Diyarbakır prepared to celebrate Nevruz today

Diyarbakır prepared to celebrate Nevruz today

Diyarbakır prepared to celebrate Nevruz today

A university student in southern province of mersin jumps over a fire during the Nevruz celebrations in the campus in this photo. A huge ceremony is expected to take place in southeastern province of Diyarbakır on March 21. DHA photo

Diyarbakır locals are prepared to mark Nevruz, the first day of the spring, in a ceremony today, in which a letter from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan is expected to be read.

Öcalan, serving a life sentence in İmralı Island prison in the Marmara Sea, wrote a letter to be read out during the Nevruz festival, which has particular political importance for Kurds, for the second year in a row. His letter was delivered to Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) officials, who are expected to read the letter to a large crowd of people, Cihan News Agency reported.

Call for cease-fire

A remarkable chapter in the peace process started on March 21, 2013, when Öcalan’s call on the PKK for a cease-fire was delivered by BDP deputies Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Pervin Buldan, both in Turkish and Kurdish during Nevruz celebrations in Diyarbakır. Önder and Buldan were among the BDP deputies who made visits to İmralı to conduct talks with Öcalan.
Diyarbakır Police Chief Halis Böğürcü is also likely to address the people during the Nevruz ceremonies, but this has not been determined yet. The Nevruz Organization Committee has applied to the local governor’s office, stating that they will hold a festival, rather than a rally, and the police will not institute search points for this reason. The BDP has organized a team of almost 10,000 people responsible for security in Nevruz Park, in Diyarbakır’s Bağlar district. The Nevruz celebrations, organized by the BDP and the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), will have the theme “Free leadership, free Kurdistan,” and many officials from Iran, Syria and Europe have been invited. Iraqi President Celal Talabani’s wife Hero Talabani and Democratic Union Party (PYD) Co-Chair Asya Abdullah are among the guests expected to be in the city. Some 15 tons of wood have been brought to the arena for the traditional Nevruz fire. It is a tradition to jump over large fire during Nevruz celebrations in eastern Turkey.

All hotels in the city are full and around 2,000 locals have applied to the organization committee to host guests who have come for the celebrations but cannot find accomodation, Anadolu Agency reported.