DIYARBAKIR, Turkey

Families in Turkey whose children have been abducted or forcibly recruited by the PKK terror group continued a sit-in protest on Friday in southeastern Diyarbakir and eastern Van provinces. 

The families of the children have been protesting since Sept. 3, 2019, in Diyarbakir province, encouraging their children to give up their weapons and surrender to authorities.

Protests outside the office of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which the government accuses of having links to the YPG/PKK terror group, was started by three mothers who said their children were forcibly recruited.

Guzide Demir said all families in the sit-in are determined not to give up.

Demir has participated in the protest for one-and-a-half years. She said the HDP deceived her son to take him to the mountains and she has not heard from him since.

She said she misses her son dearly and wants him back from the HDP.

“My son, come wherever you are, surrender to the security forces. I missed you dearly, come back home. Your place is not there,” Demir said.

Sevket Bingol said families have continued to protest for 592 days.

“We will air HDP’s dirty laundry in public. They shall no longer take any more children, and hurt any more parents,” he said, as he vowed that families will not leave the sit-in until the children are returned. “My son, if you see and hear me, surrender wherever you see a police officer or a soldier.”

Separately, relatives of those forcibly abducted and recruited by the PKK terror group held protests outside the provincial office of the HDP in Van province.

Twenty-eight families gathered on Cumhuriyet Avenue and walked toward the HDP office and urged their children to surrender to security forces.

Atiye Dayan said her daughter, Silan, was deceived and taken to the mountains when she was just 17.

Dayan also said families would continue to protest until their children are returned.

“I have never heard from my daughter for six years. I came here for my daughter. I want her from HDP,” said Dayan. “We will continue the sit-in until we get our children back. We are calling on other families. Nobody shall be afraid, we are coming here to reunite with our children. We are inviting everyone to support our protest.”

Fevzi Yagmur said he joined for his 18-year-old son who was kidnapped by the terror group in 2014.

“They took our children away from us. They try to make our children murderers. They try to martyrize our police officers and soldiers with the hands of our own children. May God not accept this. We will reunite with our children by fighting until the end,” said Yagmur.

In its more than 35-year 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. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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