1983 Orly Airport attack

The Orly Airport attack was the 15 July 1983 bombing of a Turkish Airlines check-in counter at Orly Airport in Paris, France, by the Armenian militant organization ASALA as part of its campaign for the recognition of and reparations for the Armenian Genocide.[1]

The explosion killed eight people and injured 55.[2]

Orly Airport attack
LocationOrly Airport, Paris, France
Date15 July 1983
Attack type
Non-fatal injuries
PerpetratorsArmenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia


Victim fatalities
  • 1. Jean-Claude Blanchard
  • 2. Luc Francois
  • 3. Mats Gunnarson Holsve
  • 4. Jacqueline (Kirchner) Legros
  • 5. Benjamin Kirchner
  • 6. Huseyn Memis
  • 7. Antony Schultze
  • 8. Halit Yilmaz

The bomb exploded inside a suitcase at the Turkish Airlines check-in desk in the airport's south terminal, sending flames through the crowd of passengers checking in for a flight to Istanbul. The bomb consisted of a half kilo of Semtex explosive connected to three portable gas bottles (which explained the extensive burns on the victims).[3]

Three people were killed immediately in the blast and another five died in hospital. Four of the victims were French, two were Turkish, one was Greek-American, and one was Swedish.[4] The death toll made the Orly bombing the bloodiest attack in France since the end of the Algerian War in 1962.[5][6] The dead included one child.[7] The dual national was identified as Anthony Peter Schultze, who was studying in Paris and came to the airport to see off his Turkish fiancée. She was out of the check-in area when the bomb exploded, and was uninjured.[8][9]

Dead by country
Country Dead
 France 4
 Turkey 2
 Sweden 1
 United States 1
Total 8

ASALA claimed responsibility for the attack.

French Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy came to the airport and condemned the attack, promising to find and punish the perpetrators. Later he visited the hospital where the most seriously injured were being treated.[10] French President François Mitterrand visited some of the hospitalized victims and condemned the attack, calling it a "crime for crime's sake".[11]

The Orly bombing came only five days before the second Armenian World Congress was due to open at Lausanne.[12]


Shortly after the Orly blast, the French police arrested 51 suspected ASALA militants. According to the police, all the arrested came to France within one year and had been under surveillance by intelligence forces. The police confiscated weapons and explosives, including pistols and submachine guns. ASALA threatened with military attacks on the French interests around the world if "the French regime continues its method of terror and terrorism against the Armenian people".[13] A few days after the French arrest of fifty-one Armenians in connection with the Orly bombing, ASALA bombed the Air France office and the French Embassy in Tehran, and threatened more attacks.[12]

French police detained 29-year-old Varoujan Garabedian (Varadjian Garbidjian), a Syrian national of Armenian extraction, who confessed to planting the bomb at the airport. Garabedian claimed he was the head of the French branch of ASALA. At the airport, Garabedian said he had too much luggage and gave a passenger $65 to check the bag for him. The bomb was intended to explode aboard a Turkish Airways plane en route from Paris to Istanbul, but it detonated prematurely on a baggage ramp.[1][14]

Garabedian confessed that the bomb was assembled at the home of an Armenian of Turkish nationality, Ohannes Semerci, in Villiers-le-Bel.[14] In Marseilles, police later arrested another Turkish citizen of Armenian extraction, 22 years old Nayir Soner, an electronics specialist who was suspected of assembling the bomb.[2][15]

French press alleged that the French government had struck a secret deal with ASALA in January 1982, in which there would be no further attacks on French soil in return for French recognition that the Turks had attempted genocide against the Armenians in 1915. Under the terms of the deal ASALA members supposedly were also granted unrestricted use of French airports, and four ASALA members charged with the takeover of the Turkish consulate in Paris, in which a security guard was killed, were given light sentences (seven years in jail). Garabedian told French investigators that the violation of the secret pact by ASALA was an accident, and that the suitcase bomb was supposed to detonate on board the Turkish airliner, not on French soil. But the Orly airport attack forced the French government to crack down on ASALA.[16][17]


During an 11-day jury trial in suburban Créteil, Garabedian, defended by Jacques Vergès, denied his earlier confession. However, he was found guilty and on 3 March 1985 he was given a life sentence. Nayir Soner, accused of buying bottles of gas used to make the bomb, was given a 15-year sentence, and Ohannes Semerci, in whose apartment ammunition and dynamite were found, received a 10-year sentence.[18][19] The victims were defended by Gide Loyrette Nouel: principal Jean Loyrette argued for denial of the Armenian Genocide; his collaborators Gilles de Poix and Christian de Thezillat argued on the attack itself, to demonstrate the guilt of the three defendants. Several Turkish scholars — Sina Aksin, Türkkaya Ataöv, Avedis Simon Hacinlyian, Hasan Köni, Mümtaz Soysal — testified for the prosecution during the trial.

In 1995, over 1 million people in Armenia signed a petition to the authorities in France calling for the release of Garabedian from prison.[20]

In 2001, after 17 years in jail, Garabedian was released on the condition he was deported to Armenia.[21] He was greeted by Prime Minister of Armenia Andranik Margaryan, who expressed happiness at Garabedian's release.[22]

In an interview in 2008, Garabedian explained the Orly bombing was a protest against the hanging execution of Levon Ekmekjian in Istanbul in 1982, and he planned to destroy a Turkish Airlines plane, which was to transport high-ranking representatives of the Turkish secret services, as well as Turkish generals and diplomats. Garabedian claims that as a result of the attack 10 Turks were killed and 60 were injured.[23]

See also


  1. ^ a b The New York Times. Sympathy Won't Help. 24 July 1983
  2. ^ a b Ap (9 October 1983). "AROUND THE WORLD; French Hold Armenians In Orly Airport Bombing" – via NYTimes.com.
  3. ^ Stephen Segaller. Invisible armies: terrorism into the 1990s. Joseph, 1986. ISBN 9780718127046, p. 68
  4. ^ Brian Forst, Jack R. Greene, James P. Lynch. Criminologists on Terrorism and Homeland Security. Cambridge University Press, 2011. ISBN 9780521899451, p. 431
  5. ^ The Associated Press. Orly Blast Claims Seventh Victim, New Threats. 21 July 1983. Ocala Star-Banner, July 21, 1983
  6. ^ The New York Times. Death Toll Rises to 7 After Terror at Orly. 22 July 1983
  7. ^ The Associated Press. Fear American Among Six Killed at Orly. Ludington Daily News, 15 July 1983
  8. ^ United Press International. American student killed in bomb explosion. 16 July 1983
  9. ^ The Associated Press. Armenian Terrorists Warn Turks Of New Surge of Bloody Attacks. Lakeland Ledger, 17 July 1983
  10. ^ The Associated Press. Terrorists Bomb Airport In Paris; 5 Killed In Blast. [1] The Palm Beach Post, 16 July 1983
  11. ^ E.J. Dionne Jr. (17 July 1983). "Death toll climbs to 6 in Orly bombing". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  12. ^ a b Armenian Terrorism by Paul Wilkinson. The World Today © 1983 Royal Institute of International Affairs
  13. ^ The Associated Press. Paris. Crackdown Brings Threat From Armenia Terrorists. Ocala Star-Banner, 20 July 1983
  14. ^ a b The New York Times. Paris says suspect confesses attack. 21 July 1983
  15. ^ The Washington Post, 24 July 1983. Dutch Hold Suspect in Brussels Killing
  16. ^ Jack Anderson, Dale Van Atta. Lebanese Is Key To Bombings Rocking France. Newsday, 29 October 1986, p. 80.
  17. ^ Echikson, William (19 July 1983). "Armenian bombing at Orly ends pact between Socialists and terrorists". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  18. ^ United Press International. Foreign News Briefs. 4 March 1985.
  19. ^ "Verdict of the trial" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 October 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
  20. ^ Florence Avakian. "Over a Million in Armenia Plead for Release of Convicted ASALA Man." The Armenian Reporter. 1995. HighBeam Research. (12 June 2012). [2]
  21. ^ Agence France Presse, 24 April 2001. Armenian terrorist freed and deported from France.
  22. ^ "Armenian premier meets with released ASALA member". Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Newsline. 7 May 2001.
  23. ^ "Gevorg Haroutyounyan. "Robbing the others of their glory": Interview with Varoujan Garabedian, Hayots Ashkhar newspaper, 2008". armworld.am.


  • Terrorist Attack at Orly: Statements and Evidence Presented at the Trial, 19 February – 2 March 1985, Ankara, Faculty of Political Science, 1985.
  • Maxime Gauin, ″Remembering the Orly Attack,″ Review of International Law and Politics, vol. 7, no. 27, September 2011, pp. 113–139.
  • Francis P. Hyland, Armenian Terrorism: The Past, the Present, the Prospects, Boulder-San Francisco-Oxford: Westview Press, 1991.

External links

1981 Turkish consulate attack in Paris

The 1981 Turkish consulate attack (also known as Van Operation, Armenian: «Վան» գործողություն) was an attack on the Turkish consulate in Paris, France on 24-25 September 1981. According to a statement issued by Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia, army's militants demanded to release political prisoners in Turkey including two Armenian clergymen Father Manuel Yergatian and Pastor Hrant Guzelian and 10 non-Armenians.

1983 Marseille exhibition bombing

On 30 September 1983, a bomb detonated during an international fair event at the Palais des Congrès (exhibition centre) in Marseille, France. One person died and 26 people were injured in the attack, which happened near the American and Algerian stands.

Many groups claimed responsibility, including the Charles Martel Group, the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia, the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Factions and Commando Delta. The real culprits were never found.

1983 in Turkey

Events in the year 1983 in Turkey.

1985–86 Paris attacks

From 1985 to 1986, a series of terrorist attacks in Paris, France was carried out by the Committee for Solidarity With Arab and Middle Eastern Political Prisoners (CSPPA), a previously unknown group, demanding the release of three imprisoned international terrorists. The CSPPA was believed to have been some combination of Palestinians, Armenian nationalists, and Lebanese Marxists, though it was later reported that they were mainly instigated by Hezbollah, sponsored by the Iranian state. The CSPPA demanded the release of Anis Naccache, from the Iranian state network; Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, member of the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Factions (LARF); and Varadjian Garbidjan, member of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA).Fouad Ali Saleh, a Tunisian convert to Shia Islam was in 1987 found by the counter-terrorism agency Direction de la surveillance du territoire (DST) to have been the leader of the group of eighteen terrorists directed by Hezbollah from Beirut. During the trials it was claimed that the attacks were ordered by Iran to stop France from selling arms to Iraq for use in the Iran–Iraq War, rather than the prisoners' releases.Thirteen bombings including attempts were committed, the first in December 1985, a second wave in February and March 1986, and the third and most notorious wave in September 1986, targeting sites across the French capital. It caused a total of 20 deaths (including seven who died later from their wounds in hospitals) and 255 people were wounded.

1995 France bombings

The 1995 bombings in France were carried out by the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), who were broadening the Algerian Civil War to France. The bombs targeted public transport systems in Paris and Lyon Metropolis, including a school in Lyon. The attacks killed eight people - all of them in the first attack on 25 July - and injured about 157. The assassination of Abdelbaki Sahraoui, a co-founder of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) who opposed attacks in France, was a prelude of this extension of the Islamists' terrorist campaign to France.

Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia

The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) (Armenian: Հայաստանի Ազատագրութեան Հայ Գաղտնի Բանակ, ՀԱՀԳԲ, Hayasdani Azadakrut'ean Hay Kaghdni Panag, HAHKP) was an Armenian militant organization, that operated from 1975 to the early 1990s. It was described as a terrorist organization by some sources, and as a guerrilla and armed organization by others. ASALA was listed as a terrorist organization by the United States in the 1980s. ASALA attacks and assassinations resulted in the deaths of 46 people and 299 injured.

The stated intention of ASALA was "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". The principal goal of ASALA was to establish a United Armenia (or "Greater Armenia") that would include the six vilayets of the Ottoman Empire (Western Armenia) and Soviet Armenia. Though the Treaty of Sèvres was never ratified, the group sought to claim the area (called Wilsonian Armenia) that was promised to the Armenians by American President Woodrow Wilson in the 1920 agreement.The group received considerable clandestine support from the Armenian diaspora in Europe and in the United States. Suffering from internal schisms, the group was relatively inactive in the 1990s, although in 1991 it claimed an unsuccessful attack on the Turkish ambassador to Hungary. The organization has not engaged in militant activity since then. The group's mottos were "The armed struggle and right political line are the way to Armenia" and "Viva the revolutionary solidarity of oppressed people!".

Armenia–Turkey relations

Armenia–Turkey relations are officially non-existent and have historically been hostile. While Turkey recognized the modern Republic of Armenia (in the borders of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic) shortly after the latter proclaimed independence in September 1991, the two countries have failed to establish diplomatic relations. In 1993, Turkey reacted to the war in Nagarno-Karabakh by closing its border with Armenia out of support for Azerbaijan.

In 2008–2009, the countries experienced a brief thaw in bilateral relations and in October 2009 the sides signed the normalization protocols. However, the protocols were never ratified, and in the following year, the rapprochement came to a close; the protocols were formally annulled by Armenia in March 2018.

Esenboğa International Airport attack

The Esenboğa International Airport attack was an attack on Esenboğa International Airport in Ankara, Turkey, located 28 km (17 mi) northeast of Ankara, the capital city of Turkey. The airport has been in operation since 1955. The attack was perpetrated by Zohrab Sarkissian and Levon Ekmekjian of the "Khrimian Hayrik Suicide Squad" and the "Pierre Gulumian commando" group from the Armenian militant organization Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (known as ASALA) on August 7, 1982. The attack killed nine people and injured 72 others.

List of Syrian Armenians

This is a list of some famous Armenians in Syria.

List of Turkish diplomats assassinated by Armenian militant organisations

This is a list of Turkish diplomats killed by Armenian militant organisations. The list includes families of diplomats as well as staff members killed as a result of attacks directed against Turkish diplomats.The attacks that are listed here begin with the assassination of Mehmet Baydar, Turkish Consul General to Los Angeles and Bahadır Demir, Consul at the same Consulate General. Although the attacks against Turkish diplomats began with these assassinations in 1973 by an individual perpetrator, Kourken Yanigian, the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) and Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide (JCAG) have assumed – or in some cases been accused of – the responsibility of attacks against Turkish diplomats and other Turkish interests in 16 countries between 1975 and 1984.

List of attacks by ASALA

This is a list of attacks by the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA). Between 1975 and 1985, a total of 84 incidents were recorded: 46 people were killed and 299 injured.

List of terrorist incidents in France

This is a list of terrorist attacks in France in peacetime from 1800 to the present. Several 19th-century French rulers were targeted in unsuccessful assassination attempts which killed innocent bystanders. Since 1970, more than 400 people have been killed and over 1,700 others injured in terrorist attacks.

Orly Airport attack

Orly Airport attack may refer to:

1975 Orly Airport attacks

1978 Orly Airport attack

1983 Orly Airport attack

2017 Orly Airport attack

Paris attacks

Paris attacks may refer to the following terrorist attacks:

1962 Issy-les-Moulineaux bombing, 10 March 1962

1974 Paris café bombing, 15 September 1974

1978 Palace of Versailles bombing, 26 June 1978

1980 Paris synagogue bombing, 3 October 1980

1981 Turkish consulate attack in Paris, 24 September 1981

April 1982 Paris car bombing, 22 April 1982

Goldenberg restaurant attack, 9 August 1982

September 1982 Paris car bombing, 17 September 1982

1983 Orly Airport attack, 15 July 1983

Grand Véfour restaurant bombing, 23 December 1983

European Space Agency bombing, 3 August 1984

February 1985 Paris bombing, 23 February 1985

Rivoli Beaubourg cinema bombing, 30 March 1985

1985–86 Paris attacks, 7 December 1985–17 September 1986

1986 Paris police station attack, 9 July 1986

Attempted assassionation of Alain Peyrefitte, 15 December 1986

Saint-Michel cinema attack, 22 October 1988

1994 Paris shoot-out, 4 October 1994

1995 France bombings, 25 July-17 October 1995

1996 Paris Métro bombing, 3 December 1996

Attempted assassination of Jacques Chirac by Maxime Brunerie, 14 July 2002

2013 Paris attacks, 15 and 18 November 2013

January 2015 Île-de-France attacks:

Charlie Hebdo shooting, 7 January 2015

Hypercacher Kosher Supermarket siege, 9 January 2015

November 2015 Paris attacks, 13 November 2015

January 2016 Paris police station attack, 7 January 2016

2017 Paris machete attack, 3 February 2017

March 2017 Île-de-France attacks, 18 March 2017

2017 shooting of Paris police officers, 20 April 2017

Aubervilliers restaurant attack, 11 June 2017

June 2017 Champs-Élysées car ramming attack, 19 June 2017

Levallois-Perret attack, 9 August 2017, in the northwestern suburbs of Paris

Sept-Sorts car attack, 14 August 2017

2018 Paris knife attack, 12 May 2018

Prominent members
Lists of massacres
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