PKK releases boy after protests in Turkey's Diyarbakir

15-year-old boy released by the PKK on Saturday following rising criticism over its recruitment of children which culminated at a sit-in protest by Kurdish families in southeastern Turkey.

PKK releases boy after protests in Turkey's Diyarbakir

World Bulletin / News Desk

A 15-year-old boy persuaded to join the PKK organization was released on Saturday as a sit-in protest by Kurdish families in southeastern Turkey against the recruitment of their children continued uninterrupted.

Yusuf Asan, 15, along with eight others, was brought to the southeastern province of Sirnak in March from his hometown Adana in southern Turkey to join the PKK organization. Asan turned himself in to the security forces, he said he was put into a pickup truck and blindfolded by PKK rebels on June 20 and then left in a central district of Sirnak.

He then traveled alone to Diyarbakir where his family was attending a sit-in protest against the PKK and surrendered. Shortly after a brief interrogation her reunited with his family.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, his father Tahir Asan said, "This is our happiest day. I hope no parents will suffer the same fate and will not cry. We hope all children will return to their families. I thank everyone who made it happen." Asan added that they hope all of those in the "mountains" would return, referring to the PKK hideouts in the mountainous region. His mother, Serivan Asan, said she hoped other children who volunteered for the PKK would regret and return.

Asan said her son "deeply regretted" joining the PKK. "He wanted to return but he was scared. He was too weak when we met and I can still sense his fear," she said.

The PKK announced earlier this week that they would send back child recruits below the age of 16. Dozens of Kurdish families have been staging a sit-in protest in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakir since May 19, demanding the PKK return their children.

Turkish soldier, Specialist Sergeant Ilhan Caliskan, was also released on Saturday, who was abducted by rebels who set his car on fire on May 27 in Diyarbakir's Hani district.

Caliskan arrived in the city in the company of a delegation of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and representatives of local nongovernmental organizations who arranged his release.

The BDP's Diyarbakir representative, Zubeyde Zumrut, told reporters that Caliskan was released upon a call by the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. 

Last Mod: 23 Haziran 2014, 12:10
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