By Ahmet Salih Alacaci
ANKARA (AA) – Former PKK/KCK terrorists in Turkish custody have described in detail how children were coerced or misled into joining the group.
It is widely known that the terror group recruits large numbers of children — in many cases kidnapping them — from the regions where it is active.
A.Y., identified only by his initials, said he was abducted along with 15 other people aged 12-20 from a festival and taken to northern Iraq.
“I was able to escape somehow three days later,” A.Y. said.
Another former terrorist was picked up from his home in Turkey’s southeastern Mardin province.
“I was taken to a training camp in Iraq. Here, I was trained with roughly 250 other children,” he said.
Others were tricked into joining the group with false promises of monetary benefits.
O.B. in a confession to security forces said that PKK terrorists had promised to provide 2,000 Turkish liras ($330) every month to their families.
At an office of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), H.A. was told by a terrorist they would be “rich” and “comfortable” if they joined the PKK.
Others like B.R. were targeted for refusing to join at first.
“Those who did not take part in these acts were branded as agents and marginalized.
“They [the PKK] did not hesitate to push us into the fire. Many members who were looking to flee the organization during the operations [by security forces] were executed.”
Another former terrorist — forced into the group at 13 — related that children as young as 11 years old were taken to assassin training camps in the Gara region of Iraq.
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 nearly 40,000 people.