Turkey, Diyarbakir Mothers on Children Watch

Families in SE Turkey to mark 2nd year of anti-PKK protest

Families protesting since Sept 2019, urge public to stand by them on 2nd anniversary of protests

Bestami Bodruk and Osman Bilgin   | 18.08.2021
Families in SE Turkey to mark 2nd year of anti-PKK protest

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey

Families in southeastern Turkey whose children have been abducted or forcibly recruited by the PKK terrorist organization made a call on Wednesday for public support on the upcoming second anniversary of their sit-in protests.

The families have been protesting outside the office of the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in the Diyarbakir province since Sept. 3, 2019, urging their children to give up their weapons and surrender to Turkish authorities.

The protests began with three mothers who said their children had been forcibly recruited by the terrorists.

On Aug. 22, 2019, Hacire Akar, a Kurdish mother, staged a protest near the HDP's office in Diyarbakir, claiming that her 21-year-old son had been taken to the mountains by the PKK after being brainwashed by members of the party. Her son returned home four days later, giving hope to a number of mothers who have suffered similar circumstances.

Another mother, Fevziye Cetinkaya, started to protest on Sept. 3, saying her son was forcibly recruited by the PKK. She was immediately joined by other mothers, including by Remziye Akkoyun and Aysegul Bicer.

Since then, the number of families in front of the building has been growing to reach 234.

Today, the protesting mothers are full of hope as they witnessed the reunion of 31 families with their children after years of longing.

Fatma Akkus, who has been protesting for the return of her daughter Songul after seven years of her absence, said: "We've been here for two years. The protests will enter their third year on Sept. 3. We call on all mothers and fathers whose children have been abducted to come here and support us."

Celil Begdasi's son Yusuf was abducted by the terror group when he was 17 years old.

"I call on all of the public, do not leave us alone on Sept. 3. Let's save our children from these oppressors. We're here until we get all our children," Begdasi said.

The Turkish government accuses the HDP of having links to the PKK terror group.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is PKK's Syrian offshoot.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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