The USin Bucharest, Abigail Rupp (photo) was invited off the stage by the Turkish consul in Constanta when the American official got ready to take the floor about religious freedom.
“It’s regrettable”, retorted the US Embassy to Romania.
The diplomatic incident took place in Constanta within the symposium “The Week of the Prophet Muhammed’s Birth”, an even organised by the Muslim Cult Mufti in Romania, in partnership with the Attache for Religious Services and the General Consulate of Turkey in Constanta.
Attending the event, the deputy of the US Ambassador got on stage to deliver her speech when the Turkish consul in Constanta approached Abigail Rupp and told her that her speech is not in the program.
After some moments of confusion, the American diplomat thanked the audience “for hospitality” and got off the stage.
The United States replied later on that it believes religious freedom is a universal human right and key to the protection of other unalienable rights, including freedom of speech and assembly. “We stand for the freedom of religion and belief all around the world and strive to demonstrate our commitment to protecting religious minorities whenever possible. It is unfortunate that Turkish government representatives publicly objected to a senior U.S. representative’s role and prevented her from speaking at an event celebrating our shared values of religious freedom and diversity in Romania,” reads a statement by the embassy.
The undelivered remarks of the US diplomat are available here.
“The participation in the activity dedicated to the Week of the Birth of the Prophet and the delivery of
remarks by a U.S. Embassy representative were not included [in the program]. For this reason, the Consul General of the Republic of Turkey in Constanta, Mr. Turan politely explained the situation to the representative of the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, heasked her to be understanding and to not deliver her . The representative of the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest understood the situation, did not deliver her remarks and descended from the stage and the Consul General thanked her for her understanding,” according to the Consulate General of the Republic of Turkey in Constanta and the Bureau of the Attache on Religious Issues.