DIYARBAKIR, Turkey – Tens of thousands of people have taken part in Newroz celebrations across Turkey on Wednesday in support of their fellow Kurds in Syrian Kurdistan against the Turkish incursion.
Kurdish songs coupled with Kurdish dancing feature prominently. Men and women in traditional Kurdish dress have turned out in huge numbers for the events in Diyarbakir and further west in Van.
The main celebration attended by Kurdish politicians from across the four parts of Greater Kurdistan took place in Diyarbakir, or Amed, known as the capital of Turkish Kurdistan.
Pervin Buldan, co-chair of pro-Kurdish HDP, condemned Turkey’s Afrin operation in her Newroz speech, saying that the city had been living in peace and never posed a threat to Turkey.
Members of the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army destroyed the statue of Kawa the Blacksmith on Monday in Afrin, a Kurdish legend famed for defeating a tyrant in ancient times.
"Those who destroyed the Kawa statue should know that every individual who attended this square is Kawa," she said.
Bulden said Turkey must return to the peace process as called for by imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in his 2013 Newroz message that declared the country had reached the point of saying “let the arms silence, let opinion and politics speak.”
The peace process that in effect resulted in a ceasefire between the Turkish state and the PKK for about two years ended in mid-2015, leading to renewed conflict, including periods of intense fighting in Kurdish cities of Turkey.
Imam Tascier, a Kurdish MP who represents Amed in the Turkish parliament, pointed out the event coincides with an ongoing state of emergency announced about two years ago, that thousands of members of the main pro-Kurdish
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are in prison, and that the Kurdish people have recently lost two cities –Kirkuk in Iraqi Kurdistan to Iraqi forces last October, and the Kurdish city of Afrin in Syrian Kurdistan to Turkey over the weekend.
“It is a political event,” Tascier said, describing Newroz celebrations in Turkey, where he said the Kurds have always seized the opportunity to resist the imposition of Turkish identity on an estimated 15 million Kurds in the country.
“Newroz in being celebrated with a spirit of resistance,” the MP told Rudaw, while taking part in the Diyarbakir celebration.
HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan emphasized the solidarity with Kurdish brethren in a tweet.
"Those who tore down the statue of Kawa in AFrin should know that every woman, man, and child gathered today in this square is Kawa," she wrote.
In Van, a Kurdish woman said they are renewing their call for an independent state for all Kurds. Another woman called on Kurds across the world to get united behind Afrin.
Yousif Mohammed, a senior member of the Kurdistan Region’s Change Party (Gorran), alongside other Kurdish politicians also visited Diyarbakir to join the biggest Kurdish Newroz event.
“We wanted to celebrate Newroz this year in Amed to show the ties between the Kurdish struggle in the four parts of Kurdistan,” Mohammed, who is also the former speaker of the Kurdistan Region parliament, told Rudaw.
“We want to send a message of peace, despite all the suffering we have endured” in the four countries where Kurds live, he added.
Last updated at 7:54 p.m.