Armenian terrorism

Armenian terrorism

Armenian terrorism, in the absence of sufficient political and military strength, has been used from its earliest beginning as an effective tool for acquiring resources and territory to create a sole living space for Armenians scattered across the world. The early Armenian political institutions of Armenikan (1885), Hunchak (1887) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaktsutiun/ARFD (1890) recognized and utilized terror as a necessary means of struggle against perceived enemies and a way to consolidate the Armenian ethnicity in its transformation from an ethno-religious sect of the Armenian Gregorian Church into a mono-ethnic nation with statehood.

The first manifestation of Armenian terrorism occurred on 26 August 1896 when 28 armed members of the ARFD, commanded by leading party member Karekin Pastermadjian, seized and occupied the Ottoman Central Bank in Istanbul, taking 156 civilians – mainly European nationals – hostages. The 14-hour armed takeover incited the involvement of European embassies and yielded positive political results for the ARFD: Pastermadjian gained a seat at the Ottoman Parliament as a representative of the Armenian community and was later appointed as Ambassador of the Dashnak Republic of Armenia to the United States, testifying to the effectiveness of using terror to advance Armenian nationalistic interests.

This initial success of Armenian terrorism inspired a series of high profile assassinations at the end of XIX and the beginning of XX centuries by members and supporters of the Hunchak and ARFD (A chronology of Armenian terrorism is provided in the Annex).

Generating wide support within the larger Armenian community, Armenian terrorism became remarkable in its visceral hatred against anyone who stood in its way, including members of its own and other ethnicities.

A grim example of this was the brutal massacre against Azerbaijanis in March 1918. While Azerbaijanis were celebrating their most cherished national holiday – Novruz, thousands of armed terrorists of the ARFD began raiding cities and villages all over Azerbaijan and slaughtering Azerbaijanis with unparalleled cruelty. 20,000 Azerbaijani civilians perished in the March Days and 167 villages were destroyed, 35 of which were completely wiped out.

A year later, ARFD formed Operation Nemesis, a covert task unit called on to seek retribution for the events of 1915 in Ottoman Turkey. In the 1920s under the Nemesis operation a number of terror acts and assassinations were committed against Turkish officials in several foreign countries, effectively expanding the scope and geography of Armenian terrorism across the world.

Throughout much of the mid XX century Armenian terrorism lay dormant, being institutionalized within Armenian terrorist organizations secretly operating in Armenian populated regions of the Middle East and Europe. Terrorists belonging to the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia – ASALA (1975), the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide – JCAG (1975), New Armenian Resistance – NAR (1977) and other extremist groups targeted Turkish officials in France, Switzerland, Italy, US, Lebanon, Turkey, Iran, and the UK and killing 24 Turkish diplomats, including ambassadors. Between the 1970s and 1990s Armenian terror organizations overall committed over 235 terror acts in over 22 countries, killing over 70 people, prompting the adoption of several international legal acts to suppress terrorism, including the Protocol on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence in Airports Servicing Civil Aviation by the United Nations in February 1988.

With the onset of the Karabakh issue in the 1980s the activities of Armenian terror organizations were diverted to Azerbaijan. The second part of the 1980s was marked by sporadic terror acts by Armenian terrorists, mainly involving bombings of public buses and metro trains in the territory of Azerbaijan.

Since restoring its independence in 1991 the Republic of Armenia has justified the use of terror to advance its territorial claims against Azerbaijan, culminating in the occupation and annexation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions of Azerbaijan. Funded and staffed by the Armenian diaspora and the special security services of Armenia over 6000 Armenians living in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Bulgaria, France and the US took an active part in military occupation of internationally recognized territories of the Azerbaijan Republic, forcing over one million Azerbaijanis out of their homes.

The apogee of terror crimes against the people of Azerbaijan took place on 26 February 1992 in Azerbaijani city of Khojaly where 613 Azerbaijanis, including 106 women and 63 children were brutally murdered over one night. Memorial Human Rights Center and Human Rights Watch have described the Khojaly genocide as one of the worst civilian tragedies.

Notably, two of Armenia’s previous presidents, Serzh Sargysan and Robert Kocharian, were warlords of the separatist regime in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, leading the invasion of Azerbaijani lands and the massacres and cruelty that accompanied it. The following words by S.Sargsyan in his interview to British journalist Thomas de Waal leave no doubt about Armenian militants’ violence against civilians: “Before Khojaly, Azerbaijanis thought that Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We needed to put a stop to all that. We were able to break that [stereotype].”

Terror acts against civilians prevail, mainly against women, children and the elderly in the form of sniper attacks or explosive toys dropped in nearby rivers. Recent victims of Armenian terror acts in vicinity of frontline and state border include a 5-year-old boy from Aghdam, a 13-year-old girl from Tovuz, and a 2-year-old girl from Fizuli region of Azerbaijan.

Born out of extreme nationalist sentiments envisioning a mythical “Greater Armenia” Armenian terrorism has continuously adapted to meet the changing objectives of the Armenian cause. Emerged at the end of XIX century and growing rapidly in mid-XX century, Armenian terrorism became a major threat to countries in the region and beyond, with more than 200 terrorist attacks committed on four different continents, including Europe, Asia, America, and even Australia. Given that every wave of heightened Armenian nationalism has been accompanied by terror and violence, proper and timely measures must be taken to eradicate this phenomenon in the name of robust peace, security and stability both at the regional and international levels.

CHRONOLOGY OF ARMENIAN TERRORISM

– 26 August 1896: Two killed, four injured and 156 held hostages during an armed takeover of the International Ottoman Bank in Istanbul, Ottoman Empire. Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaktsitiun – ARFD claimed responsibility.

– 1 May 1905: Assassination of M.Driagin, Governor General of the Batum Region Major General in Batum, Russian Empire. Hunchak claimed responsibility.

– 11 May 1905: Assassination of Knyaz Mikhail Nakashidze, Governor of the Baku Gubernia in Baku. Hunchak claimed responsibility.

– 21 July 1905: Assassination attempt on Sultan Abdul-Hamid II at the Yıldız Mosque in Istanbul by means of a mined car, killing 20 bystanders. ARFD claimed responsibility.

– 20 August 1905: Assassination of Lieutenant-General Nikolay Lutsau, Governor General of the Elizavetpol Gubernia in Elizavetpol, Russian Empire. AFRD claimed responsibility.

– 19 June 1920: Assassination of Fatali Khan Khoyski, in Tbilisi, Georgia. Prime Minister of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic Aram Yerganian (Armenian Revolutionary Federation) claimed responsibility.

– July 18, 1921: Assassination of Behbud Khan Javanshir in Istanbul, Ottoman Empire. Minister of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, Misak Torlakian ( Armenian Revolutionary Federation) claimed responsibility.

– 27 January 1973: Assassination of Mehmet Baydar, Consul-General of the Republic of Turkey and Vice Consul Bahadir Demir by lone terrorist Karekin Yanikian in Los Angeles, U.S.

– 22 October 1975: Assassination of Danish Tunaligil, Turkey’s Ambassador to Austria in Vienna, Austria. The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia – ASALA and the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide – JCAG claimed responsibility.

– 24 October 1975: Assassination of İsmail Erez, Turkey’s Ambassador to France in Paris. ASALA and JCAG claimed responsibility.

– 16 February 1976: Assassination of Oktar Cirit, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Beirut, Lebanon. ASALA claimed responsibility.

– 17 May 1976: Explosion at the Consulates General of the Republic of Turkey in the cities of Frankfurt, Cologne and Essen, Germany. ASALA claimed responsibility.

– 28 May 1976: Explosions at the Swiss branch of the Turkish Garanti Bank and the office of the Turkey’s Labor Attaché in Zurich, Switzerland. JCAG claimed responsibility.

– 8 January 1977: Explosion in a subway train in Moscow, killing 7 and injuring 37. The National United Party of Armenia – NUPA claimed responsibility.

– 29 May 1977: Explosion at Yeşilköy Airport in Istanbul, killing 5 and injuring 42. ASALA claimed responsibility.

– 9 June 1977: Assassination of Taha Carım, Turkey’s Ambassador to the Vatican in the St. Paul’s Cathedral. JCAG claimed responsibility.

– 2 June 1978: Assassination attempt on Zeki Kuneralp, Turkey’s Ambassador to Spain in Madrid, Spain, killing his wife Necla, her brother, and retired ambassador Beşir Balcıoğlu. ASALA and JCAG claimed responsibility.

– 12 October 1979: Assassination of the son of Turkey’s Ambassador to the Netherlands Ahmet Benler in the Hague. JCAG claimed responsibility.

– 22 December 1979: Assassination of Turkey’s Tourism Attaché Yılmaz Cholpan in Paris. JCAG claimed responsibility.

– 31 July 1980: Armed attack on the family of Galip Özmen, Administrative Attaché of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Athens, Greece, killing Ozmen and his fourteen-year-old daughter and injuring his wife and son. ASALA claimed responsibility.

– 26 September 1980: Assassination of Selchuk Bakkalbashi, Press Attaché of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey to France in Paris. ASALA claimed responsibility.

– 17 December 1980: Assassination of Turkey’s Consul General Şarik Arıyak and Security Attaché, Engin Sever in Sydney, Australia. JCAG claimed responsibility.

– 9 June 1981: Assassination of Mehmet Savash Yerguz, Secretary of the Turkish Consulate in Geneva, Switzerland. ASALA claimed responsibility.

– 15 September 1981: Explosion in front of the Turkish Airlines office in Copenhagen, Denmark. ASALA claimed responsibility.

– 28 January 1982: Assassination of Kemal Arikan, Turkey’s Consul General in Los Angeles, U.S. JCAG claimed responsibility.

– 4 May 1982: Assassination of Orhan Gunduz, Turkey’s Honorary Consul General in Boston, U.S. JCAG claimed responsibility.

– 7 June 1982: Assassination of Erkut Akbay, Administrative Attaché of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey to Portugal and his wife in Lisbon. JCAG claimed responsibility.

– 7 August 1982: Hostage crisis at Esenboga Airport in Ankara, killing 10 and injuring 82. ASALA claimed responsibility.

– 27 August 1982: Assassination of Colonel Atilla Altikat, Military Attaché of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey to Canada in Ottawa. JCAG claimed responsibility.

– 9 September 1982: Assassination of Burgaz Bora Suelkan, Administrative Attaché of the Turkish Consulate General in Burgaz, Bulgaria. JCAG claimed responsibility.

– 9 March 1983: Assassination of Galip Balkar, Turkey’s Ambassador to Yugoslavia in Belgrade. JCAG claimed responsibility.

– 14 July 1983: Assassination of Dursun Aksoy, Administrative Attaché of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey to Belgium in Brussels. ASALA, JCAG and the Armenian Revolutionary Army – АRА claimed responsibility.

– 15 July 1983: Explosion at the Turkish Airlines office at Orly airport in Paris, killing 8, and injuring 55. ASALA claimed responsibility.

– 27 July 1983: Kidnapping of the family of Yurtsev Mihchioglu, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey to Portugal in Lisbon. The terrorists killed his wife and a security officer and injured his son. ARA claimed responsibility.

– 1 October 1983: Explosion at an international trade fair in Marseilles, France, killing one and injuring 26. ASALA claimed responsibility.

– 28 April 1984: Assassination attempt on Sadiye Yonder, secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey to Iran in Tehran, killing her husband. ASALA claimed responsibility.

– 20 June 1984: Assassination of Erdogan Ozen, Assistant Labor and Social Affairs Counselor of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey to Austria in Vienna, killing him and injuring five. ARA claimed responsibility.

– 8 September 1984: Bombing of a public bus by lone terrorist Gehrikh Vartanov in Baku, Azerbaijan, killing 1 and injuring 6.

– 19 November 1984: Assassination of Enver Ergun, Deputy Director of the Center for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations in Vienna, Austria. АRА claimed responsibility.

– 23 November 1986: Explosion in front of the Consulate-General of the Republic of Turkey in Melbourne, Australia, killing one and injuring another. ASALA claimed responsibility.

– 12 December 1988: Downing of a passenger aircraft in Khankendi, Azerbaijan, killing two crew members. “The Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army” – NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 16 September 1989: Bombing of a Tbilisi-Baku passenger bus, killing five and injuring 25. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 13 February 1990: Bombing of a passenger bus in Shusha, Azerbaijan killing 16 people. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 11 July 1990: A submachine gun attack on a passenger bus in Askeran, Azerbaijan, killing eight and injuring 23. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 10 August 1990: Bombing of a passenger bus in Khanlar, Azerbaijan, killing 17, and injuring 16. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 10 August 1990: Bombing of a Tbilisi-Aghdam passenger bus, killing 20 and injuring 30. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 30 November 1990: Bombing of a passenger bus carrying employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan from Shusha to Khankendi, Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, injuring 2 people. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 14 March 1991: Bombing of a passenger bus in Aghdam, Azerbaijan, killing 3 and injuring 4. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 30 May 1991: Bombing of a Moscow-Baku passenger train, killing 11 and injuring 22. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 31 June 1991: Bombing of a Moscow-Baku passenger train, killing 16 and injuring 20. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 8 September 1991: Bombing of a passenger bus in Aghdam, Azerbaijan, killing 6 and injuring 36. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 7 October 1991: Assassination of Chetin Gorgu, Turkey’s Press Attaché in Athens, Greece. ASALA claimed responsibility.

– 20 November 1991: Downing of a passenger helicopter with a high level peacekeeping mission in Khojavand region of Azerbaijan, killing 22 people. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 8 January 1992: Bombing of a Krasnovodsk-Baku sea ferry, killing 25 and injuring 88.

– 28 January 1992: Downing of a passenger helicopter in Shusha, Azerbaijan killing 44 people. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 28 February 1993: Bombing of a Kislovodsk-Baku passenger train, killing 11 and injuring 8. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 11 December 1993: Assassination of Chaglar Yucel, Administrative Attaché of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey to Iran in Tehran. ASALA claimed responsibility.

– 1 February 1994: Bombing of a passenger train in Baku, killing 3 and injuring 20. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 13 April 1994: Explosion on a Moscow-Baku passenger train, killing 3 and injuring 3. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 3 July, 1994: Explosion on a Baku subway train, killing 13 and injuring 42. NKDA claimed responsibility.

– 7 July 1994: Assassination of Haluk Sipahioglu, Counselor of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey to Greece in Athens. ASALA claimed responsibility.

– 27 October 1999: Terror act in the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia in Yerevan, killing Speaker Karen Demirchian, Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkissian, Vice Speakers Ruben Miroian and Yury Bakhshian, Operational Issues Minister Leonard Petrossian, and deputies Armenak Armenakian, Ghenrik Abramian, and Mikael Kotanian. ARFD claimed responsibility.

– 8 March 2011: Firing on a group of children in Aghdam region of Azerbaijan, killing 9-year-old Azerbaijani boy.

– 14 July 2011: A toy with explosives dropped in a river running from Armenia to Azerbaijan, killing 13-year-old Azerbaijani girl and seriously wounded her 32-year-old mother in Tovuz region of Azerbaijan.

– 4 July 2017: Firing on civilians in Fuzuli, Azerbaijan, killing 2-year-old Azerbaijani girl and her 51-year-old grandmother, and injuring another 52-year-old woman.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan

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