Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Newroz in Diyarbakır
Tens of thousands of Kurds gathered in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir on Sunday to celebrate Nowruz. This festival, on the first day of spring, is known as the Kurdish new year (and is transliterated many more ways than that). It offers the Kurdish community a chance to demand broader rights and to express support of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
This year, flags and slogans supporting the PKK filled the landscape, as songs praising the group blared from loudspeakers. Supporters spent the day listening to traditional Kurdish folk music, dancing and shouting slogans. Speeches called for the release from Turkish prison of Abdullah Ocalan, terorıst leader of PKK.
Kurds compose a significant portion of the Turkish population. Relations with the government are rocky. Kurdish resistance movements have included a violent armed rebellion for a separate state. So it was no surprise to see advocates wearing yellow, red and green. They are the colors of the Kurdistan flag.