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 24 hurt as Turkish police clash with Kurds at New Kurdish Year celebrations

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  Kurd Net does not take credit for and is not responsible for the content of news information on this page

 


24 hurt as Turkish police clash with Kurds at New Kurdish Year celebrations  20.3.2012  








Riot police fire teargas against stone-throwing Kurdish demonstrators as they clash during Newroz, a Kurdish New Year celebration: Photo: AP
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One prominent Kurdish politician, Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-Chair and Mardin MP, Ahmet Turk, was taken to hospital suffering from the effects of teargas fired to disperse crowds in the southeastern Kurdish city of Batman, said witnesses. There were also reports that he was punched by police. Photo: DIHA


Newroz, is the traditional Kurdish New Year, The year 2012 corresponds to the Kurdish year 2712. All Kurds around the world are celebrating the new Kurdish year 'Newroz'.


Kurdish protest at Yuksekova, Turkey's Kurdish region.
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Kurdish MP, Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-Chair and Mardin MP Ahmet Türk injured in police attack.

March 20
, 2012

DIYARBAKIR, The Kurdish region of Turkey, — Turkish police fired teargas and water cannon as they clashed with thousands of Kurdish protesters gathered at unauthorised New Kurdish Year [Newroz] celebrations across southeast Turkey [Northern Kurdistan] on Tuesday, witnesses said.

Tensions have mounted between Turkey's government and its Kurdish minority following large-scale police and court investigations of links between Kurdish activists and militant separatists from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Turkey's main pro-Kurdish party and the PKK militants had called for large protests ahead of the Kurdish New Year, which falls on March 21.

Turkish authorities tried to contain the mounting unrest by outlawing public celebrations in the run up to the festival and moved in to break up large gatherings on Tuesday, witnesses told Reuters.

Two police officers were wounded at Yuksekova in Hakkari province, bordering Iran and northern Iraq, after an unidentified gunman opened fire, media reports said.

One prominent Kurdish politician, Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-Chair and Mardin MP, Ahmet Turk, was taken to hospital suffering from the effects of teargas fired to disperse crowds in the southeastern Kurdish city of Batman, said witnesses. There were also reports that he was punched by police.

In Batman, 15 people were reported wounded when Turkish police used water cannon and tear gas against stone-throwing Kurds. AFP reported that at least 24 people injured in the clashes.

Police attacked hundreds of Newroz celebrators with tear gas, pressurized water and real bullets in the Viranşehir Town of Urfa where a demonstrator was taken into custody. The crowd, including prominent Kurdish activist and Diyarbakir MP Leyla Zana, keeps waiting to enter the square, Diha News agency reported.

A Turkish police intervention also took place in Mersin. A great number of people were arrested and demonstrators, including Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Mersin MP Ertuğrul Kürkçü, were harassed by the police.

There was also trouble in Kurdish areas near the Syrian border [Western Kurdistan], that have become more sensitive because of concerns that Damascus could incite unrest among Kurds in Turkey to pay back Ankara for siding with people rebelling against President Bashar al-Assad.

About 5,000 Kurds gathered in the town of Cizre, close to the border, and demonstrators threw petrol bombs and fireworks at the police as the two sides clashed, television footage showed.

People in the crowd told Reuters police used tear gas and water cannon to break up revellers taking part in traditional dances. Kurds in colourful traditional clothes scattered into the surrounding streets, the witnesses said.

In one district of Batman, riot police fired teargas at protesters in an area where parliamentarians from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and the local mayor were waiting for a bus, witnesses told Reuters.

Television footages showed armoured vehicles pursuing youths across open fields as the demonstrators hurled stones, firecrackers and petrol bombs. Witnesses said many people were detained,www.ekurd.net but officials were not immediately available to comment on the unrest.

Police broke up similar demonstrations in Turkey's largest city Istanbul and across the country on Sunday.

Tension has risen in Kurdish areas during the past year as a result of a court investigation of groups allegedly linked to the PKK, which is designated a terrorist group by the United States, European Union and Turkey.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's conservative government has taken steps to increase cultural rights for the country's Kurds - about 20 percent of the population - but says these are individual rights and that it is strongly against any separate political settlement for the Kurds or the southeast as a whole.

Both the BDP, which is represented in parliament, and the PKK are demanding a level of autonomy for the mainly Kurdish southeast of the country.

'Newroz' is the traditional Kurdish New Year, The year 2012 corresponds to the Kurdish year 2712. All Kurds around the world are celebrating the new year 'Newroz'.

The Kurdish calendar starts at 612 BC. This is the year that Cyaxares, the grandson of Deioces (Díyako), the first king of the Medes' empire, occupied Nineveh and put the end to the brutality of the Assyrian empire in the lands under its occupation.

Throughout Kurdish history, Newroz is not only considered as their New Years, but has been also considered as a symbol of freedom, struggle for justices, and peaceful coexistence with those nations who have conquered Kurds lands-Kurdistan.

Although Newroz has for over 2700 years been celebrated and considered as the Kurdish New Years and National Holidays, for political reasons, Persians consider it as "Iranian" and "their" new years. And the funniest political scenario is that, Turkey, which until recent years didn't allow it's 20 million+ Kurds to freely celebrate Newroz, now considers Newroz as "the beginning of spring festivals" and tries to connect the only happy Kurdish event, to a different and unrelated event. Kurdish Calendar changes on March 21st.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list. 

Sources: Reuters | AP | ekurd.net | Agencies

Copyright © 2012 ekurd.net. All rights reserved


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