Middle East Turkey police arrest two for waving Kurdish colors in wedding convoy

Turkey police arrest two for waving Kurdish colors in wedding convoy
A Turkish police officer holds a Kurdish tricolored cloth after arresting two young men who were waving it, Adana, Turkey, May 7, 2017. (Photo: AA)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Turkish police units in the city of Adana on Sunday arrested two young men for waving a cloth with the Kurdish national colors during a wedding convoy.

Traffic police who spotted the tricolors—green, red, and yellow found in the Kurdistan flag—stopped the convoy that was passing through the large Fuzuli Avenue in the Mediterranean city’s Seyhan district.

Kurdistan24 Ankara, citing Turkish state media, said the police burned the fabric after the arrests alleging it was an expression of support for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), thus “terrorist propaganda.”

Meanwhile, more police units arrived at the scene.

An argument with the families of the marrying couple followed as police told them they shared “responsibility in crime” for allowing the young men to wave the tricolors.

“We only have one flag, and it is flying over there,” said one officer to a parent, pointing at a nearby Turkish flag pole, reported the public-funded Anadolu Agency.

With an investigation launched, police took the arrested men to the anti-terror department for interrogation.

The 1.7 million populated Adana is home to an unspecified number of Kurds, a majority of them who escaped their villages and cities in the 1990s during a phase of fierce fighting between the PKK and the Turkish army.

A bride identified as Dilges Baskin, her face covered by a scarf with yellow-red-green Kurdish national colors, gets in a wedding car, near armored Turkish police vehicles in Yuksekova in the Kurdish province of Hakkari, Turkey, Sep. 6, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

In Turkey, the Kurdish tricolors used to be forbidden then, but as peace talks began between the PKK and Turkish government in 2013, a relative decriminalization of Kurdish symbols took place.

But, after the 2015 collapse of the talks and a renewed conflict, cases of arrests for showing Kurdish colors multiplied.

Last March, during Newroz celebrations in Izmir, police arrested 56 according to the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for displaying Kurdish symbols.

In January, an Ankara-appointed trustee who replaced the elected Mayor of the town of Catak in Van Province ordered the recoloring of a bridge, previously in Kurdish colors, on a water stream.

Last week, during May Day celebrations in Istanbul, police arrested three people for flying Kurdistan flags.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany