A man whose father was killed by the PKK terrorist group has decided to join the Kurdish families' sit-in protest in front of the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP) headquarters in southeastern Diyarbakır province.
Talat Minaz was abducted by the group in southeastern Siirt province in 1993 when he was 14. After spending five months in the group's camps, he escaped at the first opportunity and surrendered to Turkish security forces.
After his return home, he was shocked by the disappearance of his father. In 1995, a captured PKK terrorist's confession revealed that his father was abducted by the group, tortured and executed.
Following the confession, Minaz was told that the burial site of his father had been located. Following the excavation, it was found that the unearthed bones did not belong to a human.
"When I was 14, the PKK abducted me. After a five-month stay, I escaped. Twenty days after I escaped, the terrorist group abducted my father. I have been looking for my father for 27 years. In 1994, he went to visit a family friend living in a village called Beyken near Kurtalan. There, terrorists abducted my father and my brother was also deceived into joining the terrorist group in 1992 and we have not heard from him since 1994," Minaz said.
The protest started when Hacire Akar turned up at the doorstep of the HDP’s Diyarbakır office one night after her son was abducted by the PKK. Akar’s son Mehmet returned home on Aug. 24, 2019, giving hope to other families. On Sept. 3, 2019, other parents inspired by Akar transformed her solo stance into 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.
The dissolution of the PKK has accelerated due to Turkey's successful counterterrorism operations and strategies both at home and abroad. In recent years, Turkey has seen record numbers of PKK terrorists giving themselves up in the face of determined domestic and cross-border counterterrorism operations. Turkish security forces regularly conduct counterterrorism operations in the eastern and southeastern provinces of Turkey where the PKK has attempted to establish a strong presence.
Once the terrorists surrender, they are provided with many opportunities, including the right to education and the freedom to live without fear of oppression. They are not ill-treated, can contact their families freely and are provided with essential judicial assistance. The Turkish state offers a variety of services to ensure their social reintegration. According to some former terrorists, PKK ringleaders risk the lives of others to save their own and threaten those planning to surrender with torture.
In its more than 40-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 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
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