Istanbul’s Yenikapi Square ready for Newroz celebrations
Istanbul's Yenikapi Square is ready for the annual Newroz celebration, the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) said, calling on people of Istanbul to "light the Newroz fire together."
Newroz, also known as the Kurdish New Year, is an important day celebrated in many parts of the Middle East and Central Asia, including Turkey. The day marks the beginning of spring and is celebrated every year on March 21, which coincides with the vernal equinox. However, the celebrations in Istanbul are organized two days before so that they fall on a Sunday.
Ilknur Birol, Co-Chair of the HDP in Istanbul, stressed the significance of this year's Newroz, which is taking place amidst the earthquake disaster and election campaign atmosphere.
"This year's Newroz is also an important day because it is being held ahead of the elections set for May 14. It will be a day to change the government through elections, and to start a new life,” she said.
Ferhat Encu, the other co-chair of the HDP in Istanbul, stressed that this year's Newroz will be a platform for building new relationships and solidarity.
"This year's Newroz will be a Newroz in which democracy, justice, freedom and peace will be proclaimed against the government which tries to suppress the public by all kinds of anti-democratic means. We have made many preparations, from the construction of the stage to the messages that will be conveyed," he said, inviting all those who demand basic rights and freedoms, especially the Kurdish people, to come to the Newroz area.
“Let us protect our language, culture, and identity. Let us show a stronger and more determined picture this Newroz, so that we can erase this oppressive mentality from these lands," he added.
In Turkey, Newroz has become an important day for the country's Kurdish population to express their desire for greater cultural and political rights and to celebrate their identity and heritage, but in the past it has often been banned or severely restricted.