London-New York, Routledge, 2005, pp. 31-57.

[40] Hay Baykar, April 19, 1982.

[41] Michael M. Gunter, op. cit., p. 78.

[42] Moorad Mooradian, “Turkish Groups’ Stereotyping Old Hat for Deniers,” The Armenian Mirror-Spectator, March 25, 2000.

[43] The California Courrier, August 4, 1983, p. 2.

[44] For instance: John D. Hagopian, “We Will Never Forget,” The Armenian Reporter, January 23 1982; “ASALA’s A. Yenikomshian Addresses New Year’s Message to Armenians,” id., January 26, 1982

[45] Armenian Terrorism and the Paris Trial, University of Ankara, 1984 (http://www.turquie-news.fr/IMG/pdf/TERORISME_ARMENIAN_ET_PROCES_DE_PARIS.pdf); France-Arménie, February 21, 1984; Hay Baykar, all the issues of January and February 1984; Michael M. Gunter, op. cit., p. 107; Bilâl N. Şimşir, op. cit., tome I, pp. 424-458.

[46] See, especially, The Armenian Weekly, January 14, 21 and 28, February 11, 1984; on the support to Hampig Sassounian in France, see Haïastan, June 1982, and the special issue on the Sassounian affair, February 1984.

[47] The California Courrier, February 7, 1985, p. 8.

[48] http://www.ataa.org/reference/topalian/VIS3_Kaslan_Affidavit.pdf

[49] On this murder: Bilâl N. Şimşir, op. cit., tome II, pp. 500-523.

[50] http://mfa.gov.az/eng/khojaly_en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=25&Itemid=39

[51] http://www.gide.com/front/EN/home.htm

[52] Terrorist Attack at Orly: Statements and Evidence Presented at the Trial, February 19 - March 2, 1985, Ankara, Faculty of Political Science, 1985. The original French version is available online: http://www.tetedeturc.com/home/spip.php?article96

[53] https://www.unodc.org/tldb/pdf/France_CAValdeMarne_1985.pdf

[54] « Soner Nayir libéré », Les Nouvelles d’Arménie magazine, n° 1, mars 1995.

[55] « Libération du militant arménien Monte Melkonian », Le Monde, 17 janvier 1989.

[56] See the deposition of Senator Robert Badinter, former minister of Justice(1981-1986) and president of Constitutional Council (1986-1995) in front of Accoyer sub-committee, 2008: http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/13/rap-info/i1262.asp#P4036_1545373

[57] « Le terroriste Garbidjian quitte les prisons françaises », Libération, 24 avril 2001. http://www.liberation.fr/societe/0101371618-le-terroriste-garbidjian-quitte-les-prisons-francaises

[58] See this interview of 2008: http://www.armworld.am/detail.php?paperid=3029&pageid=96105&lang=_eng

[59] http://www.yerkir.eu/2008.11.16%20-%20FA%20-%20Interview%20Patrick%20Arapian.pdf

[60] « Le terroriste Garbidjian quitte les prisons françaises », art. cit.

[61] http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1142396.html http://www.armenews.com/article.php3?id_article=776

[62] Michael M. Gunter, op. cit., pp. 70-71 ; Bilâl N. Şimşir, op. cit., tome I, pp. 408-422.

[63] Letter of Gtutiun, April 8, 1991. I express my thanks to Sevil Kaplun, who sent to me a copy of this document.

[64] http://hetq.am/en/society/van/

[65] Haïastan, various issues, 1980-1986.

[66] “ASALA’s Day,” The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 1984, p. 30. See also, “Unraveling the Motivations for Armenian Terror,”, id., August 3, 1983.

[67] Quoted in Bruce Fein, “Armenia Crime Amnesia?”, The Washington Times, October 16, 2007. http://www.turkishcoalition.org/media/fein_wt.pdf See also Laurence Evans, United States Policy and the Partition of Turkey. 1914-1924, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1965, pp. 272-273; and Yücel Güçlü, Armenians and the Allies in Cilicia. 1914-1923, Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press, 2005, pp. 112-114 et 124-127.

[68] Archives du ministère des Affaires étrangères, série E, carton 304, dossier 7.

[69] Arthur Derounian, “The Armenian Displaced Persons,” Armenian Affairs Magazine, I-1, Winter 1949-1950 (http://www.tallarmeniantale.com/derounian-dashnak-dominat.htm); Ayhan Özer, “The Armenian-Nazi Collaboration in WWII,” The Turkish Times, July 15, 1996 (http://www.ataa.org/reference/nazi-ozer.html). The Armenian Weekly was actually named Hairenik Weekly.

[70] http://www.armenianweekly.com/2010/04/28/ankara-conference/

[71] “Ermeni aydınlar da harekete geçiyor,” Radikal, February 1st, 2009 (http://www.radikal.com.tr/Radikal.aspx?aType=RadikalDetayV3&ArticleID=919591&Date=02.02.2009&CategoryID=77); “ASALA Threatens Gakavian over Apology Initiative,” Today’s Zaman, February 13, 2009 (http://todayszaman.com/news-166849-asala-threatens-gakavian-over-apology-initiative.html ).

[72] See note 64.

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http://www.turkishweekly.net/article/403/remembering-the-orly-attack.html
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N.B.We have backed up most of the (761 pages)online reference materials above, against possible unavailability on the net, just in case.


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Here's a small portion of further reference material:



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ASALA’s DAY, Wall Street Journal

While considering yet another of those infernal "Armenian Genocide" resolutions in Congress, we hear from:

HON. CARROLL HUBBARD, JR. OF KENTUCKY IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Tuesday, October 9, 1984

Mr. HUBBARD: Mr. Speaker, I read an excellent editorial in the October 2 WaIl Street Journal entitled, “ASALA’s Day,” which I urge my colleagues in the House to read. Indeed, the points raised about considering resolutions in the House and Senate that might be interpreted as endorsing terrorism against the diplomats of a democratic ally, namely Turkey, are definitely worthy of our consideration.

The editorial follows:

ASALA’s DAY

In the 11 years since an Armenian terrorist campaign against Turkey began, 41 Turkish diplomats plus members of their families and other innocents have been murdered.

The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), one of the major perpetrators, seems reasonably clear in its long-range goal, although its objectives are sometimes clouded by factionalism. Its dominant faction wants to “liberate” the eastern provinces of Turkey and incorporate them into the Soviet Union. This was explicitly stated when the ASALA official journal editorialized: “Our forces never strike against the Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia which is already liberated.”

NATO bases in eastern Turkey, just the region that ASALA wants to “liberate,” are essential to any Western defense against a Soviet attack in the Mideast. The Soviets poured more than a billion dollars of arms through Bulgaria into the hands of both leftist and rightist Turkish terrorists during the 1970s in an attempt to destabilize the bulwark of NATO’s southern flank. The Turks responded with martial law and defused the threat sufficiently to allow the present movement back to democracy. But there is no reason to believe that the Soviets have given up their campaign to isolate Turkey from its NATO allies.

The U.S. Congress has managed to bumble into this nasty game.

Two bills now before that body seek to commemorate the large number of deaths of Armenians in eastern Turkey during World War I. There can be little doubt that the Armenian repression was a terrible chapter in history and perhaps the Turks have been too insistent on denying guilt. But it was only one part of a global tragedy that claimed nearly 15 million lives. Dredging it up now in Congress, some 70 years after the event, may be a generous gesture toward Americans of Armenian descent but is hardly an appropriate signal to U.S. enemies.

The milder version, sponsored by Rep. Tony Coelho (D., Calif.) and passed by the full House, calls for April 24, 1985, to be a day to commemorate the Armenian "genocide perpetrated in Turkey between 1915 and 1923.” In specific terms, this bill would not directly affect U.S. policy.

But the bill that has recently passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee makes no pretense of avoiding current policy implications. Sponsored by Sens. Carl Levin CD., Mich.) and Pete Wilson (R., Calif.), Senate Resolution 241 calls for U.S. foreign policy “to take into account the genocide of the Armenian people. No one knows exactly what this means. According to his spokesman, Sen. Levin wants to link U.S. aid to the Turkish record on human rights.

The Turks are understandably confused, worried and upset. The Senate bill specifically says that the Ottoman empire and not the modern Turkish republic was responsible for the killings of Armenians. So, perhaps, the Turks have reacted too strongly to the threat of its passage. But, after more than a decade of terrorism, they can be excused for suspecting that the bills are part of a wider political agenda to separate Turkey from the West. In a week when Congress is examining ways to prevent attacks on our embassies, it is particularly ironic to consider resolutions that will be widely interpreted as endorsing terrorism against the diplomats of a democratic ally.


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