Rocket hits Turkish mission in Baghdad
Vehicles drive past a damaged concrete blast wall outside the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad Jan 18. Three rockets were fired from a vehicle (inset) at the Turkish Embassy in northern Baghdad, one hitting a protective wall without causing injuries. AA photosThree rockets were launched on the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad yesterday and one hit the walls of the embassy, according to Turkish Ambassador in Baghdad Yunus Demirer.
Relations between Iraq and Turkey were already strained due to the actions of Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who is running a death squad, and this last incident may increase tension. However, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was cautious when discussing the incident from Brussels, the Anatolia news agency reported.
A car exploded near the area from where the rockets were launched, and the rocket attack may have been caused by this explosion, Davutoğlu said. Demirer talked with the Iraqi minister of national security following the rocket attack, he added.
Davutoğlu said the attack was being investigated, saying he had held a phone conversation with Demirer confirming details of the attack following the incident. “There have been no casualties at the embassy following the rocket attack. There is no damage to the embassy complex. Pieces of the rocket fell on the street,” Demirer reported.
An investigation is to be launched into whether the target of the attack was the Turkish Embassy. “Our embassy in Baghdad is under the protection of the Iraqi government. We have conveyed the necessary messages to the Iraqi authorities and will closely monitor the developments regarding the rocket attack on our embassy,” Davutoğlu said.
Iraqi officials have confirmed the Turkish Embassy officials were under their protection and talks were underway with the Iraqi National Security Ministry regarding further security for the embassy compound.
Vice Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Ömer Çelik said on his Twitter account the Iraqi government should be sensitive about the Turkish Embassy’s security instead of making statements against Turkey, referring to recent assertions made by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Al-Maliki recently criticized Turkey’s “interventions” in Iraqi affairs, warning Ankara that Turkey could suffer if its actions sparked conflict in the Middle East. “It is our right to demand the full protection of the Turkish Embassy at a time when the Iraqi prime minister is making statements against Turkey,” he posted on Twitter.
“We are extremely worried about the attacks in Baghdad. We hope the region and Baghdad stabilize as soon as possible,” Barham Salih, Kurdish Regional Government prime minister, said during a press meeting in Arbil. “We are concerned with the escalating violence and we are sorry about the latest attack on the Turkish Embassy. We have to cooperate against the terror. We should not let the extremists and terrorists destabilize Iraq and Turkish-Iraqi relations.”