By Sabina Mammadli
Consul General Nasimi Aghayev has urged U.S. law-enforcement agencies to investigate a provocation by Armenian radicals against Azerbaijan in Los Angeles.
"Last night, Armenian radicals hanged a photo of Armenian terrorist Gourgen Yanikian in front of the Azerbaijani Consulate General in Los-Angeles. Yanikian murdered Turkish diplomats in 1973 in California. Considering the history of Armenian terrorism in Los Angeles, we urge the Los Angeles Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles Police Department to investigate this matter," Aghayev said on his official Twitter account on January 11.
It should be noted that hanging a photo of a convicted terrorist can be seen as an attempt to intimidate Azerbaijani-Americans. In view of the Armenian side's violent history directed at foreign diplomats, this can be considered as an open threat to Azerbaijani diplomats.
Azerbaijanis living overseas are often subject to Armenians' hate crimes, specifically in Los Angeles that is known to have a large Armenian community.
On April 24, 2021, radical Armenian nationalists staged an "execution" of an "Azerbaijani" - a mannequin wrapped in the Azerbaijani flag, with calls to ethnic violence in the center of Los Angeles.
On November 4, 2020, the Turkish restaurant “Cafe Istanbul” in the City of Beverly Hills of Los Angeles County was vandalized by Armenian radicals.
Armenians’ violence against Azerbaijanis and Turks revived following Joe Biden’s statement that described the events of 1915 in the Ottoman era as “genocide” against Armenians.
On April 24, 2021, President Aliyev described the decision as “a historic mistake” and “unacceptable”.
Aliyev said that Biden’s statement seriously damages the emerging cooperation tendencies in the region, adding that Azerbaijan stands by Turkey.
Earlier, Turkish media reported that Consul General Mehmet Baydar and Consul Bahadır Demir were killed by Armenian terrorist Yanikian on January 27, 1973. They were the first Turkish diplomats to be killed by Armenian terrorists. Yanikian was the pioneer of murdering foreign diplomats on U.S. soil.
The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) was the first Armenian terrorist group to wage war against Turkey. It targeted not only Turkey but also other countries and became infamous for a 1975 bomb attack on the Beirut office of the World Council of Churches.
Although the Armenian terrorist confessed to committing the murders of Baydar and Demir in 1973, he was released by the California governor 10 years later.
Considering him a national hero, Armenia reburied Yanikian with military honors, as a formal promotion of terrorist crimes in Yerevan in 2019.
Following the events of 1973, in another terrorist attack, Turkey's Consul General in Los Angeles Kemal Arikan was killed by Armenian terrorists affiliated with the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide (JCAG) terror group. He was shot 14 times by Hampig Sassounian and Krikor Saliba. Saliba escaped justice, but Sassounian was arrested and sentenced to life in prison in 1984. Sassounian was released from custody in October 2021.
Baku condemned the decision of the U.S. authorities.
"We condemn the decision to release ASALA member Hampig Sassounian, an Armenian terrorist who assassinated Turkish diplomat Kemal Arıkan in 1982 in Los Angeles, USA. The release of a terrorist is dangerous, and it serves to promote terrorism," Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva said.
Between 1973 and 1993, a total of 33 Turkish diplomats, employees, and families based at Turkish diplomatic missions abroad were murdered by Armenian terrorist groups.
Turkey is against presenting the 1915 incidents as “genocide”, rather calling them a tragedy in which both Turks and Armenians suffered casualties in the heat of World War I.
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