U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

ASALA: Irrational Terror or Political Tool

NCJ Number
A Kurz; A Merari
Date Published
121 pages
The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), which began its activities in 1975 to remedy the Turkish massacre of Armenians in 1915, has assassinated dozens of Turkish diplomats and launches various attacks against Western countries.
Inspired by the military revolutionary aura surrounding the civil war in Lebanon, Armenian terrorists espouse a philosophy that is nationalistic and leftist and emphasizes the need to inflict revenge on Turkey and force the world to recognize the injustices done to Armenians. ASALA seeks the liberation of Armenian territory in Turkey and the Soviet Union and the reunification of these areas. ASALA activities have consisted mainly of bombings and assassinations in Europe and the Middle East. The group has been given weapons and training by Palestinian groups in Lebanon, although the 1982 outbreak of war in Lebanon has caused ASALA to suffer logistical problems. These problems have led to a split among the group's members. Within the international community, ASALA has created a broad awareness of its goals and background. While there has been a decline in the number of ASALA attacks in recent years, the authors conclude there is no indication that the threat to Turkey and other countries has substantially diminished. 148 notes and 8 appendixes