Turkey's main opposition flouts anti-terror sit-in, backs terror suspects: President

Turkey's main opposition flouts anti-terror sit-in, backs terror suspects: President

CHP chief fails to visit families in Diyarbakir fighting to reunite with children abducted by PKK terrorists, says Erdogan

By Ferdi Turkten and Aybuke Inal Kamaci

RIZE, Turkey (AA) - Turkey's president on Saturday accused the main opposition party in the country, the Republican People's Party (CHP), of failing to back families whose children have been abducted or forcibly recruited by the PKK terrorist group, though it protested in support of terror suspects.​​​​​​​

Speaking in the northern province of Rize, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that while CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu led a protest march in support of members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) right after the group's defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, he has yet to visit families in southeastern Turkey demonstrating for over two years against the PKK terror group.

"Kilicdaroglu, who marched from Ankara to Istanbul for members of FETO, hasn't once visited the families of Diyarbakir who are fighting to reunite with their children," Erdogan said at a meeting of the Justice and Development (AK) Party, referring to the families' sit-in protest in the province of Diyarbakir.

He accused the CHP of not supporting these families as much as it did former public officials who had been dismissed from duty due to suspected terror ties.

Beginning on Sept. 3, 2019 with a handful of mothers who started the sit-in outside the office of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which they accused of playing a role in their children's disappearance, it grew day by day as many other parents were inspired to join the protest for the sake of their abducted or forcibly recruited children.

In the defeated coup of July 2016 orchestrated in Turkey by FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen, 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.

Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

"They opposed every step that we took for the sake of our country's survival, our nation, and our brothers, including Turkey's natural gas exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean," Erdogan said.

He also accused the main opposition of not supporting Turkey's trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria -- Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), Peace Spring (2019) -- and Turkey's military operations in Libya, Iraq, and Karabakh.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz.

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