Turkish police disperses Kurds amid Nowruz festivities in Silopi

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The clash between Kurds and Turkish police left one policeman injured and some 10 Kurds detained.

Turkish police disperses Kurds amid Nowruz festivities in Silopi

On Saturday, Turkish police used water cannon to disperse the crowd, about 500 people in number during Nowruz festivities held by Kurds in the town of Silopi of Turkey. It is reported that the crowd was concentrating against a ban on mass gatherings amid Turkish government crackdown on Kurdish militants.

According to media reports, clashes broke out during an event, which was organized by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Silopi , marking Nowruz, the Persian New Year.

The clash between Kurds and Turkish police left one policeman injured and some 10 Kurds detained.

Several Turkish cities announced any public gathering aimed at celebrating Newruz on March 20 would be unlawful since Turkish government runs a military campaign against Kurdish populated area.

“As we had planned earlier, the Nowruz celebrations will go ahead. Our people will turn out in the streets and squares to light the Nowruz torch for freedom and equality,” the HDP said in a statement.

Over last few months Silopi becomes a hotspot of fierce fighting between the Turkish military and PKK fighters.

Although, the campaign began after the deadly July 2015 bombing in Suruc where 30 people were killed in suicide attack by ISIS, the Turkish government has been continuing military crackdown on the Kurds. It has already engaged in campaign against PKK and also conducting offensives in northern Iraq.

Yesterday, five people were killed, and at least 36 others were wounded after a suicide bombing rocked the main shopping street in central Istanbul. The Turkish authorities changed their initial assessment. They are now holding ISIS accountable for the suicide attack instead of PKK. It was reported that KCK, a PKK umbrella group said that it opposed and condemned attacks on civilian.

Following the bomb attack in Ankara on March 13 which left 37 dead, the Turkish military increased its military campaign against PKK although no groups has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

More than 28 military personnel were killed and 61 wounded in a car explosion in Ankara last month.

It was also reported recently that Ankara also increased its airstrikes on PKK positions in northern Iraq.

On March 17, Kurds in Syria declared a federation in the country’s north, which was also criticized by the West and Syrian government.

According to Turkish military statement, 45 PKK militants have been killed in the Qandi mountain area in northern Iraq by the Turkish airstrikes in recent weeks.

The Turkish government has recently been engaged in an intensified crackdown on the country’s Kurdish population in the southeast, since then violence has increased in Turkey. The country also has been carrying out airstrikes against Kurdish positions in Iraq and Syria.

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