October 27, 2023
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you so much, and it's always good being in the midst of my good friend and consul-general and having the ambassador here as well to highlight the importance of the ceremony. And I'm probably the only mayor in the history of this city that has not only visited Türkiye once, but I think I'm on my sixth or seventh visit to Türkiye.
And I see the beauty of Cappadocia, of Istanbul, Antalya and the richness of your community experience. And going down to Gaziantep to see how you were able to be there for the Syrian refugees and give them the humanitarian support that they deserve. I know what the people of Türkiye, what you have done in your own country, but let's not lose emphasis of what you have done here.
New York City is the Istanbul of America. We have some of the largest Turkish population. We're going to get everyone out of Patterson, New Jersey and tell them to come to New York City. This is where you want to be, because this is where we appreciate the Türkiye community.
And then, no better way to symbolize your respect and the dignity of a city or of a country than the law enforcement community. The men and women that are here in uniform of all different backgrounds and groups, they protect this city in so many ways, and we need to really applaud them. It is really good seeing you.
And the role you play in public safety, and some of the most difficult and complicated times that we are in. It doesn't matter who's the president, who's the mayor, who's the governor. Our men and women who wear the blue uniform do not bring in any political agenda. They have one purpose, and that is to serve and protect the people of the city. And they are doing an amazing, amazing job, and I thank them for what they do every day. Keep doing the work that you're doing. Keep showing what's great about the dignity of this great city.
But we're excited about today. I think this is the second year that we are raising the flag here. It took 110 mayors before we are finally able to raise the flag of Türkiye here at Bowling Green.
And I tell everyone who is participating in these flag raisings, that understand the beauty of this country. I am not an American African. You are not an American Türkiye, a Chinese person's not an American Chinese. America tells you to put your country first. Don't abandon your country. You are a Türkiye American. I'm an African American. A German is a German American. You do not have to abandon your culture, your style, your language, as these beautiful children were speaking in their language. You do not have to abandon and hide your culture
Here in this country, we all come and bring all of our cultures here to create this great experiment of democracy, and it's exciting when you can wave your flag right here in Bowling Green, the foundation of our economic strength. We have raised flags here from all the groups all over the globe. This is the United Nations, not only on the East Side on 42nd Street, but we're the United Nation in every neighborhood. No matter when you go, you see the diversity.
We should embrace that, we should be excited about that, we should welcome that. That is who makes us great, because you could come and live in unison and don't have to abandon who you are. You could wear a hijab. You could wear a kufi. You could wear a yarmulke. You could wear dashiki. You could go to a Mosque. You could go to a synagogue. You could go to a Baptist church. You could go to a Buddhist temple. You could go to a Sikh temple.
You can pray five times a day, or you can pray quietly inside the corner of your own office. We were able to open up places where you can pray inside governmental buildings. You can do the call of prayer now in the City of New York so that people can hear it. Just as you are able to celebrate and have those places in Williamsburg, wherever, where they acknowledge their Shabbos is coming. That's who we are. That's what these flag raises are about. They're not a ceremonial moment that's taking place on the stage of our city history, this is a moment where we reemphasize our diversity is our strength. That's who we are.
And you know what? The beauty of being in this city is we don't have to agree: 8.3 million people, 35 million opinions. You can disagree peacefully. You can disagree peacefully. That's who we are as a country, and that is who we are as a city. There are cities that are second and third greatest cities, but there's only one city that's the greatest city on the globe, and that's New York City. Let's raise this important flag.
But before I do so, you know, no one personifies the goodness of this community more than the benevolence of who I believe is really the unofficial ambassador of peace from the Türkiye community, and that is Ali Baba. Ali Baba is… Every Wednesday night, Ali Baba is out feeding New Yorkers who are in need. He is just a real hero, and he symbolizes the benevolence that comes from your community. And I am just really proud to have him as a friend and have him as a resident of our great city.
And we just want to say on behalf of all New Yorkers that you have helped. He has helped people so often, and he's always giving back. He always has that optimistic approach to life no matter how challenging it is. And we just wanted to, as we raise the flag of Türkiye, we wanted to pause and just say thank you for what you do all the time, Ali Baba. Here's a citation from the people of the City of New York. You are what makes us great, brother. Thank you.
And so we're going to give another proclamation to the Turkish heritage and centenary day to acknowledge the great work that they're doing. And girls, come together. It offers an excellent opportunity to deepen our understanding of the rich culture and history of Türkiye, recognize the vast contribution of Turkish New Yorkers and stand in solidarity with our Turkish sisters and brothers. Together, we will continue to ensure that New York remains an inclusive and dynamic center of opportunity for all. Eric Adams, mayor of the City of New York. Thank you.