Iraq-Turkey: tensions rise amid mutual accusations, oil

Also over Ankara's refusal to extradite fugitive Iraqi VP

22 November, 17:00

(ANSAmed) - BAGHDAD, NOVEMBER 22 - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki on Thursday replied to Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan's accusation that the Iraqi government is trying to drag its own country into civil war in an attempt to seize Kurdish oil. ''Erdogan should concentrate on internal affairs in his own country, whose tendency towards a civil war for ethnic and sectarian reasons causes us concern,'' Maliki said in a statement on his official website. ''Our advice to Erdogan is to face up to the minorities problem, and to stop embroiling Turkey in the problems of other countries in the region.'' Erdogan on Wednesday professed himself worried about a ''possible conflict on oil'' in Iraq after a rise in tension between Iraq and its autonomous region of Kurdistan over control of the disputed Tuz Khurmatu oil field. Relations between Turkey and Iraq have been tense since Ankara's refusal to extradite fugitive Iraqi Vice President Tareq Al-Hashemi, who was handed a death sentence by a Baghdad court on charges of committing various political assassinations.

The two countries are also at odds over Turkish military incursions into Iraq to pursue separatist rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The raids were allowed under a 1996 agreement with former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, which Iraq now objects to. (ANSAmed).

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