Al-Hashemi should stay in Iraq, says Turkish FM
ANKARA / SULAIMANIYA
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, facing an arrest warrant on terror charges, should remain in Iraq but said Turkey would not turn him away if he requested asylum.
“What would be appropriate for us is that Mr. al-Hashemi should stay within Iraqi territory,” said Davutoğlu in televised remarks broadcast by the state-run Turkish Radio and Television (TRT).
Davutoğlu said Turkey’s doors were open to al-Hashemi but that he would prefer the vice president to stay in Iraq and contribute to a solution to political the problems facing his country.
Al-Hashemi, a member of Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority who fled to Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, is the subject of an arrest warrant that has plunged the country into political chaos. Asked about Turkey’s response if the Iraqi leader requested asylum from Turkey, Davutoğlu said, “Our tradition requires us not to say ‘no’ to any statesman who requests asylum from Turkey.”
Meanwhile, al-Hashemi told Reuters in an interview that he had no plans to seek political asylum or flee Iraq. He said he had requested that the case against him be moved to a court in northern Iraq rather than Baghdad where “the executive power controls the judiciary.”
Demand from Turkey
Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani said Dec. 24 that the country’s Sunni vice president, who stands accused of running a death squad, would stand trial only if promises were made regarding its fairness.
“Al-Hashemi will appear in front of a judge at anytime and anywhere in the country where there will be reassurances regarding the processes of justice, investigation and trial.”
In an interview with daily Milliyet, al-Hashemi also said Iran has a desire to seize the power in Iraq in case they lose control in Syria. “Iran wants to have the control over Iraq in case it loses power in Syria. However, Arab Sunnis would pay the cost of that,” al-Hashemi said. When asked what role Turkey could play in solving the crisis, al-Hashemi said he wanted support from Turkey. “We demand Turkey’s support to build a state based on the rule of law, not just to watch from outside,” al-Hashemi said. “If Iraq continues to be unstable, Turkey will be affected too, so Turkey should help ensure a sovereign and stable Iraq.”