Information Note on our martyred diplomats and the commemoration ceremony held on 18 March Martyrs’ Day at the Martyrs’ Cemetery of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara

Terrorist organizations ASALA (Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia), JCAG (Armenian Justice Commandos) and ARA (Armenian Revolutionary Army) committed attacks targeting our diplomats and their families between the years 1973 and 1986. It started in 1973 with the attack of an Armenian terrorist, who martyred Consul General Mehmet Baydar and Consul Bahadır Demir in Los Angeles. Then, Ambassador to Austria Dâniş Tunalıgil was martyred on 22 October 1975. After that, seventy-seven people including fifty-eight Turkish citizens -thirty-one of them were diplomats and their families- lost their lives and a great number of others were injured in the attacks perpetrated by Armenian terrorist organizations.

Besides the Armenian terrorist organizations’ attacks, Çetin Görgü, Press Attaché at our Embassy in Athens, and Ömer Haluk Sipahioğlu, Counsellor at our above-mentioned Embassy, were martyred in the attack of the terrorist organization “17 November”, in 1991 and 1994. In addition; Çağlar Yücel, Administrative Attaché at our Embassy in Baghdad was martyred in 1993; Security Attachés Nihat Akbaş, Bilal Ürgen, Adem Çiçek, Bülent Kıranşal and Süleyman Karahasanoğlu were martyred in 2004; Sinan Yılmaz, Police Officer at our Embassy in Mogadishu was martyred in 2013; and Osman Köse, member of our Consulate General in Erbil was martyred in 2019 due to attacks of terrorist organizations.

On the occasion of 18 March Martyrs’ Day, we commemorate each year, through ceremonies held in our country and at our foreign missions, our diplomats who became martyrs in various countries while they were representing our flag and our nation. In this framework, a commemoration ceremony was held on Wednesday, 18 March 2020, at 10:30 at the Martyrs’ Cemetery of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara. Moreover, our local authorities and Representation Office in Izmir held a ceremony at the Monument for Martyred Turkish Diplomats in Karşıyaka, Izmir. Also, a wreath was placed at the Monument for Martyred Turkish Diplomats in Fethiye.

It is also important to honour the sacred memories of our martyrs by erecting or placing monuments and plaques in places where they were martyred in other countries. In this framework, our works for erecting or placing monuments/plaques in the memory of our martyrs in Sydney, Ottawa, The Hague, Lisbon, Vienna, Burgas and Belgrade have been completed. Our works in this respect continue, for other cities abroad where we had martyrs.

In the 39th anniversary of martyrdom of Consul General Şarık Arıyak and Attaché Engin Sever in Sydney, Australian authorities declared that the case was reopened to find the perpetrators of the terrorist attack claimed by JCAG and a reward of a million Australian Dollars was placed for the culprits to be caught. At a time when the source and culprits of terror -which has targeted sons and daughters of our nation- are trying to glorify terrorist acts and create hostility out of hatred, we think that this step taken by Australian authorities to bring those responsible to justice is important, and hope that it will be an example for other countries.

We once more bow with respect and gratitude before the sacred memories of all our martyrs. May Allah bless their souls.