Kurdish people are the largest ethnic group in Turkey, making up 20 per cent of the population, which is close to 20 million people. They have been subject to state-sanctioned discrimination and human rights violations. Today, in Yuksekova, which is a district in the Hakkari province of Turkey, Kurdish people were attacked for gathering to celebrate Newroz – the Kurdish new year.
One Kurdish politician, Ahmed Turk was hospitalised, and 32-year-old Alaattin Okan was hit with a tear-gas canister in Batman. Two prominent Kurdish websites were taken down earlier this morning, and have been unable to send updates regarding the clashes. In addition to this, mainstream news sites have been slow in covering this story, which is why Kurdish activists have used social networking sites to raise awareness.
Yekbun Alp tweeted that a Kurdish MP was arrested, amidst clashes between Turkish riot police and Kurds who wanted to celebrate Newroz:
@YekbunAlp: MP Özdal Ücer was a guest of a family in Cizre when police attacked the house and arrested the family.
Another Kurdish activist, tweeted this picture, showing Turkish riot police firing tear-gas and Kurdish youth responding with stones out of anger and frustration that they can't even celebrate the Kurdish new year without being attacked:
Hawri Tofik from Sweden was among the hundreds of Kurdish activists angered by the Turkish government's brutality towards Kurds celebrating Newroz. She tweeted:
@iirwaH: Seriously, I don't understand.. Why is it a crime to celebrate Newroz? How many more Kurds gonna get injured/killed?
Jiyan Azadi tweeted this picture, saying tens of thousands gathered in Yuksekova, and later were attacked by riot police:
Meanwhile, Meltem Ay from London tweeted:
@jin_jiyan_azadi: How foolish of Turkey! Dictatorship and oppressive methods will only unify the Kurdish people and make them stronger!
Alliance For Kurdish Rights has uploaded several pictures, showing Turkish riot police have used tear-gas and water canons to disperse protesters from the district of Yuksekova.