Another Kurdish family, who joined sit-in protests against the PKK terror group in front of the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) headquarters in southeastern Diyarbakır province with the aim of saving their abducted children, has reunited with their child after nearly four years of searching.
Necla and Metin Açan were among the 80 families staging a determined protest that has so far lasted 155 days for the return of their children, who they claim were deceived or kidnapped by the terror group. The Açan family is the fifth family to be reunited with their child.
Harun Açan was abducted by the terrorist group in 2016 when he went to Iraq to find his brother Hakan, who was also abducted by the PKK in 2012.
Running away from the terrorist group's camps in northern Iraq, Açan later surrendered to Turkish security forces. After bringing Açan to Turkey from the Habur border gate in Şırnak province's Silopi district, security forces helped him reunite with his family in Diyarbakır.
The protest started one night when Hacire Akar turned up at the doorstep of the HDP's Diyarbakır office. 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.
The sit-in protests are seen as a reaction against the outlawed PKK, a terror group that has abducted and recruited their children. The families also blame the HDP, a political party many believe is in league with the PKK. 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.
Once the terrorists surrender, they are provided many opportunities, including the right to education and the freedom to live without fear and oppression.
They are treated fairly, 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 and threaten those planning to surrender with torture.
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.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.