Delegation from Kosovo visits Kurdish mothers protesting PKK to show solidarity

Published 13.01.2020 23:03
emAA Photo/em
AA Photo

A delegation from Kosovo on Sunday paid a visit to Kurdish mothers who have been staging a sit-in protest for 134 days in a row in front of pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) headquarters in southeastern Diyarbakır province with the aim of saving their abducted children from the clutches of the terrorist group to show their support and solidarity.

Coming from the Mamusa city of Kosovo, the delegation was accompanied by Enerji Bir-Sen Deputy Chairman Erkan Karahan, Eğitim Bir-Sen Diyarbakır Province Chairman Ramazan Tekdemir and Enerji Bir-Sen Provincial Branch Chairman Şerif Yaşar and handed out flowers to the mothers.

Speaking in the name of delegation, Buyar Morina said they came to Diyarbakır to congratulate the blessed struggle of protesting mothers and wish them patience.

Stating that they are praying for mothers to reunite with their kids, Morina said: "Mothers cry out here, and we cry in front of the screen. I hope that you would reunite with your kids abducted by the terror. I think that four months passed in your protest and you are still here despite all weather conditions. We share your pain and tears. We would like to share your joy, too."

This was not the first time that protesting Kurdish mothers were visited by international groups to show their solidarity. Mothers who lost their children in the Srebrenica massacres back in the Bosnian War and ambassadors from foreign missions in Turkey came to Diyarbakır before to show their support for Kurdish mothers protesting in hopes to get their children back from the PKK terrorist organization.

The protest started when Hacire Akar 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, giving hope to other families.

Since the beginning of their protest, the mothers have received support from across the country with almost all segments of society expressing solidarity with their cause. The number of participating families reached 66 when Gülbahar Teker joined the protest last week, coming from Muş for her son who was abducted six years ago at the age of 26.

So far, four families have been reunited with their children who were abducted by the terrorist group.

According to a statement by the Interior Ministry on Nov. 26, the dissolution of the PKK has recently accelerated thanks to successfully conducted counterterrorism operations and strategies in Turkey and abroad.

The statement said significant numbers of terrorists have started fleeing the PKK and surrendering. More than 235 terrorists have surrendered to Turkish security forces in 2019.

Once the terrorists surrender, they are provided with many opportunities including the right to education and the freedom to live without fear and oppression.

They are not treated poorly, are able to contact their families freely and are provided with essential judicial assistance. The Turkish state offers a variety of services to ensure their integration into society.

According to their statements, the ringleaders of the PKK terror group risk the lives of other terrorists to save their own lives and threaten those planning to surrender with torture.

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.

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 to join 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.

Authorities have been supporting the sit-in, while Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu amped up efforts for the mothers. As a result, Mekiye Kaya, one of the abducted children, surrendered after fleeing from one of the PKK's camps in Iraq. Soylu called the family to deliver the good news.

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 35 years and has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.

The PKK's use of child soldiers in its ranks has repeatedly been documented and criticized by international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The groups reportedly trick families into giving up their children or kidnap them and take them to training camps, where they are denied contact with their families.

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