Tehlirian was born in the village of Nerkin Bagarich, in the Erzurum region, and grew up in nearby Erzincan (Yerznga). He began his education at an Evangelical school in Erzincan, then attended the Ketronakan School of Constantinople. He began his higher education in engineering at a German university but returned to Erzincan when the First World War broke out.
25 February 1865 – 31 August 1927 was an Armenian military commander and statesman, the best known fedayi and a key figure of the Armenian national liberation movement. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, he was one of the main Armenian leaders of military efforts for the independence of Armenia.
A group photograph of the fedayis who took part in the Khanasor foray. Standing, in front of the flag, from left to right: Prince Hovsep Arghutian (deputy commander of the expedition), Vartan (commander) (Source: Hagop Mandjikian, Memorial book of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, an album-atlas, 2nd edition, Los Angeles, 2001)