Turkey does not want return to Iraq chaos:
Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan at the
business forum in the Erbil, the capital of Iraq's
semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.. Photo: KRG
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Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Turkey does not want a
return to chaos in Iraq, Turkish Economy
Minister Zafer Caglayan said on Wednesday in
comments that followed a complaint from Baghdad
that Ankara was meddling in its internal
Iraq summoned the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad
on Monday to complain about comments by Turkish
officials, a sign of regional tension over
worries that Iraq's political crisis could lead
to sectarian war.
Iraqi officials did not specify what Turkish
remarks they were angry about, but the complaint
appeared to stem from comments earlier this
month by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan,
who said a Sunni-Shi'ite conflict in Iraq, if
unleashed, could engulf the entire Islamic
"Turkey is not in the habit of interfering in
the internal affairs of any country," Caglayan
told a business forum in the Erbil, the capital
of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
"We hope the Iraqi people who have for years
seriously suffered from war ... will not enter
an atmosphere of chaos just as the (U.S.)
soldiers are leaving," he said in a speech. "God
willing, the problems of Iraq will be overcome
At least two rockets were fired at the Turkish
embassy in Baghdad on Wednesday, Iraqi and
Turkish sources said. One hit a protective wall
at the compound but no one was hurt.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-led
government stoked fears of renewed sectarian
strife when it issued an arrest warrant in
December for Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi
on charges of running death squads, just after
the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Hashemi fled to Kurdistan region where his
presence has dragged the Kurds into the
political fray, threatening to wreck Maliki's
fragile ruling coalition with them and Sunni
Kurdistan authorities are unwilling to hand
Hashemi back to Baghdad where the vice-president
says he will not receive a fair trial.
Mainly Sunni, but officially secular Turkey, has
sought to play a bigger diplomatic role in the
Middle East, backed up by its growing might as
the world's 16th biggest economy.
But while Ankara insists it maintains its
official "zero problems with the neighbours"
foreign policy, its support for Syrian
demonstrators has drawn it into tensions with
Iran, one of the main backers of the Damascus
Analysts say Turkey has heavily courted Sunni
and Kurdish political blocs in Iraq in recent
years, while Iraq's Shi'ite parties remain
closer to Shi'ite Iran.
In an interview with al-Hurra television on
Friday, Maliki said: "Turkey is unfortunately
playing a role which may lead to disaster and
civil war in the region."
Iraq is now Turkey's second biggest export
market after Germany, with trade volumes between
the two reaching nearly $12 billion in 2011,
More than half of that trade is with Kurdistan,
which puts the region in Turkey's top-10 trading
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