Foreign Minister Davutoğlu ‘worked all night to stop Iraq coup’
Deniz Zeyrek ANKARA
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, attends a ministerial meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to discuss developments in the war-battered Gaza Strip on Aug. 12. AFP PhotoForeign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu worked through the night to avert a coup attempt in Iraq when special forces loyal to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and armored vehicles were deployed across strategic locations in Baghdad late Aug. 10.
Davutoğlu worked until the morning on the night of Turkey’s first presidential elections on Aug. 10. Late on that day, Iraqi police, army and counter-terrorism forces were deployed in unusually high numbers across strategic locations in Baghdad after al-Maliki said he would file a legal complaint against the country’s new president for committing “a clear constitutional violation.”
Al-Maliki, whose coalition won the most seats in April elections, accused President Fuad Masum of neglecting to name a prime minister from the country’s largest parliamentary bloc by the deadline on Aug. 10.
Davutoğlu revealed that Kurds and other groups called him after 1 a.m. on Aug. 11. “They said tanks surrounded the Presidential Palace and we took urgent action. We contacted Washington and tried to stop al-Maliki,” Davutoğlu said.
Asked if the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masoud Barzani, called him, he said: “Yes, Barzani called too.”
During the same night, Davutoğlu also worked on a possible humanitarian corridor between Turkey and Gaza. The foreign minister has said Turkey is seeking to establish an air corridor to evacuate possibly thousands of injured Palestinians.
Four wounded Palestinians from the Gaza Strip arrived in Ankara early on Aug. 11 after being flown in for medical treatment.