Turkey’s Foreign Ministry and National Intelligence Service, or MIT, are examining a threat message allegedly sent by the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia, or ASALA, which killed 34 Turkish diplomats in the 1970s and 1980s, according to diplomatic sources.
The threat message was reportedly first received at the Turkish Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, which is responsible for handling Armenian issues since Turkey has no diplomatic mission in Yerevan. A number of other Turkish embassies have received similar messages, sources said.
If Turkey supports Azerbaijan in the event it attacks Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, “then the list will be finished,” said the message, in clear implication of the list of murdered Turkish diplomats.
Various Turkish embassies throughout the world have asked their host countries to increase security measures. Several Turkish embassies operate in countries that have sizeable Armenian communities like France, the United States and Lebanon.
The Foreign Ministry and the MİT are analyzing the threat messages in view of developments in the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute as well as Turkish-Armenian relations. Armenians are preparing for 2015, the 100th year of the tragic events that involved the killing of thousands of people in eastern Turkey as the Ottoman Empire collapsed.
“There is radicalization among Armenian youth, especially in the diaspora. Their frustration over failing to make their genocide claims internationally recognized might have led to some of them reviving ASALA,” said a Turkish official asking to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the subject.
Active from 1975 to 1986, ASALA claimed responsibility for about 200 attacks on Turkish diplomatic and non-diplomatic institutions and murdered 58 Turkish and non-Turkish people, 34 of whom were Turkish diplomats. ASALA was listed as a terrorist organization by the United States until the 1980s, but was taken off the list when the group disbanded.