YEREVAN — The remains of Gourgen Yanikian, who inspired the founding of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), have been moved from the US to Armenia, the Armenian Popular Movement reports.The remains will be buried at Yerablur Pantheon in Yerevan On Sunday, May 5.
Yanikian was an Armenian American engineer, Armenian Genocide survivor, best known for the assassination of two Turkish consular officials, Los Angeles Consul General Mehmet Baydar and Consul Bahadir Demir, in California in 1973.
Sentenced to life imprisonment, Yanikian was released on parole in January 1984. It is widely believed that Yanikian’s act was the inspiration for the founding of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia, the Armenian militant organization of the 1970s and 1980s which staged attacks on Turkish diplomats in retaliation for the Armenian Genocide.
Yanikian is known to have remarked, “I’m not Gourgen Yanikian but unacknowledged history coming back for the 1,500,000 Armenians whose bones desecrate my invisible existence.” In death, he became a symbol for many Armenians of their resentment toward the Turkish government for refusing to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.