Ahmet Türk, a prominent Kurdish politician and former MP for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey, spoke at the Newroz celebration in Diyarbakir (Amed) on Tuesday, calling for Kurds to act in unity and to not support the Turkish government in elections.
“Today is an important day that expresses the resurrection of the Kurdish people. Newroz is freedom. It is a day that illuminates our future. We celebrate this day with enthusiasm,” Türk said, referring to the traditional Kurdish new year that marks the beginning of spring.
“At a time when we celebrate this Newroz, we are in a period when change and transformation are inevitable. In this period, we have to show a stance based on the struggle to destroy fascism. We say down with fascism,” he added during celebrations which also act as a symbol of the Kurdish freedom movement.
Türk called for a democratic republic to be built after the the upcoming elections on 14 May.
“No Kurd should vote for or support this government. Yes, after all, we have a bright period ahead of us for the construction of a new world and a new system,” he said.
Türk also called for the release of Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), imprisoned for the last 24 years.
“If we fail to strengthen our unity against all this, shame on us; shame on us if we do not hold them to account. We will make this decision today. We declare this Newroz as a day of resurrection, a day of awakening, a day of struggle. We will behave honourably in accordance,” the politician added.
Türk’s speech was met with cheers and applause from the audience.
“Dear Amed people, dear people, today the Kurdish people are an important actor for the construction of a democratic republic,” he said. “I sincerely believe in this. And with these feelings I greet you all with respect. Newroz Piroz Be!”