More than one-and-a-half years have passed since mothers whose children were abducted by the PKK terror group and its Syrian offshoot the YPG began their sit-in protest in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakir. 

The protest began on Sept. 3, 2019, when three mothers said their children had been forcibly recruited by PKK terrorists. The sit-in outside the office of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which the government accuses of having links to the PKK, has been growing since then in Diyarbakir.

Aysegul Bicer, one of the protesting mothers, said the sit-in still continues on March 8, International Women’s Day.

Criticizing the HDP for not listening to the voices of the sit-in mothers while appearing to defend women’s rights at every opportunity, Bicer said: “As you prepare reports on everything, why don’t you report on the fight, rape, abuse and murder of girls by a subcontractor terror group (PKK) today?”

Celebrating International Women’s Day, Bicer said they would continue their struggle by continuing the protest until the last son in the mountains is reunited with their mother.

After the announcement, the mothers chanted: “We are women, we are mothers, where is our right?”

Fatma Akkus, who continues the sit-in in the hope of reuniting with her daughter Songul, stressed that there is no Women’s Day for them, and the day when their children arrive will be Women’s Day.

Saying that she has suffered for six years of being apart from her daughter and wants to hear her voice, even for a few seconds, Akkus said: “We want our children as our rights. We don’t want anything else. We’ve been crying for six years. But today, we are being given more pain. We can’t celebrate Women’s Day.”

Nihal Ciftci, who took part in the sit-in for her son Emircan, who was kidnapped nine years ago at the age of 14, also said that she wants her son back on March 8, International Women’s Day.

Recalling that the HDP held a meeting on Women’s Day today, Ciftci said: “Which women’s rights do they [HDP] defend? Do they celebrate the days of the young girls they kidnapped on the mountain?”

“Instead of rallying elsewhere, let them come and see the mothers here, what have they done to us, and let them come and see their work.

“I’m receiving flowers today, but they took my flower away from me. For today, I want my flower. Have them bring my son. I’m not leaving here until my son is back.”

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

*Writing by Merve Berker

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