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Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia

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The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) was an Armenian militant[1] organization, that operated from 1975 to 1986. The stated intention of ASALA was "to compel the Turkish Government to acknowledge publicly its responsibility for the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915, pay reparations, and cede territory for an Armenian homeland".[2]

ASALA was founded in 1975 in Beirut, Lebanon by Hagop Hagopian (Harutiun Tagushian) and Kevork Ajemian,[3] a prominent contemporary writer.

The group's activities were primarily assassinations of Turkish diplomats and politicians in Western Europe, the United States and the Middle East.[4] A failed attack in Geneva on October 3, 1980, in which two Armenian militants were injured resulted in a new nickname for the group, the 3 October Organization. The ASALA's eight point manifesto was published in 1981.

Continuous attacks prompted Turkey to accuse Cyprus, Greece, Syria, Lebanon, and the Soviet Union of provoking or possibly funding the ASALA, though nothing of this sort was ever found to be true.

According to Tessa Hofmann, Turkish officials frequently used the accusation of collaboration with the ASALA and foreign Armenian circles to incriminate extreme left-wing Turkish opposition groups.[5]

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  1. "Over the past decade, 36 Turkish diplomats have been assassinated abroad, including four in the US. The guerilla groups tend to be highly professional: upon its creation in 1975, the best-known of them, the Marxist Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), was trained in the Beirut camps of the Palestine Liberation Organization". Remembring with Vengeance, by Pico Iyer // Time magazine, № 32, 8 aug., 1983
  2. U.S. Department of State. "Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA)". Retrieved 2007-01-26.
  3. Kevork Ajemian, Prominent Contemporary Writer and Surviving Member of Triumvirate Which Founded ASALA, Dies in Beirut, Lebanon // The Armenian Reporter, 01-02-1999
  4. Pitman, Paul M. Turkey: A Country Study. Washington, D.C.: The Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, 283, 354-355 OCLC 17841957
  5. Dr. Tessa Hofmann, Armenians In Turkey Today Archived 2020-07-13 at the Wayback Machine, the EU Office of AAE, 2002.