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Tension in Turkey as Kurds mark New Year

Tension in Turkey as Kurds mark New Year
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The Kurdish New Year has sparked tensions in Turkey after police broke up unauthorised celebrations.

A protest in Istanbul on Wednesday denounced security forces for firing teargas and water cannon a day earlier in the mainly Kurdish southeast of the country.

Separately, five Turkish police officers have been killed in clashes with Kurdish militants in the Cudi mountains in southeastern Sirnak province.

Ankara banned Nowruz or New Year celebrations ahead of the designated day, Wednesday. Hence the heavy response from authorities to Tuesday’s early gathering by Kurds in the town of Cizre. One policeman is said to have died of wounds sustained during the clashes.

Nowruz is a sensitive time in Turkey as it is used by the Kurdish minority to press home demands for greater rights and autonomy and show support for rebels from the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK.