Turkey started operations in Qandil Mountains, the PKK terror group's headquarters in northern Iraq, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Monday.
"We have neutralized thousands of terrorists both at home and abroad, and now we are removing Qandil as a threat and source of terrorism for our country and nation," Erdoğan said during a campaign rally in the central Turkish city of Niğde.
According to the president, in an operation with the participation of 20 Turkish warplanes, 14 PKK targets in Qandil Mountains were destroyed.
"Our goal is to drain the biggest of the swamps," Erdoğan said.
The Qandil Mountains, located roughly 40 kilometers southeast of the Turkish border in Iraq's Irbil province, are being used as the headquarters of the PKK and its Iranian affiliate, the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), although the area is under de jure control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The area has frequently been hit by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the last decade.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU. It has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years during which more than 40,000 people have been killed.
More than 1,200 people, including security personnel and civilians, have lost their lives since the PKK resumed its decadesold armed campaign in July 2015.