A two-day curfew in 30 metropolitan provinces and northern Zonguldak province was imposed in Turkey over the weekend to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, yet this did not dissuade the many families who had gathered in front of the pro-PKK Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) building in Diyarbakır to protest the abduction of their children by the PKK terrorist organization. On the 222nd day of the sit-in, the families, who came from various provinces, continued their pursuit of their children in a nearby hotel.
Mother Kamile Küçükdağ, who is participating in the protest for her son Engin, who was abducted at the age of 15 five years ago, said that the families continued their protest in a hotel because they could not sit outside the HDP building due to the coronavirus restrictions.
“We will not go before we get our children,” Küçükdağ underlined. She addressed her son, saying: “Do not believe their (the PKK’s) lies. Come and surrender to the state and to our soldiers.”
“The HDP is more dangerous than the coronavirus. They gave my son to the PKK. They condemned our children to death and for us to wait at their door,” said another family member, Emin Arslan, who came for his son who was abducted in Şırnak.
Explaining that the HDP abducted their children and took them to the mountains, father Şevket Bingöl stated, “Despite the curfew, we continue our protest where we left off.”
The sit-in protests by the Kurdish parents and families are seen as a reaction against the outlawed PKK, a terror group that has abducted and recruited their children, as well as the HDP, a political party that many of these families view as being in league with the PKK. Currently, 134 families are waiting for their children to return.
The protest started when Hacire Akar turned up at the doorstep of the HDP's Diyarbakır office one night. A week later, on Sept. 3, 2019, families inspired by Akar transformed her solo stance into a collective sit-in protest. Akar's son Mehmet returned home on Aug. 24, showing other families that there is still hope.
Since then, the number of protesting mothers has grown as they demand the return of their children, who, they say, were deceived or kidnapped by the terror group.