Turkish FM talks with Iraqi parties

Turkish FM talks with Iraqi parties

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish FM talks with Iraqi parties


While the Justice and Development Party (AKP) held its big party congress, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was set to meet separately with the leaders of Iraqi political parties when the Daily News went to press, each hailing from different segments of the country, who also participated in the congress gathering yesterday.

Davutoğlu was scheduled to meet with Iraqi Parliament Speaker al-Nujaifi, Leader of Iraq National Future Gathering Rafi Hiyad al-Issawi, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and head of the Front for National Dialogue Saleh al-Mutlaq, and one of Muqtada al-Sadr’s aides, Mustafa Al-Yaqubi. The foreign minister is expected to meet Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani today.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was also invited to the AKP Congress, but the Iraqi politician declined the invitation. Al-Maliki expressed regret but said he could not accept the invitation as “his schedule is crowded and he is busy.”

Ties between Iraq and Turkey have been marred by a flurry of disputes this year, most recently Ankara’s refusal to extradite Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who was sentenced to death in absentia by an Iraqi court in September.

Davutoğlu’s talks with Iraqi politicians come as the neighboring country continues to struggle with intense political clashes among its diverse religious and ethnic groups.

Amid such an environment, the country is preparing for the 2013 provincial and the 2014 general vote which are expected to shape Iraq’s future following the withdrawal of U.S. troops last December.