Iraq PM sends envoy to mend Ankara ties

Iraq PM sends envoy to mend Ankara ties

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Iraq PM sends envoy to mend Ankara ties

US President Obama (R) presses Kurdish Regional Government leader Barzani to reengage with Baghdad amid tensions over the status of fugitive Iraqi VP al-Hashemi.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has sent Ankara an envoy in order to convey his willingness to repair political ties, which have deteriorated since 2010.

Meeting with Turkish officials for two days of talks, Iraqi National Security Minister Falih al-Fayyad delivered al-Maliki’s message that the Iraqi prime minister wanted to recover bilateral relations and Turkey responded positively, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

Following discussions with Foreign Minister Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu in Istanbul on April 4, al-Fayyad met twice with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu yesterday.

The two ministers continued talks at a second meeting late afternoon, aiming to achieve progress in the longstanding political strain between the al-Maliki government and Turkey.

Noting that officials from both Ankara and Baghdad had delivered harsh criticism in their public remarks, the Iraqi minister said his prime minister wanted to end the political standoff and underlined that Turkey was a significant country for Iraq.

During the talks, developments on Syrian crisis were another issue, the Daily News learned.
Al-Fayyad also held talks with Turkish Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin yesterday to discuss ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in the joint struggle against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Ties between the Iraqi prime minister and the Turkish government have been strained since the Iraqi elections in 2010, when al-Maliki claimed that Turkey did not support his appointment as prime minister.

An internal political crisis in Iraq was sparked when the authorities issued an arrest warrant for Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi on charges that he ran a death squad. Turkey slammed al-Maliki, accusing him fueling sectarian tension and delivering open support to al-Hashemi, who was taken under the protection of the head of the Kurdish Regional Administration, Masoud Barzani.

Al-Maliki voiced criticism of Turkish “intervention” in Iraqi affairs, summoning Turkey’s envoy to Baghdad in protest over the “interference.”

Barzani met with U.S. President Barack Obama on April 4, a day after the U.S. president had a phone conversation with al-Maliki, recommending a national conference this week to bridge the sharp differences between rival political blocs in the country.

On the other hand, al-Hashemi, who began a trip earlier this week to Qatar and Saudi Arabia to obtain the support of regional countries, has not been notified of any request to visit Turkey, a Turkish official said. However, Turkey’s doors were always open the Sunni Iraqi leader, the official added.