Turkey and Iran carried out a joint operation against the PKK terrorists, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said Monday.
"We started staging a joint operation with Iran against the PKK on our eastern border as of 08:00 p.m. (0500 GMT) this morning," Soylu said.
Soylu noted that the government will announce the results soon.
The PKK and its Iranian affiliate, the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) use the Qandil mountains, located roughly 40 kilometers southeast of the Turkish border in Iraq's Irbil province, as headquarters for the terrorist group.
Although the PKK was headquartered in Syria until 1998, currently, the terrorist organization is now controlled from its headquarters in northern Iraq's Qandil Mountains. The Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) serves as an umbrella group for terrorist groups functioning under the names of the PKK in Turkey, the Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party (PÇDK) in Iraq, the PJAK in Iran and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria and its armed wing the People's Protection Units (YPG), which currently control some one-third of the Syrian territory and dominate the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) group.
PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan stated in an interview with the Iraqi television network Zelal in 2013 that "I founded the PYD as I did the PJAK."
Formed in 1978, the PKK terrorist group has been fighting the Turkish state for an independent state, although it shifted its goal towards autonomy in later years. Its terror campaign has caused the deaths of more than 40,000 people. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi army and the PKK terror group engaged in fierce clashes that left two Iraqi soldiers dead on Sunday in the Sinjar district of Nineveh in northwestern Iraq, the Iraqi army said in a statement.
The clashes erupted after PKK terrorists were denied passage through an army checkpoint, the statement said, adding that the terrorists drove their vehicle into a soldier and attacked the checkpoint.
The army said five terrorists were wounded in the fighting.
"Fierce clashes erupted between the Iraqi army and PKK fighters in Sinun town in Sinjar," SNG news agency quoted an unnamed security source as saying earlier on Sunday.
The security source said that at least four Iraqi soldiers were wounded, while one PKK terrorist was killed.
Security reinforcements were deployed across the region to bring the situation under control, the report added.
Iraqi Parliament member Şirvan Duberdani told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the use of force under the command of the federal government of Iraq, the collaboration of coalition forces and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq is the only solution to clear Sinjar from the PKK.
"We do not exactly know the existence of PKK in the region. According to the information we received, there are a thousand militants and tens of camps and tunnels. In these camps, PKK militants are trained," said Duberdani.
The Turkish Armed Forces regularly conduct cross-border operations in northern Iraq, a region where PKK terrorists have hideouts and bases from which to carry out attacks in Turkey.
On Saturday, six terrorists were killed during an anti-terror operation while two Turkish soldiers were killed and eight others were injured. In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The terrorist organization isn't just active in Turkey but operates throughout the region, particularly in Syria and Iraq.
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