ANCA Calls on Trump to Raise Killing During Meeting with Erdogan on Wednesday
Pope Francis and official Yerevan have condemned the brutal killing of an Armenian Catholic priest and his father on Monday in Syria by the Islamic State, which took responsibility hours after the attack. The Armenian National Committee of America on Tuesday called on President Donald Trump to raise this incident during his meeting Wednesday with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who will be visiting Washington.
Pope Francis in a Twitter post on Tuesday expressed sympathy of the passing of Rev. Hovsep Bedoyan who was gunned down by Islamic State terrorists, alongside his father, Abraham, when the two were in a car traveling from Qamishli in northeastern Syria to Deir-es-Zor to inspect the status of the St. Gregory the Illuminators Armenian Catholic Cathedral. A third passenger, Deacon Fati Sano of the Al-Hasakeh church, was injured during the attack.
“I am close to Armenian Catholics of Qamishli, in Syria, as they gather for the funeral of their parish priest, Father Hovsep Bedoyan, who was killed yesterday together with his father. I pray for them, their families, and for all Christians in Syria,” said Pope Francis on Twitter. “I pray for them, their families, and for all Christians in Syria.”
Armenia’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday condemned “in the strongest terms” Monday’s attack on Bedoyan and his father, saying the cleric “lost his life while serving the war-torn community of Deir es-Zor.”
“The military invasion in the northeastern Syria last month and the subsequent resurgence of terrorist groups and their activities make the civilian population, including ethnic and religious minorities, particularly vulnerable. The ongoing identity-based persecutions and killings should be decisively condemned by the international community,” said the foreign ministry in its statement.
“We express our deepest condolences and sympathy to the relatives of the victims, the Armenian Catholic community and to all Syrian Armenians and wish them courage, endurance and strength of spirit in overcoming this tragic incident,” added the foreign ministry.
“Armenia will continue its humanitarian support to contribute to the stabilization of the humanitarian situation in Syria,” said the foreign ministry.
Funeral Services were held for the two slain Armenians on Tuesday at St. Joseph Armenian Catholic Church in Qamishli.
Armenia’s Permanent Representative to the Unite Nations Mher Markaryan at a meeting with Adam Diengo, Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the Organization for the Prevention of Genocide, discussed Monday’s killing of the Armenian Catholic priest and his father, calling it an attack on religious and national minorities.
Markaryan singled out threats to the Armenian community of Syria, as well as other national and religious minorities, in particular and the threat of crimes and mass extermination on the grounds of ethnic identity facing those groups.
Diengo expressed condolences to Markaryan over the murders and the two emphasized importance of intensifying international efforts to prevent hate crimes, mass murder and genocide.
The killing of the Armenian Catholic priest and his father comes two days before President Trump is scheduled to meet with Erdogan in Washington.
ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian, in a message posted on Twitter, urged Trump to address this matter with Erdogan on Wednesday.
“We hope that during the meeting on November 13, Trump will publicly put pressure on Erdogan to receive answers to questions regarding the killing of ISIS by the priest of the Armenian Catholic Church and his father in northern Syria, which is more under the control of Ankara’s allies,” said Hamparian.