Iraq denies visa to Turkish nationalist leader
AA photoThe Iraqi government in Baghdad has refused to issue a visa to Nationalist Movement Party (NHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli for a planned visit to the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk to celebrate the Ramadan bayram holiday with local Turkmens, daily Hürriyet reported today.
The nationalist leader refused to go to Kirkuk via Arbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), because the MHP does not recognize the semi-autonomous government there.
Turkey had issued a diplomatic note to Baghdad and Arbil, requesting that their administrations ensure the leader’s safety during his jaunt.
Ties between Ankara and Baghdad soured after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu paid a visit to KRG leader Masoud Barzani without notifying the central government.
An aide of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the act constituted a clear intervention in Iraq's internal affairs on the part of Turkey and that Baghdad had the right to arrest Davutoğlu.