Four Armenian gunmen seize the Turkish Consulate, taking 56 people hostage for 16 hours. During the siege, Armenian gunman Kevork Guzelian shoots and seriously wounds Consul Kaya Inal and a Turkish Chief Inspector, Cemal Ozen.

Turkish citizen held hostage by Armenian terrorists in Paris’ Turkish Consulate General, September 24, 1981*

In a statement issued in Beirut during the siege, Armenian terrorist organization ASALA’s “Suicide Commandos of Yeghia Kechichian” threaten that if Turkey does not release certain “Armenian political prisoners,” and if French authorities intervene in the Consulate takeover, all of the hostages will be executed.”

French negotiators approach the Consulate and then retreat when gunmen waive a hand grenade from the window. Turkish negotiators, however, successfully demand that the gunmen permit Consul Inal and Officer Ozen to be taken to the hospital for medical treatment. The gunmen eventually comply, but Officer Ozen dies upon arrival at the hospital.

Turkish negotiators reject the gunmen’s demand for the release of certain Armenian terrorists incarcerated in Turkey. The gunmen then request political asylum in France in return for surrendering to French law enforcement officers. The gunmen surrender and admit their membership in ASALA. French authorities deny the gunmen political asylum and proceed with criminal prosecution.

The French government states,”However sorrowful the historical events that the perpetrators of this act invo[ked], the takeover was an inadmissible assault on elementary human rights and becomes even more intolerable because once again Turkish diplomats assigned to France have been attacked.” Guzelian and his accomplices are given seven-year sentences.

These arrests, prosecutions and convictions, lead to the formation of the ASALA “September 24 Suicide Commandos” (a.k.a the “September France Group”) which subsequently strikes at French targets in order to force the release of the four ASALA gunmen.

ATAA condemns these acts of violence against innocent individuals and remembers these tragedies with great sorrow and deliberation to bring the perpetrators and their supporters to justice.

* Photo Credit: Tall Armenian Tale