Over 100 detained across Turkey during Nevruz celebrations
Nevruz means “new day” in Persian and is considered a key national day for Kurds across the Middle East. It also marks the start of the new year for a number of peoples in Eurasia - from Azeris to Iranians to Kazakhs.
Istanbul police stated on March 21 that they had detained 81 people with suspected links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), on suspicion of preparing “pirate demonstrations” and “attacks.”
Police subsequently detained dozens of people in Istanbul for chanting slogans or unfurling banners in support of the PKK during Nevruz celebrations.
Another 11 people were detained in the capital Ankara for “preparing for a provocative attack ahead of Nevruz,” while police were searching for 14 more.
In the southeastern province of Şırnak, police detained 76 people with suspected links to the PKK, a security source said.
Some 27 people were detained, including one Democratic Regions Party official, in raids in the southern province of Hatay.
At least 26 others were detained in Aegean province of İzmir and southern province of Adana, state-run Anadolu Agency reported, while police also broke up an unauthorized demonstration in Batman.
Meanwhile, security forces on March 22 seized a large cache of arms and ammunition intended for use in attacks on police stations, according to security sources.
Last week in the southern Adana province, police detained 50 suspects during an operation against the PKK, said a security source who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking to the media.
During the arrests, police reportedly learned that a large amount of weapons, ammunition and explosives had been brought to the region from Syria.
A search of a hidden weapons cache turned up five Kalashnikov rifles, 88 magazines, 32 bullets, 17 hand grenades, and 12 hand grenade detonation fuses.