Recently published in an EGM report, the research, conducted in 15 provinces including İstanbul, Ankara, Mersin, İzmir and Adana, indicates that the PKK started exploiting children more after the law came into effect in 2010 and reveals that children under 16 were present in greater numbers at PKK demonstrations in 2011. According to the research, the PKK has also been recruiting children released by prosecutors.
There has been a 50 percent increase in the number of children being exploited by the PKK since the law came into effect, especially in the eastern cities of Hakkari and Şırnak, the report says, and relates how the terrorist organization gets children to throw Molotov cocktails and burn vehicles to begin with and then tries to recruit them to the mountains where the PKK is based.
At a workshop held by provincial security general directors in Ankara's Kızılcahamam province last weekend, the law, which was eased for minors accused of fighting with security forces, was criticized by members of the law enforcement office. They are expected to be in touch with the Justice Ministry in regards to the law and its consequences.
The relevant amendments to the Counterterrorism Law (TMK) in 2010 provided that children who attend illegal meetings and demonstrations or distribute propaganda for outlawed organizations cannot be tried on charges of terrorism in high criminal courts, but are to be heard in special juvenile tribunals. As a result of the changes, hundreds of children who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms in the past were released. The law also reduced the minimum prison sentence for anyone taking part in illegal protests from one-and-a-half years to six months.
Meanwhile, the EGM report says that more Molotov cocktails and bombs were used in 2011 than in 2010 in PKK-related acts of violence, revealing that the use of Molotov cocktails increased by 300 percent, explosives by 500 percent and the use of firecrackers as weapons rose by 600 percent at terrorism-related demonstrations in 2011.