Ottawa Remembers 35th Anniversary of Colonel Atilla Altikat’s Death

Photo by Amedeo de Pretto

Yesterday marked 35 years since Colonel Atilla Altikat, military attaché for the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa, was shot on his morning drive to work at the intersection of Island Park Drive and Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway. 

The Armenian terrorist group, Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide, claimed responsibility for the attack, which was part of a larger series of attacks on Turkish diplomats.  The attacks were claimed to be retaliation against the Turkish government for its refusal to acknowledge the atrocities committed against the Armenian people of the Ottoman Empire in World War 1.  

Thirty-five years later, the memories and feelings of the event remain just as strong, with more than 150 people present this Sunday for the Altikat and Fallen Diplomats Memorial Service, organised by the Council of Turkish Canadians.

Gathered around the Monument to Fallen Diplomats, Turkish Canadians, ambassadors, and government officials alike remembered Altikat’s passing, with H.E Ambassador Selcuk Unal laying the wreath before the monument.  A moment of silence was held, followed by the Turkish and Canadian national anthems being sung.

The event not only denounced the terror attack that took Colonel Altikat’s life, but condemned all forms of terrorism in a unifying plea for peace.  Support was expressed towards the victims of the recent attack in Barcelona.

“The sorrow we share strengthens our resolve and conviction to stand up against barbarism and hatred. The monument we stand in front of today is a testament to this fact and will remain from here to eternity, as a symbol of our resilience in the quest for peace and friendship,” H.E Ambassador Unal said.

Colonel Altikat remains to this date the only victim of international terrorism on Canadian soil, and the killers have yet to be found.  Speakers at the event urged for justice and closure to his case after all these years, reminding the government that Altikat’s memory is alive and well in the community.