Turkey today summoned Iraq's charge d'affaires, a hostile move that comes a day after Iraq summoned the Turkish ambassador in an escalating diplomatic row that some analysts warn is rooted in the region's deep-seated Sunni-Shiite tensions, reported Reuters.
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Leaders of both nations have levelled rather nasty charges at one another in recent days. Turkey's Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday criticized Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for "self-centred" behavior that he said was dividing the nation, according to Turkey's Today's Zaman. The Iraqi leader quickly responded by describing Turkey as "hostile state" born out of a fundamentally sectarian agenda, said Reuters.
Turkey, which is mainly Sunni, views Shiite-led Iraq with growing suspicion, analysts told Reuters.
A report today from the UAE-based The National claims the affair is part of an unfolding "Cold War"-style standoff between Shiite and Sunni Muslim leaders in the region, while the Arab magazine Majalla recently warned of an "Iran-Turkey Showdown."
It is also likely that Ankara believes the nation's increasing friendliness with Shiite regional powers like Iran is a further cause for concern, adding to strains that could threaten their shared neighbor Syria, the Damascus-based professor Dr. Marwan Kabalan recently opined in Gulf News.
Turkey is also reportedly tight with Masoud Barzani, the leader of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region currently locked in a bitter dispute with Iraq over oil payments, said Reuters.