Prosecutors have announced that it was a 13-year-old boy who hurled a hand grenade at the local branch of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in eastern Turkey last year in an attack blamed on the PKK terrorist group.
The boy, identified as A.K., was detained after the attack in the Muradiye district of Van province. He told the investigators that three other defendants in the case, all adults, threatened to kill him if he did not carry out the attack that damaged a building but did not cause any casualties.
The boy said in his testimony that three men identified as PKK members threatened him with his life.
The PKK is accused of recruiting children and teenagers with the assistance of its supporters across the country. Reports in the Turkish media claim 700 children, or those under the age of 18, have been forcibly recruited by the terrorist organization since 2013. The PKK focuses on recruiting younger militants as it has difficulty finding support for its activities. Three months ago, an 18-year-old woman, who was 15 years old when she was brainwashed into joining the PKK, managed to escape the terrorist group. The woman, identified as Leyla Güneş, was heavily injured when the militants opened fire as she tried to surrender to security forces during a clash in the eastern city of Tunceli. She was the daughter of one of the 47 mothers who staged an unprecedented rally a few years ago in Diyarbakır to denounce the PKK's recruitment of children.
The terrorist group, which wages a campaign of violence focused in Turkey's eastern and southeastern cities, has killed hundreds of people, from civilians to security officers since the early 80s. It stepped up its attacks in the past few years after a brief lull and increasingly targets politicians from the ruling party in southeastern and eastern Turkey. Last month, two local representatives of the AK Party were killed in Van and the province of Diyarbakır.
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