A former member of the PKK terrorist organization, who had stayed in its camps for two years and later confessed to Turkish security forces of his time and role there, said that the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) helped members join the group.
"I went to the mountain through the HDP. I went to the HDP and told them I would like to go to the rural area," the terrorist, who surrendered to security forces, told Anadolu Agency (AA), referring to the PKK's camps in mountainous areas.
The former member said that there were many people joining the PKK with help from the HDP. Referring to the meetings between the HDP and the so called leaders of the PKK, the terrorist said, "The HDP deputies, co-chairmen were coming [to the mountains]."
Formed in 1978, the PKK terrorist group has fought a long separatist battle with the Turkish state. Its terror campaign has killed more than 40,000 people, including women and children.
The former terrorist, who joined the group at the age of 15, said that it was difficult to escape from the terrorist camps since they were threatened that their families will be harmed if they run away. Many young children were afraid to leave the camps as the ones who attempted to escape were tortured or killed.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union. The Turkish government has long accused the HDP of having close links with the PKK. Ankara has been calling on the HDP to cut its ties with the PKK.
Former HDP Chairman Selahattin Demirtaş was sentenced to four years and eight months in jail for carrying out terrorist propaganda in September. The court sentenced Demirtaş, who has been in jail since 2016 while on trial for terrorism-related charges, over his comments during a 2013 speech when the government was holding peace talks with the PKK. Following the peace process, the PKK undermined the efforts and resumed its attacks in 2015.
In relation to the peace process, the former terrorist said that "during the period foreigners were visiting in order to get to know the group, the PKK was attempting to present itself as good."
He added that the foreigners did not consider the group as good when they saw things like a 15-year-old child soldier.
The former terrorist also said that young children were joining the camps because they face pressure at home. Therefore, in order to prevent children from falling into the trap of the PKK, the families need to send their children to school and should not force them to marry at young ages, the former member of the group said. He highlighted that security forces never mistreated him.