Armenian terrorists conduct a fearsome campaign of violence
The hatred is venomous, relentless and overwhelming. When Armenian Terrorist Levon Ekmekjian was told by Turkish police that his two-man murder squad had succeeded in killing nine people and wounding 72 others, he cried out furiously, "It wasn't enough!"
The terrorists had exploded a bomb in the middle of the crowded check-in area at Ankara's Esenboga Airport on Aug. 7, then opened fire with submachine guns on passport-control officers and passengers, mostly Turkish workers returning to jobs in West Germany and The Netherlands after a holiday. One of the gunmen was reported to have yelled at his victims as he fired, "More than a million of us died! What's the difference if 25 of you die?"
The airport killers were members of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), one of several underground groups that are eager for vengeance against Turks for the murder of more than 1 million Armenians in 1915. Though Armenians had borne their grievance peaceably for decades, terrorists began in 1973 to carry out systematic assassinations of Turkish envoys. Their goal: forcing the Turks to acknowledge committing the act of genocide, to pay reparations to the descendants of the victims, and to grant autonomy to the former Armenian-dominated provinces in northeastern Turkey or give them up altogether so they might become a separate nation. The Marxist, Beirut-based ASALA and another group called the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide have killed 22 Turkish diplomats or members of their families and staffs, and have wounded 15 other envoys or their dependents. In addition, there have been 70 casualties, including four deaths, among people who, though not Turkish, were in the terrorists' line of fire. Four of the killings have taken place in the U.S. The most recent: the murder in Somerville, Mass., last May of Orhan Gunduz, a Turkish gift-shop owner, who was also honorary Turkish consul general for New England.
France, which is home for 300,000 Armenians, has been the major battlefield for the extremists' war against the Turks. Terrorists have launched over 40 attacks on Turks or Turkish facilities and killed four diplomats. Last September, Armenian terrorists killed a security guard, wounded the vice consul and held 51 people hostage while they occupied the Turkish consulate for 15 hours.
France's inability to protect the Turkish diplomatic community from terrorist attack has outraged the Ankara government. Turkish-French relations were further strained last April by a speech that French Interior Minister Gaston Defferre gave at a ceremony in Marseilles honoring the Armenians who died in 1915. Said Defferre: "The French government recognizes the genocide of which the Armenian people have been victim." The Turkish Foreign Minister protested that Defferre was "contributing to an atmosphere that encourages Armenian violence."