Iraq tells Turkey not to ‘intervene’
BAGHDAD - Agence France-Presse
Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki speaks at a ceremony in this file photo. Al-Maliki criticizes Turkey for intervening its affairs. AP PhotoIraq yesterday criticized neighboring Turkey, Iran and unnamed Arab countries for trying to “intervene” in Baghdad’s political crisis and not respecting its sovereignty.
The statement, posted on the foreign ministry’s website, comes amid tensions between Baghdad and Ankara in particular over Iraq’s claims that Turkey was interfering in internal Iraqi affairs.
It said that since the start of the year, statements from “senior officials in neighboring countries reflect their attempts to intervene in the internal affairs of Iraq and the lack of respect for Iraqi sovereignty and the government elected by the people of Iraq.”
The statement, posted in English and Arabic, continued: “Iraq did not and will not be a follower. It will never be a pawn in the others’ game nor will it be an arena of clearance between the other parties.” “Therefore, we call upon the friendly neighbor, especially Turkey, Iran and some Arab countries to respect the sovereignty and independence of Iraq.”
Iraq falling back into ‘authoritarianism’: HRW
Iraq and Turkey have also been at loggerheads over Baghdad’s claim that Ankara was intervening in Iraqi affairs when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan telephoned Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Jan. 10. Al-Maliki has since criticized Turkey for its remarks, and the two countries have called in each others’ respective ambassadors to express their displeasure.
Apart from the statement, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Iraq is falling back into authoritarianism and headed towards becoming a police state, despite U.S. claims that it has helped establish democracy in the country in its 690-page annual report. “Iraq is quickly slipping back into authoritarianism as its security forces abuse protesters, harass journalists and torture detainees,” Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East director, said in the statement.