GR US

Open Letter Calls for Mark Tavlarides to Resign as a Foreign Agent of Azerbaijan

Αssociated Press

This image taken from a video released by Armenian Defense Ministry on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020 an Armenian serviceman fires a cannon towards Azerbaijan positions at the contact line of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. (Armenian Defense Ministry via AP)

NEW YORK – An open letter to Greek-American Mark Tavlarides, International and Trade Principal for BGR Group, a PR firm, and the son of a Greek Orthodox priest, calls for him to resign his role as a foreign agent of Azerbaijan. 

Tavlarides, according to his biography “currently works for an array of foreign governments, helping them build stronger ties with the U.S. government – from Capitol Hill to the executive branch” and “on behalf of his clients,” he “focuses on political, economic and security issues.”  

The letter was presented on air on October 20 by Hellas FM of New York journalist Dimitris Filippidis, who noted that the letter was written by Greek Orthodox members of the community. The text of the letter follows: 

“Dear Mark, 

The parable of the lost sheep is about a shepherd who had 100 sheep, but one of the flock wandered off by itself. The shepherd leaves his flock to find and save the sheep who has gone astray.  

As leaders of the Greek Community, we’re approaching you today in that same spirit to help save you as a morally lost son of our community. 

Many of us have known of you as the son of the beloved priest, Father John Tavlarides, of St. Sophia's Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Washington, DC. Father Tavlarides was a pillar of our community, a man of tremendous faith, and an ally for Orthodox Christians, including Armenians, around the United States and around the world.  

For many years, you were the recipient of unearned goodwill from our community out of deference and respect for your father. But those of us who knew your father have realized over the years that you're nothing like him. You're his antithesis. The apple couldn't have fallen further from the tree.   

Your recent actions as a foreign agent aiding and abetting bloodthirsty and corrupt dictators like Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev, who’s actively committing atrocities against Orthodox Christian Armenians, shows just how stark a contrast exists between you and your father.   

Apparently, where your father loved God, you love money. Where your father served orphans and widows, you kowtow to genocidal dictators. Where your father was a peacemaker, you fan the flames of war. Where your father was moral, you have shown your corruption. Where your father sought the truth, you have peddled dangerous lies. Where your father was humble, you have replaced it with arrogance. Where your father's reputation was beyond reproach, your legacy will be that of a foreign agent advancing the agenda for genocidal dictators around the world.    

As you know, on September 27th, Azerbaijan initiated an unprovoked and unhinged attack against Armenians – fellow Orthodox Christians – in Nagorno Karbakh and the Republic of Armenia. Despite the fact that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and mainstream media outlets like the Washington Post have confirmed that the attacks were initiated by the Azeris, you have nonetheless peddled outright lies generated by Azerbaijan attempting to lay blame and gaslight Armenia for the war. Moreover, you have tried to cover up the fact that Turkey is also directly and militarily supporting Azerbaijan in this conflict. Indeed, Turkey is recruiting Syrian mercenary jihadists and transporting them to Azerbaijan to fight Armenians. The coordinated Turkish/Azerbaijani aggression against Armenia raises questions about whether the alliance will attempt another Genocide against Armenians. You’re aware of all this, but have chosen to chase dollars instead of morality and truth. 

The Greek American community will not stand idly by as one of our own attacks the Armenian community and greases the skids on Capitol Hill for potentially another Armenian Genocide. Greeks and Armenians have a special relationship which dates back centuries. We have a common history and a common experience with Genocide perpetuated against us. We have a bond and a partnership which will not be broken.  An attack against the Armenian community is an attack against the Greek community. It is a tragedy and an embarrassment that one of our own is spearheading a campaign of lies and disinformation to hurt our Armenian Orthodox brothers and sisters. 

That’s why today we're writing to appeal to your faith, your humanity, your father's memory and your conscience to end your work as a foreign agent for Azerbaijan and begin the atonement process for the sins you have committed against God, your fellow Armenian Orthodox brothers and sisters, and our Greek American community.   

That is why we are pleading with you to: 

1. Immediately resign from your role as foreign agent for Azerbaijan. 

2. Use your influence on Capitol Hill to generate support for H. Res. 1165 - Condemning Azerbaijan's military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh and denouncing Turkish interference in the conflict [co-sponsored by fellow Greek-Americans Reps. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), John Sarbanes (MD-3), and Dina Titus (NV-1).  

3. Donate all the proceeds from your work supporting Azerbaijan to the Armenia Fund, which is helping Armenia and Karabakh overcome the heinous actions of your client.”