"After clashes yesterday between the PKK and the Turkish forces, 22 Turkish soldiers were killed. Not more than five PKK soldiers were wounded," Ahmed Danees, head of foreign relations for the PKK, said by satellite phone from an undisclosed location.
"Turkish forces used helicopters to evacuate the wounded."
The mission against the PKK is being conducted in heavy snow, leading some military analysts to suggest that Turkey hopes to use the surprise element of a winter onslaught to wrongfoot the separatists.
Ali al-Dabbagh, the Iraqi government's spokesman, said: "We know the threats that Turkey is facing but military operations will not solve the PKK problem.
"Turkey has resorted to military options, but this never resulted in a good thing."
Al-Dabbagh acknowledged that Turkey was "suffering from the terrorist PKK organisation".
He said Turkish commanders had assured Iraq that the "operation will be a limited one and it will not violate certain standards that they have set".
Iraq's president and prime minister had spoken to Turkish officials, al-Dabbagh said.
A spokesman for Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, said on Thursday that he had telephoned Reccip Tayyib Erdogan, his Turkish counterpart, urging him to respect Iraq's sovereignty.