Hashemi promises to return back to Arbil
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Iraqi Kurdish leader Barzani poses for the media before a meeting with PM Erdoğan in Istanbul. REUTERS photoFugitive Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi told Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani yesterday that he intends to return to Arbil despite Baghdad’s demands that he surrender himself to face charges of leading a death squad. “Our meeting was very useful and productive as usual. I will go back to Arbil as I promised,” al-Hashemi told the Hürriyet Daily News following the meeting in Istanbul.
Al-Hashemi and Barzani met in Istanbul after the latter held a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Iraqi vice president said he exchanged views with Barzani on various issues.
“I gave him information about my trip to Gulf countries, and he gave me information about his visit to the United States,” he said.
Al-Hashemi, a Sunni, fled to northern Iraq after being accused of running a death squad by Iraqi authorities and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, but the vice president has dismissed the allegations as politically motivated. The vice president is currently sheltering in the autonomous Kurdish region, which he left for a regional trip taking in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Al-Hashemi is presently residing with his family and guards at an apartment in Istanbul’s Başakşehir district.
Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay and Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ferdiun Sinirlioğlu also attended yesterday’s meeting between Barzani and Erdoğan. The meeting, which was closed to the press, last around two hours.
Bilateral relations, regional developments and the fight against terrorism were on the meeting’s agenda, according to Anatolia news agency. Barzani last visited Turkey in January, when the two sides made plans to further their cooperation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has camps in territory controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq.
DOZENS DEAD IN IRAQI BLASTS
More than 20 bombs hit cities and towns across Iraq yesterday, killing at least 36 and wounding almost 150, police and hospital sources said, raising fears of sectarian strife in the country.
In Baghdad, three car bombs, two roadside bombs and one suicide car bomb hit mainly Shi’ite areas, killing 15 people and wounding 61, the sources said. Two car bombs and three roadside bombs aimed at police and army patrols in the northern oil city of Kirkuk killed eight people and wounded 26, police and hospital sources said. It was Iraq’s bloodiest day since al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the country, the Islamic State of Iraq group, allegedly killed at least 52 people with a series of 30 blasts on March 20. No group has yet claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attacks.