Turkey expecting to mend Iraqi ties

Turkey expecting to mend Iraqi ties

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey expecting to mend Iraqi ties

Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr (C-R) is greeted by Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani (C-L) upon Sadr’s arrival at Arbil airport for a visit to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region in a bid to resolve a crisis between the region and Baghdad.

Ankara sees no further future escalation in tensions with Iraq, and believes Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will launch reconciliation talks with other Iraqi groups to end the country’s political crisis, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Naci Koru said yesterday.

“We’ve signed agreements with the Iraqi central government, which are still in force. Our commercial relations are continuing intensively. Therefore, I hope that those recent confusions and negative remarks will not go further,” Koru said in an interview with the A Haber television channel.

Al-Maliki has problems with others too: Koru

“Al-Maliki’s problem is not only with Turkey and [Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud] Barzani. He has problems with other groups in his country and other nations. Al-Maliki needs to review his vision of the future. We are not pessimistic on this issue,” Koru added.

The official voiced hope that al-Maliki would soon reach out to rival groups. “Stability in the country should be achieved with the support of local groups rather than foreign powers. I think that al-Maliki will have talks with the other groups on the issue,” he said.

Koru suggested that Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashimi, who currently faces terror-related charges in Iraq, would soon return to his country. Al-Hashemi has been staying in Turkey since April 9. Asked about reports that Turkey and Iran have conducted a joint air raid against Kurdish militants based in Iraq’s Qandil Mountains, Koru said he had no information that would confirm such an operation. In comments on the two Turkish journalists missing in Syria for more than a month, the official said Ankara had only unconfirmed information that they were being held in a location near Damascus. The Islamic charity IHH signaled earlier this week that it was close to securing the release of the pair through “humanitarian diplomacy” that had already resulted in the release of two elderly Iranians by the Syrian opposition.