TURKEY

Families join forces against PKK's child recruitment

AA Photo

More families in southeastern Turkey joined a sit-in protest outside the provincial office of a Turkish opposition political party long accused by the government of having links to the PKK terror group.

The number of the families taking part in the protest has risen to 13 since a mother, Fevziye Çetinkaya, claimed her 17-year-old son had joined the ranks of the terror group through members of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in Diyarbakır province and started the protest on Sept. 3.

On the same day, three other mothers -- who claim their children were kidnapped by the PKK affiliates -- joined in forces with Çetinkaya, and the number of protesting families have been rising since then.

On Saturday, Necla Çur and her husband Bedirhan Çur from eastern Ağrı province and Güzide Demir from Diyarbakır province also joined the protest in order to raise their voice to save their children from the hands of the terror group.

Mother Çur, 43, told reporters that her son Vahit was kidnapped to the mountains four years ago, when he was 15.

Çur said they decided to join the protest to save their child after they saw the action on the TV.

"I will not leave here without my son. They deceived my son, they brainwashed him, and drugged him," she said, adding that the terrorists intimidate children to stay in the mountains saying that their families would be made to suffer if they return home.

"I want my son," Çur said, noting that she went to the mountains to take her son back three years ago but returned empty-handed.

"When we went there, he came and sat with me. He said 'I want to flee but I'm scared'," she said.

Father Çur, 52, also called on his son to flee the terror group and return home.

Demir also said she has not seen her son for four years, when he was 16 years old.

"I just want my son, nothing else," she said, adding that she came to the building many times to take her son back.

Following the latest addition to the protest, the former head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate Mehmet Görmez voiced support on Twitter.

"We share the cry of mothers whose children are held hostage in the mountains in Diyarbakır," he said, calling on all scholars to support the families.

Last month, another mother, Hacire Akar, staged a similar protest near the party's office. Her son returned home a few days later giving hope to a number of mothers who suffer the same circumstances.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

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