"In Kurdish legend, the holiday celebrates the deliverance of the Kurds from a tyrant, and it is seen as another way of demonstrating support for the Kurdish cause."
~ Wikipedia, "Newroz as celebrated by Kurds."
~ Wikipedia, "Newroz as celebrated by Kurds."
A masked protester jumps over a fire during a demonstration in Istanbul March 18, 2007. The demonstration was held to support Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of illegal Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who is currently serving a life sentence. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY)
Police detain a protester after a demonstration in Istanbul March 18, 2007. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY)
There's been a lot of nationalist activity in Turkey in the last week, and it's specifically directed toward the Kurdish new year, Newroz. Last year, Turkish media worked itself into a frenzy with its usual predictions of violence during Newroz, but the violence didn't come to pass during the holiday. This being an election year in Turkey, the nationalist activity directed against Newroz is, in reality, another excuse to round up DTP politicians, and has become an issue for anti-"terrrorism" boards, from TDN:
Weary of Kurdish groups' wide demonstrations and protests, the Turkish government is preparing to take measures to prevent violent acts during the Nevruz festival on March 21. An anti-terrorism board met yesterday, here, to review the security measures to be taken especially in the cities of southeastern Anatolia and in big cities like Istanbul and Ankara.
It never entered the thick heads of the Ankara fascists that maybe Kurds are weary of having to demonstrate, protest, and engage in legitimate armed resistance in order to gain the right to be treated as human beings. There's a bit of double-speak used here, though, because "to review security measures to be taken" against Newroz demonstrations can be translated to mean: "prepare provocations against the Kurdish people." That's what security forces did after Newroz last year, during the funeral of HPG gerîlas in Amed.
Turkish security forces started operations against PKK members and supporters in February. Yesterday, the DTP's head of Mardin, Ferhan Türk, had been arrested.
Human Right of Association (İHD), in a press announcement issued yesterday, criticized the measures taken by the security forces against DTP members. İHD the government of its responsibility for the arrests against the DTP mayors in Van, Diyarbakır, Batman and Mardin.
Over fifty DTP leaders have been arrested in the last couple of weeks, with at least two Wan DTP officials, Ibrahim Sunkur and Abdulvahap Turhan, having been incarcerated in Wan's F-Type prison.
Another interesting nationalist development:
After the Ministers Council on Monday, government spokesman Cemil Çiçek announced the Nevroz festival will be celebrated by the state, as before. He expressed the desire of celebrating Nevruz as a day of friendship, peace and brotherhood.
So, they are going to celebrate Newroz as a state, "as before." Since PKK first came onto the scene in 1984, Newroz in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan has become very politicized. Unable to overcome the politicization of the Kurdish population, and frustrated by the inability to forcibly assimilate Kurds, the state took a different tack and decided to declare that Newroz was, in reality, an ancient Turkish holiday. The ultra-fascist Turkish-Islamists fabricated an entire history around Newroz in an attempt to dilute the importance of the holiday for Kurds, as reported by Asylum Aid in 2000:
The State and its officials remain nervous and inconsistent regarding Kurdish expression. Celebration of the Kurdish New Year, Newroz, on 21 March is a classic example. With the active encouragement of the PKK, Newroz became more than the ancient Iranian cultural tradition it had always been. It became the major annual expression of Kurdish cultural nationalism, and by 1992 was accompanied by civilian casualties as the security forces tried to stifle the expression of popular feeling. In 1995 the State bowed to the inevitable and sought to co-opt the festival by declaring it a national holiday on the mendacious grounds that it was a Turkish tradition. From 1995, Newroz has been accompanied by much putting out of Turkish flags. It was a clever and partially successful move, but it does not imply tolerance of Newroz as a Kurdish event, and those who sport Kurdish colours (red, green and yellow) are still liable to be arrested and beaten up, be it at Newroz or some other time of the year.
[ . . . ]
Because of the capture of Abdullah Ocalan Newroz in 1999 was particularly critical. The Turkish security forces took extreme methods of control. Some 8,000 persons were detained, 1,700 of them in Istanbul alone. An revealing little example of continuing State nervousness was the press report concerning Newroz 2000 in Batman. Six local newspapers in Batman were under investigation, it said, for spelling 'Newroz' the Kurdish way rather than the Turkish way of 'Nevroz'.
It looks like the state is viewing election year 2007 as equally critical, especially since reports of Ocalan's poisoning have already inflamed "The Region." As far as the manufacuring of Newroz into an ancient Turkish holiday goes, even Ilnur Cevik admitted as much last year:
In recent years the Turkish authorities decided that Nevruz was an ancient Turkish festivity and that it should be celebrated all over Turkey, not just in the areas dominated by our citizens of Kurdish origin. Turkish authorities started organizing special celebrations where many prominent personalities jumped over bonfires, as the tradition requires. Of course these so-called festivities were completely artificial and lacked any kind of public support.
But the "completely artificial" Turkish Nevroz (as opposed to Kurdish Newruz--remember the "W" is forbidden) will be the order of the day this year, as the Paşas have determined. Given that this year we have witnessed the Deep State murder of Hrant Dink; that a Turkish professor is facing charges of insulting Ataturk; that extremist nationalism is praised and the resulting violence is thereby encouraged; that Erdogan is trying to outdo everyone in nationalist sentiment in the battle for Cankaya; that 50-kilo mega-flags are considered the proper response to Kurds who wave red, yellow, and green hankies; and that BBP, the people who brought you Ogun Samast, is proclaiming "brotherhood," "peace," and "love," and a general warm, fuzzy feeling for Kurds, means that it will be an interesting Newroz.
On Monday, the DTP mayor of Colemerg (Hakkari), Metin Tekce, was sentenced to seven years in prison for saying what we all know to be true: PKK is not a terrorist organization. DTP's Amed (Diyarbakir) provinicial chairman, Hilmi Aydogdu, is looking at three years for "inciting hatred." Imagine how many years the Turkish government would get if it applied its own law to itself.
Newsflash: Ankara and DC have a bit of a disagreement over Maxmur. What this article means is the the US is prepared to sacrifice the lives of well over 10,000 Kurdish refugees to bribe Turkey into not invading South Kurdistan. This is a move by Washington to protect its oil interests in Kerkuk. There's also some information about Turkish military developments in its Kurdish colony. More on that, too, here.
No doubt the current environment will give the Deep State the excuse it needs to engage in Newroz provocations against the Kurdish people.