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NSW Police seeking assistance with released audio recording claiming responsibility for 1980 assassination of Turkish Consul-General and his bodyguard

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New South Wales police continue to appeal for information into the four-decade-long case of the assassination of a Turkish diplomat and Consul-General Sarik Ariyak and his bodyguard Engin Sever.

As part of a re-investigation by the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) under Strike Force Esslemont, police released an audio recording of a ‘claim of responsibility for 1980 assassination. 

On 17 December 1980, Sarik Ariyak, aged 50, and his bodyguard, Engin Sever, aged 28, were shot outside a residence on Portland Street, Dover Heights.

Ariyak and Sever were approached and shot at close range by two unknown men as they were leaving the residence in separate vehicles. 

The two assailants fled the scene on a motorcycle.

Emergency services attended the scene, but despite their efforts, the pair could not be saved, with Mr Ariyak dying at the scene and Mr Sever dying a short time later at St Vincent’s Hospital.

According to police, responsibility was claimed by the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide shortly after the attack; however, extensive investigations have not led to anyone being charged over the murders.

The NSW Police Force’s Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command have now released the audio recording of a phone call made to a media outlet following the shooting in which a female voice claims responsibility for the assassinations on behalf of the ‘Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide,’ stating the attacks were in retaliation for the injustice done to Armenians.

The audio was released in the hopes that the female voice might be identified and that assistance may be given to decipher some of the inaudible words within the recording. 

Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton, is urging the community to listen to the recording intently. Assistant Commissioner Walton said,

“Identifying the female through her voice – or recognising any indecipherable words in the audio – will greatly assist us with this investigation.”

“Police have strong reason to believe that there are members of the public who are aware of who this person is, and we urge them to come forward. While we continue this investigation, we suspect there are people who know exactly what happened that day but have not yet been willing to speak with authorities. We’d like to hear from these people as soon as possible, as well as anyone whose memory may be refreshed by the audio we’ve released – no matter how insignificant the information may seem, it could be invaluable to the investigation,” Assistant Commissioner Walton said.

Police have stated that the $1 million reward posted in 2019 for information provided about the case that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the men’s murders is still available.

Anyone with information that may assist investigations by Strike Force Esslemont is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or at https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

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