Diyarbakir Mothers on Children Watch

Demir family shaken to core following son’s PKK abduction

Fatih, 17, forcibly recruited by terror group in 2015

Ali Murat Alhas   | 04.09.2021
Demir family shaken to core following son’s PKK abduction

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey

One night before dinner, Sevdet Demir finished cooking and put plates on the table to enjoy the meal with her family.

Little did she know that there would be one less plate from that day forward in 2015. Her beloved son was abducted by the PKK terror group.

Fatih was just 17 when he disappeared in the southeastern Diyarbakir province in 2015 and was sent to Raqqa, Syria to join the ranks of the YPG, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.

With Fatih gone, the family was left devastated and their dreams shattered.

But they would not let go of Fatih, as Abdullah, his father, began looking for his son. When his efforts bore no fruit, the family decided to join the sit-in protest launched Oct. 3, 2019.

The demonstration was initiated by mothers who are in the same boat, hoping their children could see them on television and return home.

“It is a tough day. I cannot come to my senses. My pain is always fresh as if they took my son away yesterday. I cannot stand without him, always see his place while walking around at home,” said 55-year-old mother.

“His room is empty. A plate is missing on the table; his photographs are on the wall, and his clothes are in the closet. How could I forget him? I just cannot,” she lamented. “His belongings are still there, the more I see them, the more I remember him and shed tears. It is difficult.”

She said “cruel” people sometimes ask her why she was getting that sad because she still has five other children by her side. Her response is that all five fingers of a hand have a different meaning and could not be replaced.

Through tears, Demir said her solidarity with the other protesting families helped her to keep going as they would console one another at times of sadness. Those that have been reunited with their children were like heralding a reunion with Fatih.

“More than 30 children have fled the PKK and came back to their families. I hope my son will do the same and we will remember these days as a nightmare from which we finally woke,” she said.

Abdullah Demir said he was not going to end his battle to get his son back and he was determined to participate in the sit-in until his final breath. “The loss of a child is the worst experience a father can go through. This was a harsh lesson that life has taught me,” he said. “I always feel something is missing in my heart in the morning, afternoon, and night. The food does not taste the same, seeing my family suffer pains me to my core.”

Demir, who is a farmer working in Diyarbakir, noted that his family has not discussed politics or any other matter at home since Fatih’s disappearance and it was heartbreaking to see that his son was forcibly recruited by a terror group to work abroad in the interest of imperialist powers.

“Please, come back to me, son. Do not be a pawn, do not let them use you. The Turkish government is ready to forgive you. We raised you for our flag and country. We all deserve better,” he said.

At least 234 families have participated in the sit-in held outside the office of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). They accuse the HDP of playing a role in their children’s abduction.

Thirty-two children of the protesters have laid down their weapons and surrendered to security forces.

In Turkey, offenders linked to terrorist groups who surrender are eligible for possible sentence reductions under a repentance law.

In its more than 35-year of terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

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