March 13, 2021, Alexandria, VA | The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), which represents the interests of over half million Turkish Americans living in the United States, strongly condemns California Governor Gavin Newsom’s grave decision not to oppose the release of Armenian Terrorist Hampig Sassounian who was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for the heinous assassination of Turkish Consul General Kemal Arikan on January 28, 1982.

Kemal Arikan was the third Turkish diplomat to be slain in the US, and the twentieth Turkish diplomat or family member, up until that time, to be murdered throughout the world by Armenian terrorists. Since 1973, 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 in North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

ATAA is deeply concerned that the expected release of terrorist Sassounian would not only vindicate him and steal justice from the Arikan family and victims of Armenian terrorism, but also fuel Armenian terror networks and undermine the ever-diminishing security of Turkish Americans in exercising their First Amendment; freedoms of speech, expression and assembly without fear of disruption and attack by Armenian groups.

ATAA commends the position taken by the U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken for the release of Armenian terrorist Sassounian. On March 11, 2021 US Department of State issued the following statement:

“The Department of State is deeply disappointed by the expected grant of parole in the State of California of Hampig “Harry” Sassounian, who was convicted of the 1982 murder of Turkish Consul General to Los Angeles Kemal Arikan. Attacking a diplomat is not only a grave crime against a particular individual, it is also an attack on diplomacy itself. To ensure the safety of the dedicated U.S. diplomats serving around the world, it has been the longstanding position of the United States to advocate that those who assassinate diplomats receive the maximum sentence possible, and that they serve those sentences without parole or early release.”

ATAA remembers Turkish diplomats and their families whose lives were senselessly and tragically lost to Armenian terrorism.

Suggested Readings:

ATAA Reference Center: Armenian Issue Revisited

CIA Report: ASALA: Continuing International Threat

CIA Report: Global Terrorism: JGAG

Armenian Terrorism: A Reappraisal – Michael M. Gunter, Tennessee Technological University