Iraq Furious as Turkey, Iraqi Kurds Negotiate in Kirkuk

Iraq Blasts Visit as Violation of Sovereignty

by Jason Ditz, August 02, 2012

Iraq and Turkey haven’t been on the best of terms in recent months, primarily because of the ongoing dispute over Turkey buying oil from Iraqi Kurdistan without the central government’s permission. That tension is on the rise again today, following a high profile visit by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

At issue is that Davutoglu apparently didn’t clear the visit with Iraq’s Foreign Ministry first, and instead spent the whole time visiting with the government of the largely autonomous Kurdistan region, aiming to gain support in declaring Syria’s Kurdish rebels a “common threat.”

While Turkey was touting it as the “first visit to Kirkuk in 75 years,” Iraqi officials were blasting it as a violation of their national sovereignty, and warning that even though the talks centered on Kurds in Syria, they considered it unwelcome external meddling.

Turkey has been increasingly friendly with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) while being unusually critical of Iraq’s central government. The issue is exasperated because Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who the Iraqi central government wants to jail as a terrorist, has taken up residence on a permanent basis in Turkey after having hidden in Iraqi Kurdistan for months.

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