Al-Hashemi in Turkey is like the PKK in Baghdad, Iraqi PM says

Al-Hashemi in Turkey is like the PKK in Baghdad, Iraqi PM says

Al-Hashemi in Turkey is like the PKK in Baghdad, Iraqi PM says

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. AFP Photo

Turkey’s continued sanctuary to Iraq’s fugitive vice president is akin to Baghdad inviting outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leaders to the Iraqi capital, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said, calling on Ankara again to cease interfering in Iraq’s affairs.

“Unfortunately, Turkey [welcomes] Iraq’s opposition. [Fugitive Vice President] Tariq al-Hashemi is in Turkey,” al-Maliki said according to daily Hürriyet. “What happens if I host PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in Bagdad? How would you feel? Would Turkey and Turkish people accept this?”

Al-Maliki also denied claims that Baghdad was hosting the PKK, stressing that they were working against the organization.

“I never see any PKK [members] in Baghdad,” he said.

“There are two big problems about fighting against the PKK. The first one is that the PKK lives in mountains, in tough terrain. The second one is that the PKK is located in northern Iraq. And now, northern Iraq has to solve the PKK problem,” al-Maliki said. “If the military enters northern Iraq, clashes will occur; it will turn a civil war, and Iraqi people will die. I do not want this.”

"Iraq wants to open new chapter with Turkey"

ANKARA - Agence France-Presse

Iraq wants a new start to improve its strained relations with Turkey and is extending an olive branch to its neighbour, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said.

"The current situation does not satisfy anyone, neither the Iraqi nor the Turkish people," Maliki was quoted as saying by Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper in an interview conducted in Baghdad.

"We want a new start to our political relations with Turkey," he said, adding that he wanted to extend "a hand of friendship" to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

"Despite our differences, we would like to have a good dialogue with Turkey. I am extending an olive branch, we would like to cooperate in all areas with Turkey. But Turkey must not interfere in Iraqi internal affairs."

On Tuesday, Iraq barred the plane of Turkey's energy minister from landing in Arbil, who was reportedly on his way for the completion of an oil and gas development deal.
And in November, Iraq blocked Turkish national energy firm TPAO from bidding for an oil exploration contract, a decision Erdoğan said was not "smart business," and accused Baghdad of acting "childishly".