MIDEAST > Iraq blocks 128 Turkish buses headed for Saudi

BAGHDAD - Agence France-Presse

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Hürriyet photo

Iraq on Thursday refused to allow more than 120 Turkish buses to cross into Saudi Arabia, apparently loaded with Mecca pilgrims, because the passengers did not have visas issued by Baghdad, officials said.

"The government has decided to turn back 128 Turkish buses because they entered (Iraq) without following the procedures in force," Ali al-Mussawi, an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, told AFP.
He said the vehicles had been stopped in preparation for their return to Turkey, without giving the number of passengers.
They entered the country through a border post in the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq and were to have entered Saudi Arabia through the Arar post in the southwest of the country.
But the buses were not allowed through Arar because the passengers' visas had been issued by Kurdish regional authorities and not the central government, other officials said.
"Neither Ankara nor the Turkish embassy in Baghdad contacted Iraqi authorities about the arrival of such a large number" of people and "we don't really know if they are pilgrims," headed for Mecca in Saudi Arabia, said Mussawi.
"It's the first time this has happened." A diplomat at the Turkish embassy, contacted by AFP, declined to comment.
Ties between Baghdad and Ankara have plummeted with Turkey refusing to extradite Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi who has been sentenced to death in absentia and the two countries at odds over the Syrian conflict.
Baghdad also protested against an August visit to Kirkuk in northern Iraq by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu without the central government being informed in advance.


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10/18/2012 8:57:48 PM

This is as low as Iraqi's can get.

Shah Hamdan

10/18/2012 8:42:53 PM

Turkish government is getting wildly insane now. Its moving and hitting walls without fining any way out. Each passing day is adding to her embarrassment and humiliation.

sam stevens

10/18/2012 8:35:35 PM

Sheer arrogance shown by the Turks. This on top of Davutoglu entering Iraq & snubbing the correct channels. Well done Iraq, someone needs to make AKP understand respect for 'others' or as we in the Christian world say; do unto others as you wish done unto you.

Blue Dotterel

10/18/2012 7:08:48 PM

I am sure Turkey would have allowed 128 buses full of people to enter their territory without visas when they needed to have visas. This merely underscores the sectarian nature of the AKP government, and its contribution to ME instability. It is time for regime change in Turkey.

Sid Mark

10/18/2012 6:59:52 PM

I am eagerly awaiting for the news.Would Erdogan stand by Kurds or Iraqies?
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