Hundreds of thousands mark Nevruz in Turkey’s southeast
AA photoHundreds of thousands of people have marked Nevruz in the Bağlar district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır along with other cities around Turkey and the region.
Long lines of cars were formed on the roads leading to the Nevruz area, prompting people to leave their cars and walk to the area.
At least 200,000 people gathered in the area and tight security measures were taken, while control points were set up in five different places. Around 5,000 police officers were on duty in the province. Police and bomb disposal teams searched the area before allowing people to enter. In addition, mine searches were carried out around the Nevruz Park.
The authorities only allowed posters saying “no” that were prepared as part of the campaign for the April 16 referendum that will decide whether the urrent parliamentary system should be shifted to an executive presidency.
During the celebrations, organizers asked participants to avoid chanting any slogans that were not determined by the organizing committee.
People danced to Kurdish music after the beginning of the celebrations, which were organized by the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and the Democratic Society Congress (DTK).
More than 400 local and foreign journalists are following the celebrations in Diyarbakır.
A HDP lawmaker from the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, Osman Baydemir, and the ousted co-mayor of the southeastern province of Mardin, Ahmet Türk, made speeches during the event.
“No one should doubt that we will win despite all the policies of oppression,” Türk said.
During the celebrations, messages from HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ and DBP co-chair Sebahat Tuncel, who are under arrest, were read to the crowd.
“The fire of Nevruz is burning with joy despite all pressures and bans. We won’t bow down in the face of the oppressor and oppression. We will protect the honor of our people everywhere and we will definitely win,” read the message from Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ.
In addition to Diyarbakır, Nevruz was marked in 20 other provinces. One celebration was organized in Istanbul by the Istanbul Governor’s Office with the participation of Gov. Vasip Şahin.
Also in Istanbul, thousands of people gathered in the Kartal district to mark Nevruz.
Celebrations were also held in the southeastern province of Hakkari with the participation of HDP Diyarbakır lawmaker Feleknas Uca and HDP lawmaker from the eastern province of Van, Lezgin Botan, and the eastern provinces of Ağrı and Muş.
Thousands of people also gathered in the southeastern province of Şırnak.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu made a legislative proposal for Nevruz to be made an official holiday.
Moreover, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan released a statement for Nevruz, saying that the day is a symbol of fraternity, friendship and solidarity.
CHP lawmaker proposes Nevruz to be made official holiday
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu made a legislative proposal for Nevruz to be made an official holiday.
In his proposal submitted on March 20, Tanrıkulu said people living in the Middle East and the Mesopotamia region have been celebrating Nevruz with festivities for many centuries.
Saying that Nevruz means “new day,” Tanrıkulu noted that it refers to people successfully emerging out of a struggle against nature and greeting spring after undergoing harsh winter weather.