ANKARA, Turkey, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- A leader from a pro-Kurdish organization in Turkey said Monday the government has commitments to make to ensure a peace process with the PKK moves forward.
Abdullah Ocalan, jailed leader of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party, known by its Kurdish acronym PKK, called on Kurdish fighters to abandon Turkish territory as part of a peace plan announced in March.
The process has fizzled with each side blaming the other for not living up to obligations. Last week, the Turkish government offered concessions to the Kurdish minority but voted on a mandate to permit cross-border raids into Iraq to take on PKK fighters.
Turkey submitted its first motion for cross-border attacks in 2007. The current mandate expires Oct. 17
Murat Karayilan, a rebel commander, said Monday the government should appoint a third party to monitor a cease-fire, endorse concessions and improve Ocalan's prison conditions.
"If steps are taken in line with these three important issues, the process could move forward," he was quoted as saying by Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman. "Otherwise, the process will be totally blocked."
Turkish media report as many as 50,000 people have lost their lives since the conflict began more than 30 years ago.