NEW YORK – Greek-American New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes spoke with The National Herald about newly elected Mayor of New York City Eric Adams, noting his belief that Adams had absolutely no intention of harming Greece and the Greek Diaspora or of taking Turkey’s side following Adams’ interview with a Turkish media outlet.
Senator Gounardes has a close political and interpersonal relationship with Adams and formerly served as Counsel to the Brooklyn Borough President, in many cases as a link between Adams and the Greek-American community. Gounardes noted that the new mayor of New York has over the years been a friend of the Greek Diaspora and Greece, as a result of which he considers the criticism leveled at Adams concerning Turkey to be unfair.
“I watched this interview and I understand that many people have concerns. However, Mr. Adams has always been supportive of the Greeks and the Greek-American community. He organized a reception in the office of the Brooklyn Borough President for the anniversary of Greek Independence, participated in the festivities, while in the past he has invited and welcomed to Brooklyn Borough Hall people like the mayor of Thessaloniki. I understand that with the language he used in the interview, some people will be worried, but in no case is it appropriate to consider him indifferent to Greek issues or hostile to Hellenism,” noted Gounardes, who stated that he talked to Adams and informed him of the reactions expressed by the Greek community.
“As for the Ottoman Empire, history often has bad aspects. But no one can accuse him of being planted by Turkey. I spoke to him about the issue and in no case did he want to downgrade what the Greeks historically suffered under the Ottoman Empire,” Gounardes said.
According to Gounardes, the warm words that Adams spoke about Turkey are partly justified by his institutional status, in an area – and soon in an entire city – which is characterized by diversity.
“These things happen when you are elected. You go, for example, to an event where you have been invited. They ask you to say something about the event and the country. In New York – and especially in Brooklyn – the element of multiculturalism and diversity is strong. When one is an official, one must have relationships with everyone, regardless of origin. When you go to an event that you are invited to, it does not mean that you have other intentions,” said Gounardes, who, in the end, tried to reassure the Greek community.
“I repeat, I understand that people are worried. I will continue to talk to the new mayor, so that he has a thorough knowledge of the history and the concerns we have. But I trust him. I believe that he will be a conscientious mayor who will represent everyone. I remind you again that as Brooklyn Borough President he was supportive of the Greek-American community,” Gounardes concluded.