Number of mothers demanding their children back from PKK grows

Published 07.10.2019 00:29

The Kurdish mothers' protests in southeastern Turkey's Diyarbakır, demanding the terrorist PKK return their children, continue as the number of attending families has reached 53.

On the 34th day of the sit-in, in front of the Diyarbakır headquarters of the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the families wait to rejoin their missing children and said they were determined to not leave until their children are found. The mothers, who continue their sit-in with the photos of their children in their hands, voice their anger through placards, reading "It is enough" and "I want my child."

One of the fathers, Şevket Bingöl, who has been attending the sit-in since Sept. 13, is there for his son Tuncay, who left their house in Istanbul saying "They [HDP] have found a job for me, I am going there."

"The HDP deputies do not offer an explanation. The children are taken to the mountain by the HDP. They ask us why we are here. We are here because our children were taken. We have proof. They are lying," said Bingöl.

Ünzüle Yabalak, a mother looking for her police officer daughter Seda Yabalak, said she has not been able to contact her since she was abducted in 2015.

"My daughter was abducted from Diyarbakır's Lice district in July 2015. We are waiting since. I hope we break the back of the PKK and HDP, this ends and we rejoin our children. If we manage this, we will have a bright future with the support of our president, our strong nation and our people," Yabalak said. Politicians, artists, journalists, representatives of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), families of martyrs, as well as ministers, including Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Minister of Family, Labor and Social Services Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk have visited the families. Continuing their protests for over a month now, the families said they received death threats from PKK terrorists, who said they would first kill their children and then them if they continue to come to the HDP headquarters to protest.

Meanwhile, European Council rapporteur Jacob Wienen visited the families Friday.

Speaking to Wienen, Süleyman Aydın, the father of the 19-year-old Özkan, who was kidnapped by the PKK four years ago, said the terrorists crossed their path and a gun was pointed at one of the protester's head.

"They bring our children here to the HDP [building] before sending them off to the rural areas. We have been here for a month now. They tell us they would kill our children first and then kill us if we continue to come to the building. They said they would have killed us already if the security forces had not protected us. They said this is a branch of Qandil [the PKK's headquarters]," Aydın said. Wienen, on the other hand, said they talked to the families and shared their pain. "Of course, we are not able to do anything directly. We cannot do anything to find your children. However, we can do this: we are here as the European Council. We will share your pain and cry in our hearts," he said.

Initially, a lone protest was started by mother Hacire Akar last month. Akar demanded the return of her 21-year-old son, Mehmet Akar, who had been missing for three days after he was abducted by the PKK terrorist group. Following her sit-in, and with the help of security forces in Diyarbakır, Akar was finally reunited with her son.

The HDP, long facing public reaction and judicial probes over its ties to the PKK, is under pressure due to this growing civilian protest movement launched by mothers and local families.

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