World Bulletin / News Desk
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has turned down an invitation by his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to pay a visit to Turkey to attend Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) congress this weekend.
Speaking during an interview with Iraq's semi-official al-Iraqiya television, Maliki cited another planned foreign visit in his rejection of the invitation, adding that he had penned "a letter of thanks" to the Turkish premier.
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 recent months. Erdoğan accused Maliki of amassing his power in Baghdad at the 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.