MESOP / REUTERS 21.6.2013 – Karayilan said the peace process had now reached a “critical stage” at which the government must take its own steps as the PKK withdrew. He added his comments could be taken as a “warning”.

“For the democratic resolution process to develop, the PKK has fulfilled its obligations … and we will continue to do so. But the state and the government have responsibilities and in the past three months they have done nothing,” he said. “To resolve the Kurdish issue, the government … must take steps. If it doesn’t, the process will be blocked,” he said. “Doesn’t the government and state need to open up political channels and make Kurdish politics freer? What we see instead is a large majority of Kurdish politicians are still in jail, that (they) are to stay in jail and guerrillas will withdraw.”

“The state is doing what it can to sabotage this process. It is preparing for war. This is creating serious problems for us,” Murat Karayilan, the PKK commander based in Kurdistan region of Iraq, told the Firat news agency.

He pointed to increased military surveillance and the construction of new army posts in the mainly Kurdish southeast as undermining the rebels’ withdrawal, which is expected to take months.