Parents continue to protest in front of HDP building in southeastern Diyarbakir province against the PKK/YPG terror group for forcibly recruiting their children.
Dozens of families in Turkey’s southeast on Wednesday marked 100 days of protest against PKK terror group which they accuse of kidnapping their children.
The protest started in September in Diyarbakir province when one mother, Fevziye Cetinkaya, accused PKK of forcibly recruiting her underage son with the help of members of the HDP, which is accused by the Turkish government of having links to the terror group.
Since then, the number of protesting families has been growing, as they demand the return of their children, who, they say, were deceived or kidnapped by PKK terrorists.
Aysegul Bicer is one of many Kurdish mothers tirelessly protesting outside the provincial HDP building.
Bicer’s son left home on November 17, 2018 in the morning. On November 19, 2018, they received a phone call informing them that the child was recruited by YPG terrorists and taken to the mountain.
The YPG is the PKK's Syrian wing.
“Many of our youths are now lying in graves, half of them are in the mountains, half in prisons. We do not accept it,” she said.
The family has no intention to give up on their child; the mother and father say they have a strong belief their son will return.
“We will eventually be reunited as a whole family and live in peace as it used to be,” said Rauf Bicer, the father.
‘I could do anything for my family’
Both the mother and father of the child said they are not afraid of any threats that they have been receiving.
“We are constantly being threatened by the youth branches of the HDP,” Aysegul said. "On the 5th or 6th day of the protest, three men came to our door with guns ... they ambushed us. The masked men said if you continue protesting, we will kill you here and we will kill your son on the mountain," she added.
"I work in construction and I have a good reputation. Earning money is not a problem for me, I could even work as a shoe shiner or a sanitation worker and take care of my family financially. I have no arrogance, all I want is the return of my child. I could do anything for him, for my family,” Rauf said:
“I pray for other families (as well). I pray and I want them to have their children in their arms as soon as possible. Because I’m well aware that there is no selfishness in the heart of any mother. We all know what the pain is like and how it’s tearing us apart day by day. I’m also fighting for others,” Aysegul said.
The families of fallen soldiers and veterans also visited the sit-in site to show solidarity with the protesting families.
“The families of martyrs and veterans came here to support us and said ‘your pain is our pain. At least we have a grave to be consoled. Your pain is much bigger than we have.’ We are so honoured with this brotherhood. We were very touched. This is the greatest proof that we are one and united,” the father said.
313 children recruited in 2018
According to the UN's Children and Armed Conflict report, the YPG has recruited 313 children in 2018, up from 224 in 2017.
The report said that nearly 40 percent of children recruited were girls – 20 of them under 15 years of age.
In its 30-year terror campaign against the Turkish state more than 40,000 people, including women and children, have been killed.
Turkey, the US and the EU recognise the PKK as a terrorist organisation.