Lie Down With Lions
PART 1 - 1981 Chapter 1
THE MEN who wanted to kill Ahmet Yilmaz were serious people. They were exiled Turkish students living in Paris, and they had already murdered an attache at the Turkish Embassy and firebombed the home of a senior executive of Turkish Airlines. They chose Yilmaz as their next target because he was a wealthy supporter of the military dictatorship and because he lived, conveniently, in Paris.
His home and office were well guarded and his Mercedes limousine was armored, but every man has a weakness, the students believed, and that weakness is usually sex. In the case of Yilmaz they were right. A couple of weeks of casual surveillance revealed that Yilmaz would leave his house, on two or three evenings each week, driving the Renault station wagon his servants used for shopping, and go to a side street in the Fifteenth District to visit a beautiful young Turkish woman who was in love with him.
The students decided to put a bomb in the Renault while Yilmaz was getting laid.
They knew where to get the explosives: from Pepe Gozzi, one of the many sons of the Corsican godfather Meme Gozzi. Pepe was a weapons dealer. He would sell to anyone, but he preferred political customers, for - as he cheerfully admitted - "Idealists pay higher prices." He had helped the Turkish students with both their previous outrages.
There was a snag in the car-bomb plan. Usually Yilmaz would leave the girl's place alone in the Renault - but not always. Sometimes he took her out to dinner. Often she went off in the car and returned half an hour later laden with bread, fruit, cheese and wine, evidently for a cozy feast. Occasionally Yilmaz would go home in a taxi, and the girl would borrow the car for a day or two. The students were romantic, like all terrorists, and they were reluctant to risk killing a beautiful woman whose only crime was the readily pardonable one of loving a man unworthy of her.
They discussed this problem in a democratic fashion. They made all decisions by vote and acknowledged no leaders; but all the same there was one among them whose strength of personality made him dominant. His name was Rahmi Coskun, and he was a handsome, passionate young man with a bushy moustache and a certain bound-for-glory light in his eyes. It was his energy and determination which had pushed through the previous two projects despite the problems and the risks. Rahmi proposed consulting a bomb expert.
At first the others did not like mis idea. Whom could they trust? they asked. Rahmi suggested Ellis Thaler. An American who called himself a poet but in fact made a living giving English lessons, he had learned about explosives as a conscript in Vietnam. Rahmi had known him for a year or so: they had both worked on a short-lived revolutionary newspaper called Chaos, and together they had organized a poetry reading to raise funds for the Palestine Liberation Organization. He seemed to understand Rahmi's rage at what was being done to Turkey and his hatred of the barbarians who were doing it. Some of the other students also knew Ellis slightly: he had been seen at several demonstrations, and they had assumed he was a graduate student or a young professor. Still, they were reluctant to bring in a non-Turk; but Rahmi was insistent and in the end they consented.
Ellis came up with the solution to their problem immediately. The bomb should have a radio-controlled arming device, he said. Rahmi would sit at a window opposite the