Saturday’s Cumhuriyet daily newspaper reviews the developments which led to escalation of tensions between Ankara and Baghdad. The paper says that the attitudes of AKP government brought ties between Turkey and Iraq to the verge of break.
According to Cumhuriyet, on the eve of the recent elections in Iraq AKP government attempted to shape political balances in the country. AKP played a role in the formation of Iraqiya coalition group headed by former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. After the elections AKP pressed for giving the task of forming a new government in Iraq to Iraqiya coalition. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki responded by accusing AKP of interfering in Iraqi affairs.
Cumhuriyet adds that Maliki was alarmed by the support extended by AKP to the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria and other countries affected by the Arab Spring. Turkish intervention in the conflict between Maliki and Iraqi Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi added to the tensions.
AKP government has decided to give up support for Bashar Assad in Syria, but Baghdad is still close to the regime in Syria. Maliki voices reactions to Turkish attitudes towards Assad and he estranged Turkey from the recent Arab League meeting in Baghdad.
Maliki has been infuriated further by the support extended by Ankara to Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani despite the tensions between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish administration of Northern Iraq.
The statements of Prime Minister Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu criticizing the Iraqi administration were the last straw for Maliki.