Today's Zaman, Turkey
Aug 21 2012


Armenian terrorist group threatens Turkey over Syria


21 August 2012 / TODAY'S ZAMAN, ISTANBUL

The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), a
terrorist group that has been largely inactive for the past decades,
has threatened Turkey with unspecified measures over its Syria policy.


`Any military adventurism or any direct or indirect violation of the
security and the social cohesion of the Armenian community of Syria on
the part of Turkey will be met by similar counter-measures,' the group
said in a statement on Monday.

ASALA is known for terrorist attacks against Turkish targets in Turkey
and a number of countries throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The leftist
group is responsible for the deaths of more than 40 Turkish diplomats
abroad and has been mostly inactive since 1985.

The ASALA statement did not elaborate on measures against Turkey,
which it said has turned into a `threat' for the stability in the
region.

`The aggressive policy against Iraq's integrity, the direct military
intervention in the bloody crisis of Syria, the continuation for more
than 20 years of the blockade imposed on Armenia, the conspiratorial
and double-faced policy towards Iran, the non-stopping threats against
the territorial integrity of Greece and Cyprus and the augmenting
coercive measures against the Kurdish people have transformed Turkey
into a center of danger for the stability of the region,' it said.
`The conspiratorial and hostile policy of the Turkish state against
the neighboring countries reached its peak and has led Turkey in a
total isolation in the whole region.'

Turkey, once a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is now
one of his staunchest critics. Turkey has also been hosting the
opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) that is seeking to topple the Assad
regime and the political wing of the opposition, the Syrian National
Council.

About 2,000 Syrian Armenians have reportedly fled to Armenia to escape
from the violence besetting Syria since the opposition groups began
the revolt to topple Assad 17 months ago. Syria's Armenian community,
estimated to number 60,000, is apprehensive about the collapse of the
regime, due to uncertainties as to how the opposition will treat the
issue of the rights of minorities and given their loyalty to the
current secular regime.

The ASALA statement accused the Turkish government of `cherishing
dreams of a revival of the bloodthirsty Ottoman regime' and said: `We
express our solidarity to all the peoples of the area and we declare
that the Arab people will decide its destiny and shape its future all
alone without the crocodilian tears and hypocritical care of the
Turkish ruling circles.'

Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic ties and their mutual border has
been closed since 1993. Turkey closed the border in protest of the
Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave within
Azerbaijan. An initiative in 2009 to normalize bilateral relations
failed after Turkey said normalization depends on resolution of the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The two countries are also at loggerheads due to a dispute over
history. Armenia claims 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a
systematic genocide campaign in eastern Anatolia during the final
years of the Ottoman Empire, a claim Turkey categorically denies.

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