Davutoglu: Iraq’s desire to get close to Turkey is unconvincing

12 April 2013 –  JTW – Ankara considers the desire of Iraq on political rapprochement and strengthening the partnership with Turkey unconvincing, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, TRT Haber TV channel reported on Friday.

 “The words of the Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki about the country’s desire to strengthen relations with Turkey do not seem convincing to us. This is al-Maliki’s peculiar manoeuvre,” Davutoglu said.

According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Iraq should first of all democratise the regime in the country and create the necessary conditions for the peaceful coexistence of all ethnic groups. A statement released last week on Al-Maliki’s official website quoted him as saying Iraq approved the political rapprochement with Turkey, based on the total benefit, mutual respect and good neighbourly relations. It was Iraq’s first such friendly announcement addressed to Turkey in the last few months. Relations between Turkey and Iraq have been tense for more than a year. Earlier, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Turkey was turning into an enemy to all states in the region due to its attempts ‘to dominate it’ and ‘to intervene in the affairs of its neighbours’.

In response, Erdogan said Iraq should sort out its internal affairs and then accuse the neighbouring country of hostility. Tensions between the two countries are also enhanced by Turkey’s energy cooperation with the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq. The Turkish side has in recent months, stated it was not going to refuse to cooperate with the Iraqi Kurdish autonomy in the field of oil and gas.