Turkey becoming ´hostile state´: Iraq PM (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 04/20/12)
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Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Friday that Turkey is
becoming a "hostile state" in the region, accusing its premier of
interfering in internal Iraqi affairs and of sectarianism.
"The latest statements of (Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip)
Erdogan are another return to the process of interfering in Iraqi
internal affairs and it confirms that Mr Erdogan is still living the
illusion of regional hegemony," Maliki said in a statement posted on
"It is regrettable that his statements have a sectarian dimension
which he used to deny before but which have become clear, and are
rejected by all Iraqis," Maliki said.
"Insisting on continuing these internal and regional policies will
damage Turkey´s interests and makes it a hostile state for all," he
After closed-door talks on Thursday with Massud Barzani, the
president of the autonomous Kurdistan region in north Iraq, Erdogan
stoked further tensions with Iraq by accusing Maliki of taking
an "egocentric approach" in politics.
"The current prime minister´s treatment toward his coalition
partners, his egocentric approach within Iraqi politics... seriously
concern Shiite groups, Mr Barzani and the Iraqiya group," the main
Sunni-backed political bloc, Erdogan was quoted by local media as
It is a new low for Iraq-Turkey ties, although relations have been
tense for some time.
Earlier this year, Erdogan warned Maliki against fomenting sectarian
tensions, which Maliki said "provoked all Iraqis," and the two
countries called in each other´s respective ambassadors to express
Sunni-majority Turkey and Shiite-majority Iraq have taken sharply
different tacks on violence in Syria, an issue that has furthered
sectarian tension and division between Sunni and Shiite states in the
In Syria, the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, a member of the
minority Alawite sect which is an offshoot of Shiite Islam, is
carrying out a bloody crackdown on a Sunni-led uprising against his
rule in which thousands of people have been killed.
Erdogan has called for Assad to step down, while Maliki has said non-
interference in Syria and opposition to arming either side in the
conflict is in Iraq´s best interest.
Turkey is one of Iraq´s top trade partners, with bilateral trade
between the two neighbours valued at $12 billion in 2011. (Copyright
© 2012 Agence France Presse. 04/20/12)
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