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PKK gives warning to Turkish leaders

July 19, 2013 at 12:06 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, July 19 (UPI) -- The militant Kurdistan Workers' Party said Friday the ruling Justice and Development Party in Turkey was standing in the way of the peace process.

Abdullah Ocalan, jailed leader of the rebel group known by its Kurdish initials, PKK, called on Kurdish guerillas to abandon Turkish territory following peace talks Turkish authorities. Fighters started leaving for northern Iraq early this year.

A PKK offshoot, the Kurdistan Communities Union, said the ruling Justice and Development Party was turning a blind eye to attacks by armed groups against PKK guerillas near the southern Turkish border with Syria.

The organization gave Turkish authorities a "final warning" to take concrete action on the peace process.

Ruling officials will be "responsible for the deadlock the process faces unless concrete steps are taken as soon as possible," a statement published Friday by Turkish newspaper Hurriyet said.

PKK fighters did not disarm as they withdrew from Turkish territory. They expressed frustration they were not offered any security guarantees from the government.

Ocalan is said to be in failing health, though Hurriyet cited government officials who said he was receiving adequate medical care at his remote prison facility.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week he is committed to the peace process with the PKK.

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