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Armenia honors terrorist behind diplomat killings

Armenia drew Turkey’s anger by repatriating the remains of Gourgen Yanikian, a terrorist involved in the killings of two Turkish diplomats in the United States in the 1970s.

Yanikian assassinated Turkey’s Los Angeles Consul-General Mehmet Baydar and Deputy Consul Bahadır Demir on Jan. 27, 1973. He was captured following the murders at the Biltmore Hotel in California but was released on parole in 1984, two months before his death. His remains in California were brought back to Armenia on Sunday and interred at a military cemetery with a ceremony.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a message to condemn the incident and said the repatriation of his remains constituted a crime promoting terrorism as it extolled a cruel terrorist as a hero.

Yanikian was adopted as a hero figure for the terrorist group Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), which was founded two years after his killings.

The group was responsible for terror attacks and killings that increased in the 1980s. Some 42 Turkish diplomats were killed by members of the Armenian terrorist organization in the 1970s and 1980s.

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