Kurdish mothers are up in arms in the southeastern provincial capital of Diyarbakır declaring that their children have been abducted by the PKK as they hold a vigil outside the pro-Kurdish-controlled municipality demanding the return of their children.
In the past, the PKK would abduct children calling it "recruitment" and the families would not dare challenge the militant organization that terrorized the eastern and southeastern provinces for more than three decades. In the name of its so-called "freedom struggle," the PKK would previously commit acts of terrorism, unleash atrocities even against their own people and force villagers to obey its commands.
But times have changed. Now there is a Kurdish public opinion that still wants the Kurds to be treated as first class citizens of the Turkish Republic, who still have sympathy for PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan who is serving a life sentence, but who have also seen the dividends of the successful year-old peace process in which tensions have fallen and tranquility has prevailed in once violent provinces.
Both the Turkish and Kurdish people of this country have seen the value of peace and it is now clear that the process is irreversible.
The strength of the peace and tranquility that prevail in the eastern and southeastern provinces has created an atmosphere where people can now challenge the PKK in a bold manner. That is what the dozens of mothers are doing in Diyarbakır. The PKK has to realize that it must adapt to the peace conditions instead of still trying to play the rough and tough tactics of the past. If not, they will be the clear losers and not the Kurdish people of Turkey.
The fact that the PKK is still trying to "recruit" people, with the worst case of course being the abduction of children, also suggests that the militants are still trying to bolster their ranks as if they want to continue the cycle of terrorism that has hurt Turkey so badly. Recruiting people into your ranks shows you lack goodwill and you have no faith in the peace process. Yet, the Kurdish public opinion of Turkey does not say so. The PKK is making a massive mistake by distancing itself from the hearts and minds of the Kurdish people in Turkey.
This should also be a lesson to the government that it will have the support of the Kurdish public as long as it serves the cause of the peace process. If they falter then they could also fall at odds with the Kurds of Turkey. That is why the government has to start putting its act together for more meaningful reforms that keep this country united.