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Iraqi defence minister angered by Turkish airstrike question

'Don't provoke me!': Iraqi defence minister infuriated by Turkish airstrike question
2 min read
31 August, 2021
Iraqi Defence Minister Juma Inad lost his temper when a journalist asked him about his stance on Turkish airstrikes on Iraqi territory.
A journalist pressed Inad on why Turkish air strikes are not a breach of Iraqi sovereignty [Getty]

Iraq's defence minister snapped at a journalist on Monday for probing him on Turkish airstrikes in northern Iraq.

Defence Minister Juma Inad was part of a panel on Iraqi security at the Al-Rafidain Centre for Dialogue Forum on Monday when a journalist asked him about his stance on Turkish bombing on Iraqi soil.

"Turkey does not violate 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 are not a breach of sovereignty, Inad raised his voice, shouting "Don't provoke me!" before slamming his microphone onto the table next to him.

When the reporter persisted, Inad got out of his seat and began to walk off the stage.

Turkish airstrikes have rained down on parts of Iraqi Kurdistan and on the northwestern Iraqi district of Sinjar over the past weeks. 

Ankara says the bombing is necessary to root out the PKK and stop the Kurdish militant group from conducting attacks inside Turkey.

Last week, Turkey's military said that warplanes struck 28 PKK targets in Iraqi territory, including bunkers and weapons caches. 

However, some of the bombings have caused civilian casualties.

An airstrike on a clinic in Sinjar killed eight people. Four employees of the clinic were killed and the rest fighters from the PKK-linked 80th Brigade of Iraq's powerful, state-sponsored Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) coalition.

Turkey denied that it had targeted a clinic, saying that it instead hit a facility housing PKK members.

Iraq has long condemned airstrikes on its territory, but it has also repeatedly asked the PKK to leave the country.

Inad said at the conference that if the Iraqi security forces had the capacity, they would expel the PKK from Iraqi territory itself - without the help of the Iraqi Kurdish forces that handle security in the country's north.