36 days on, Kurdish families still demand return of children abducted by PKK

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 09.10.2019 01:24

It has been 36 days since Kurdish families launched their sit-in protest in front of the Diyarbakir provincial office of pro-PKK, Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

Demanding that they be reunited with their children, who were abducted by the PKK terrorist group, 53 families are participating in the demonstration.

On the 36th day of the protest, the families are still hopeful that they will rejoin their missing children and said they were determined not to leave until the children were found. The mothers, who continue their sit-in with the photos of their children in their hands, voice their anger through placards reading, "Enough" and "I want my child."

Latife Ödümlü, who has been attending the protest since Sept. 10 for her 22-year-old son Özgür, said PKK abducted her child and took him to northern Iraq 10 months ago.

"Most families, whose children were abducted by the PKK, can't come here because of fear," the grief-stricken mother said, adding, "Don't be afraid, come, support and sit here with us. People come and pay supporting visits. My son, if you hear me, run away and come. If you find an opportunity, run away and come. I will not give up. Until you come home, I will sit here. I am not afraid of anybody," she said.

Hatice Ceylan, whose 19-year-old son Cafer was abducted by the PKK four years ago when he was 15, also attended the ongoing protests. "If my son hears us, our door is open for him. He is everything to us," she said, calling on his son to return home. Until now, 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.

Some family members 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.

Initially, the protest was started last month by Hacire Akar. 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 families.

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