Turkey and Iran conducted and finished their first ever joint anti-terror operation targeting the PKK terrorist group near the border between March 18-23, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said late Monday.
In a phone call last Wednesday, Turkish and Iranian military officials said the simultaneous and coordinated operation would continue for "some more time."
The two sides said they are determined to continue counterterrorism fight.
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.