USCMO Strongly Condemns Violent Attack on Turkish Diplomats

By MNN Desk Report
Published Thu, Oct 5, 2023 3:43 AM

Washington, D.C. - October 4, 2023 – The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) issues a strong condemnation of the recent attack on Turkish diplomats that took place following a conference on Turkish foreign policy held at the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism on September 29, 2023. This conference, attended by Ambassador Hasan Murat Mercan and other diplomats and staff, aimed to foster dialogue and understanding on Turkish foreign policy.

The incident involved Armenian students and community members who expressed their objections to the timing of the conference, coinciding with the aftermath of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. USCMO views this attack as a serious violation of freedom of speech and a clear disregard for differing opinions.

Protesters targeted Professor Ismail Demirezen, the Religious Attaché at the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles, and other consulate staff. The U.S. Diplomatic Security Unit and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) swiftly intervened, preventing further escalation but not before resulting in injuries to the diplomats.

Oussama Jammal, Secretary General of USCMO, stated, "We unequivocally condemn the attack on Turkish diplomats at the University of Southern California. It is essential that universities remain safe spaces for the exchange of diverse ideas and perspectives. Disagreement should be expressed through peaceful means and respectful discourse, not through acts of violence. We offer our support to Prof. Demirezen and his colleagues and pray for their recovery."

USCMO calls upon the university administration, local authorities, and relevant stakeholders to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and ensure that appropriate measures are taken to safeguard the principles of free speech and academic freedom on campus. It is imperative that such incidents do not hinder the pursuit of knowledge and understanding, even in cases of deeply held disagreements.