Last updated: 10 January, 2012

Turkish PM urges Iraqis to prevent sectarian conflict

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on political and religious leaders in Iraq on Tuesday to prevent sectarian tensions in the country.

“The last thing we want to see in Iraq is a fight between brothers,” Erdogan said in televised remarks in a weekly address to his lawmakers in parliament.

“I call on all our brothers in Iraq, regardless of their persuasion and ethnic roots to listen to their conscience and hearts,” Erdogan said.

“I also invite the Iraqi government, religious leaders, community leaders and countries trying to influence Iraq to behave with consciousness and responsibility,” he said.

“Countries that are fanning sectarian divisions and conflicts will be responsible for each drop of blood that is shed,” Erdogan added, without naming the countries.

He said a new conflict in Iraq would “disappoint” not only Iraq but the entire Islamic world.

Attacks across Iraq on Monday, many of which targeted Shiites, killed 17 people and wounded dozens, including 15 Afghans visiting the country for a religious commemoration.

The violence included multiple bombings in and around Baghdad against Shiite worshippers walking to the shrine city of Karbala, 110 kilometres (70 miles) south of the capital, for Arbaeen rituals later this week.

A wave of attacks against Shiite Muslims killed at least 68 people on Thursday, the worst toll in nearly five months.