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AHI Letter And Fact Sheet To U.S. Governors Aims To Increase Awareness Of Historically Revisionist Proclamations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: CHRYSOULA ECONOMOPOULOS
November 16, 2001 No. 57/01 (202) 785-8430

AHI Letter And Fact Sheet To U.S. Governors Aims To Increase Awareness Of Historically Revisionist Proclamations

The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) on November 13, 2001 sent a letter and corroborating Fact Sheet to 45 of 50 U.S. governors with the goal of alerting them to the possibility of being presented with historically revisionist proclamations regarding Turkey. The five governors not contacted in this manner—GovernorsDonald Siegelman (Alabama), John G. Rowland (Connecticut), Jane Swift(Massachusetts), Gary Locke (Washington), and George H. Ryan (Illinois) have been contacted by AHI regarding proclamations already issued in their states.

AHI's letter notifies U.S. governors of a possible campaign launched under the guise of commemorating "Turkish Republic Day," "Turkish Independence Day," or the "Turkish Zafer Holiday." The alleged goal of the proclamations issued is to commemorate the accomplishments of Turkish Americans to their respective communities. However each proclamation has been erroneously framed in the context of historically revisionist information regarding genocide and other crimes committed against minority citizens of Turkey during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the early part of the twentieth century and thereafter.

The following state and local government officials have issued historically revisionist and/or factually inaccurate proclamations to date:

Governor Donald Siegelman (Alabama) -- RETRACTED October 3, 2001 
Mayor Michael P. Peters (Hartford, Connecticut) -- RETRACTED September 6, 2001 
Governor John G. Rowland (Connecticut) -- RETRACTED October 25, 2001 
Governor Gary Locke (Washington) -- RETRACTED November 7, 2001 
Governor Jane Swift (Massachusetts) -- PENDING / NO ACTION
Governor George H. Ryan (Illinois) -- PENDING / NO ACTION

When presented with the historically and factually accurate information, the majority of these officials withdrew their proclamations. Governor Siegelman officially retracted a proclamation titled "Day of Remembrance of the Turkish Tragedy for Liberation to Sovereignty and Independence" on October 3, 2001. Governor Rowland retracted his proclamation commemorating the"Turkish Zafer Holiday" on October 25, 2001, while Mayor Peters issued a formal apology to the Greek and Armenian communities for issuing a similar proclamation on September 6, 2001. Governor Locke's office issued a retraction letter on November 7, 2001 for his proclamation commemorating "Turkish Republic Day."

AHI strongly encourages the recognition of contributions made to the community by ethnic and other groups. However, these contributions should not be framed in a context that denies the tragic historical realities of genocide and ethnic, religious and political violence in general. Recognition of the Turkish atrocities is crucial to preventing repetition of similar crimes in the future. The retractions issued to date take a firm stand and set an important precedent against the dangerous policy of denial and historical revisionism, and favor the prevention of similar atrocities in the future.

Copies of AHI's letter to the governors and Fact Sheet can be found on AHI's Web site by linking to http://ahiworld.org/word_docs/ and downloading the files titled "Sample_Governor_letter.doc" and "Fact_Sheet.doc". For additional information, or to request a copy of the letter sent to your own state's governor, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or [email protected].

For additional information, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or [email protected], and visit our Web site athttp://www.ahiworld.org.