Iraq summons Turkish envoy to protest Ankara
BAGHDAD / ANKARA
‘The al-Maliki mentality is annoyed by Davutoğlu’s visit to Kirkuk,’ says Çelik. AA photoA spokesman from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has harshly criticized Nouri al-Maliki’s government in Iraq, indicating there is no end in sight to the escalating tension between the two countries.
The tension has particularly increased after the Iraqi Foreign Ministry sharply criticized a visit by Turkey’s foreign minister to Iraq’s Kirkuk province, saying the ministry had not previously been informed and did not approve of the trip.
Iraq’s government on Aug. 2 said Turkey had violated its Constitution by sending its foreign minister to visit a city at the heart of the dispute between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) without permission.
“The al-Maliki mentality, which was not annoyed at the American occupation of Iraq for years, and the fact that these Americans left behind hundreds of thousands of orphans, is somehow annoyed at Mr. Davutoğlu’s extremely peaceful and well-intended visit to Kirkuk,” Hüseyin Çelik, spokesperson and deputy chair of the AKP, posted on his Twitter account, hours after the statement from Baghdad.
“Who goes where and for what is important,” Çelik said, adding that the result of the move mattered as long as it was made without “compromising the spirit.”
Relations between Iraq, which is close to Shiite Iran, and Sunni Muslim regional power Turkey, were strained at the end of last year, when Iraq tried to arrest one of its Sunni vice presidents who was then given refuge by Ankara.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu visited Iraq’s Kirkuk, an area where control is disputed between Iraq’s Arab-led central government and ethnic Kurdish officials, who run their own region to the north of the country.