Families in Turkey whose children have been abducted or forcibly recruited by the PKK terrorist organization continued a sit-in protest on Friday in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir.

The families have been protesting for 704 days since Sept. 3, 2019, encouraging their children to give up their weapons and surrender to authorities.

Protests outside the office of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Diyarbakir started with three mothers who said their children were forcibly recruited by the terrorists. The Turkish government accuses the HDP of having links to the PKK terror group.

Demonstrations have since spread to other provinces, including Van, Mus, Sirnak, and Hakkari.

Mevlude Ucdag wants to reunite with her son who was abducted by the terror group.

“We’re determined to continue our protest. I won’t leave here without taking my child back from the HDP and PKK,” said Ucdag.

“I want my child back from the HDP because the HDP aided in his abduction. Every child who surrendered (from the PKK) blames the HDP for it. They say: ‘The HDP deceived us and sent us to the PKK,'” she asserted.

Calling on her son to surrender to the security forces, Ucdag said: “My son, I don’t want to hug your photos anymore, I want to hug you. I don’t want you to stay there.”

Suleyman Aydin, one of the protesting fathers, said he was part of the protest for his son Ozkan.

“You’re sending 12-13-year-olds up the mountain (to join the PKK), and they shamelessly claim: ‘We’re defending the Kurds.’ It’s definitely a lie.

“They have been deceiving the Kurds for 40 years. They have no conscience. They run away from us because their dirty faces have appeared,” he said.

“The HDP shouldn’t think that we’re going to stop this struggle. As parents, we’re committed to our action,” added Aydin.

He also urged his son to surrender to the security forces.

Families protesting in Mus province

Every week since April 7, eight families have been staging a sit-in outside the office of the HDP in the eastern Mus province, trying to make their voices heard against the PKK terrorist group for abducting their children.

Semsettin Ozcan said he wants back his son, who was kidnapped by the terror group five years ago, adding that he would continue to protest until his return.

Mentioning that reunification of three families with their children in Diyarbakir had given them hope, Ozcan said: “What do these children eat or do in the mountains? We want them back from the HDP.”

“Everyone is surrendering to the security forces and reuniting with their parents. It makes us happy we children of other families came back as if they were our own. We were very happy that the children of the other families returned. It was like they were my own children.

“The return of those children has become hope for us. Hopefully, our children will do so, as well,” he said.

Mother Sahinaz Ozcan also said she dreamt of hugging her son once again.

“We haven’t lost our hope. Hopefully our son will come back, too. I started my protest in Diyarbakir province, and now I continue to sit-in in Mus province.”

She said the terrorists kidnapped her son while he was at school five years ago and that she never heard from him since then.

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

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — 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.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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