Turkish PM lashes out at Iraqi counterpart, denies meddling

April 22, 2012 01:06

ISTANBUL - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday rejected charges he sought to inflame sectarian divisions in Iraq with recent criticism of its government and accused his Iraqi counterpart of trying to gain "prestige" in an escalating war of words between the neighbours.

The row heated up on Thursday when Erdogan accused Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of acting "self-centred" and inciting tensions between the country's Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds amid a constitutional crisis in Baghdad.

Maliki in turn branded Turkey a "hostile state" and said Erdogan's remarks "represent another return to flagrant interference in Iraqi internal affairs," according to a statement on his website on Friday.

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