Newroz in Van: One hundred thousand hearts against isolation

The Newroz celebration in Van began with a minute’s silence to pay tribute to Zülküf Gezen who ended his own life in Tekirdağ Prison to demand the end of isolation.

The Newroz celebration in Van was joined by HDP Van provincial co-chairs Yadişen Karabulak, Ümit Dede, DBP Van provincial co-chairs Ayla Tarhan and Ökkeş Kawa, DBP Central Executive Board Member Hacer Özdemir, Şirin Tunç, Van Deputy Muazzez Orhan, Van Metropolitan Municipality co-mayor candidates Bedia Özgökçe and Mustafa Avcı, district municipal co-mayor candidates, civil society organisations and thousands of people.

The celebration in Van began with a minute’s silence to pay tribute to Zülküf Gezen who ended his own life in Tekirdağ Prison to demand the end of isolation.

DBP Van Provincial co-chair Ayla Tarhan greeted the hunger strikers and pointed out that the people of Van had once again claimed the demands of the hunger strikers.

HDP Van Provincial co-chair Ümit Dede said: “With the historic [Ocalan] declaration in 2013, the Middle East peoples had a hope for peace, but since the day the president of this country said ‘there is no negotiation table, there is no peace’, our people have been massacred and attacked.”

Dede reminded the hundreds of HDP executives, mayors, activists detained. “The state appointed 96 trustees and usurped the democratically elected mayors. All freedoms were suspended. But despite all this, your determination and stance here still show that despite all the repression the spirit of Newroz 2013 is still here. For this reason, our friend Leyla Güven launched the hunger strike against the isolation and today with 5 thousand of our friends are fasting with her demanding what is the demand of millions. Leyla Güven's demands are the demands of these people and Zülküf Gezen put an end to his life to make the friends live.  Today, you are giving the best answer to all this repression.”

Van Metropolitan Municipality co-mayor candidate Bedia Özgökçe Ertan said: “We have always protected our will and we will continue to do so. If necessary, we will pay the price of doing this, like Leyla Güven who is the legitimate representative chosen by this people.”

Van Metropolitan Municipality co-mayor candidate Mustafa Avcı told: “The people have flocked here today, and this is the strongest answer to those who wanted to see this area empty today. We will give a strong answer to the AKP on 31 March.”

Temelli: We're going to hold them accountable for all their crimes

HDP co-chair Sezai Temelli commended all Newroz celebrations and the people who are on the streets to claim peace and democracy.

“We did not kneel before the tyrant, and did not bow to the tyrant. We carried the hopes to the polls, but before 7 June 2015, they trapped peace. Those who could not tolerate the 7 June election results have thrown this country into darkness.

Four years ago on 5 April 2015, they implemented isolation. We said that isolation is unlawful. Do not do this, if you want to solve the problems.

And here we are, four years on: injustice is everywhere. We're going to hold them accountable for all their crimes, Cizre, Sur, Suruc.”

We will win on 31 March

Temelli added: “We will save this country from this shame and we will send the trustees back to Ankara on 31 March.

Leyla Güven is not silent, Leyla is free, Leyla is peace, Leyla is Newroz. Tayyip Temel, Murat Sarısaç, Dersim Dağ are resisting this cruelty, like are thousands of imprisoned people. Sebahat Tuncel is resisting in Kandira. They are all new Kawas.

Let Öcalan meet with his family and his lawyers as soon as possible. Implement the laws of Turkey.

In spite of this economic crisis, the government still seeks to usurp the rights of the people. That is why we will come to power in the local administration and we will be able to solve our problems together."