By Muhammed Boztepe
ANKARA (AA) - In testimony to law enforcement, four confessed terrorists gave vivid details of links between the terrorist PKK and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), a party long accused by Turkish authorities of having links to terrorism, said security sources on Saturday.
The accounts of terrorist links come amid weeks of sit-ins by mothers in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakir, accusing the HDP of abducting their children and forcibly recruiting them to the terrorist PKK.
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.
The terrorist PKK uses a variety of methods to get young people to rural areas and within its ranks, while the HDP prepares the necessary ideological environment, said the surrendered terrorists, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
A 23-year-old surrendered terrorist known as S.C. -- like all the terrorists in this story, identified only by his initials -- said that in 2015 he went to the local HDP offices in the metropolis of Istanbul to volunteer as a campaign worker.
"In October 2015 for 45 days I took ideological lessons on PKK ideology and its women's history, and then I was sent to the HDP provincial offices for two weeks to take lessons on the history of the PKK and its women’s units," he said.
S.C. said later he crossed the border from Nusaybin in the southeastern Mardin province to Syria and joined the terrorist PKK.
B.C., 19 years old, who surrendered this May, said in his testimony that he decided to join the terror group under the influence of his aunt, in 2015, when he was 15 years old.
"I went to the HDP office in Van to register to join the group, then through two of the organization’s couriers I went to northern Iraq," he added.
The PKK often uses northern Iraq to plan cross-border attacks in Turkey.
-Tricked into joining
Nineteen-year-old C.K. testified that his brother joined the terrorist PKK in 2014.
In 2015, when his family was taking part in a public celebration of the spring festival Newroz in Mersin, a woman approached him and said his brother wanted to see him.
The terrorists bought him a plane ticket and the woman took him to the HDP press office in the eastern city of Van.
"At midnight, we crossed the border from the Yuksekova district of Hakkari to Iraq, and this is how I was tricked into joining the PKK at the age of 15," he said.
S.E., who joined the PKK at age 23 in 2014, said that he had told HDP officials in Diyarbakir that he wanted to go to Kobane, a city in northern Syria near Turkey’s border where a siege by terrorist group Daesh began that year.
"I was taken from the HDP provincial building to a house located in the Baglar district of Diyarbakır," he said, adding that the HDP took his ID card.
S.E. said he joined the terrorist group when he went to the Suruc district of Sanliurfa, also in Turkey’s southeast, and from there was taken to Kobane.
*Writing by Dilara Hamit in Ankara