Report: Turkey Slams Flag-Burning Demo in Iraq

Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 00:14
Ankara on Sunday reprimanded an Iraqi rally against its consulate in Basra, where protesters burnt Turkish flags after Turkey refused to hand over their fugitive vice president, Anatolia reported.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu condemned ''the ugly behavior against the Turkish flag in a demo apparently manipulated by impertinent individuals,'' in a phone conversation with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari.

Around 200 protesters rallied Saturday outside the Turkish consulate, threatening to boycott Turkish companies if Ankara does not hand over Tareq al-Hashemi, on trial in absentia in Baghdad on charges of running a death squad.

The demonstrators set fire to a Turkish flag, shouting ''Throw the Turks out!'' as they accused the Ankara government of fueling sectarian conflicts by not extraditing the top Sunni official.

Davutoglu called on the Iraqi government to bring those responsible to justice, Anatolia reported from Chicago, where Davutoglu is currently staying to attend a NATO summit.

Turkey said it would not extradite Hashemi, who is the subject of a Red Notice issued by the international police agency Interpol, saying he would return only after his medical treatment in Turkey finished.

Hashemi and his bodyguards face some 150 charges, which he has dismissed as politically motivated by the Baghdad government, which is led by Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Ties between Iraq and Turkey have worsened in recent months, with the Iraqi foreign ministry most recently summoning Ankara's envoy to Baghdad last week to complain about the conduct of two Turkish diplomats, including the consul in Basra.

It was the second time Turkish ambassador Yunus Demirer was summoned in less than a month.

Source:Agence France Presse
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