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Iraq reviews relationship with Turkey

Aug. 8, 2012 at 9:52 AM

BAGHDAD, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- The Iraqi government said it was reconsidering its relationship with Ankara after the Turkish foreign minister met with leaders in the Kurdish north.

Masoud Barzani, president of the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, met last week with Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to discuss regional issues.

Ankara has expressed concern about violence in Syria while at the same time tackling the threat from Kurdish separatists along the border with Iraq.

Ali al-Dabbagh, a spokesman for the Iraqi government, said Baghdad was taking a hard look at its ties to Ankara given Davutoglu's recent visit. A ministerial committee was expected to advise the Cabinet on the next steps in the coming days, reports Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman.

Davutoglu's surprise visit to Kirkuk strained relations with Baghdad further. Control over the oil-rich city is a matter of contention between the Kurdish and central government's of Iraq.

Bilateral affairs with Ankara soured after U.S. military forces left Iraq in December. Ankara is harboring Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, wanted by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for allegedly overseeing a death squad in Iraq.

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