August 21, 2020, Alexandria, VA | On the third commemoration of the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism*, the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) remembers all victims of terrorist atrocities and survivors of terrorism with great sorrow and conveys its deepest sympathies and respects to their families.
Since our mother country, Turkey, has been target of terrorism for decades by extremist groups, namely Marxist Leninist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), Marxist Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), neo-fascist Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide (JCAG), and most recently Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (DAESH/ISIS), ATAA truly understands and shares the grief of the victims and offers its deepest condolences to their families on this very day of remembrance.
Since 1973, ASALA and JCAG have carried out over 300 terror attacks, mostly bombings in public areas, and hate crimes against people of Turkish heritage. ASALA and JCAG have claimed responsibility for the attacks that killed more than 77 people, including Turkish Diplomats and their families, and wounded over 700 innocent people, mostly non-Turks.
Since 1984, the PKK has caused the deaths of over 40,000 people and billions of dollars of property damage. The PKK collects revenue from a variety of sources including drug and cigarette smuggling, human trafficking, sexual exploitation of women and children, as well as state and private supporters of terrorism.
ATAA, as the foremost organization representing Turkish Americans in the United States, calls on the community at large today to pause and remember the men, women, and children whose lives were senselessly and tragically lost to terrorism.
ATAA calls upon nations to refrain from creating and supporting organizations and people that practice violent extremism and non-peaceful civil disobedience as a method of political change and the media from characterizing organizations and people that engage in terrorism as freedom fighters and social workers.
* The General Assembly, in its resolution 72/165 (2017), established 21 August as the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism in order to honor and support the victims and survivors of terrorism and to promote and protect the full enjoyment of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.