Another family joins protest against PKK’s child recruitment
The number of families staging a sit-in outside the provincial office of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır and claiming their teenage children joined the ranks of the group through members of the party reached 28 as of Sept. 13.
The protest started on Sept. 3 after a mother, Fevziye Çetinkaya, said her 17-year-old son was forcibly recruited by the PKK.
The Turkish government accuses the HDP of providing support to the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.
Fatıma Bingöl, a 45-year-old mother, told Anadolu Agency her 14-year-old son went missing five years ago.
“One day he said he was going to look for a job and never came back,” she said.
“I am constantly looking for him. I haven’t abandoned him. I will do whatever I can for him, even sacrifice myself. The [HDP] party says: ‘Don’t worry about your son. He is there.’ However, I haven’t heard anything about him.”
The father, Şevket Bingöl said his son was deceived by the HDP and kidnapped and taken to the mountains. He said he will continue his protest until his son comes home.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan voiced support for the families on Sept. 13, saying that the number of protesters may swell to the thousands. “The state is with you,” he said. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu also visited the families on Sept. 13.
Meanwhile, jailed HDP former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş also sent a message of support to the families.
“The wish of a mother and a father to reunite with their children is rightful and legitimate without any preconditions,” he said.
The PKK should respond to the demands of the families in the first place, he added, although alleging that the sit-ins were being “exploited” to criminalize the HDP.