Diyarbakır prepares for historic Nevruz day
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Workers are dying the ground of an area where Nevruz will be celebrated tomorrow. The BDP says it will appoint 5,000 people along with security forces. DHA photoDiyarbakır is gearing up for a historic meeting tomorrow as thousands are expected to celebrate Nevruz, in a meeting which will be a milestone in the ongoing peace process as the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will announce “a road map on the way to establishing peace.”
Nevruz, the Persian word for “new day,” is celebrated on March 21 every year for the upcoming spring in Central Asia, the Caucasus, South Asia, and some parts of the Balkans.
In Turkey, Nevruz is strongly linked with Kurdish identity for political reasons, and this year it is even more significant for all sides of the Turkish political arena. Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has said he will make a “historic call” on Nevruz day March 21 that “aims to completely democratize Turkey while urging Parliament to work toward ensuring there is permanent peace in the country.” The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) decided to name Diyarbakır the center of celebrations on March 21.
The Diyarbakır Governor’s Office has taken measures for security and traffic and extra police officers have been dispatched from neighboring provinces. The BDP also stated that it will appoint 5,000 people along with security forces for a peaceful celebration, unlike the previous years’ clash scenes.
The main roads in Diyarbakır are full of invitation posters written in Turkish, Kurdish and Zazaki (a Kurdish dialect). Some 300 members of the press, including more than a hundred foreign journalists, will be in attendance, the Anatolian news agency said.
Hotels in the city are totally full or reserved, it is almost impossible to find an empty room, hotelkeepers say, according to the same report. Many political party representatives from European countries and Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will be joining the meeting, the Anatolian news agency said. Mass transportation vehicles will be free of charge for citizens as of 6 a.m. March 21.
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Co-chair Gültan Kışanak voiced a celebratory message, speaking in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa yesterday.
“A majority of the society, except a handful of racists ..., want peace and a solution,” Kışanak said. “It’s a move to bring peace to all the Middle Eastern people. Let them approach this move right, step forward and remove the barriers in front of peace. Parliament must take a decision without losing time and establish commissions to conduct necessary works,” Kışanak added.
Interior Minister Muammer Güler said: “Despite some protests, we keep our inculcation for acting responsibly on Nevruz celebrations.”
Peace process not for ‘any particular group’
The “peace process” is not an initiative to serve any particular group within Turkey but rather intended to establish equal constitutional rights for all citizens of the Republic of Turkey, EU Minister Egemen Bağış said yesterday. “This is a process that requires loving; each and every person should be loved because he/she is human and created by God,” Bağış said. The EU would also try to abandon its pre-judgments when Turkey achieved this, he added. “We want to see shepherds and tourists in the mountains.”