Turkish authorities fear that three deadly bomb attacks in Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu in the past month aim to further fuel the tensions between Iraqi Arabs and Kurds and push the country into chaos and disruption, creating a new source of instability at Turkey’s doorstep.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry was quick to strongly condemn the latest bomb attack on the police headquarters in Kirkuk on Feb. 3, which left 36 dead and 105 wounded, saying, “The instigators of these attacks aim to create friction among the Iraqi people in Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu, where different ethnic and religious groups live. We believe the Iraqi people will stand firm against these dark scenerios in Iraq.”
In a concilitary tone intended to ease Ankara’s chilly relations with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Foreign Ministry statement called Iraq “a friend and ally” and offered to “provide all kinds of support healing the wounds caused by terrorism.”
Al-Monitor learned that Turkish authorities informed their Iraqi Arab and Kurdish counterparts that Turkey is willing to ship those wounded in the Kirkuk attack toTurkish hospitals for treatment.
A double bomb attack in Kirkuk on Jan. 16 left 33 dead while soon after, a suicide bomber in nearby Tuz Khurmatu wrecked havoc and killed 42 people, mostly Shiite Turkmens, when he attacked a funeral procession. Some of the wounded Turkmens were brought to Turkey for treatment.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 23, where he voiced fear that the Turkmens of Iraq, regarded as the relatives of the Turks, have been caught in the crossfire in the conflict between Kurds and Arabs in Northern Iraq.