Iraq ‘wants’ to improve relations with Turkey
BAGHDAD - Anatolia News AgencyBaghdad is ready to establish peace with Turkey if Ankara ceases to interfere with Iraq’s internal affairs and repatriates its fugitive vice president, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said.
Speaking to a local TV channel, al-Maliki said relations with Turkey are not good and Baghdad wants to mend ties on several conditions. “We will be pleased to see the presence of Turkey and Turkish companies in Iraq if Ankara respects Iraq, doesn’t interfere in our domestic affairs and doesn’t violate Iraq’s airspace,” al-Maliki said.
The prime minister said some positive steps have been taken to ease tensions between the two countries but these efforts were not enough. “For example, it is unacceptable that the Turkish side is provoking the Iraqi people’s feelings by sheltering a person who has received a juridical verdict,” al-Maliki said in reference to Iraq’s fugitive vice president, Tariq al-Hashemi, who is living in Turkey despite having been sentenced to death in absentia in Iraq.
“We are telling the Turkish side that ‘as we extend a hand to you, we hold out the olive branch in the other hand.’ We want good relations with you. If you also offer good relations in return, you will see Iraq’s desire to end the rift,” he said.