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RIGHTS > Istanbul governor forbids early Nevruz celebrations

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Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu says the celebrations on March 21, the actual day of Nevruz, will be allowed. Hürriyet photo

Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu says the celebrations on March 21, the actual day of Nevruz, will be allowed. Hürriyet photo

The Istanbul Governor yesterday announced as unlawful a planned meeting of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) on March 18 to celebrate Nevruz, a festival marking the beginning of spring, prompting a fierce reaction from the opposition party.

“The date of Nevruz is clear, it is on March 21, we only allow people to celebrate it on its correct date, we will not allow any illegal act,” Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu told reporters.

Mutlu said celebrations on March 21, the actual day of Nevruz, would be allowed.

BDP Istanbul Deputy Sebahat Tuncel said that celebrating Nevruz could not be prohibited by the governor, and that they would be on the streets for celebrations on March 18. “We [the BDP] do not accept the governor’s attitude. We applied weeks ago, they could have informed us before, they did not do it on purpose to prevent us from going out on the streets,” Tuncel told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday over the phone.

Tuncel also said the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was in fear because of the crowds that gathered on March 8, International Women’s Day: “That’s why they do not let people celebrate Nevruz freely.”

Such prevention “only happens in fascist countries like Turkey. No matter what, we will celebrate Nevruz in Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakır,” Tuncel said.

March/15/2012

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