The PKK entered the mountainous regions of northeastern Iraq -- near the Turkish and Iranian borders -- during the era of former President Saddam Hussein (1979-2003), according to a spokesman for Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Wednesday, KRG spokesman Sven Dzai said the terrorist group had established a foothold in the border region “without the consent of the local population or the KRG”.
According to Dzai, the PKK first entered the region in the 1980s -- when Iraq was ruled by Hussein’s Baath Party -- after establishing a presence in neighboring Syria.
The KRG, Dzai said, was now prepared to use “any means necessary” to evict the terrorist group from Iraq’s Kurdish region.
He stressed the KRG’s refusal, however, to take action on Turkish or Iranian territory in its effort to pursue PKK terrorists or members of other separatist groups.
On the KRG’s current relations with Ankara, Dzai described them as “ongoing”, noting that Turkey had never closed any of the border crossings or oil pipelines linking it to the Kurdish region.
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 death of some 40,000 people, including women and children.