Details about Kurdish families' sit-in protest against PKK shared with APA members
by Daily Sabah with AA
ISTANBULDec 16, 2019 - 4:00 pm GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with AA
Dec 16, 2019 4:00 pm
Turkish officials on Monday shared details about the Kurdish families’ ongoing sit-in protest against the PKK terror group in front of the pro-PKK Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) headquarters in southeastern Diyarbakır province with the participating members of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA). In the 12th General Meeting of the APA, which is being held in southern Turkey’s Antalya province, participants were shown a video produced by Anadolu Agency (AA) about the ongoing protests of Kurdish families who want to save their children abducted by the PKK from the clutches of the terrorist group. Speaking to the Anadolu Agency, Asuman Erdoğan, the head of the Turkish delegation at the APA meeting, said terrorism was one of the main issues discussed at the meetings.
Stating that terrorism is one of the major problems that many countries in Asia are dealing with, Erdoğan added enforcement of terrorist groups in recruitment is a major factor for the survival of such groups. Touching upon the Kurdish families’ search for justice, Erdoğan said protesting families are not just an example for Turkey but also for the whole world. “There are families around the world who have lost their children to terror. This should set an example for them and encourage them, too,” she said.
The APA, formed as a continuation of the Association of Asian Parliaments for Peace (AAPP), was established in 2006 with 58 members, including 42 full members and 16 observers. The number of seats allocated to each member is based on the size of the country's population. Turkey sends five deputies to the assembly every year, which currently has a total of 206 seats. Turkey was elected APA term president in 2017 in a meeting held in Cambodia. The country has taken an active role in the organization, which has recognized the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) as a terrorist organization. Turkey's increasing role is considered to be the fruit of its growing interest in Asia and the demand to increase both diplomatic and commercial ties with Asian countries. 104 days and counting: Kurdish families continue to protest PKK Meanwhile, Kurdish families have now reached 104 days of sit-in protests in front of the pro-PKK HDP headquarters in southeastern Diyarbakır province.
Despite the ongoing indifference of the terrorist group to the protests, the families continue to hold onto hope while calling on the international community to see the true face of the PKK and support their cause. Saliha Edizer, a mother who wants to see the return of her son, Yakup, said he was abducted by the terror group through the HDP in Istanbul. “That’s enough. How long will it take? I cannot stand it anymore. I want my son back. What is the purpose of them?” she said expressing her desire to be reunited with her son. Stating that they will not give up their protests, Edizer said they will continue their struggle until taking their children are returned by the terrorist group. Aydın and other families' inspiration to join the protests was Hacire Akar, a mother who launched the initial protest and became the first one to see the results of her protest when her son returned home. Fahrettin Akkuş, a father attending the protests said: “We won’t leave from the front of the HDP without taking our kids back. Everybody should come here and see the situation of these people.” Hacire Akar had turned up at the doorstep of the HDP's Diyarbakır office one night. A week later, on Sept. 3, 2019, families inspired by Akar transformed her solo stance into a collective sit-in protest. Akar's son Mehmet returned home on Aug. 24, showing people that there is still hope. The sit-in protests are seen as a reaction against the outlawed PKK, a terror group that has abducted and recruited their children, as well as the HDP, a political party which many of these families view as in league with the PKK. Since the beginning of their protest, the mothers have received support from all around the country with almost all segments of society expressing solidarity with their cause. Currently, a total of 57 families are participating in the protests. The HDP is accused by the government of having links to the PKK, and accused by the protesting mothers of kidnapping or tricking their children into joining the terror group. 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. Various groups from around Turkey have supported the Kurdish mothers in their cause, with many paying visits to show their support. The party is also known for encouraging young people to join the terrorist organization. That is to say, children abducted by the PKK are first radicalized by the HDP. The would-be recruits are then used as an instrument for propaganda and are forced to work. The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years and has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.