April 24, 2012 / 8:33 PM / 8 years ago

Turkey summons Iraqi charge d'affaires as rift deepens

ISTANBUL, April 24 (Reuters) - Turkey summoned Iraq’s charge d’affaires on Tuesday, a tit-for-tat move a day after Baghdad summoned Turkey’s ambassador in a top-level diplomatic row that has heightened regional tensions.

Both countries’ prime ministers have accused each other of stoking sectarian violence, with Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan saying the Iraqi leader’s “self-centred” ways fanned tensions between Shi’ites, Sunnis and Kurds and Nuri al-Maliki saying Turkey was becoming a “hostile state” with a sectarian agenda.

Analysts say mainly Sunni Turkey is worried that growing tensions in Iraq and violence in their mutual neighbour Syria may lead to a wider Sunni-Shi’ite conflict in the region.

Erdogan’s government has also recently forged close ties with Masoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, which is embroiled in a row with the Baghdad government over claims to the city of Kirkuk and the region’s oil. (Reporting by Seda Sezer; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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