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Abadi Accuses Turkey of Double Standards

Abadi Accuses Turkey of Double Standards

Wednesday, 24 January, 2018 - 09:30
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaks during a ceremony in Najaf, Iraq January 7, 2018. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi accused Turkey of "double standards" in dealing with the Kurdish issue in Iraq. Meanwhile, Ankara responded to Baghdad's request to postpone filling the tanks of Ilisu Dam on the Tigris because of the drought in Iraq.

Speaking before a media delegation visiting from Kuwait, Abadi condemned the duality of Turkey in dealing with the whole Kurdish issue.

"They supported the Kurds of Iraq and dealt with them outside the framework of the federal government while denying the rights of the Turkish Kurds until the referendum issue when Ankara felt threatened," said Abadi.

Abadi pointed out that this does not mean a negative attitude of Iraq's government against the Iraqi Kurds, rather considers them as citizens in their country who have their citizenship rights and duties.

"Turkish people have great fears of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq", Abadi added, confirming that his country does not support this organization, and refuses the use of Iraqi territory as a base for the attack on Turkey.

Abadi informed the delegation that his government succeeded in overcoming the crisis of the Kurdistan's independence referendum without bloodshed.

Former MP and head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Shwan Mohammad Taha stated that any discussion of the Kurds, whether in Iraq or Syria or Turkey or Iran without taking into consideration the specificity of each is an incorrect shuffle of decks.

Speaking to Asharq al-Awsat, Taha said that Iraqi Kurds consider the Kurdish issue in all these countries to be legitimate, but each Kurdish party is specific in dealing with the matters without necessarily affecting the others.

When asked about the nature of the relationship between Turkey and Kurdistan region, Taha said that Turkey did not deal with Kurds from a double-standard point, because the Iraqi constitution allows them to deal with foreign states within the limits of common interests, but not to the extent of violating the other state's sovereignty.

Regarding Abadi's hint that Turkey has changed its position on Iraq's Kurds after the referendum, Taha stressed that: "this proves the validity of our attitude in the context of our relationship with Turkey, and proves that we are not part of Turkey. We did not discuss the referendum with Ankara, which means there is no political relationship with Turkey as much as it is a relationship of economic and trade interests."

Head of the Turkmen Front MP Hassan Turan told Asharq al-Awsat that "this is not the time to talk about controversial issues with Turkey; today we are at a stage that requires fruitful relations with Ankara when dealing with the most serious issues that are very important to us: energy, water, and the fight against terrorism."

Turan stated that the PKK took advantage of ISIS post-defeat period to extend its presence to disputed areas inside Iraq, and it poses a serious threat to Turkmen mainly in Tal Afar and Tuzkhurmato districts.

Turan accused PKK of trying to "assassinate a senior leader of the Turkmen Front in the district of al-Tuz recently."

In response to a question about his candidacy for the elections, Abadi stressed that he does not refuse an alliance with any party, provided the commitment to the fixed program of his list, which is based on the rejection of quotas and sectarianism.

He warned against some attempts at spreading falsified facts on social media, which he described as "weapons that can be used by some for destructive purposes."

Abadi pointed out that he is not against the freedom of expression, however, "social networks have lost limits or controls." He called for a unified Arab position to pressure those sites to organize their work because they simply became means and causes of death.

With regard to the "Popular Mobilization Forces", the Prime Minister said that the adoption of their law will enable the state to control armed factions in Baghdad and regulate their work according to government and military laws.

Abadi pointed out that some people want to dissolve the PMF, but he reiterated that the solution is through its integration within the security system.

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