PKK makes 'final warning' to Turkish government on settlement process
The terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) issued what they said was a "final warning" to Turkey on Friday to take concrete steps to advance a settlement process aimed at ending a three-decade conflict, or be responsible for it grinding to a halt Today`s Zaman reported.
"As a movement we are warning the [ruling] AKP government for the last time ... If concrete steps are not taken in the shortest time on the subjects set out by our people and the public, the process will not advance and the AKP government will be responsible," the PKK said in a statement on one of its websites.
The reforms include steps to boost the rights of the Kurdish minority, including abolishing an anti-terrorism law under which thousands have been imprisoned for links to the PKK, granting full Kurdish-language education and lowering the threshold of votes which parties need to enter parliament.
As the process has faltered, there has been an increase in militant activity in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey, which commentators say will complicate the government's task of enacting reforms without inflaming nationalist sentiment.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invested considerable political capital in the process ahead of elections next year and is facing the biggest test of his decade in power after weeks of often violent anti-government protests.
Justice Ministry: Ocalan in good health
The Turkish Justice Ministry denied rumors spread in the media about Ocalan's health with a written statement published on its website on Friday stating that the PKK leader is in a good health.
The ministry said the medical examination results of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and a health examination by several doctors on Thursday both showed that Ocalan is in good health. "Speculations made over Ocalan's health could negatively affect the settlement process," the statement added.
The PKK said there had been repeated calls for Ankara to allow an independent team of doctors to visit Ocalan on the prison island of Imrali, south of Istanbul, but the government had failed to respond. Ocalan, known by his followers as Apo, is known to suffer from an eye ailment.
The PKK, designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and European Union, also accused the government of supporting opposition groups involved in clashes with Kurds in northern Syria. Ankara rejects those accusations.
A Syrian Kurdish party with links to the PKK seized control this week of a Syrian town on Turkey's border after days of clashes with Syrian opposition fighters, prompting Ankara to repeat its vocal opposition to an autonomous Kurdish region emerging there.
"We have always said that de facto situations on a sectarian or ethnic basis in Syria are unacceptable and will result in greater crises," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a news conference in Ankara that Turkey had always opposed the emergence from the conflict of autonomous regions along sectarian or ethnic lines, warning they would "result in greater crises."