LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce on Monday announced the cancellation of the “Los Angeles Turkey Business Forum,” scheduled for Thursday, May 25. Billed as a round-table meeting with CEOs and board members from 12 of the most prominent companies in Turkey, the event was to serve as a way to develop business alliances in LA and Turkey.
Its cancellation comes in response to concerns raised by Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail attacked peaceful protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s home on Embassy Row in Washington, D.C., last week. The attack, caught on video, shows Erdogan’s detail leaving his side and crossing an American police line to punch, kick and push citizens who were lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights. The attack has been widely condemned by Republicans and Democrats alike, with Sen. John McCain urging the State Dept. to expel Turkey’s ambassador from the United States.
City Councilmember Paul Krekorian, the first Armenian American elected to city office in Los Angeles, praised the Chamber’s actions.
“I thank the LA Chamber for being responsive to my request and cancelling the Los Angeles Turkey Business Forum. The unprovoked attack by Turkish state security officers on peaceful American citizens was reprehensible and a grave breach of our country’s laws. That the business community in our great city recognizes that human rights must be upheld by all within our borders is a credit to their vision and conscience,” said Krekorian.
“The ANCA Western Region is grateful to Councilmember Paul Krekorian who acted swiftly and effectively upon learning of the Los Angeles Turkey Business Forum which was co-sponsored by the LA Chamber of Commerce and the Mayor’s office. In a time where the President of Turkey dares to order his goons to attack Americans peacefully protesting on American soil against his brutal regime, American public entities and private businesses should steer clear of explicitly or implicitly condoning such outrageous behavior. This is one of the just consequences of Erdogan’s reprehensible acts, and we call on all Americans and elected officials and offices to send a clear message to the Turkish government that we will not tolerate Erdogan’s exporting of brutality to our country,” said Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region chairwoman, Nora Hovsepian.