Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Syria, Iran influence Iraq-Turkey row: analysts

Disagreement on Syria is one underlying cause of the current diplomatic row between Iraq and Turkey, analysts say, but crucial economic ties are likely to prevent a serious escalation.

Despite improving relations and rising trade between their two countries in recent years, the rhetoric between Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become heated in recent weeks as Baghdad grappled with a political crisis that has stoked sectarian tensions.

Turkey and Iraq have summoned each other's ambassadors to protest unfair criticism on both sides.

"The war of words between Iraq and Turkey and some kind of escalation are largely related (to) what is going on in Syria," said Paul Salem, the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut.

Before the Arab Spring uprisings against dictatorial regimes in the Middle East, Turkey's policy was one of "zero problem" and "good relations with everyone," Salem said. Read More