ANKARA — Turkish authorities have transferred the body of Levon Ekmekjian, a member of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), to France, 33 years after he was executed for carrying out a deadly assault on Ankara’s international airport, a report said Thursday.
Ekmekjian, a Lebanese Armenian, was one of two ASALA members who attacked Ankara’s Esenboga Airport with bombs and gunfire in August 1982. Seven people and Ekmekjian’s accomplice, Zohrab Sarkisian, were killed.
He was executed on January 28, 1983 at Ankara’s Ulucanlar prison after being found guilty of carrying out the attack. Ekmekjian was 25 at the time of his execution.
Ekmekjian’s family, saying they wanted to take his body and perform own religious funeral rites in France, had appealed to the Turkish Interior Ministry through their lawyer, human rights activist Eren Keskin. His grave was subsequently identified in the Cebeci Cemetery in the Turkish capital Ankara, and the ministry’s approval was granted for the long-standing request in late December 2015.
ASALA carried out an armed campaign starting in the 1970s against Turkish targets across the world, in a bid to compel the Turkish government to acknowledge publicly its responsibility for the Armenian Genocide in 1915, pay reparations, and cede territory for an Armenian homeland.