|Turkey should respect Tariq al-Hashemi ruling||
Iraq’s recent conviction of fugitive vice president Tariq al-Hashemi and the subsequent political ramifications of the ruling warrant a careful analysis, especially one which takes the Iraqi Constitution into consideration.
Hashemi is a Sunni Arab who was selected for the post based on the guidelines of the Iraqi Constitution. He was charged with numerous crimes during his time in office, including plotting against Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He fled the country after charges of running a terrorist network were leveled against him in December 2011, and he is currently living in Turkey. Hashemi was always regarded as a politician who mostly viewed issues through a sectarian prism rather than taking a national approach to politics.
Turkey’s decision to allow Hashemi to stay in the country and the policies adopted by Ankara toward Iraq’s internal issues have raised many questions about Turkey’s role in the case. And recent developments in the region paved the way for a new alliance between Turkey and anti-democratic regimes like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This has led to a situation in which Turkey has totally ignored the democratic system of Iraq and has begun to support one religious minority in the country.
Iraq and Turkey used to enjoy extensive cooperation on security, but Ankara’s undemocratic approach to Iraq’s internal issues has created a chasm between the two countries.
The semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq and KRG President Massoud Barzani should also play a more effective role in the issue, although Barzani seems to have adopted a conservative approach.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s surprise and uncoordinated visit to Kirkuk and the sporadic military attacks on Iraq’s Kurdish regions have irritated Baghdad and increased tension between the two countries.
Turkey is expected to respect the Hashemi ruling since it was issued by the judicial branch of Iraq’s democratic system of governance. Otherwise, Ankara’s insistence on supporting Iraqi dissidents and fugitives will certainly worsen relations between the two influential countries.
Seyyed Asadollah Athari is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Middle East Strategic Studies in Tehran and an expert on Turkey.
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