Hollande, Tsipras invited to this year’s Nevruz celebrations
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULMar 05, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Mar 05, 2015 12:00 am
French President François Hollande and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras have been invited to the Nevruz celebrations to be held in Turkey's southeastern province of Diyarbakır on March 21.
The Democratic Society Congress (DTK) representative, Seydi Fırat, said in a press conference that Hollande, Tsipras, Iraqi President Fuad Masun, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani, Democratic Union Party (PYD) Co-Chairs Salih Muslim and Asya Abdullah and some of the heads in Syria's Kurdish cantons are among the leaders invited to the Nevruz celebrations.
A Nevruz message by the PKK's leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence in Turkey's İmralı Island prison, will be read during the celebrations. Fırat described this year's message as historic and significant in reference to Öcalan's call on the PKK to lay down its arms last week.
"This year's celebration will have a significant place in our history. The 2015 Nevruz will coincide with the time when the talks [of the reconciliation process] will be opened in all ways and become more evident. Our public will attend [the Nevruz celebrations] with this awareness," Fırat added.
Fırat further said that the public wants to see a video message by Öcalan this time, but the final decision is yet to made in this regard.
Nevruz celebrations hold a symbolic importance in Turkey's reconciliation process between Ankara and Kurds, the effort to end the decades-long conflict with the PKK.
Last week Öcalan called on the PKK to lay down its arms. Öcalan's message was shared with the public by the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) at a press conference. The press conference took place after Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan held talks at the prime minister's office in Istanbul with the HDP committee, including HDP Vice Chair İdris Baluken and HDP Deputies Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Pervin Buldan, on the reconciliation process. Both sides emphasized the importance of a cease-fire and said that Turkey is closer to peace than ever before.
Guns were silenced in 2013's Nevruz celebrations when Öcalan wrote a five-page message explaining that the weapons had to be left behind and militant forces in the region need to withdraw.
"Ideas and politics should replace weapons," Öcalan said. The cease-fire commenced on May 8, 2013.
Despite a few disruptions, the militant forces agreed with Öcalan's call to lay down their arms and pulled out of the region outside of Turkish borders. Öcalan wrote a new letter to mark 2014's celebrations both in Turkish and Kurdish.
Nevruz, also known as Nowruz internationally, is celebrated by various countries in the Middle East and Central Asia including Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan among others. Nowruz was also included in UNESCO's 2009 List of Intangible Cultural Heritage with the efforts of the ministry. The General Assembly of the United Nations announced March 21 as International Day of Nowruz.