Gov’t cancels Nevruz celebrations

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A Kurdish man jumps over a Nevruz fire during celebrations marking the Kurdish New Year, on March 22, 2015 in İstanbul. Nevruz, which means "new day" in Kurdish and marks the first day of Spring, is also celebrated in Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Albania, Bahrain, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, as well as among various other Iranian and Turkic peoples in Iraqi Kurdistan, Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, India, northwestern China, the Caucasus, the Crimea, and the Balkans. AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC / AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC

Celebrations planned for the spring festival of Nevruz in İstanbul and Ankara have been cancelled by the governors of the cities for security reasons, news website Diken reported on Thursday.

The governor’s offices expressed as a justification for the cancelations concerns about possible “tension and provocations between people who will participate in the celebrations and others.”

Nevruz is a spring festival traditionally marked in the second half of March and has a highly symbolic meaning for Kurds, with colorful celebrations across the predominantly Kurdish Southeast of Turkey.

Celebrations were planned to take place in the Bakırköy Public Bazaar in Istanbul and Kolej Square in Ankara on March 19.

Dozens of people including three journalists were detained on Thursday in operations targeting the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) across several provinces ahead of Nevruz celebrations.

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