Armenia, Artsakh Mark Anniversary of Monte Melkonian’s Death


STEPANAKERT, Karabagh (PanARMENIAN.Net) — Armenia and Karabagh marked the 20th death anniversary of Artsakh war hero Monte Melkonian on June 12.

Artsakh Republic President Bako Sahakyan visited the town of Martuni and took part in the events dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Melkonyan’s death.

Sahakyan laid wreaths to the monuments of Melkonian and perished soldiers as well as took part in a meeting held in memory of Monte Melkonian in Martuni Culture Palace.

Primate of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Arthur Tovmasyan, vice prime-minister Arthur Aghabekyan, head of the General Staff of Armenia’s Armed Forces Yuri Khachaturov, NKR defense minister Movses Hakobyan, other officials, guests from Armenia and the Diaspora partook in the events, Central Information Department at NKR President’s Office reported.

Melkonian was born on November 25, 1957, outside Fresno, Calif. In 1969, his family moved to Spain. After leaving school, Melkonian left for Turkey to see his ancestoral lands. Later, he moved to Lebanon. Upon his return to United States, Monte entered Berkley University, to specialize in archaeology and Asian history. After internship in Japan he worked as a teacher in the Armenian schools of Iran and Lebanon (beginning 1957).

In the 1970s, Melkonian took part in Lebanese Civil war. In spring 1980, he joined the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA). He planned and organized the seizure of Turkish Embassy in France (known as Van operation) and several other operations against Turkish representative offices in European states. While an ASALA member, he took part in the assassinations of several Turkish diplomats in Europe during the early to mid-1980s and was later arrested and imprisoned in France. In 1989, he was released and in the following year, received a visa to travel to Armenia.

One of the outstanding, talented and experienced commanders during the war in Karabagh, Melkonian died in murky circumstances on June 12, 1993 in Marzilu village. He is revered by Armenians as a national hero.