Sedat Şenoğlu, the People’s Democratic Congress (HDK) co-spokesperson and Emine Caynak, a Free Women’s movement (TJA) activist and party assembly member of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) shared their views with Mesopotamia Agency about the message that Kurdish people sent on 21 March as they celebrated Newroz.
Millions celebrated Newroz in various cities of Turkey amidst increasing pressure placed on the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP). The massive ‘portrait’ that the Kurdish people in Turkey presented was interpreted by many commentators as a “message” to the Turkish government.
Şenoğlu stated that the main message of Newroz was people’s embracing of Abdullah Öcalan, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader. “The people showed that Mr. Öcalan’s role is very important regarding the solution of the Kurdish question and people have been struggling for peace and solutions for years”, Şenoğlu said.
Şenoğlu: Kurds sent a ‘stronge message of resistance’
Şenoğlu observed that from Istanbul to Diyarbakir, Edirne to Hakkari, millions of Kurds around Turkey celebrated Newroz and sent a “stronge message of resistance”. “People revealed Turkey’s bright face and raised their hopes against darkness through the Newroz fire”, he said.
The HDK co-chair stressed that “Turkey has been going through dark days. Workers, women, different communities have been suffering. Newroz in such an atmosphere showed that people need a change, they say ‘no’ to this system”.
‘Freedom for Öcalan’ was the key demand during Newroz
Newroz celebrations also turned into a platform where the Kurdish people could voice their demands loudly, Şenoğlu noted. Amongst the many demands – including calls for democratic rights, a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question and recognition of the mother language as the language of education – Şenoğlu believed that one key demand “came afront and that is the freedom for Öcalan. Kurdish people showed their reaction to the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan in all Newroz areas. This was the most important message that people gave at Newroz”, he said.
The celebration of Newroz as a protest against oppression, denial and assimilation
Emine Caynak stated that the peoples of Turkey and especially women celebrated Newroz as a protest against oppression, denial and assimilation. “Newroz was a great response to the assimilation and oppressive politics we see. Not only Kurdish people, but many people from many other communities in Turkey celebrated Newroz all together”, Caynak said.
Such unity, indeed, “surprised” everyone once again, Caynak observed, because “the last time this type of unity was achieved was during Newroz 2013. It was as massive as the historically relevant 2013 Newroz, when Öcalan’s message was read out aloud. The feeling of unity this Newroz created the same feeling of unity that was expressed during Newroz in 2013. This has surprised us, but it surprised the system more than us!”
Women during Newroz ‘all chanted for freedom’
Caynak emphasized the strong participation of women in Newroz. “Women’s participation is a very key topic in trying to understand the message of Newroz. Turkey has just withdrawn from the Istanbul Convention. Women are murdered on a daily basis. Amidst such a conjuncture, the women massively participated in the Newroz demonstrations. Their message was clear: they all chanted for freedom”, she said.
Millions of women who took to the streets during Newroz, not just in Turkey, but throughout the Middle East and around the world, showed the “rebellion” of women against the ‘system’, Caynak stated. “Women showed that no attacks, no detentions, no pressures targeting women are able to halt the women’s struggle. The Newroz ‘rebellion’ of women is solid proof of this insistance on struggle”, she said.