By Edmond Y. Azadian
The US has been warning its Turkish ally to stop the carnage in Afrin, Syria, where Kurds are battling the invaders. The European Union has passed a resolution condemning Turkey’s actions in Syria. Germany has halted the supply of military hardware to Turkey. And yet, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration ignores all warnings and continues to extend its toxic “olive branch” to the Kurds.
When world powers cannot contain the bully, it is not realistic to stop him in his domestic policy. What has been taking place in the Istanbul Armenian community can be defined as a mini-tragedy, compared to Erdogan’s adventures on the world scene.
For almost 10 years, the Istanbul Armenian community has been in turmoil because it has not be able to elect its patriarch. The Erdogan government is trampling on all treaty obligations and Armenian community laws and traditions to keep the community in limbo. It is further pitting the clergy against one another, creating artificial dissension in the community.
Ten years ago, incumbent patriarch Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan developed dementia, losing completely his capacity to perform the functions of his office. All medical reports confirmed that his condition was irreversible. Based on those reports, the Religious Council of the Patriarchate in Istanbul retired the patriarch to pave the way for a new election.
The same Religious Council elected Archbishop Aram Atesyan as vicar general. During his tenure in that position, the latter proved to be a useful political tool in the hands of the Turkish authorities. He wrote a scathing letter to Erdogan blaming the German Bundestag for adopting an Armenian Genocide resolution. He also sent a supportive letter to the marauding Turkish soldiers in Afrin. God only knows what other commitments he has made to the authorities to continue such subservient conduct.