16 April 2014, Wednesday
Today's Zaman

Iraq summons Turkish envoy as tensions deepen

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16 January 2012, Monday /TODAY’S ZAMAN
Turkey seems to have hit a snag with the Iraqi government led by Nouri al-Maliki's Shiite bloc, as the deputy foreign minister on Monday summoned the Turkish envoy to express the government's irritation with Turkey's warnings to Iraq of a possible crisis.

Iraq's deputy foreign minister summoned the Turkish envoy in Baghdad, Yunus Demirer, to call on Turkey to consider the "necessity of avoiding anything that might disturb" Iraq's good relations with Turkey, Reuters reported on Monday. The Iraqi foreign ministry also announced that Demirer assured them of the good intentions of Turkish officials and that he would touch base with Ankara to notify them of Iraq's concerns.

The summons came a few days after Maliki slammed Turkey for allegedly interfering in its domestic issues as if Iraq was run by Turkey, words that cut through the already chilly atmosphere between the Maliki bloc and Turkish officials, who until Monday's incident had refrained from a harsh response.

Maliki's outburst at Turkey over the weekend targeted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's comments last week, when he urged the Iraqi government to get the fallout from the US withdrawal under control before an apparent polarization leads the country into crisis. Erdoğan also laid what he described as a “historic responsibility” on the Iraqi government to keep the country together, saying those who would be responsible for a partition in Iraq would go down in history as devils, regardless of their sectarian or ethnic background.

Erdoğan's warnings followed a series of political conflicts in Iraq, which saw an arrest warrant issued for Iraq's most senior Sunni politician, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, and a number of similar incidents that tried to push Sunni officials out of office in the coalition government.

The Sunni officials, who feel threatened as their houses get blockaded by tanks for what they call politically motivated accusations, also contacted Turkish officials in hopes of support in averting a sectarian clash in the country.

Hashemi, who is currently hiding out in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region to dodge the arrest warrant, repeated his claim on Monday in an interview with the Anatolia news agency that the law in Baghdad was controlled by certain forces. “I feel indebted to the prime minister for his comments regarding my cause,” Hashemi said, words of gratitude for Erdoğan, who urged  Maliki in a phone call to take steps to reduce the tension and make sure his rivalry with other blocs does not turn into a political vendetta. Turkey has repeated on several occasions that it dismisses sectarian or ethnic differences in its approach to the Middle East, stressing that it seeks a comprehensive approach that would include strong ties with all blocs.

Turkey responded by summoning Iraq's envoy to the Foreign Ministry in Ankara, a diplomatic source told Reuters.  

Turkey responded by summoning Iraq's envoy to the Foreign Ministry in Ankara.  

Diplomatic sources said Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu conveyed to the Iraqi ambassador that criticisms by Iraqi prime minister that Turkey is interfering in Iraq’s domestic affairs is “unacceptable,” and that it is absolutely normal that Turkey is closely interested in the stability of its neighbor, state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

Sinirlioğlu told the ambassador that Turkey urged Iraq that respect to constitutional order and functioning democracy is vital for stability in Iraq but that does not mean Turkey is interfering into Iraq’s internal affairs.

Sinirlioğlu also reportedly stressed the importance of relations between the two countries.

However, after Maliki’s harsh remarks on Erdoğan’s call for solidarity in Iraq, deputy chairperson of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Ömer Çelik lashed out at Maliki through Twitter, saying, “Turkey has no problems with Iraq, but Iraq now apparently has a serious Maliki problem.”

“When Maliki dares threaten Turkey through the media, he does not see he is losing his credibility with the Iraqis,” Çelik tweeted on Monday, as he accused the Iraqi prime minister of wanting to turn his country into a “satellite state” based on the rule of one sect. His words clearly carried a message to neighboring countries, specifically Iran, which allegedly seeks a stronger Shiite dominance in Iraq at the expense of peace in the country’s multiethnic and multi-sect structure. “This starts with sending tanks to your own ministers and could even go up to supplying fuel for [Syrian leader Bashar al-] Assad’s tanks,” Çelik said, elaborating on his words that Iraq might be turning into a tool for a Shiite dominance in the region.

Although Turkey remains in close contact with Iranian officials over peace in Iraq, their common and immediate neighbor, it seeks to be a mediator in the Middle East, where Sunni and Shiite blocs represented fiercely by Saudi Arabia and Iran, respectively, vie for more influence.

Regarding Turkey’s mediating role in the region, Hashemi claimed Turkey stood up for peace in Iraq when he told Erdoğan that Maliki was trying to corner him and besiege him with armed vehicle and tanks, and all Iraqi politicians were under the same threat.

Last week, Erdoğan said in a televised speech the prospect of equal representation emerging out of the Maliki government looked dim, given the fact that he was laying siege to the houses of fellow politicians and intimidating their families.

Erdoğan and other Turkish senior officials also remain in touch with US officials regarding Iraq, as news of explosions and attacks targeting Shiite neighborhoods pile on every day, increasing the civilian death toll in the country to hundreds following the US pullout in early December. “The US should have stayed longer, I also expressed this view to their officials,” Erdoğan said at his party’s group meeting in early January, concerned that without the buffer of US troops in the country, separate Iraqi blocs will fall under the influence of other regional actors and face partition in the long run. “Turkey’s security lies at stake in the face of Iraq’s instability, we know that,” Hashemi also said, suggesting that a partition in Iraq would affect the entire region rather than the future of a single country.

Servet Yanatma and Ceren Kumova contributed to the report from Ankara.

erol, what friends does israel have in the region? What friends do the pkk terrorists have in the region? They are hated by the Turks, Persians, and Arabs.
kirk, they're jumping on him because he made an idiotic comment. If he isn't a jew, he's a christian fundamentalist idiot who thinks if they keep getting central and east europeans into Palestine, the "rapture" will happen. What "horrors of Muslims and against Erdogan and Turkiye"? Horrors are o...
Mentor, your comment is a mishmash of incoherent rambling. What does this have to do with Hrant Dink, a racist writer. I don't think most of Turkish Parliament knew he existed. You really overestimate the importance of these people.
As usual, zero problems everywhere... and no friend left in the region but Ahmadinejad, Hizbullah and Hamas! That's what I call a tremendous success of Turkish foreign policy. erol, what friends does israel have in the region? What friends do the pkk terrorists have in the region. They are hated ...
Observer, who do they trust? Israel? The only free countries in the Middle East are Turkiye and Iran. Israel is an apartheid state created from land stolen from the true descendants of the inhabitants of ancient Palestine. Syria is an 80 % Sunni majority ruled by a 20 % Alawite minority that is ...
George, the US thinks that it's every owned iraq which by the way is an imperialist partition to exploit oil.
Observer, Turkiye and iran are perhaps the only free nations in the Middle East. Israel is an apartheid state created by central and east europeans occupying the land of the true descendants of the ancient inhabitants of Palestine. Syria is an 80 % Sunni majority ruled by a 20 % Alawite minority t...
I am against sending a single turkish soldier, to die for al-Maliki or Assad or Ahmedinejat. I want to see Turkey in the right side of History. Turkish politicans MUST put Turkey's interset FIRST, above themselves, above religion.If this was not the case during the WWI, can't imagine what would hap...
I think it's only a matter of time until the shia government in Iraq lose their grip of the country and Iraq becomes a nation of 3. The sunni's will never live under a shia dominated Iraq and we can see that scores of people are being killed because of this. Why? Because the Shia are not just rulers...
There are many similarities between maliki and his predecessor and teacher, the late Saddam Hussain. the way of his salutation is the most striking one, and the sectarian killings targeting the Sunnies is extra.
Turkey turned into Pariah of the middle east; AKP did good on economy, however scores zero on foreign policy; what's more imprortant? who knows...
Rear-Admiral Mustafa
Erdogan is 100% right. Iraq is on the verge of civil war instead of the Trillion Dollar Democracy it was supposed to be. A Civil War is: - Bad for regional economy - Bad for humanity Muslim countries are being played against each other by Israel. Wake up before it's too late. Did you all read Mark...
Sickening how muslims jump on observer just because they assume he's a jew. pity the hate and ignorance of some muslims, but let me clarify for you that many people are against the horrors of muslims and against erdogan and againsgt turkey that are christians, atheist, etc., so stop kicking the jews...
I would say Turkish foreign Minster has only with his own neighbours at home in Ankara `zero problems`else the neo ottomans are part of Turkish problem - above all ! Imagine speak of Turkish parliament who was not happy to see Hrad Dink alive , writting letters to French politicans complaining ab...
Erkan, you are wrong in your analysis. AKP, like all previous Turkish governments, have never supported partition of Iraq, because this has the potential to develop into a major war, sucking in virtually every country in the area, including Turkey and Israel. The Kurdish Autonomous Region is a resul...
I'm "sorry", but AKP overestimated it's self.
As usual, zero problems everywhere... and no friend left in the region but Ahmadinejad, Hizbullah and Hamas! That's what I call a tremendous success of Turkish foreign policy.
Racist and hateful responses aside, it seems that nobody disputes the fact that Turkey has no allies in the Middle east except for Hamas. No other government trusts Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Davutoglu.
Turkey should take the lead and act like a regional super power
Turkey thinks that it still owns Iraq.. Old Ottoman janissary imperial dreams made by Sultan Erdogan and his Turk Vezier Davutoglu.
To: Erkan Iraq was already partitioned. Erdogan and his AKP administration have long comprehended this fact. Kurdistan Regional Government is a de facto, de jure entity with all hallmarks of an independent state and in 2012, there are plans underway by world powers to officially proclaim its esta...
Baqi Barzani
if Erdogan goes on playing Mr Sunni rather than Mr Turkey i fear we will simply see more of this kind of ethnic squabbling which of course plays neatly into the hands of those who want to destabilize the region.
tehlikeli yabanci
Love the idea of the foreign minister of a major power "tweeting" threats and insults...lol...what would Bismark have done with Twitter??
Mark Edward Croy
So the Turkish government now has growing problems with the following governments,Syria,Iraq and Iran. Its only a matter of time before Lebanon is added to the list. The list could have been drawn up in Washington. Nothing very 'independent' about it.
Erdogan and his AKP were the biggest promoters of partition in Iraq. They completely abandoned Turkey's red lines in foreign policy. They recognized and established relations with an artificial so-called "regional government of kurdistan", a manufactured entity that never existed in history until no...
@ Oberver; You sound like a Jew with your yamaka on too tight. If Iraq collapses into sectarian violence, as indicated with recent bombs going off at religious events, ya, I'd say that deserves a comment from a concerned neighbour. That VP was in place to secure an acceptable balance in the first...
Turkish Canadain
It isn't hard to understand Maliki's actions and word. After all, what would you expect from Tehran's puppet?? @ Observer - Get a life sunshine! Your terrorist state called Israel was also once a friend. Without the USA bolstering Israel up all these years, Israel would have had a UN peacekeeping fo...
Hakan C
Turkiye is right. The Turkish government thinks the citizens of the Iraq country before their government. They are right, Iraq Government should take the responsibility for preventing a social burst and killings. Polarization based-on religion and race will even aggravate the current state of Iraq a...
Tom Gunny
@Observer: from your comment i can understand that you are an Israeli/Jew terrorist, or a supporter thereof. i hate when people use words Islamic and terrorism together.
Erdogan should recognize that the Shias are the majority in the country and that Iraq and Syria as well as the Lebanon belong in the Iranian sphere of influence . As it should be. Turkey should not get involved in the Shia and Sunni disputes it should just protect its borders and mind its own busi...
I wonder if there is any government in the Middle East that Turkey can count as an ally? Mr. Davutoglu and Mr. Erdogan are doing a great job of alienating both old and new friends in the region. Hamas are perhaps their last ally. Says something about your foreign policy when an Islamist terrorist or...
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