17.12.1980 : The Day Terrorism Came to Australia
Most Australians are unaware that terrorism has already shown its ugly face on our shores. On 17 December, 1980, the “Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide”, a terrorist group with strong support amongst the Australian Armenian community assassinated the Turkish Consul General and his bodyguard. They committed this act, in their words, simply because their victims were Turks.
Almost immediately after the assassination, a woman with a heavy Armenian accent, called the Sydney Sun and said : “I have been told to give you this message. I am speaking on behalf of the Justice Commandos of Armenian Genocide [“JCAG”]. The attacks are in the retaliation for the injustice done to the Armenians by Turkey in 1915… Turks and Turkish Institutions are our targets.” And indeed they were. Almost 80 Turkish Diplomats and their family members were assassinated between 1970-1990 by Armenian Secret Army of Liberation of Armenia, “ASALA”, and JCAG. This was their “Resolution with Justice”.
The Consul-General, Mr Sarik Ariyak, was murdered out the front of his home, in front of his family. Despite the best attempts of police, they were unable to obtain any assistance from the local Armenian community. Indeed, leading members of the community doubted that there was any Armenian involvement at all – blaming the act on Kurdish groups instead.
In spite of a world-wide program targeting Turkish diplomats and civilians, community leaders such as the then Archbishop Kazanjian, of the Armenian Orthodox Church in Australia, said: “I would like to condemn them on behalf of the Armenian community in Australia, but I would also like to say that I do not think there is such an organisation as ASALA or JCAG.” He was wrong. Six years later, Turkey’s Melbourne consulate was car bombed in 1986, and this time ASALA adopted the bombing. A second terrorist attack on Australian soil, once again by Armenian terrorist groups, targeting Turks.
One of those involved in the bombing walks free in Sydney today, having served his sentence.
Sections of the Armenian community continued to celebrate these, and other acts of terrorism internationally against Turks and Turkey, as acts of heroism until recently. The Armenian Youth Federation in Australia still commemorates the Lisbon 5 with the Armenian Youth. The “Lisbon 5” as they are known were 5 Armenian terrorists who attacked and seized the Turkish Embassy in Lisbon in 1983, killing the wife and son of the Turkish Ambassador.
The AYF also invites convicted terrorists to give lectures about a “United Armenian Agenda” to members of the Armenian community in Sydney. Convicted and jailed terrorist Vicken Hovsepian was invited to Australia in 2013. He was a guest of Honour for the AYF, and lectures their youth.
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