Turkish Foreign Ministry calls on CHP to postpone Iraq visit amid violence
ANKARA / BAGHDAD
Chaired by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, a delegation composed of businessmen and journalists is slated to visit Iraq between Aug. 20 and 24. DHA PhotoThe Turkish Foreign Ministry has urged the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to postpone its scheduled four-day visit to Iraq due to growing security problems in the southern neighbor amid a new wave of violence that killed more than 30 people.
Chaired by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, a delegation composed of businessmen and journalists is slated to visit Iraq between Aug. 20 and 24.
However, growing security problems in Iraq that have resulted in dozens of casualties in nearly daily attacks pushed the Foreign Ministry to call on the CHP to postpone the visit.
“We have been notified of the security problems in Iraq. We are in the process of evaluating the situation and the decision will be given accordingly,” CHP sources told reporters Aug. 15.
The ministry’s call was made to Faruk Loğoğlu, deputy leader of the CHP and a former ambassador earlier this week. Loğoğlu, in his press conference on Aug. 12, mentioned the possibility of a postponement given the fact that security conditions in Iraq were worsening.
Kılıçdaroğlu is slated to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Aug. 21 and to visit Kirkuk and the holy Shiite city of Najaf.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hinted at his disturbance with the CHP’s visit to Baghdad during a press conference yesterday. “[Kılıçdaroğlu] can go and make his visit; I have nothing to say on this. It seems the Iraqi prime minister found him [Kılıçdaroğlu] as a counterpart,” he said.
Turkey and Iraq are experiencing a rough patch in ties over the former’s intention to deepen its energy ties with the Iraqi autonomous Kurdistan region amid constitutional problems between the central and regional government.
32 killed in fresh bombings
The ministry’s call came as a wave of car bombs in the Iraqi capital killed 32 people and wounded dozens, after al-Maliki vowed to conduct a campaign against militants to stem spiraling violence. In the deadliest of the blasts across Baghdad, police said one car bomb struck near a bus station in the northern Shiite neighborhood of Khazimiyah, killing eight people and wounding 18.
Another car bomb exploded near a gathering of daily laborers in the Allawi area near the fortified Green Zone where government offices are located, killing six people and wounding 13. In eastern Baghdad, seven people were killed and 15 others were wounded when a car bomb went off near a traffic police office in Baladiyat neighborhood. Also, a car bomb hit a row of shops in the Bab al-Muadham area, killing four people and wounding 12. In western Baghdad, a sticky bomb attached to a cart selling gas cylinders, killed three people and wounded eight others. A car bomb hit near car repairing shops in the city’s northeastern suburb of Husseiniyah, killing four people and wounding 15, police said.
On Aug. 14, al-Maliki said security forces would continue large-scale efforts to hunt militants.
“The operation that we started in chasing terrorists, and those who stand behind them, will continue until we protect our people,” al-Maliki said.
He said more than 800 alleged militants had been detained and dozens of others killed, and that security forces had destroyed militant infrastructure used to make car bombs and seized a large amounts of weapons and explosives.
The premier did not, however, specify when the arrests were made, where the operations took place or who had carried them out.
Security forces have for weeks been carrying out wide-ranging operations in multiple provinces including Baghdad, after brazen July assaults on two major prisons, claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, al-Qaeda’s Iraq wing.
Attacks have killed more than 3,460 people in Iraq since the beginning of 2013, according to figures.