Turkey hits back in row with Baghdad
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily NewsIraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s remarks targeting Turkey and the summoning of the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad are unacceptable, the Iraqi embassy’s number two was told after being summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry late April 24 in a tit-for-tat move.
As tensions linger between Turkey and the Baghdad government, Ankara is planning no immediate move to try to ease the row and is instead waiting for al-Maliki to take action, assuming that his “increasing isolation” will inevitably push him to mend fences. Al-Maliki charged that Turkey was becoming a “hostile” state with a sectarian agenda, after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused his Iraqi counterpart of being “self-centered.” In the meeting at the foreign ministry, Iraqi charge d’affairs Sudat Hıdır was also told that Turkey has no sectarian designs for Iraq, has no intention to meddle in Iraqi domestic affairs and favored contact with all Iraqi groups, a Turkish diplomat said. “But we indicated that we care about the domestic situation in Iraq as much as other neighbors do,” he added.
Baghdad has made no demand from Turkey so far to hand over Iraq’s Sunni Vice President, Tareq al-Hashimi, who faces terror-related charges as part of simmering political tensions with al-Maliki. Al-Hashimi, who has been staying in Turkey for some time, held talks late April 24 with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to review the situation in bilateral ties. Ankara believes that Baghdad will not run the risk of fuelling more tensions by making a formal request for al-Hashimi’s handover.