Istanbul Vicar’s ‘Deep Regret’ for Bundestag Vote Angers Turkish-Armenians

Atesyan and Erdogan (Photo: aljazeera.com.tr)
Atesyan and Erdogan (Photo: aljazeera.com.tr)

Atesyan and Erdogan (Photo: aljazeera.com.tr)

ISTANBUL (Armenian Weekly)—Archbishop Aram Atesyan, the General Vicar of the Armenian Patriarch in Turkey, sent a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slamming the German Parliament’s June 2 adoption of an Armenian Genocide resolution, saying that the Bundestag’s decision “about the events happened during the tragic times of World War I caused regret in our nation.”

“[I]t is unacceptable that a parliament, which was formed by the votes of German citizens and has the duty of establishing laws for the peace, prosperity, and security of their nation, expressed its opinion, though it has no right to do so. It is unacceptable that this parliament legalized its decision on behalf of the entire German nation and considers itself a judge,” Atesyan wrote in his letter, which made no reference to the Armenian Genocide as such.

In his letter, shared on the Armenian Patriarchate’s Facebook page, Atesyan criticizes the use of the “tragedy that traumatized the Armenian nation” in international politics and claimed that such resolutions cause “sorrow and pain.” “Unfortunately, this historical pain of the Armenian nation is considered as a tool for accusing and punishing Turkish state and nation. And because of this ugly mentality, sub- and supra-identities of Turkish Armenians are harmed. The ones who are willing to see the truth can realize how Armenian nation has been abused by imperialist powers,” reads a part of the letter, which concludes with prayers to God to bestow “health, success, and happiness” on Erdogan.

In response to Atesyan’s letter, the Turkish-Armenian Weekly Agos wrote a critical letter to the Archbishop, condemning his praise of Erdogan, despite the President’s gross violation of human rights, anti-Armenian and racist policies, and denial of the Armenian Genocide.

“You define the systematic and almost complete annihilation of a people by the decision of the state itself as ‘the events happened during the tragic times of World War I’; this is an affront to the ancestors, victims and the survivors in the eyes of the society to which you also belong,” reads a part of the letter, which goes on to claim that the Archbishop lacks a “dignified attitude” and that he does not represent the entire Armenian community.

The letter specifically criticizes the Archbishop’s claim that the Patriarchate “will continue to pray for the fellowship of Turkey and Armenia” as unjustifiable, considering Erdogan’s continued threats against Armenian citizens

The letter also criticizes Atesyan’s claim that “the role of German Reich is slid over by a few sentences” in the German Armenian Genocide resolution, stating that 80 percent of the resolution, which declares German Reich as an accomplice to the genocide, consists of Germany’s confrontation with its own history.

Below is Agos’s letter to Atesyan in its entirety:

Dear Mr. Archbishop,

We have read your letter about the Armenian Genocide resolution of Bundestag, which is addressed to the President and signed on behalf of “Turkish Armenians Society,” with sorrow, anger and shame. Please regard this letter as the voice of those members of that society who disagree with the content and style of your letter.

You define the systematic and almost complete annihilation of a people by the decision of the state itself as “the events happened during the tragic times of World War I;” this is an affront to the ancestors, victims and the survivors in the eyes of the society to which you also belong.

The society that you defined as “Christian-Armenian Turkish citizens who perform their obligations to the state perfectly, got over the delusion of seeing themselves different from the other citizens and know how to protect their rights when necessary” doesn’t have a homogeneous structure; rather, it consists of individuals who have their own independent feelings, opinions, and firm acknowledgment of truth. The thing is, Armenians are not the ones who see themselves different from other citizens. After 1915, whenever the political atmosphere gets intense, Armenians become subjected to discriminatory, fascist, and obviously threatening discourses and threats, especially in times of 1942 Wealth Tax and [the] Sept. 6-7 plunders. And on Jan. 19, 2007, they witnessed the assassination of Hrant Dink, one of the most precious figures who devoted himself to the peace between and in two peoples.

You said, “We, as the Patriarchate, will continue to pray for the fellowship of Turkey and Armenia”; how could you justify this statement of yours, given the fact that your addressee President Erdogan threatened the citizens of Armenia to send them back to Armenia two days ago? Doesn’t it trouble your conscience? Let us remind you those statements of the president, in case you have forgotten: “Currently, there are almost 100.000 Armenians in my country. Almost half of them are Turkish citizens. However, the other half are citizens of Armenia and we can send them back to Armenia, like Europe did.”

You said that you are aware of the fact that “some people are not happy with your stable attitude that you maintain by abiding the traditional way.” Honestly, we are having difficulty in understanding how forelock-tugging can be considered as an attitude.

The Armenian Genocide, as a crime against humanity, is a concern of the whole humanity. You said that you pray for the good of two peoples. The common future of those peoples would be possible only when an honorable reconciliation is achieved, because then, there won’t be this kind of oppression that caused you to deny even your own history.

Dear Mr. Archbishop,

Since you said that “the role of German Reich is slid over by a few sentences,” we see that you have failed to comprehend the content of the resolution. Almost 80% of this resolution, which declares German Reich as the accomplice to the genocide, consists of Germany’s confrontation with its own history.

Let us continue: you said, “using this tragedy that traumatized the Armenian nation in international politics causes sorrow and pain.” Indeed, the oppression that led you to write this letter causes sorrow and pain. Also, the sub- and supra-identities of the Armenian society in Turkey is not harmed by this resolution, but by your words. Above all, your words on “abuse of Armenian nation by imperialist powers” are recorded as an example to the denialist discourse; not by the ones who will take advantage of your usage of the official state discourse, but by your own people. In the near future, we will see who will appreciate your discourse with “enthusiastic applause.”

On this occasion, borrowing your style in your letter, we once again express our sorrow, uprising, and anger, and pray to God for you; may God bestow sense, intelligence, and comprehension on you.

We also pray to God for giving you a dignified attitude, which you obviously lack, since you said that “you pray to God for making the state dignitaries, who work for the good of people, succeed in their services” in a time when tens of people are being killed every day in a civil war.

Cordially,

AGOS

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33 Comments

  1. State of Emergency said:

    Some things never change for the better! I’ve heard and read about the same type of Armenians back in the Ottoman days who betrayed their own people for selfish gains.

  2. Mike Sarian said:

    Shame on you Archbishop Atesyan! How could you even write these words. My family members were killed and others in my family were send to Der Zoir to die. You should first respect the 1.5 million of innocent fellow Armenians who were massacred. They are the saints who gave their lives simply because they were Christian Armenians. You should first pay respect to them and not to Turks who murdered them.
    I could not believe my eyes seeing an Armenian clergy to write such a letter. I think you should go and be a Turkish Mufti. Regardless of any pressure you should stand up and be Armenian first and not be afraid to speak the truth. You should defend your own people like Hrant Dink did. Respect to Hrant and Shame on you.

  3. David Karamian said:

    The archbishop us an idiot trying to take care of his personal interests. Religious leaders have been a double edge sword for the Armenian people and nation throughout our history.

  4. Jean-Louis Tourikian said:

    The Vicar is out of line. Could he be under pressure. Does he understand representative government. I cannot fathom his remarks. It is a shame.

  5. Armen Tashjian said:

    To: Aram Atesyan

    Please do us all a favor and RESIGN!

    • CHAHBAZIAN said:

      you’re 100% right !

      shame on him a !

      one question : does he care ?

  6. Sebu Tashjian said:

    Unfortunately, the Armrnian people have always had “VASAGS” from time immemorial. This is no big surprise had it not come from the Spritul leader of Armenians in Turkey. One wonders if there is any Armenian Blood in this cleric. SAD.

  7. sylvie tertzakian said:

    to atone for his sin, he should resign from his position and the priesthood. he has as much blood on his hands as the turkish masters he serves.

  8. edward demian said:

    He is scared stupid. We need a younger more politically aware Bishop. The days of “mustached Garabeds” are over. Atshian should recluse himself to a monastery. No longer should we act as “Dimmis”. We don’t say much about it, but our great losses a hundred years ago, were in part due to the church’s cowardice. They counseled submission and we died. “Bullbull gibi”.

  9. vartan said:

    HE IS REPRESENTING TURKISH AND EREEGUANS INTEREST. HE IS NOT PATRARCH. HE IS TUEKEY’s P0PET. . SO WHATEVER HE SAYS , DOES NOT HAVE ANY VALUE, NOBODY CONSIDERS HIM AN ARMENIAN.

  10. Masis said:

    Throughout history, we have had Vassaks who have denigrated our nation. I sincerely question this man’s question this man’s qualifications to be a leader of Turkish Armenians and to be an Archbishop for that matter. Etchmiafzin should remove him from his position for that matter.

    I question what type of Turkish rug and other amenities he’s been greased with.

    A true traitor. He should recognize that without the popular support and diasporas support he won’t have a title ot even a job. Perhaps he plans to convert the church Erdogan annexed to a mosque.

  11. Ari said:

    Self-serving religious or political free-loaders like Aram Atesyan should be considered as domestic enemies of the Armenian nation- wherever they are located.

    A high position in community leadership should not be bestowed upon such morally corrupt personalities. In my view, this spineless rat should be kicked out of his office. He can then secure a more suitable position in Erdogan’s fascist government and join the ranks of other butt-kissing and ego-boosting Turkish officials which Erdogan enjoys having because like other Kemalists, the Turkish dictator (Erdogan) has a very insecure personality.

  12. Raffi said:

    Archbishop Aram Atesyan should resign and go and work on behalf of Kurdish Genocide perpetrator terrorsit Erdogan.

  13. Tavit said:

    Aram Atesyan, the dog, should stop calling himself Armenian or Christian and be converted to Erdogan’s female pig. The Armenian Patriarch in Turkey should be closed and condemned by all Armenian churches. His dejected life should be concluded prematurely.

  14. Therese Mastikian said:

    This Atesyan guy needs to get the hell out of our church!!! He needs to go pray in a mosque!! I can’t believe his words!!! Who is he referring to when he says Armenians are traumatized after the German Parliament acknowledged and voted on the Armenian Genocide Resolution of Bundestag?? What planet does he live on??? He must have been bribed by Erdogan for him to make such a statement speaking on behalf of the Armenians living in Turkey!! I’m traumatized by his stupidity and his remarks!!! He definitely needs to get FIRED and to get his head checked!!! He is the FIRST Armenian ever to DENY the atrocities our ancestors went through at the hands of the Ottomans!!! SHAME ON YOU Aram Atesyan!!!

  15. heratch abdalian said:

    Who reppresents this disonest clarical man who permit himself to write the horrible letter.All Armenians should deny any rappresentation from this gay.

  16. SAT said:

    Why would he do that? There may be reasons we don’t know, maybe he was forced somehow… Still there is no excuse, it’s an indecent act.

  17. Noel Drorian said:

    I wonder if the Armenians living in Turkey support the views of the so-called archbishop. In my opinion he should be fired from the Armenian church.

  18. Antonio Antaramian said:

    This Vicar must be removed, He is the definition of a traitor

  19. Norin said:

    This man is ill both morally and spiritually as an Armenian. He is not afraid, merely complacent just like the peasants that beheaded Mkhitar Sparapet after he helped liberate them from the Sultan’s yoke, only to be killed and have his head be presented to the Sultan by the same peasants that he helped. The cure for these types of Armenians is a near death bloody beating, plain and simple. They should be taught to fear the outraged Armenian populace far more than the corrupt Turkish masters they serve. What a disgusting piece of slime. If you ever see him anywhere, punch him in the mouth so he knows what you think of him.

  20. Krikor Muradian said:

    My father bless his soul, told me when the Turks wanted the Armenians in Erzerum to vacate their home for only a few days, so they can search their homes for weapons and then they can come back. The Armenian Patriarch told they to trust the Turks. All his life my father cursed him for telling them it is ok. My father said the Armenians had guns in the basement of the church and wanted to fight the Turks for forcing they to vacate their homes. And then the killings started. The next day the Turks gathered all the males above 15 years old, tied their hands and shot them.

  21. Patriot said:

    Archbishop Afesyan must go one way or another. And must go ASAP. I have already enlisted Arnold Shwartsneger to the honor, as an experienced “terminator” .

  22. Serop said:

    A pathetic turk loving Armenian who had no right to voice his DAVAJAN opinion on behalf of Western Armenians in particular
    It was people like him whoin fear drove their flock in mass conversions to islam and now openly kiss turkish …..

  23. Serop said:

    Maybe like the other mentally unbalanced Armenian Artin Penik who burnt himself alive in support of his turkish masters so should this traitor archbishop, I am sure a few plaques will be ordered in turkish to honor him

  24. grigor sharlakyan said:

    he is worst then any worst turk….what an ass hole,animal,he must be destroyed!!!!!

  25. Raffi said:

    This ass hle is trying to make a killing by using 1.5 millions Genocide victim’s blood, he’s a realy an ass hle.

  26. NoPlaceForTraitors said:

    You see how quickly this idiot fall into Erdogan’s plot? Instead of directing our efforts to exposing the atrocities of the Turkish killing machine, we are here using keystrokes to criticize a subservient minion doing a megalomaniac’s bidding.

  27. Gira said:

    As an Armenian who live in Turkey I just want to say that we are never gonna support this statment.He is just a pawn.and he doesnt want to give up his position.Also He cant speak for me or any Armenian in Turkey.

  28. Arto Tavukciyan said:

    Relax folks. We can play games like the Turks too. While they talk to the West, they supply ISIS. The Vicar can say what he wants to prevent any potential vandalism at the Istanbul Churches while everyone else works for Genocide recognition.

  29. Stepan said:

    I believe he should be more scared from Armenian vengeance than Erdogan’s. We do not tolerate murderers and Tavagans to the Armenian Nation.

  30. Armine said:

    He cannot and is not allowed to talk on behalf of Armenians. Who is he to do so? He must be ripped off his clerical suit and never again be allowed to set foot in Armenia or any holy place, Let him keep his opinions to himself.
    Shame on him..

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