Young Armenian terrorists who killed a security guard and seized more than 50 hostages at the Turkish Consulate surrendered to Paris police early today after a tense 14 1/2-hour siege.
The hostages apparently were unharmed. But some were driven away in ambulances for hospital care after spending all afternoon and evening under threat of execution by captors armed with pistols, a rifle and what appeared to be a hand grenade.
Two of the four gunmen were wounded and two others were driven away to police headquarters, surrounded by women hostages to protect them as part of the surrender deal. Their demand for release of what they called political prisoners in Turkish jails had gone unheeded and their request for political asylum in France was unlikely to fall on sympathetic ears.
The final two nevertheless made victory signs as they left the Turkish Consulate on the chic Boulevard Haussman and climbed into a gray police van at about 2 a.m.
The drama began about 11:30 a.m. yesterday when the team, styling itself a "suicide squad," took over the consulate and cultural center in a brief gunbattle that left a Turkish guard dead and two terrorists wounded.
Responsibility for the operation was claimed by the Secret Armenian Liberation Army, a shadowy terrorist group that has mounted a series of attacks against Turkish diplomats in Europe and the Middle East in the last six years. The group seeks to call attention to Armenian demands for national identity and a return to the ancient Armenian homeland.
"We are trying to liberate the Armenian territory occupied since the genocide of 1915," said Ara Toranian, a spokesman for the group who was interviewed by French television. "A million and a half people were massacred in the 1915 genocide, and no one spilled any tears over us then."
The spokesman was referring to the Turkish government campaign against Armenian nationalists shortly after the fall of Ottoman rule. Since then, Armenian refugees have scattered across the Middle East, Europe and the United States, doggedly preserving their language, culture and, in some cases, dreams of revenge against the Turks.
The Secret Armenian Liberation Army, which reflects the yearning for revenge as well as the drive for national recognition, first surfaced in Beirut in the early 1970s. It has been blamed for a dozen killings of Turkish officials and scores of bombings of Turkish airlines and tourism offices in Europe since 1975. In France alone, five diplomats have been killed, including two gunned down on a Paris street last March.
In yesterday's operation, French police said a Turkish security guard, identified by Turkish sources as Cemal Ozen, was badly wounded by a bullet when he tried to resist the takeover. Released about six hours later to a police medical team, he died shortly afterward in a Paris hospital, police announced.
At the same time, a young terrorist came out holding his wounded shoulder and turned himself over to police, demanding that he be treated as a "political prisoner." Police said he was wounded by a French police guard who exchanged fire with the terrorists soon after they burst into the building.
Half an hour later, Turkish Vice Consul Kaya Inal, 43, was released to police custody with what a Turkish Embassy spokesman described later as a serious chest wound. After another half-hour, a 3-year-old child was held up to an open window by a gunman who, after speaking with police below on the sidewalk, led the child down an inside stairway and into the arms of police.
The child apparently had been taken inside by parents with business in the consulate. A police spokesman at that point said the child's departure left about 25 hostages inside the building, guarded by three remaining terrorists. In the meantime, police negotiating in Armenian over an electric bullhorn had persuaded the gunmen to allow about 70 persons to leave other floors of the elegant, eight-story office building.
Shortly after midnight, the terrorists' leader bent out of a window and started the negotiations that led to the end of the ordeal. His first demand was hospitalization of the second wounded terrorist, and after that was accomplished the last two gave up.
When the terrorists gave up this morning, police said there actually had been almost 60 hostages rather than 25.
A spokesman for the Turkish Embassy, which is in a separate building, said there are no Armenian political prisoners in Turkey as such.