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PKK chief beckons Turkish media

July 22, 2013 at 9:12 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, July 22 (UPI) -- Jailed leader of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party said he wants to speak with the Turkish media to discuss the peace process in person.

Abdullah Ocalan, jailed leader of the militant known by its Kurdish initials PKK, delivered a statement to the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party about an ongoing settlement process.

Ocalan in May called on PKK fighters to abandon Turkish territory. Small groups of guerrillas started leaving for Iraq, though PKK supporters said their withdrawal is complicated by security challenges along the border.

Ocalan said he wanted to meet with the Turkish media to address the issue in person. He said conditions at his remote prison facility aren't conducive to an active role in the peace process, though he said he's no pessimist, Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman reported Sunday.

PKK leaders said they were frustrated with the peace process, warning the government last week it was time to take the issue seriously.

Ocalan's health was said to be in decline. The Turkish government denied the rumors last week.

"Speculations made over Ocalan's health could negatively affect the settlement process," a Justice Ministry statement said.

The PKK declared war on the Turkish government in the 1980s.

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