6 December 2012
Turkey’s continued sanctuary to Iraq’s fugitive vice president is akin to Baghdad inviting outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leaders to the Iraqi capital, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said, calling on Ankara again to cease interfering in Iraq’s affairs.
“Unfortunately, Turkey [welcomes] Iraq’s opposition. [Fugitive Vice President] Tariq al-Hashemi is in Turkey,” al-Maliki said according to daily Hürriyet. “What happens if I host PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in Bagdad? How would you feel? Would Turkey and Turkish people accept this?”
Al-Maliki also denied claims that Baghdad was hosting the PKK, stressing that they were working against the organization.
“I never see any PKK [members] in Baghdad,” he said.
“There are two big problems about fighting against the PKK. The first one is that the PKK lives in mountains, in tough terrain. The second one is that the PKK is located in northern Iraq. And now, northern Iraq has to solve the PKK problem,” al-Maliki said. “If the military enters northern Iraq, clashes will occur; it will turn a civil war, and Iraqi people will die. I do not want this.”