Several cities in Turkey saw Newroz rallies thronged with hundreds of thousands of people on Sunday. Anger and protest prevailed in the 2023 Newroz ceremonies, dedicated to those who lost their lives in the earthquake, both in the country’s western, and Kurdish-majority eastern and southeastern provinces.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has been in power for over two decades, and its far-right ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), are not the country’s destiny, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-Chair Pervin Buldan said at the Istanbul Newroz rally, and pointing to the approaching elections, she added “The fourteenth of May will be a milestone. We will declare peace, justice and freedom on 14 May.”
In their messages read to the audience at the rally, lawyers from the Asrın Law Office, who represent the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, recalled that the PKK leader had initiated the dialogue process for the democratisation of Turkey and the permanent solution of the Kurdish issue ten years before, at Newroz in 2013. To ensure peace in the country, the absolute isolation imposed on Öcalan and three other detainees in İmralı Island Prison must end, the lawyers said.
After the Newroz rally in Istanbul, the police attacked the dispersed crowd, and battered and detained about 200 people on the grounds that they had chanted slogans in favour of Öcalan. Among those detained were a disabled child and a number of lawyers, Mezopotamya Agency reported.
In the Newroz rallies, where those who lost their lives in the February 6 earthquakes were commemorated and there were protests against the government’s inadequate response to the earthquake as well as its war policies; the masses repeatedly chanted the slogan, “Government resign!”
Kurds in Batman (Êlih) celebrated Newroz in traditional costume, and the slogans did not stop for a moment as citizens of all ages entered the Newroz area in Kızıltepe (Qoser) despite the rain.
At the Newroz rally in Turkey’s mainly Alevi/Kurdish province of Tunceli (Dersim) the people shouted out that the third way is the solution, pointing to the Labour and Freedom Alliance.
Van (Wan) saw the most magnificent Newroz celebration of recent years, attended by hundreds of thousands despite the rain.
Pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) co-Chair Saliha Aydeniz, speaking at the Van rally, said that insistence on isolation is the biggest obstacle to democracy and called on the government to end the isolation as well as the war politics.
Peace Mothers and other women lit the Newroz fire in ceremonies in numerous cities such as Bingöl (Çewlik), Siirt (Sert), Iğır (Idır), Muş, Tatvan, Mersin, Manisa, Ankara, Antalya, Aydın and Muğla, starting in the early hours of the morning.