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Turkey Bans Nowruz Celebrations in Ankara, Istanbul

Saturday 18 March 2017
Turkey Bans Nowruz Celebrations in Ankara, Istanbul

Riot police fire tear gas to disperse people gathered to celebrate Newroz, in Istanbul’s Gazi district, Turkey, March 20, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

Turkey banned Nowruz celebrations in Ankara and Istanbul, saying "persons or groups attending the gathering may cause provocations," The Kurdistan 24 reported.

Alwaght- Turkey banned Nowruz celebrations in Ankara and Istanbul, saying "persons or groups attending the gathering may cause provocations," The Kurdistan 24 reported.

Nowruz is the name of the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year, which is celebrated worldwide by the Iranian peoples, along with some other ethno-linguistic groups including Kurds, as the beginning of the New Year.

The ban came despite an appeal by the opposition Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), whose spokesperson, Osman Baydemir, last week urged the Turkish government to allow celebrations for "the sake of peace."

But in Diyarbakir, the de facto capital of Turkey's Kurdistan, authorities decided to allow the Nowroz celebration, which will take place on March 21.

In the provinces of Van and Sanliurfa, Turkish governors have banned all public gatherings, as the country continues under an extended state of emergency since a military coup attempt last summer against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

It remains unclear whether local officials in other population centers will allow or ban Nowroz.

In 2016, after authorities in numerous cities banned Nowroz festivities following months-long clashes between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters and the Turkish army in the aftermath of a collapsed ceasefire, riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse celebrants, and detained hundreds.

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