Turkey hits back at Iraq’s warning, summons Iraqi envoy
ANKARA - Turkey summoned Iraq's ambassador to Ankara to protest claims that it has been meddling in its neighbour's affairs by voicing concerns about a domestic political crisis, a diplomatic source said Tuesday.
Feridun Sinirlioglu, the foreign ministry's undersecretary, told the Iraqi envoy Monday that the accusation of interference was "unacceptable" and Turkey had a legitimate right to be concerned about events on the other side of its borders.
"Iraq's stability concerns all its neighbours including Turkey and this did not mean intervention," Sinirlioglu told the envoy, the source said.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan angered his counterpart Nuri al-Maliki by phoning him last week about a standoff with his Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi whom he has accused of running a death squad.
Maliki has also called for his Sunni deputy Saleh al-Mutlak to be sacked in a row that has raised fears that it will fuel sectarian violence.
Since the charges were filed last month, Hashemi has stayed put in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq which borders Turkey. The authorities there have so far declined to hand him over to Baghdad.
In his phone call to Maliki, Erdogan reportedly called on political and religious leaders in Iraq to stem sectarian tensions. Hashemi is a Sunni Muslim while Maliki is a Sunni.