Sunday 20 May 2012 - 07:33

Iraqi demonstrators demand Turkey hand over fugitive Tariq al-Hashemi

Story Code : 163634
Iraqi demonstrators demand Turkey hand over fugitive Tariq al-Hashemi
Demonstrators gathered near the Turkish consulate in Basra on Saturday, and criticized Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his stance toward the issue of the fugitive Iraqi vice president.

During a press conference in Italy on May 8, Erdogan said Ankara had always supported Hashemi and would continue to do so in the future.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, however, criticized Erdogan for his remarks and said the Turkish premier’s comments do not show “mutual respect” between Ankara and Baghdad.

Hashemi is accused of being involved in bomb attacks against the government and security officials over the past years, including a November 2011 car bombing in the capital Baghdad that apparently targeted Maliki. The fugitive vice president and his bodyguards also face accusations of killing six judges.

On December 19, 2011, an investigative committee within the Iraqi Interior Ministry issued an arrest warrant for Hashemi after three of his bodyguards confessed to having taken orders from him to carry out the terrorist attacks.

Interpol also issued an international Red Notice alert on May 8 for the arrest of Hashemi “on suspicion of guiding and financing terrorist attacks.”

On May 11, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said, “Hashemi still possesses the title of vice president of Iraq. He is currently in Turkey for medical treatment. Turkey will do whatever is necessary.”

Separately, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on May 17, saying an Iraqi official from the foreign ministry has met Turkish Ambassador to Baghdad Younis Demirer on May 15 to complain about the behavior of two Turkish diplomats in Basra and the northern city of Mosul.

“Some activities conducted by the two Turkish general consuls in Basra and Mosul… are far from their consular duties and obligations stated in the Vienna Convention for Consular Relations of 1963,” the statement said, but it did not give further details on the reasons why the Turkish diplomats were accused.