No Hashemi hand-over, says Ankara

No Hashemi hand-over, says Ankara

ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires
No Hashemi hand-over, says Ankara

Iraqi VP al-Hashemi’s stay in Turkey spells more trouble for ties with Iraq. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

A senior government official said Wednesday that Turkey would not extradite fugitive Iraqi Sunni politician Tariq al-Hashemi to Baghdad, saying Turkey had never received a positive answer from Iraq to its extradition requests for outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists believed to be in Iraq.

“We also have some requests from Iraq. The terrorist organization [the PKK], its leaders and members are harbored in that country and attack Turkey from there. We have demanded their extradition but we have not received a positive answer so far,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said in his address to Parliament yesterday. Regarding al- Hashemi’s extradition, he said “[Turkey] won’t extradite someone who the government has supported from the very beginning.” The statement came a day after Interpol issued a red notice for al-Hashemi, who is wanted in Iraq on suspicion of “guiding and financing terrorist attacks.”

Confirming that al-Hashemi is still in Turkey and is receiving medical treatment, Bozdağ said the government’s stance was clear with regard to this issue. It was equally important that Bozdağ recalled that Baghdad had never implemented the bilateral extradition treaty and never arrested the terrorists that Turkey has officially requested the extradition of.

Al-Hashemi arrived in Turkey nearly a month ago after traveling to Qatar and Saudi Arabia, where he sought support in his legal struggle against Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. It would be better for al-Hashemi not to return to northern Iraq in the midst of a political campaign launched by Iraqi political groups to resolve of the crisis between Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish groups, according to diplomatic sources. In the meantime, Turkish President Abdullah Gül repeated that each and every ethnic and sectarian group in Iraq was equally important to Turkey, and that Turkey had never favored one group over another. “For us, Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Turks, and Arabs are all brothers. What we look at is who is on the right path and who is not,” Gül said. Urging Iraqi politicians to embrace all segments of their society without discrimination in a move to stop bloodshed, Gül said, “This is the only thing we want to see in Iraq.”


ARBIL - Agence France-Presse

Thousands took to the streets of Arbil, capital of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, on May 8 as a rally to demand swift punishment for a magazine editor who ran a story decried as “against Islam” turned violent. Demonstrators gathered in front of the Kurdish Parliament building in Arbil to protest the article published in the latest issue of Al-Hamsa (The Whisper), a monthly magazine published in Kurdish and Arabic in the regional capital.

The article relays a conversation between the author of the piece and God, and was deemed offensive to Islam by regional religious leaders, with KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani meeting with Islamic groups on May 7, the same day the publication’s editor Hayman Ari was arrested. On May 8, protesters gathered opposite Arbil’s Parliament compound and began throwing rocks and water bottles at security forces and clashing with riot police. Groups of demonstrators attempted to scale the concrete walls surrounding the compound, while others attacked nearby stores selling alcohol.