World Bulletin / News Desk
As enmity grows between Turkey and Iraq over a wide range of issues, the Turkish prime minister has reportedly sent an official invitation to Ankara to his Iraqi counterpart in a bid to defuse the tension.
In a surprise move, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan invited Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to Turkey to find solutions to halt the increasing animosity in relations between the two countries, which have deteriorated since the withdrawal of US troops at the end of the last year.
Turkey's hosting of Iraq's fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who was sentenced to death earlier this month in a terror trial on charges of running death squads, is the chief factor that has torn Ankara and Baghdad apart. Among other factors that deepened tensions between Turkey and Iraq is Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's controversial visit to Kirkuk.
Last month, Iraq said Turkey had violated Iraqi sovereignty by sending the Turkish foreign minister without official permission by the central government to visit Kirkuk, a city at the heart of a dispute between Baghdad and the country's autonomous Kurdistan region.
Agence France-Presse reported that an Iraqi official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Turkish prime minister "sent an official invitation” to Maliki a few days ago to visit Ankara. "It is not certain whether he will accept," the official said.
Iraq is Turkey's second biggest export market after Germany, with trade volume reaching nearly $12 billion in 2011, a point Turkey's economy minister emphasized during a visit to northern Iraq early this year.
Maliki and Erdoğan have publicly traded insults several times this year as relations have soured.
Both prime ministers have engaged in tit-for-tat accusations over the past months. Erdoğan accused Maliki of amassing his power in Baghdad at expense of other political groups in the country. Erdoğan also several times blasted his counterpart for hounding political opponents and fomenting sectarian tension in the politically fragile country.
In return Maliki has vehemently criticized the Turkish prime minister for meddling in Iraq's internal affairs.
Binali Yildirim , Japanese transport minister discuss bilateral ties
Cavusoglu has 'working breakfast' with Michael Flynn, officials
Addressing jurists, Erdogan blames problems in the judiciary to the terror FETO group's infiltration of the system
Turkey's geopolitical position necessitates multifaceted foreign policy, says presidential spokesman
According to columnist Muhamed Jusic, Turkey's ongoing efforts for Syria offer the best choice
Indictment seeks up to four years in prison for Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of opposition Peoples' Democratic Party
Bekir Bozdag expects constitutional changes to be passed by lawmakers
Arrest warrants issued for 243 suspects allegedly linked to FETO terror network across 54 Turkish provinces
Police forces raid a house where PKK members reportedly plotting a terrorist attack
EU countries fail to relocate promised number of refugees, Greek Migration Ministry says
Turkish president used "terrorising economy" for those who intend to sabotage country's progress
Deputy Minister for EU Affairs Ali Sahin responds to Pakistani mother's plea to help find her missing son
Turkish prosecutors prepare an indictment requesting a 142-year prison sentence for the PKK-affiliated HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş
Provincial governor says Abdulgadir Masharipov confesses to New Year's Eve attack on Reina venue
Turkish Prime Minister Binalı Yıldırım confirms that the gunman who killed at least 39 New Year's Eve revellers has been captured, and says more details will be released soon
Suspects held at a police station over the attack in Diyarbakir's Sur district that claimed four police officers' lives