Another member of the PKK terrorist group surrendered to security forces in Turkey as a result of the persuasion efforts of gendarmerie forces, the Interior Ministry said Thursday.
The suspect joined the PKK terrorist group in 2014 and was active in Syria, a ministry statement said, adding that efforts continue by police and gendarmerie forces to persuade more PKK recruits to surrender in the new year.
On Tuesday, the Interior Ministry said a total of 321 terrorists surrendered in 2020.
The dissolution of the PKK has accelerated due to Turkey’s successful counterterrorism operations and strategies both at home and abroad.
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 recruits, PKK ringleaders risk the lives of others to save their own and threaten those planning to surrender with torture. 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.
Families demand surrender
Meanwhile, Kurdish families’ sit-in protest demanding the return of their children who were kidnapped by the PKK continues in southeastern Diyarbakır province in front of the pro-PKK Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) headquarters, as families call on their sons and daughters to surrender.
“I have been coming here for the past two years. We are miserable. I’ve left my other children behind and am waiting for you, my son,” Salih Gökçe, whose 20-year-old son Ömer was kidnapped by the PKK in 2015, quoted by İhlas News Agency (İHA) Thursday.
“If you will come, just come now. If you won’t come, I will not give my blessing to you,” Gökçe said.
The sit-in protest started when one mother, Hacire Akar, turned up on the doorstep of the HDP’s Diyarbakır office one night seeking the return of her son, Mehmet, from the PKK. Akar’s son returned home on Aug. 24, giving hope to other families.
A week later, on Sept. 3, 2019, families inspired by Akar transformed her solo stance into a collective sit-in protest. 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.
Referring to the HDP as the main responsible party in his son’s kidnapping, Gökçe claimed that the HDP not only kidnapped his son but also sold him in exchange for money in Syria.
“I will not leave this place before taking my son back from the HDP,” he said.
The HDP is known for having links to the PKK. The protesting families state the party is responsible for kidnapping or tricking their children into joining the terrorist group. Various groups from around Turkey have supported the Kurdish families in their cause, with many paying visits to show their support.