Iraqi PM visits Turkey for talks on gov't formation, terror

17:28, October 21, 2010      

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Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki will visit Turkey Thursday as part of efforts to seek support as he struggles to secure a second term in office in the wake of March's parliamentary elections, Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Nouri al-Maliki will first arrive in the Turkish largest city of Istanbul for a meeting with President Abdullah Gul before traveling to the Turkish capital of Ankara for talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Speaking to reporters before departing for Finland on Tuesday, Erdogan said his meeting with al-Maliki would focus on the developments in Iraq.

Al-Maliki, a Shiite politician, is trying to remain in power in Iraq in the face of strong opposition from a rival Sunni-backed bloc, which Egypt and other Sunni Arab states have supported.

Earlier on his tour of the region, al-Maliki visited Syria, Jordan, Iran and Egypt.

Analysts said Iraq's inability to form a government over the last seven months could fuel ethnic and religious tensions and lead to civil strife.

Meanwhile, Turkey has been engaged in dialogue with all political factions in Iraq and has continually repeated that it supports Iraq's political unity and territorial integrity.

On Oct. 11, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Ankara that Turkey had hosted representatives of different political groups from Iraq to contribute to the establishment of a new Iraqi government.

"Turkey is in close cooperation with the groups in Iraq and their leaders as it was a country sharing agony and happiness with Iraq. We will try to help if they ask us to. The failure in the establishment of a new government in Iraq and continuation of uncertainties make not only Iraqi people but also surrounding countries uneasy," said Erdogan.

Though the efforts to form a government will mostly dominate the talks with al-Maliki, Turkish officials are also expected to bring the terrorism issue to the agenda.

Turkey has recently intensified diplomatic efforts to combat the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), in coordination with Iraq, the United States, as well as other countries in the region, including Iran and Syria.

Ankara has not been satisfied with the efforts of the Iraqi Kurdish administration in northern Iraq in taking action against PKK members hiding in the mountains.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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