Turkey, Iraq lock political horns

April 23, 2012 at 11:44 AM
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BAGHDAD, April 23 (UPI) -- Iraqi officials announced Monday they summoned Turkey's ambassador in Baghdad in reaction to disparaging remarks made last week by the Turkish prime minister.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had exhibited "self-centered" behavior following a series of sectarian disputes in Iraq.

Maliki replied by describing Turkey as a "hostile state," which prompted Erdogan to warn against any efforts to give the Iraqi prime minister a chance "to show off," reports Turkish daily newspaper Today's Zaman.

Turkish Ambassador Yunus Demirer was summoned to Baghdad in response to the exchanges, Today's Zaman adds.

Turkey has recently extended a political hand to Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, wanted by Maliki's government on allegation he was operating a death squad. Hashemi has since met with the Turkish prime minister in Istanbul.

Today's Zaman quotes a statement from the Iraqi Foreign Minister as warning Ankara to "stop giving statements that affect Iraq's sovereignty and internal affairs."

Baghdad summoned Demirer over similar complaints in January, one month after U.S. forces pulled out of Iraq.

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