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article imageOp-Ed: Turkish energy minister denied entrance to Iraq

By Ken Hanly     Dec 4, 2012 in Politics
Baghdad - The Iraqi central government would not grant a plane from Turkey permission to land in Arbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. The plane carried Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yidiz, who was on his way to an energy conference.
The plane was flying from Istanbul to Arbil but was forced to land in Kaysen Turkey, southeast of the Turkish capital, Ankara. A Turkish official said that the plane would not again seek permission to land. The minister would not attend the conference. So far, officials in Baghdad have not been available for comment. No reason has been given for the plane being denied permission to land as yet
Relations between Turkey and the central Iraqi government have been tense since Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered his former Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi arrested, charging him with running death squads. Turkey is now providing sanctuary to Hashemi who was condemned to death in absentia. Hashemi has rejected the verdict claiming that al-Maliki is trying to extend his power by eliminating opposition. Many in Iraq think the same thing including Muqtada al-Sadr a Shiite whose group is part of the al-Maliki coalition government.. Turkey also accuses al-Maliki of generating sectarian discord by sidelining any Sunni opponents.
At the same time as Turkey's relations with the central government have been strained, the relationship with Iraqi Kurdistan, the autonomous region in the north, has prospered on the commercial level, as the accompanying video shows. However, there are still Kurdish rebels in the north who launch attacks into Turkey and now there are Kurds in northern Syria who are attempting to create their own autonomous area.
The Iraqi central government in Iraq is also in conflict with the Kurdish regional government in the north. Both central government troops and Kurdish peshmerga fighters are present in disputed areas as discussed in a recent Digital Journal article.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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