Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki waits for Cabinet members in this photo. EPA photo
Iraq is to “review” relations with Turkey after foreign minister visited the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk without informing Baghdad, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said yesterday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s visit to Kirkuk on Aug. 2 drew a furious reaction from Baghdad and brought already-chilly relations between the two countries to a new low. “The cabinet studied recent developments in Turkish-Iraqi relations and decided to review these relations in light of recent developments in a new cabinet meeting as soon as possible,” Dabbagh said in an emailed statement.
The Cabinet also decided to form a committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani “to investigate the circumstances of the Turkish foreign minister’s visit to Kirkuk and present recommendations to the cabinet,” he said, according to Agence France-Presse.
Iraq’s foreign ministry responded to the visit with a statement saying “it is not in the interest of Turkey or any other party to underestimate the national sovereignty and violate the rules of international relations.” But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
defended the visit, saying it is only normal for “a minister bearing a red passport to visit the Kurdistan Regional Government and then travel to Kirkuk, 40 kilometres from (Arbil) to meet with his kinsmen.”