The monthslong demonstrations began with a lone protest by one mother, Hacire Akar. Akar demanded the return of her 21-year-old son, Mehmet Akar, who had been missing for three days after he was abducted by the PKK terrorist group. Following her sit-in, and with the help of security forces in Diyarbakır, Akar was finally reunited with her son.
The HDP, long facing public reaction and judicial probes over its ties to the PKK, is under pressure due to this growing civilian protest movement launched by parents and family members of PKK conscripts. The HDP has many times drawn fire for transferring taxpayer money and funds to the PKK, a globally recognized terrorist group. HDP mayors and local officials have been found to misuse funds in support of the terrorist group and provide jobs to PKK sympathizers.
A significant number of suspected terrorists have started fleeing the PKK and surrendering. More than 235 PKK members have surrendered to Turkish security forces in 2019, while more than 40 of the suspected terrorists have surrendered since the beginning of 2020. Once they surrender, they are provided with many opportunities including the right to education and the freedom to live without fear and oppression.
Many suspected terrorists lack the courage to leave the group because they fear severe punishment if caught. They are not ill-treated, are able to contact their families freely and are provided with essential judicial assistance, while the Turkish state offers a variety of services to ensure their reintegration into society.
According to their statements, the ringleaders of the PKK terror group risk the lives of recruits to save their own lives and threaten those planning to surrender with torture.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The People's Protection Units (YPG) is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.