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Iraqi Protesters Denounce Turkey's Interference

Fugitive Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi says the charges against him are politically motivated.
Some 200 protesters have rallied in front of the Turkish Consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, calling for the Turkish government to stop interfering in Iraq's internal affairs.

Their demands included handing over Iraq's fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, who is on trial in absentia in Baghdad, accused of running death squads.

Ankara has said it will not extradite him.

Hashimi dismisses the accusations as politically motivated.

Relations between Iraq and Turkey have worsened in recent months, with the Iraqi Foreign Ministry summoning Ankara's envoy to Baghdad this week to protest the behavior of two Turkish diplomats.

In April, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of fanning tensions between Sunnis, Shi'a, and Kurds.

Maliki responded by accusing Turkey of seeking regional hegemony.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters