Nevruz was celebrated throughout Turkey on Sunday.
People gathered at Kazlicesme Square in Istanbul to celebrate Nevruz, the beginning of spring.
Turkish leaders gave messages of unity and solidarity to mark the observance of Nevruz which means “a new day” and heralds the arrival of spring.
Members of political parties and non-governmental organizations also participated in celebrations in Istanbul.
People lit Nevruz fire, sang songs, performed folkloric dances, set peace pigeons free to mark the Nevruz.
The southeastern province of Diyarbakir was another place where Nevruz was celebrated.
Speaking in the celebrations in Diyarbakir, Selahattin Demirtas, chairman of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), said his party was backing a democratic solution and peace.
"This nation is ready for peace," Demirtas also said.
Nevruz, the world's oldest festival which is celebrated by festivities under various names in many communities, is being celebrated in the Turkish World as "the exit of Turks from Ergenekon" and "the beginning of the new year in Turkish calendar with 12 zodiac divisions represented by animals" since 5000 years.
All dwellings are cleaned for the Nevruz which is believed to be the day when everyone's fate is determined and the day when all diseases, evil, misfortunes, and troubles disappear.
President Abdullah Gul said that Nowruz has been a marker of mutual affection, respect and solidarity for centuries and underlined that Turkish people will safeguard this cultural accumulation.
Various games are played, and special meals are cooked to mark the Nevruz. After eating the meal together, people exchange greetings with each other for a happy new year. Then, they visit graves of their beloved ones. Those who offended to each other, are reconciled. People extend a helping hand to the poor, the forlorn, and the elderly. Young people wishing their dreams to come true, jump over a Nevruz Fire.
Prime Minister Erdogan also issued a message and branded the day as a call for clinging to life and one another with enthusiasm and new hopes.
In accordance with a common belief in the Turkish World, Nevruz is considered as the day when the Gokturks departed from Ergenekon and obtained their independence. In Ergenekon Epic of Ebulgazi Bahadir Khan's famous work named "Secere-i Turk" (Genealogy of Turks), it was told that the Turks who had to live in a valley surrounded by high mountains for 400 years, left the valley when spring started, returned to their homeland, and gained their independence. Therefore, March 21 symbolizes the independence day.
During Nevruz celebrations, especially the Turks living in Central Asia, read out Ergenekon Epic to express the importance of Nevruz to the new generations.
According to another belief, March 21, the beginning of the 12-animal Turkish Calendar, symbolizes refreshment of the nature, and beginning of spring. Snowdrops which bloom in these days, are called as "Nevruz Flower". Babies who are born in Nevruz, are given the first name of Nevruz.