Turkey-Iraq War of Words: Erdogan Says Maliki Trying to ‘Show Off’

Worsening Ties Center on Kurdistan

The ongoing war of words between Turkey and Iraq continues unabated today, with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejecting accusations of “meddling” and accusing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of trying to “show off.”

The latest round of comments began on Thursday, when Erdogan met with the President of Iraqi Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani. At the end of the meeting Erdogan criticized Maliki’s “self-centered ways,” accusing the Iraqi PM (who is also the self-proclaimed defense minister, interior minister, and chief of military staff) of sewing disharmony within Iraq.

Maliki responded to Erdogan’s comments by declaring Turkey a “hostile state” and accusing it of meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs. He also claimed Turkey was trying to establish hegemony across the region.

Interestingly, though Turkey has been at the center of trying to prevent Kurdish independence across the region, the Erdogan government has remained on comparatively good terms with Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has been on the outs with the Iraqi central government over the past several months over Maliki’s attempts to centralize power and arrest key political rivals as “terrorists.”

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.