Kurds celebrate Newroz in Urfa in 2013. Photo: homeros / 123rf
16 March 2016
Following bans on the celebration of Newroz, the Kurdish New Year, in Hakkari, Urfa, Mersin, Mardin, Dersim and Diyarbakir’s Silvan district, a ban has also been imposed on the celebration in Istanbul.
Planned for 20th March Sunday, the Istanbul Governorate has released a statement banning the Newroz celebration.
Organised under the slogan “We are going to be victorious with resistance,” the event was expected to take place at the Bakirkoy People’s Market.
Bans in other cities across the country also came after decisions by local governorates.
The reasons given by the governorate offices for bans were, “to prevent any unrest and provocations,” “national security, public security, to protect the rights and freedoms of others,” and “to prevent crime.”
Bans brought to Parliament
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Ibrahim Ayhan asked a parliamentary question to the Interior Ministry regarding the Newroz bans.
Asking for a reason as to why Newroz celebrations had been limited to 21 March, Ayhan’s question enquired, “What are the concrete reasons as to why Newroz celebrations have been banned? What are the ‘undesirable events’ that are expected to take place on 17-18-19-20 March and not on 21 March?”
Newroz elebrations were banned in Turkey and North Kurdistan until the early 2000s and have been banned sporadically over the years depending on the political climate. In 1992 Turkish state forces killed at least 57 people in Cizre to prevent the celebration of the Kurdish New Year.