Protests held by Diyarbakır mothers have revealed the dark face of the PKK terrorist group, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Friday.
Addressing the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) extended consultation council meeting in the southeastern Diyarbakır province, Erdoğan said: "With the flag they raised, the mothers of Diyarbakır both destroyed the walls of fear and exposed the treacherous face of the separatist organization and its political extensions."
"Neither in any phase of our 40-year political life nor in the 20-year AK Party period, we have never surrendered to terrorism or violence," Erdoğan said as he reiterated the government's support for the ongoing anti-PKK protests in Diyarbakır.
Erdoğan went on to say that they continue to work day and night for the country's security, giving no quarter or opportunity to the terrorist PKK.
As long as they do not praise terrorism and violence, there is room in the AK Party for all kinds of ideas, all kinds of thoughts, and anyone who prioritizes the nation and country, he added.
The PKK continues using the European Union's territory for propaganda, recruitment, fundraising and logistical support activities, according to a report by the EU's law enforcement agency released last year.
Europol's annual terrorism report, titled "European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2020," suggested the PKK is actively engaged in propaganda activities and is collecting funds in European countries.
Turkey has long criticized European authorities for tolerating PKK activities in the country and has pressured them to take stricter measures against the propaganda, recruitment and fundraising activities of the group.
Later in the day, Erdoğan visited the families who have been staging a sit-in protest for nearly two years in front of the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) office in Diyarbakır to demand the return of their children abducted by the terrorist group.
Erdoğan, who performed the Friday prayer in the city, met with the families who have been holding a sit-in in front of the HDP office for 676 days.
Erdoğan was accompained by Vice President Fuat Oktay and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu during the visit.
Families in Diyarbakır province have been protesting since Sept. 3, 2019, encouraging their children who were abducted or forcibly recruited by the terrorist group to give up their weapons and surrender to Turkish authorities.
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.
The HDP, long facing public scrutiny and judicial probes over its ties to the PKK, is under pressure from the growing civilian movement. Various groups from around Turkey have supported the Kurdish mothers in their cause, with many paying visits to show their solidarity.
Erdoğan visited Diyarbakır for the first time since his last visit in March 2019. As part of the itinerary, he will also inaugurate completed projects at a ceremony to be held in front of the Diyarbakır Governor's Office.
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