Newroz in Van: “Bijî Serok Apo”

Tens of thousands of people in Van province celebrate Newroz, chanting “Bijî Serok Apo” (Long Live Leader Öcalan).

People of Van gathered at the Newroz Park at the foot of Van Castle to welcome Newroz, Kurdish New Year. Masses in traditional clothes are constantly chanting the slogan “Bijî Serok Apo” (Long Live Leader Öcalan) as they vow to continue their struggle.

Newroz this year pays tribute to the tens of thousands of people who lost their lives in the two earthquakes that hit Kurdistan, Turkey and Syria on 6 February while at the same time reiterating the demand for freedom of Abdullah Öcalan.

Addressing the crowd, Cahit Kırkızak, in the name of the Green Left Party, said: “March is the month of resistance and struggle. The Kurdish people have never bowed down, nor will they ever. There is resistance everywhere today. Our people are writing history with this resistance. We reject the isolation of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, which is in fact imposed on the entire Kurdish people.”

Speaking after, HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) Parliamentary Group Deputy Chair Saruhan Oluç wished a happy Newroz to their companions in prisons and in exile. On this year’s Newroz, we mourn for tens of thousands whom we lost in the latest series of earthquakes. They did not die due to the earthquake, but the AKP-MHP fascist government’s failure to take measures. This is the Newroz to get rid of the AKP-MHP fascism, to change the government and make 2023 the year of victory. We will go to the polls after 53 days and bury the AKP-MHP in the ballot boxes. In the upcoming elections, we will get rid of the government hostile to the Kurds, to get rid of the trustees that robbed people’s will, to free our friends in prisons and bring the government to account. We will get rid of the government that has been imposing an unprecedented isolation for 24 months on Öcalan, who has devoted his mind and idea to peace. The government maintains isolation because it doesn’t want peace and wants to perpetuate its war policy. This will be an election to end isolation.”

The DBP (Democratic Regions’ Party) Co-chair Saliha Aydeniz also addressed the people of Van, defining Newroz as the unity of the Kurdish people, resistance, organization and an uprising against those cruel. She vowed that the Kurdish people would continue their struggle until freedom is achieved, saluting “those who resist in the spirit of “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi” (Woman, Life, Freedom) and those who unite Mr. Öcalan’s ideas with revolution”.

Paying tribute to the victims of the earthquakes in February, Aydeniz held the government responsible for the deaths of countless people, defining the government itself as a disaster. “The state was not there while people tried to pull the dead out of the rubble. The only thing the state did was to prevent aid efforts. We will not forgive this government which feeds on animosity against women and the Kurds. They attacked Rojava instead of carrying out search and rescue work. This is because they know that they are losing and rely on war as the only way out. We appeal to this rent-seeking state; Afrin belongs to the Kurds. We also oppose their employment of chemical weapons in areas of freedom. Losing in war, they have started to commit a crime against humanity. The more you insist on war, the more you will lose. Stop war.”

Aydeniz also denounced the isolation of Öcalan, which, she said, deepened along with war. “Insistence on isolation is insistence on war, animosity against Kurds and a deadlock. The only reason for this isolation is Mr. Öcalan’s belief in peace. There has been no communication with Imrali for the past two years. They want to make the Kurdish people forget about Öcalan. They will never achieve this, though. Mr. Öcalan must be freed so he can play his historic role. He is indispensable for the Kurdish people and the country will never be able to achieve democracy without him. We will fight to this end, and we will prevail. 2023 will be the year of Mr. Öcalan’s physical freedom. We believe Mr. Öcalan’s struggle and insistence on peace with all our hearts.”

The celebration continues with the musical performance of the Bajar band.