Turkey summons Iraqi official in growing diplomatic feud


The leader of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan, Massud Barzani (L) poses for the media with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan prior to their meeting in Istanbul on April 19, 2012. The region is currently locked in a bitter dispute with Iraq over oil payments.



Turkey today summoned Iraq's charge d'affaires, a hostile move that comes a day after Iraq summoned the Turkish ambassador in an escalating diplomatic row that some analysts warn is rooted in the region's deep-seated Sunni-Shiite tensions, reported Reuters.

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Leaders of both nations have levelled rather nasty charges at one another in recent days. Turkey's Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday criticized Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for "self-centred" behavior that he said was dividing the nation, according to Turkey's Today's Zaman. The Iraqi leader quickly responded by describing Turkey as "hostile state" born out of a fundamentally sectarian agenda, said Reuters

Turkey, which is mainly Sunni, views Shiite-led Iraq with growing suspicion, analysts told Reuters.

report today from the UAE-based The National claims the affair is part of an unfolding "Cold War"-style standoff between Shiite and Sunni Muslim leaders in the region, while the Arab magazine Majalla recently warned of an "Iran-Turkey Showdown."

It is also likely that Ankara believes the nation's increasing friendliness with Shiite regional powers like Iran is a further cause for concern, adding to strains that could threaten their shared neighbor Syria, the Damascus-based professor Dr. Marwan Kabalan recently opined in Gulf News.

Turkey is also reportedly tight with Masoud Barzani, the leader of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region currently locked in a bitter dispute with Iraq over oil payments, said Reuters.