Turkey denies Iraqi claim of supporting anti-government protesters
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Iraqi acting Defence Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi speaks to the media during a memorial ceremony for soldiers killed by militants, in Baghdad May 5, 2013. REUTERS/Saad ShalashA Turkish Foreign Ministry official strictly denied an Iraqi minister’s claim suggesting that Turkey was behind anti-government protests in the country.
“Iraqi officials should focus on their internal problems rather than seeking the source of the problem outside their country,” the same official told the Hürriyet Daily News.
Acting Defense Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi on May 5 accused Turkey of controlling Sunni anti-government protests in Shiite-majority Iraq, saying the demonstrations were a haven for “terrorists and killers.” “There are foreign agendas controlling these sites,” al-Dulaimi said of the protests.
“It is like Anbar, Mosul or Samarra are part of the Ottoman Empire,” he said, referring to Sunni areas in Iraq.
Areas of what is now Iraq were part of the Ottoman Empire, which was governed from Istanbul in what is now Turkey, before the empire’s dissolution after World War I.
Ties between Baghdad and Ankara have been strained by issues including Turkey’s hosting Tareq al-Hashemi, Iraq’s fugitive former vice president who has been sentenced to death on charges including murder.