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Turkish Consul Assassinated
Thursday 18th December 1980:
Turkish Consul Assassinated
    The Turkish Consul-General and his bodyguard became the victims of Australia's first political assassinations shortly before 10.00am yesterday. Mr Sarik Arlyak, 50, and Mr Engin Sever, 28, a guard specially assigned to the diplomat in response to terrorists threats, were shot dead in the street outside the consulate in Dover Heights, Sydney. The obscure international terrorist army, the 'Justice Commandoes of Armenian Genocide' claimed responsibility for the deaths only 20 minutes after the shootings.
    The two men were in separate consular cars when attacked. Mr Ariyak, who was shot 5 times, died instantly. Mr Sever died an hour later in St. Vincents hospital.
    The assassination took less than a minute after the asassins, on motorbikes and wearing full-faced motorcycle helmets, successfully evaded police patrols.
    Although security at the consulate had been wound down over recent months, Federal Police officers had been past the consulate three times in the three hours prior to the assassinations.
    Mr Ariyak had been identified as a potential target for terrorists as long as eighteen months ago. The Turkish government then advised Australian authorities that the Consul may have been on the death list of the Armenian militant group and assigned Mr Sever to My Ariyak as permanent body guard.
The Justice Commandoes of Armenian Genocide, active sine 1975, claim to represent the significant Armenian Turkish minority. Their purported motive is to exct revenge for the genocide of well over one million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks during World War 1. The Commandoes also seek independence from both Turkey and the Soviet Union under whose governments the Armenian people presently live.
    The assassination has shattered general public complacency about the threat of political violence in this country, although Australian security services were warned by the Hope Society in 1979 that foreign diplomats may be potential targets and senior police have publically expressed fears about terrorists several times this year.
Detective Inspector Phil Bennet of the Victorian CIB said last month that 'Australia is a soft political country and an ideal refuge for dangerous dissidents. Recent developments have raised fears that Australia could become a target for terrorist attrocities.'
Political violence has been rare in Australia so far and has largely involved foreign nationals involved in Croation, Soviet and Israel disputes.
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