Iraqi VP temporarily residing in Istanbul
Turkish PM Erdoğan (R) shakes hands with Iraq’s fugitive vice President al-Hashimi. AA photoFugitive Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi will be protected by high security staff while staying in Istanbul after holding talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 14 evening.
Two apartments have been rented in the Başakşehir district of Istanbul for al-Hasemi, his family and his guards, who came to Turkey on April 9, daily HaberTürk reported yesterday. The daily said al-Hashemi is being protected during his stay in Turkey by 17 police officers, including one chief police officer from the Turkish Prime Ministry’s Protection Department. Al-Hashimi’s wife and two daughters are guarded by separate police officers. The al-Hasemi family is not staying at a hotel due to security concerns, the daily said. Diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News that it is understood that these measures are taken to provide full security for al-Hashemi during his temporary stay in Turkey. Sources also said al-Hashemi did not make any asylum request from Turkey and that Iraq has not requested extradition of the fugitive leader from Turkey, as it did from Qatar when al-Hashemi was there. Al-Hashemi said some of his family members were with him while others were in Jordan.
Al-Hashemi, however, said he will stay in Turkey for a few days more and that he was waiting for a meeting with the leader of the Kurdish regional government, Masoud Barzani in Istanbul, at an interview on private Kanal 24 news channel yesterday. Al-Hashemi said he would not discuss his return to northern Iraq with Barzani, saying Barzani has already stated his solidarity.
Al-Hashemi told the news channel that he has a total of 280 personal guards, adding that his guards were tortured and one was killed by torture in Iraq. Hashemi said he was in Turkey because he enjoys being in Turkey and Erdoğan has given him many invitations when he was experiencing critical times. He also said he came for routine health checks. Al-Hashemi is wanted by the Iraqi government to face terrorism charges in Baghdad, charges he vehemently denies. He has accused Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of fabricating them to pave the way for one-man rule in Iraq. Al-Hashemi said he had received the support of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, adding that some mislead the Iraqi people, suggesting these countries attempt to engage in Iraq’s domestic affairs. These three countries have no intention of intervening in the domestic affairs of Iraq, said al-Hashemi.