WATERTOWN–Mass.–After a major statewide grassroots effort focused on setting the historical record straight–the Mayor of Hartford–Michael P. Peters–issued a formal apology to the Greek and Armenian community (see full text of the September 6–2001–letter below) for his proclamation honoring August 30th as a "Day of Remembrance for the Turkish Zafer Holiday in the City of Hartford. This proclamation was deeply flawed with inaccuracies and omissions.
The proclamation glorified Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and furthered a number of long time myths about the Republic of Turkey including the myth that Turkey has made significant contributions to US foreign policy–that Turkey enjoys a long history of friendship by living in harmony with different ethnic groups–and that Turkey is a staunch ally of the United States.
Although the proclamation did accurately state that "Millions of the Ottoman Empire citizens; from different religious and ethnic backgrounds–died" during the years of World War I–it failed to note that these victims were mostly Armenia’s–as well as Greeks and other minorities–who were massacred on the orders of the Turkish authorities in what constituted the first genocide of the twentieth century.
In a letter addressed to the Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region–Mayor Peters extended his deepest apology and vowed never to issue the above-mentioned proclamation again.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots political organization.
The ANCA actively advances a broad range of issues of concern to the Armenian-American community.
Complete text of the Letter Mayor Peters sent to the ANCA ER
As Mayor of the City of Hartford–I would like to extend my deepest apology for issuing the proclamation declaring Day of Remembrance for the Turkish Zafer Holiday in the City of Hartford.
As Mayor–one of my duties is to issue proclamations–citations and memoriams. My office was not aware of the history and controversy behind this proclamation and it was never my intention in any way to offend or cause conflict to the Greek and Armenian community.
As long as I am Mayor–I can only promise you that our office will never again issue the above-mentioned proclamation. Again–please accept my sincere apology.
Michael P. Peters (signed) Mayor