Turkey sharpens tone on Iraqi political crisis
January 10, 2012
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday issued a harsh warning to the Iraqi leadership to end a mounting sectarian crisis, implicitly accusing Iran of fanning tensions.
“We see bloody provocations in Iraq aimed at sparking a sectarian conflict. Unfortunately, instead of taking steps to prevent that, the political authorities are maintaining an attitude fuelling ethnic and sectarian divisions,” Erdoğan said in a speech to his party’s parliamentary group.
Without naming him directly, Erdoğan slammed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, saying “a positive outcome cannot be expected from a mindset which is sending tanks to besiege the homes of ministers from his own coalition.”
The Iraqi government holds a “historic responsibility” to ensure stability and “those who escalate the tensions and lay the ground for sectarian strife, be they Sunni or Shiite, will be remembered as Yazids in the future,” he said.
Erdoğan was referring to the Islamic figure blamed for the Battle of Karbala in 680, where the descendants of Prophet Mohammed were massacred and whose name has since become a metaphor for evil.
“The countries which are fanning divisions and conflict along sectarian lines in Iraq will be also responsible for every drop of blood to be shed. Those countries, just like the murderers at Karbala, will carry this stain on their foreheads throughout history,” he said.
Erdoğan was expected to have a phone call with al-Maliki yesterday over the crisis, sparked by an arrest warrant for Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, forcing the Sunni politician to seek refuge in the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. Meanwhile, bomb attacks in Baghdad and north Iraq yesterday killed six people, including an army colonel and three schoolboys, security officials said, a day after a spate of violence left 17 dead.