On October 24, 2019, SETA Brussels will organize a panel entitled “The Child Soldiers of the PKK-YPG” between 18.00 and 20.00 in Brussels. The panel will draw attention to the issue of the PKK’s and YPG’s recruitment of children under the age of 18 in Turkey and Syria.
Time and again many international human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and UNICEF report on the desolate issue of armed child soldiers serving in different geographical regions of the Middle East. They reveal the distracting extent of the radicalization and recruitment of minors who are influenced by recruiters trying to involve children in their terrorist structures.
Recently, mothers of children from Turkey’s southeastern city of Diyarbakır started a sit-in protest in front of the headquarters of the HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party). The mothers demand that the HDP, a political party which is represented in parliament and still keeps close ties to the internationally recognized terrorist organization PKK, bring their recruited children back home.
In order to discuss the burning issue of child recruitment in Turkey and Syria from a social, political, legal, and academic perspective, SETA Brussels has invited academics, experts, and a human rights activist who is a former member of the PKK terrorist group to our panel entitled “The Child Soldiers of the PKK-YPG.” Seeking to also give a platform to the suffering families who have lost their children to the PKK and YPG, a representative of the mothers from Diyarbakır will join and explain their situation on the micro level.
The panel will be opened by a keynote speech by the representative of Diyarbakır mothers whose children have been kidnapped and recruited by the terrorist organization PKK. Dr. Enes Bayraklı, SETA Brussels coordinator, will lead the panel in the company of Aytekin Yılmaz, a former member of the PKK and author of the books Yoldaşını Öldürmek (Killing One’s Own Comrade) and Onlar Daha Çocuktu (They Were Still Children); Talha Köse, chair and associate professor of Political Science at Ibn Haldun University with a main focus on radicalization and extremism; Eva Savelsberg, chairperson of the Berlin-based European Center for Kurdish Studies and staff member of the website www.kurdwatch.org; and Kyle Orton, a researcher on Syria and terrorism.
English-Turkish simultaneous interpretation will be provided. Registration for the event is open until October 22, 2019 and is available via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The number of participants is limited.