Since the 1990s, Kurdish people have been celebrating Newroz in a spirit of resistance and millions have been going out to the streets despite state attacks and massacres.
The AKP government continues to bring chaos to the country as the Ministry of Interior Affairs issued a circular letter banning the people’s revival festival Newroz and setting the grounds for more massacres. Since the 1990s, however, people have been celebrating Newroz in a spirit of resistance and millions have been going out to the streets despite state attacks and massacres.
As peoples in Turkey and Kurdistan prepare to light the fire of Newroz with the motto ‘We will win through resistance,’ the AKP government insists on war and banned the celebration of Newroz. From the 2000s onwards, the Newroz celebrations that were not banned were colorful and peaceful, but blood spilled and people died during banned celebrations.
The 90s were the years of bans and massacres
The resistance for freedom that began with Blacksmith Kawa’s struggle against Dehak was faced with the Turkish state’s pro-massacre mentality in the 90s. State forces attacked Newroz celebrations where people defied the bans, and killed and arrested hundreds of people.
The first Newroz of uprising in 1990: 2 people massacred
Kurdish people have been marching for freedom despite the state’s massacre policies, and the residents of Nusaybin have displayed one of the most glorious resistances on March 20, 1990. State forces massacred 2 people during the events that transpired after the funeral of Mesut Dündar, one of the 13 PKK fighters who had died in Savur on March 13, 1990.
Newroz of 1991: 31 people massacred
Newroz celebrations were banned in Kurdistan and Turkey in 1991 when state massacres in Kurdistan had intensified. State forces killed 31 people during their attacks on celebrations in Nusaybin, İstanbul, Adana, Cizre, Kulp, Hani, and Diyarbakır.
Newroz of 1992: 94 people massacred
1992 was one of the years when the state’s authoritarian mentality reached its peak. State forces killed 2 people who were defying the state’s ban and celebrating Newroz in Batman’s Gercüş district on March 20. People rose up on March 21 and 94 civilians died during state attacks on Newroz celebrations in different towns, primarily in Şırnak and Cizre.
Newroz of 1993: 5 people killed
The state continue to ban Newroz celebrations in 1993 but this time state attacks targeted Kurdish people living in Turkish metropolitan cities. Adana was the primary target of these attacks and police officers attacked the Newroz celebrations in Dağlıoğlu, Barbaros, Hürriyet, and Yenibey neighborhoods on March 21. Armored vehicles were used during the attacks where houses and businesses were damaged. Ramazan Çetin (16), Nezir Kurt (61) and 3 unidentified people lost their lives during the attacks.
Massive Newroz celebrations in the 2000s
The state continued banning Newroz celebrations and massacring civilians until 2002. Kurds did not abandon their tradition of celebrating Newroz, and the celebrations grew into massive protests of millions of people in the 2000s. After the imprisonment of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan in 1999, Kurds came together for Newroz celebrations that demanded Öcalan’s freedom. Faced with a growing number of people attending the celebrations, the state backed down on its bans. However, this did not last long and the AKP government resumed the state tradition of banning Newroz. Due to these AKP bans claiming to provide ‘security,’ civilians continued to lose their lives.
Newroz of 2002: 2 people killed
The ban on the Newroz celebration in Mersin resulted in the death of two civilians. Turkish police attacked the crowd celebrating Newroz in Mersin and killed Ömer Aydın and Mehmet Şen.
Newroz of 2008: 3 people killed
The state decided to ban Newroz celebrations in 2008, which were organized with the motto ‘Enough.’ State forces attacked the crowds celebrating Newroz in Van and Yüksekova, and killed civilians Ramazan Dal, Zeki Erinç and İkbal Yaşar.
Newroz of 2012: 1 person killed
The Ministry of Interior Affairs banned the Newroz celebrations in 2012, but people went out to the streets in Diyarbakır, Batman and İstanbul with the motto ‘Enough, freedom or freedom.’ Police attacked the people celebrating Newroz in Diyarbakır and İstanbul, killed BDP Arnavutköy district administrator Hacı Zengin.
Newroz of 2016: Another ban
In 2014 and 2015, Newroz celebrations including messages from the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan were peaceful and widely celebrated. However, as part of the war policies adopted by the AKP government, Newroz celebrations have been banned in 2016. Despite knowing that banning Newroz brings bloodshed, the AKP government insists on war policies and indicates that it will continue massacring civilians.