In Turkey's southeastern Diyarbakır province, several families are observing Eid al-Fitr – ordinarily a joyous occasion marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan – with heavy hearts.
They are among many that have been ripped apart by the PKK terror group, living through unimaginable pain ever since their children were abducted or forcibly recruited by the terrorist organization.
Since Sept. 3, 2019, hundreds of families have been camped outside the Diyarbakır offices of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which the Turkish government says has links with the PKK.
Of the 287 families that have joined the sit-in over more than two years, 35 have been reunited with their children, enough to lift the hopes and further strengthen the resolve of all the others.
Ayten Elhaman, a mother at the protest, has not heard from her son Bayram for four years, but remains hopeful that he will return one day.
Vowing to never give up on her son, she appealed to all youths “to stop believing the PKK and HDP.”
“Run away and take refuge with your mothers and the (Turkish) state,” she said, clutching a photo of her son.
Esmer Koç, another mother, said her daughter Zübeyde went missing nine years ago, and she will do whatever it takes to bring her back to safety.
“I will not leave without my daughter,” she said, calling on her daughter “to run away and surrender.”
Abdullah Demir, a father, has been searching for his son Fatih for six years. Demir said he has spent a dozen Eid holidays without his son and does not want to see yet another one pass in his absence.
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