Armenian Terrorism: A Century-Long History (ANALYTICS)

by Naghi Ahmadov

History of Armenian terrorism goes back to nineteenth century. Turning of Armenian nationalism to terrorism took place in several stages. Armenian committees that tried to use terror as a method were mostly those established after 1880. When the Armenians, who expected a lot, but could not find what they expected, took up arms and formed committees such as Hunchak (1887) and Dashnak (1890), which later carried out a number of terrorist acts. Through these committees, they initiated rebellion movements and acts of terrorism.

After the end of World War I, Armenians who were members of the Dashnak committee/party formed an organization called Nemesis and planned to assassinate Ottoman statesmen, whom they claimed to be the perpetrators of the so-called 1915 Armenian genocide. The first Ottoman statesman targeted by the Armenians was Talat Pasha, one of the former grand viziers. After this assassination, Nemesis killed former Grand Vizier Sait Halim Pasha in Rome on December 6, 1921. The last action by Nemesis against Ottoman statesmen was the murder of Jemal Pasha, one of the former Ministers of the Navy, in Tbilisi on July 21, 1922.

Armenian nationalist groups have not only targeted Turkish, but also Azerbaijani political figures. In this respect, Fatali Khan Khoyski, one of the founders of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was killed in Tiflis by an Armenian mercenary terrorist of “Dashnaktsutyun” on June 19, 1920.

Later Turkish diplomats have become the target of Armenian terrorism. As a result of the Armenian terror, more than 30 Turkish diplomats and their families have lost their lives since 1970. Most of these assassinations were mainly carried out by terrorist organizations, such as the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) and the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide (JCAG).

Unfortunately, attacks by Armenians against diplomatic corps are being repeated in recent days, but this time they have chosen the Azerbaijani embassies as targets. The incident related to the Azerbaijani embassy in France is a real manifestation of this. It was reported that as a result of the attack, provocateurs committed an act of vandalism against the embassy building. Leaving the attack aside,  we do have a serious problem here with not protecting embassies and ignoring legitimate requests for security by France government. Armenians also wanted to attack the building of the Azerbaijani embassy in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, where the Armenian diaspora is the majority. However, Lebanese police prevented this and necessary measures were taken. Police did not allow aggressive Armenians to approach the embassy of Azerbaijan in Georgia as well. Besides, radical Armenians besieged the Azerbaijani embassy in Washington earlier. In brief, it is extremely necessary to respond appropriately to the aggressive acts of Armenian radicals against the Azerbaijani diplomatic corps. Otherwise, a very dangerous precedent will be set.

Furthermore, Armenian terrorist organizations systematically and deliberately perpetrated acts of terrorism on Azerbaijani territory after the collapse of the Soviet Union. On March 19, 1994, 14 civilians lost their lives and 49 were injured as a result of the bombed attack perpetrated at the “20 January” metro station in Baku.

Besides, innocent civilians continue to lose their lives as a result of Armenia's “mine terror”. After 44-day war, Armenia has presented to Baku  some of minefield maps of deoccupied territories. However, later it became apparent that these maps were inaccurate.

During the occupation period, Armenians, along with destroying cultural monuments and social facilities, also brutally plundered the nature and committed eco-terrorism. As a result, the ecological balance in the region has been disturbed.

In conclusion, the root causes of violent extremism in Armenian society are complex, multifaceted and intertwined as it has more than 100 years of history. Armenians present their terrorists to future generations as heroes, leaving their statues and encouraging future generations to grow up with those ideas. A clear example of this is the monument erected in memory of members of the ASALA terrorist organization at the Yerablur State Military Cemetery in Yerevan, Armenia. Aside from that, the defeat on the front in the 44-day war with Azerbaijan correspondingly pushed Armenian society into a deep sense of collective frustration and humiliation; in turn, it triggered a rise in nationalist sentiments and made them more radicalized, which galvanize terrorist attacks against Azerbaijani people.

Naghi Ahmadov, a senior fellow at the Center of Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center), especially for News.Az


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