Inspired by a mother who managed to be reunited with her son, hundreds of families have joined a protest in southeastern Turkiye in hopes of again seeing their children, who were abducted by the terror group PKK or its Syrian branch the YPG.
On Aug. 22, 2019, Kurdish mother Hacire Akar staged a protest outside the offices of the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in the city of Diyarbakir, saying her son had been taken to the mountains after being brainwashed by members of the party, which has been accused of ties with the terrorist PKK.
Her struggle thankfully bore fruit, as her son was brought back within a few days.
However, her son was only one of those abducted and forcibly recruited by the PKK/YPG. Akar’s achievement turned into a glimmer of hope for other families, and on Sept. 3, 2019, three other mothers gathered at the same location and launched their own sit-in protest in an effort to bring back their children.
The protest quickly caught the attention of other mothers and fathers and transformed into a massive demonstration that has up to now lasted 1,000 days, and is still going strong.
In the protests, the mothers, fathers, siblings, and other relatives call on their missing loved ones to lay down their weapons and surrender to Turkish authorities.
While dozens of families are currently actively protesting, to date almost 300 families have taken part. The families' efforts have not gone unnoticed by their children, as 35 of them have so far surrendered to Turkish security forces after fleeing the terror group PKK/YPG.
The sit-in protests have also spread to several other Turkish provinces such as Van, Mus, Sirnak, and Hakkari in the east and Izmir in the far west. A mother living in Germany also launched her own protest in Berlin to convince her daughter to leave the terrorist group.
Families say many of their sons and daughters were younger than 18 when they were forcibly abducted and sent to the PKK/YPG training camps in northern Iraq and Syria to be trained and then sent to be used against Turkish ground forces as “cannon fodder.”
According to data from security forces, 16% of the children were younger than 15 at the time of their abduction and 39% were below 18.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is its Syrian offshoot.
State prosecutors have filed a case with Turkiye's top court to close down the HDP due to its reported ties with the terrorist PKK, which many officials say the HDP is only a front group for. The ties between the two groups have been documented in many reports and news stories.
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