Police in Los Angeles, the capital of the southern U.S. state of California, intervened on Saturday as a group of Armenians verbally and physically attacked attendees at a conference discussing Türkiye and its foreign policy.
The event was attended by Türkiye’s Ambassador to Washington Hasan Murat Mercan, Azerbaijan’s Los Angeles Consul General Ramil Gurbanov, Turkish Yunus Emre Institute (YEE) President Professor Seref Ates, Wilson Center Middle East Program Director Ambassador James Jeffrey, YEE’s US Director Gokhan Coskun, O3 Media Manager Saner Ayar, and several others who spoke at the conference.
Following the event’s opening speeches, a group of 11 Armenian students began protesting when Türkiye’s ambassador started speaking. Another protester verbally abused Azerbaijan’s consul general Gurbanov.
The group’s 10-minute protest against Türkiye and Azerbaijan was put to an end by campus security and police, who removed the group from the venue.
Throughout the conference, the protesting group gathered outside and attempted to disrupt the normal flow of the program by making noise.
‘We must increase our communication and understanding’
During his speech at the conference, Türkiye’s Ambassador Mercan said that when looking at a map, most conflicts in the world revolve around the Middle East.
Stating that what needs to be done in these challenging times is clear, Mercan said, “Like-minded countries should collaborate to solve problems and develop new ideas. At the same time, we must increase our communication and understanding; otherwise, we cannot make any progress.”
Mercan pointed out that Türkiye’s foreign policy is based on Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s principle of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” and emphasized that Türkiye has approached every segment of society with respect since its founding.