Women from 81 provinces gathered in eastern Şırnak province on Thursday to support families that are victims of terrorism and to fight for the return of their children from the claws of terrorist organizations.
The group of women, supported by the Interior Ministry, gathered at the Cumhuriyet Square in Şırnak. The group voiced slogans against the terrorist organization with Turkish flags in their hand.
Hatice Atan, head of an association supporting the protesting women, said that the protest was organized to support mothers whose children have been abducted by the PKK.
Civilian movements against the PKK have grown in recent years with many families staging demonstrations or walks in several provinces inspired by the Diyarbakır protests.
Most recently, one more family has joined the ongoing protests against the PKK’s activities in front of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) headquarters in southeastern Diyarbakır.
Families that have been protesting for 787 days now, continue to wait for their children well into the night, holding the photos of their sons or daughters who have either been deceived or abducted by the terrorist group.
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.
Since then, the number of families demanding the return of their children who they say were deceived or kidnapped by the terrorist group has been gradually growing.
The families have not given up their posts despite difficult conditions, at times being threatened or ridiculed by HDP officials and those with links to the PKK terrorist organization. The protest continued despite the coronavirus pandemic, with the families taking the necessary precautions.
A significant number of suspected terrorists have begun to flee the PKK and surrender, but many terrorists lack the courage to leave the group out of fear of severe punishment if caught.
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 the protests to show their solidarity.
In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.