PM invites Maliki, shuns leaders from Israel, Syria
The Justice and Development Party has sent invitations to the leaders of a number of regional countries as well as to world heavyweights in a move to provide an international dimension to its congress where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will run for the leadership of the party for the last time on Sept 30. Hürriyet photoIn the run up to his ruling Justice and Development Party’s major congress on Sept. 30, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has invited his regional foe Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to the event while while avoiding to invite for Israeli and Syrian leaders.
The AKP sent invitations to the leaders of a number of regional countries as well as to world heavyweights in a move to provide an international dimension to its congress where Erdoğan will run for the leadership of the party for the last time. Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani, Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, Libyan and Tunisian leaders and politicians from Balkan and Caucasus are among the invitees.
According to the AFP, al-Maliki also received an invitation from Erdoğan to visit Ankara. Erdoğan “sent an official invitation to Prime Minister al-Maliki a few days ago to visit Ankara,” an official said on condition of anonymity. “It is not certain if he will accept.”
Ties between Iraq and Turkey have been marred by a flurry of disputes this year, most recently Ankara’s refusal to extradite Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who has been sentenced to death in absentia by an Iraqi court.
In August, al-Maliki accused Turkey of treating the autonomous Kurdistan region of north Iraq, with which it has close economic ties, as an “independent state.” Earlier that month, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited the disputed northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk without informing Baghdad, infuriating Iraq and taking relations to a new low.
Two countries whose leaders have not received invitations are Israel and Syria. Turkey reduced its diplomatic representation level and nearly cut off all diplomatic ties with Israel after the Israeli government refused to issue an official apology and pay compensation over the Mavi Marmara incident, which claimed the lives of nine Turks at the hands of Israeli commandos.
Relations with Syria, who was once a good friend, have also recently been severed as Bashar al-Assad failed to listen to Turkey’s advice and continues to impose violence on his own people.
Former German Prime Minister Gerhard Schröder is expected to attend to the convention. Erdoğan’s speech is expected to be translated into seven different languages including Arabic and Russian.