Twenty-four families whose children were abducted by the PKK are now at the sit-in in front of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) headquarters in Diyarbakır as the protests entered their 10th day. Nihan Çiçek, who joined the protest Wednesday, cried out for her daughter, who went missing in 2015. Çiçek said she was allowed to speak with her daughter a year later. "They [the PKK] called me. My daughter told me that she was injured. She said the terrorists had deceived her. I beg President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to rescue my daughter." Çiçek said, adding that her daughter was abducted to the mountains by the relatives of her partner to whom she was engaged at the time.
After Hacire Akar took the first step by showing courage and raising her voice against the terrorists on Aug. 22, she was rejoined by her son Mehmet Akar on the fourth day. While rescuing her son, she revealed the HDP's link with the PKK which became an inspiration for other families going through the same situation.
"If the mothers' cries in front of the Diyarbakır HDP provincial office can be heard from everywhere, if they want their abducted children back from the heinous human traffickers now, it is because they gained confidence following our fight. It is an important development that mothers call terrorists for the account," stated Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli on Wednesday. Joining the protests on the same day as Çiçek, Macide Uslu and Halime Şehitoğlu came from eastern Erzurum province for their nephew Sedat Sorgun, who was abducted by terrorists in 2015 when the PKK blocked their way in Diyarbakır. It was noted that Solgun, who lost his mother, had visited his aunt Şehitoğlu and was on the way to visit other relatives in Erzurum when the PKK blocked the way.
While the outcry from these families has been growing, the indifferent attitude of HDP officials has drawn serious reaction from the mothers and society. On the other hand, members of Parliament and representatives of civil society showed up throughout the protest to support the mothers. The families frequently state that they are determined not to give up until their children are returned. "One day Turkey will decide upon the fate of the HDP that has dark relations under the mask of a political party. The PKK will have nowhere to hide and their cooperation will be revealed," Bahçeli added stating his faith that the terrorists will have to answer soon.
A father of eight children, Ömer Tokay is also protesting against the abduction of his son who was taken eight years ago when he was only 14-year- old. Since he has to work in order to look after his remaining family, Tokay is only able to attend the protests during certain hours. "They took my son first to a picnic and then to the mountains. In Şırnak, they took him first to the HDP provincial office, than to a cell house and later to the mountains," he said. He explained that he went to the HDP's building and to northern Iraq, but that he returned empty-handed.
A common theme among most families was that their children were paying visits to the HDP headquarters, while some say their children were last seen in the building. Currently, however, the party rejects any claims on the issue. However, some families are sure that their children are in the hands of the PKK, as the terrorist groups sent them voice recordings, while others have a strong suspicion despite lacking concrete evidence. Many families also expressed that there are many more families suffering from similar situations but who are afraid to come out.