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TUDPAM | Türk Dış Politikası Araştırma Merkezi > Analizler > Analysis of the “ASALA” Terrorist Organization from the Perspective of Armenian Terrorist Organizations from Past to Present

Analysis of the “ASALA” Terrorist Organization from the Perspective of Armenian Terrorist Organizations from Past to Present

Dr. Elvin Abdurahmanlı

Diplomacy and Intelligence Expert

There was a militant group named “Nemesis” within the first Armenian Terrorist organization, the Dashnaks. The aim of this organization was to revolt the Armenian people living within the Ottoman state against the Ottomans and to establish the so-called Armenian state. After the Republic of Turkey was established in 1923, this organization began to increase its activities gradually. In its first action, the organization had Talat Pasha, the former Minister of Internal Affairs, shot on a street in Berlin on March 15, 1921. This action was carried out by an Armenian named Soghomon Tehlirian. Committee members consisting of Armenians organized two assassinations against Mustafa Kemal Atatürk during the Turkish Republic period and failed. The first assassination was carried out in April 1925. The Armenian committee member who settled in Greece came to Istanbul from Thessaloniki, and his other two assistants were previously agreed to meet in Ankara. However, as a result of Turkish security forces revealing this assassination beforehand, Manok Manokyan and his assistants were captured. He was executed on May 5, 1925. The second assassination took place on September 14, 1927. Mercan Altunyan, an Armenian terrorist and his assistants, were neutralized by Turkish security forces in the Dolmabahçe Palace while trying to assassinate Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. In the statement of the British Ambassador in Turkey, the reason for the assassination attempt on Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was because the increasing relations of the Republic of Turkey with Europe disturbed the USSR.

Creation of ASALA Terrorist Organization

The terrorist organization “ASALA” was founded on January 20, 1975, in the Beka valley of Lebanon by an IRAQI Armenian named HARUTYUN with the surname TOKAŞYAN. However, the establishment of the ASALA Terrorist organization was announced on January 20, 1975, in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. Beka valley is the place where PKK was founded and where military training was provided and the militants of the organization were trained. Once upon a time, ASALA and PKK trained terrorist militants together and provided military training. These are the main aims of ASALA: The main aims of ASALA are to establish an independent Armenian state, which was once the dream of the Armenian societies DASHNAK and HINCHAK, and to indoctrinate and make the whole world accept the so-called Armenian genocide. “HARUTYUN TOKAŞYAN, the founder of the ASALA Terrorist organization, used the nickname AGOP AGOPYAN, and sometimes the nicknames Vahram VAHRAMİAN, Iran İRAMİAN, during his terrorist actions” (Güler & Akgül, 2003). His childhood friends KEVORK ACEMYAN and James KARNUSYAN helped him establish the ASALA terrorist organization. HARUTYUN TOKAŞYAN lived in Iraq with his family and then moved to Lebanon. The name of the terrorist organization ASALA is normally in English and takes its meaning from the word “Armenian Secret For The Liberation Of Armenia”, meaning the secret army of Armenia. It is known that the ASALA terrorist organization receives logistical support from the Syrian state and military support from the PFLP organization called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In the list below, “the names of ASALA-affiliated cells that settled in Europe between 1980-1985 are given”.

  1. a) Martyr Refti Balian Commando Group,
  2. b) Black 24 April Commando Team,
  3. c) Geourgen Yanikian Commando Group,
  4. d) Yanikian and Sasunian Commandos,
  5. e) European 21st Commando Group,
  6. f) Armenian Justice Committee,
  7. g) Antranig Pasa Commandos,
  8. h) Aleks Yeni Komeshian Commando Group,
  9. i) Shahan Natali Suicide Commando Team,
  10. j) Martyr Agop Darakcian Commando Team,
  11. k) Yeghid Kesisian Suicide Commando Team,
  12. l) September 24 Suicide Commando Team.

This list includes the names of the front organizations established by ASALA:

  1. a) October 3,
  2. b) June 9,
  3. c) Orly,
  4. d) Armenian Secret Army,
  5. e) New Armenian Resistance,
  6. f) French September Organization,
  7. g) 15 Swiss Group,
  8. h) Red Armenian Army,
  9. i) World Punishment Organization,
  10. j) 28 May,
  11. k) Armenian National Committee,
  12. l) Armenian People’s Revolutionary Operation,
  13. m) Calls the Armenians of Cyprus to Struggle,
  14. n) Armenian Greek Cypriot Organization

On April 18, 1990, PKK and ASALA held a meeting and made a new declaration.

They published it. The content of the declaration is briefly listed below:

1 ASALA and PKK will be governed together from now on.

2 Armenians will provide intelligence on Turkish soldiers.

3 The lands to be gained will be divided equally between Armenians and PKK.

4 Armenians will cover 75% of the education and other expenses in the camp.

Demonstrations will be held in 5 metropolitan cities of Turkey.

In the list below, the terrorist organization ASALA was established in 1975 until 1995.

The dates and locations of the actions taken are listed below: 20 January 1973 Los Angeles (in partnership with JCAG-ASALA), 22 October 1975 Vienna, 24 October 1975 Paris, 16 February 1975 Beirut, 29 May 1977 Istanbul, 9 June 1977 Rome, 2 June 1978 Madrid, 12 October 1979 The Hague, 22 December 1979 Paris, 31 July 1980 Athens, 17 December 1980 Sydney, 4 March 1981 Paris, 9 June 1981 Geneva, 24 September 1981 Paris, 28 January 1982 Los Angeles, April 8, 1982 Ottawa, May 4, 1982 Boston, June 7, 1982 Lisbon, August 7 1982 Ankara Esenboğa Airport, 27 August 1982 Ottowa, 9 September 1982 Burgas, 9 March 1983 Belgrade, 16 June 1983 Istanbul, 14 July 1983 Brussels, 15 July 1983 Paris, 27 July 1983 Lisbon, 30 April 1984 Tehran, 21 June 1984 Vienna.

It is known that the years when ASALA terrorist organization committed the most terrorist attacks were 1980-1981. The organization carried out 51 terrorist acts in 1980 and 53 terrorist acts in 1981. In the official documents of the US intelligence agency CIA, it is stated that a total of 203 actions were carried out between 1975 and 1983.

The organization fell apart in 1985 after the murder of its leader, Agop AGOPYAN. The so-called leaders of the organization fled to countries such as Lebanon, especially the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. Members who settled in Karabakh between 1985 and 1993 established camps and trained militants against Azerbaijani soldiers in this region.In addition, the Asala terrorist organization secretly signed a joint agreement with the PKK terrorist organization in Baku on 11 August 1978 for the sharing of the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and the eastern regions of Turkey, and they agreed on the establishment of the so-called Kurdistan state and the Armenian state in Karabakh. Russian generals and so-called Kurdish and Armenian administrators are among the parties that made the agreement. The names are as follows:

So-called Kurdish ruler: Mullah Mustafa Barsani,

Managers from Russia side: Dmitri Konayev, Vladimir Lasarev, Aleksandr Sadayev,

Armenian manager: Zohrab Ovadisian

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