Last updated: 17 May, 2012

Iraq summons Turkish envoy in ongoing row

Iraq summoned Ankara’s envoy to Baghdad to complain about the conduct of two Turkish diplomats, the foreign ministry said Thursday, the latest bout of a weeks-long spat between the two neighbours.

A senior official in Iraq’s foreign ministry met on Tuesday with Turkey’s ambassador Yunus Demirer, the second time he has been called to the ministry in less than a month, a statement from the foreign ministry said.

The head of Iraq’s department for neighbouring countries informed Demirer of “the Iraq government’s objection to some activities conducted by the two Turkish general consuls in Basra and Mosul provinces that are far from their consular duties and obligations,” said the statement published Thursday.

“For his part, the Turkish ambassador stressed his country’s keenness on developing bilateral relations, affirming that Turkey does not have any goals or agendas harming the interests and strategic relations of the two countries,” it continued.

Tuesday’s meeting came amid an ongoing row between Baghdad and Ankara.

Fugitive Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi is currently staying in Turkey while on trial in absentia in Baghdad, and Ankara has said it will not extradite him.

And last month, the two countries summoned each other’s ambassadors.

At the time, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused his Iraqi counterpart Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite, of stoking sectarian tensions between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, and of monopolising power.

Maliki fired back, saying such comments “will damage Turkey’s interests and makes it a hostile state for all.”