Turkey denies role in Iraq’s political crisis

Turkey denies role in Iraq’s political crisis

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey denies role in Iraq’s political crisis

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) welcomes Iraqi Kurdish Regional leader Massoud Barzani before a meeting in Ankara, April 20. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Turkey’s Foreign Minister ruled out polarization between Turkey and Iran over the political crisis in Iraq, as it emerged that Ankara has sent a warning message to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, through Tehran that the Iraqi prime minister’s confrontational policies would isolate him in the region.

Speculations that Iran was backing al-Maliki in his conflict with Turkey were not correct, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said. “So far such a polarization has never been an issue, and from now on we won’t let it happen,” Davutoğlu told reporters yesterday in a joint press conference with his counterpart from Cameroon, Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo.

During al-Maliki’s visit to Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi called him twice by phone, Davutoğlu said. Salehi briefed the Turkish minister before and after al-Maliki’s visit to Tehran, Daily News has learned. In the phone conversation, Davutoğlu underscored that al-Maliki’s confrontational attitude would isolate him in the region. Davutoğlu complained about the Iraqi leader’s statement against Ankara which said “Turkey was becoming a hostile country.” Even the Syrian leader has not made such a statement, the Turkish minister told his Iranian counterpart, Daily News learned.

Turkey is not involved in Iraq

“Turkey has never been a part of the political conflict or the sectarian agenda in Iraq,” Davutoğlu said in the press conference, elaborating on al-Maliki’s imputation that Turkey was intervening in Iraq’s domestic politics. The political crisis in Iraq emerged without interference from Turkey, he added. Those were signals that everyone should act virtuously, the minister said, stressing the importance of unity for Iraq.

Commenting on al-Maliki’s unease about Iraq’s fugitive Vice President Tarıq al-Hashemi, Davutoğlu said many political leaders were visiting Turkey just as the Iraqi prime minister’s envoy did two weeks ago. “We always keep our doors open to all leaders in our region,” he said.

While in Turkey, al-Hashemi met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Davutoğlu and Mustafa Kamalak, leader of the Felicity Party. Speaking after his meeting with Kamalak, al-Hashemi said if al-Maliki had agreed to enact the Erbil Agreement then there would be no problem with the continuation of al-Maliki’s prime ministry.