As Turkish incursions into Iraqi Kurdistan continued and Turkey went as far as bombing areas over 200 miles (nearly 400 km) from its borders, Iraqi defence minister Juma Inad said that Turkey’s airstrikes on Iraqi soil were “a justified breach”.
Asked by a journalist during the Al-Rafidain Centre for Dialogue Forum on 30 August in Najaf about his stance on Turkish bombing on Iraqi soil, Inad said, “Turkey is not violating Iraqi sovereignty, it is a justified breach,” because of the presence of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters in the area.
When the journalist pressed him on why the strikes were not a breach of sovereignty, Inad raised his voice, shouting “Don’t provoke me!” before slamming his microphone onto the table next to him.
The reporter persisted, and Inad got out of his seat and began to walk off the stage.
Inad also said during the panel that Iraqi Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces should expel PKK fighters from northern Iraq.
He indicated that Iraq’s federal forces would assist their Kurdish counterparts in forcing out PKK fighters, but that their support was limited.
“If we had enough strength, and didn’t have issues such as the Islamic State, we would have rooted out the PKK,” he added.
Inad had expressed interest in buying Turkish military hardware a day before the panel.
Speaking on Iraqi television after attending an international defence exhibition in Istanbul, he said that Iraq had “reached a consensus” with Turkey concerning the purchase of the Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle, or drone.
He also stated that his government “intended to purchase” twelve T129 ATAK twin-engine, all-weather attack helicopters and had “sent a request to buy” six of Turkey’s KORAL electronic warfare systems.
Turkey met no reaction from the Iraqi government as it conducted airstrikes over 200 miles from its border on 24 August, destroying agricultural fields and farmlands in the Penjwen and Sharbazher districts of the Sulaymaniyah province in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Turkish airstrikes on 16 and 17 August in Sinjar (Shengal), an area nearly 60 miles (100 km) away from the Turkish border, killed eight people in a medical centre and two in the old market vicinity, one of whom was a Yazidi commander who had led the organisation of self-defence units during the Yazidi genocide by the Islamic State in 2014.