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Türkiye commemorates diplomat assassinated by Armenian terrorist group

Anadolu Agency TÜRKIYE
Published March 11,2024

The Turkish Embassy in Serbia on Monday remembered its ambassador, who was assassinated by an Armenian terrorist group in 1983.

A ceremony was held in front of the tree and the monument planted in Tasmajdan Park in the capital Belgrade in memory of Ambassador Galip Balkar.

The ceremony was attended by Turkish Ambassador Hami Aksoy, Turkish Ambassador to Moscow Tanju Bilgic, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs personnel.

Later, at a commemorative conference held at a Belgrade hotel, Bilgic presented the book "Martyr Ambassador Galip Balkar, Star of the Foreign Ministry," which he wrote after more than three years of research and was published by the Turkish Historical Society.

Bilgic told Anadolu that Armenian terrorists have targeted many Turkish diplomats serving abroad, including Galip Balkar.

"We collaborated with the Turkish Historical Society to compile a book about Galip Balkar. This type of work requires a larger scale… we also have a story to tell, which is shared not only in Türkiye but also throughout Europe through the stories of our martyrs," Bilgic said, adding, "We need to tell the entire international public where and what is going on."

Bilgic believed that Armenian terrorists targeted Balkar because he was a promising diplomat.

"Those who committed the murder were very young, and they might not have known that Galip Balkar was such a successful ambassador. However, the mastermind behind the murder aimed to impede and harm Turkish diplomacy and diplomatic power abroad. At the same time, they wanted to harm Türkiye-Yugoslavia relations at the time by committing this murder in Yugoslavia," he said.

Bilgic, Türkiye's ambassador to Belgrade, began working on the book during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ambassador to Belgrade Hami Aksoy said Balkar was a very talented and promising diplomat.

"We can say that Armenian terrorism had just started at the time, and our ministry wanted to provide an armored vehicle to our martyr ambassador. But he refused to accept it, insisting that Yugoslavia was safe. I wished he had accepted it," Aksoy said, stressing, We, Turkish diplomats, must exercise extreme caution because we have lost many victims to terrorism."

Aksoy said Serbia is the only country in the Balkans where FETO terror group members cannot seek refuge.

"Currently, our relations with Serbia are at the best level in history. Serbia is the only country in the Balkans where FETO cannot take shelter," he said, adding, "Serbian authorities are very sensitive on this issue. However, this does not mean that we will not take precautions… we are taking our precautions."

"Serbia is one of Türkiye's true friends in its fight against terrorism," said Aksoy.

Serbia's Commerce Minister Slobodan Cvetkovic was among the many guests who attended the conference.

A mini-exhibition of photographs from Balkar's time in office was also displayed.

On March 9, 1983, two members of the Armenian Justice Commandos (JCAG) terrorist group attacked Balkar with automatic weapons near the Turkish embassy. The ambassador was seriously injured in the attack and died two days later.

A Yugoslav student, who was hit by a bullet during the attack, also died.

The assailants-Kirkor Levonyan and Raffi Aleksandr-were arrested on March 9, 1984, and sentenced to 20 years in prison each.

Since the 1970s, Armenian terror groups have killed 31 Turkish diplomats and their family members, including Balkar.

ASALA, founded in 1975, was the first Armenian terror group to wage war against Türkiye, and the JCAG was founded the same year in Beirut.

ASALA not only targeted Türkiye but also other countries and became infamous for a 1975 bomb attack on the Beirut office of the World Council of Churches.

The JCAG, which claimed that it only got support from the Armenian diaspora rather than foreign partners, only targeted Türkiye because it believed that attacking other countries would damage the so-called "Armenian struggle."