Commemoration for the 40th year of the first victims of ASALA

Commemoration for the 40th year of the first victims of ASALA

The Turkish Embassy in Washington will be holding a commemoration event for the 40th anniversary of the murder of the Los Angeles Turkish Consul General, Mehmet Baydar, and Vice Consul, Bahadir Demir, on Jan. 27.

Baydar and Demir were the first two victims of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) organization, which operated from the beginning of the 1970s until the 1990s and targeted Turkish diplomats in the U.S. and the European countries.

Meanwhile, an Islamic memorial procession will also be organized in Ankara’s Maltepe mosque for the two diplomats.

Gourgen Yanikian, the perpetrator of the attack against Baydar and Demir, was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment on July 2, 1973 by the Supreme Court of the State of California for the County of Santa Barbara. However, he was released on parole during the tenure of former California Governor George Deukmenjian and died soon after.

To date at least 46 people have been killed as a result of ASALA attacks, 41 of whom were Turkish diplomats and their family members. In 1983, a bomb attack on the Orly Airport in Paris caused eight casualties and wounded five. The bomb had exploded inside a suitcase at the Turkish Airlines check-in desk in the airport. Four of the victims were French citizens, two were Turkish, one was American and one was Swedish. The French police arrested 51 suspected ASALA militants after the blast.