PKK committed to redeployment

June 25, 2013 at 9:07 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, June 25 (UPI) -- A settlement process under way by members of Turkish separatist group PKK will proceed despite "obstructions by some forces," its leader said Tuesday.

Abdullah Ocalan, jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, called on his fighters to leave Turkish territory for northern Iraq as part of a peace deal with the government. Pro-Kurdish leaders in Turkey said the formal withdrawal process started last month, though departing combatants said travel was slowed by heavy rains and snow in the mountainous region.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization. The group did not disarm as part of the withdrawal process, though it expressed frustration it was unable to get security guarantees from the Turkish government.

Ocalan said he was committed to the process in a transparent fashion.

"I am determined to proceed with this process despite obstructions from some forces," he was quoted by the Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman as saying in a message published Tuesday. "I believe we will be successful."

He did not elaborate on what he meant by obstructions. The Turkish government has struggled with anti-government demonstrations. Turkish police were criticized for using excessive force to quiet the demonstration though it was unclear if the matter had any bearing on the PKK issue.

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