Families protesting the abduction of their children by the PKK terrorist organization in front of the People's Democratic Party (HDP) headquarters in southeastern Diyarbakır have continued their sit-in for at least 900 days.
The protest started when Hacire Akar turned up on the doorstep of the HDP’s Diyarbakır office one night, demanding to be reunited with her son. Akar’s son Mehmet returned home on Aug. 24, 2019, giving hope to other families. A week later, on Sept. 3, 2019, families inspired by Akar staged a collective sit-in protest.
Demonstrations have since spread to other provinces, including Van, Muş, Şırnak and Hakkari.
Some families whose children with disabilities were abducted by the terrorists issued a statement to make their voices heard.
Sabire Aydın, one of the protesting mothers, said she is part of the sit-in for her son Zafer, who was abducted by the terrorist group five years ago.
Aydın stated that she would not end the sit-in without getting her son back.
Calling on all the children in the mountains to surrender to security forces, Aydın stressed: "All the mothers are suffering. We are here for answers from those responsible."
She also underlined that their struggle will continue and that they will do their best to get their children back.
Fadime Aksu, another protesting mother, said that her son Eren was also kidnapped by the PKK eight years ago.
"I want my son back from the HDP and PKK. They took my child," Aksu said.
"I sent him to buy bread. I have not heard from him for eight years," she lamented.
Mentioning that her son had a heart disease and that his treatment could not be completed due to the abduction, Aksu said: "I still keep his medication."
She also said that those who deceived her son have "no mercy," urging her son to lay down his weapons and surrender to Turkish security forces.
"I have been here protesting no matter what. We hope to hear good news from our children.
"Thirty-four families were reunited with their children. I hope that all the families here can experience the same."
Necmettin Biçer, one of the fathers in the sit-in, said he will keep protesting to get his daughter Gülcan back.
"No one can imagine what I've been through for six years. Only God knows," he said, adding: "We have not given up, we will definitely not leave this place."
Calling upon her daughter to surrender to security forces, Biçer stated: "My daughter, I won't leave here without you."
In its more than 35-year terrorism campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
State prosecutors have filed a case with Turkey’s top court to close down the HDP due to its reported terrorist ties.