Turkish envoy can’t get meeting from al-Maliki
ANKARA / BAGHDAD
Followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr chant anti-US slogans in the rally.Turkey’s ambassador to Baghdad, Yunus Demirer, has been unable to obtain an appointment with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki since taking office Dec. 1, 2011, daily Hürriyet reported yesterday.
Demirer has met with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Masoud Barzani, the president of the regional Kurdish administration, but has remained unable to meet with al-Maliki despite asking for a meeting.
Diplomatic relations between Iraq and Turkey are tense after al-Maliki accused Ankara of intervening in Iraq’s internal affairs after a crisis erupted between Shiite and Sunni political groups.
Sadrists mark departure of US ‘occupiers’
Meanwhile, supporters of anti-US Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose militia fought pitched battles with American forces, yesterday officially celebrated the departure of the “occupiers” from Iraq.
The last American soldiers except for a small number under U.S. embassy authority departed Iraq in mid-December, after almost nine years in the country. But the official Sadrist celebration was held yesterday after the end of Arbaeen, the 40-day period of mourning following the Ashura commemorations, Agence France-Presse reported.
Tens of thousands of people turned out for the event, which was held in Sadr City in northern Baghdad. “The armies of resistance terrified the occupiers, so they left after they lost,” Moqtada said in a recorded message broadcast on a large screen at the celebrations. American forces “turned from being a liberating army, as they said, into an occupying army,” he said.