Sunday, March 20, 2016

Restricted celebrations mark Nevruz day across Turkey

Nevruz, the day marking the beginning of spring, has been celebrated despite restrictions across Turkey due to security concerns.

Police intervened with tear gas against a group of protesters, who – despite a ban by the Istanbul Governor’s Office – sought to celebrate Nevruz in the Bakırköy district on March 20. State-run Anadolu Agency reported that “many” people were detained.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ criticized the ban at a rally to mark Nevruz in Istanbul.

“The people of Istanbul and Turkey never deserve these conditions,” said Yüksekdağ, along with fellow MPs before their party’s building in Istanbul’s Bahçelievler district.

“The main theme of this festivity is the values of an oppressed humanity,” Yükekdağ said.

Nevruz marks the first day of spring and is celebrated across much of Central Asia on March 21.

Celebrations for Nevruz had were permitted last week the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, which traditionally celebrates the biggest Nevruz on March 21.

But other cities were not permitted to host Nevruz festivities. Celebrations were banned in many provinces amid security forces’ operations against militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the country’s eastern and southeastern region including Erzurum, Erzincan, Muş, Batman, Bingöl, Tunceli, Şırnak, Kars, Hakkari and Mardin.

In the Turkish capital Ankara, Nevruz celebrations were also banned between March 19 and March 21...

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