Turkey, Diyarbakir Mothers on Children Watch

Sit-in against PKK terror group in SE Turkey nears 3rd year

Families protesting since Sept. 3, 2019, urge children to give up weapons, surrender to Turkish authorities

Osman Bilgin   | 31.08.2021
Sit-in against PKK terror group in SE Turkey nears 3rd year

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey

For the 729th day, a growing number of families in southeastern Turkey whose children have been abducted or forcibly recruited by the PKK terror group continued on Tuesday to protest to reunite with their children.

Kamile Kucukdag is one of the mothers protesting in the province of Diyarbakir for the return of her son, Engin, who was taken by the PKK as a minor seven years ago when he was 15 years old.

Coming from the southern province of Adana to join the sit-in protest in front of the office of the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which authorities accuse of ties with the PKK, Kucukdag said being apart from her child was unbearable.

"God knows what I have been through for seven years. When I put my head down on my pillow, I don't know where I am. I ask where my son is and burst into tears," said the bereaved mother, urging her son to surrender to Turkish security forces.

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

The families have been protesting since Sept. 3, 2019, calling their children to lay down their weapons and turn themselves in to Turkish authorities.

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

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

Father Omer Tokay, who also joined the sit-in protest for his son, said he would continue to fight for his child's return.

Tokay underlined that soon, the protest in Diyarbakir would enter its third year and that the families there were determined not to leave until they are reunited with their children.

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