French politicians to attend Newroz celebrations in southeast Turkey detained

A delegation of representatives from France’s Communist Party were detained as they entered Turkey en route to attend Newroz celebrations in the Southeastern province of Diyarbakır on March 21, independent news site T24 reported on Tuesday.

Turkish officials detained the party’s officials Sylvie Jan, who is also chairperson for the France-Kurdistan Association, and Michel Laurent at İstanbul Atatürk Airport on Monday night, T24 said.

The pair was visiting Turkey for both Newroz celebrations and to monitor the local elections set to take place on March 31.

The French politicians will both be deported on Wednesday with a permanent ban against entering the country, according to reports.

Ankara sees Newroz festivities, celebrated by the country’s some 15 million Kurds, as a manifestation of separatist nationalism and maintains heavy control over them often banning events in large cities.