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 Turkey will not extradite Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi: Deputy PM

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Turkey will not extradite Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi: Deputy PM  9.5.2012  








Iraq's fugitive Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi speaks during a press conference on May 4, 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: Getty Images.
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Turkey refuses to extradite wanted Iraqi VP Tareq al-Hashemi

May 9
, 2012

ANKARA, — Turkey will not extradite Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who is being tried in absentia in Baghdad accused of running a death squad, a senior official was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

"We will not extradite someone whom we have supported since the very beginning," deputy prime minister Bekir Bozdag was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.

His comments came a day after Interpol issued an international Red Notice for the arrest of Hashemi, one of Iraq's top Sunni Arab officials, on suspicion of "guiding and financing terrorist attacks".

"(Hashemi) is currently in Turkey for health reasons," Bozdag said.

Hashemi, who has been staying in Istanbul since April 9, insisted in a statement posted on his website Tuesday that he was not above the law and was ready to appear in court if his security and a fair trial could be guaranteed.

Last week, Hashemi's trial was delayed to May 10 after his lawyers called for the case to be heard in a special court.

Hashemi and his bodyguards face around 150 charges, including the killing of six judges and other senior officials, according to an Iraqi judicial spokesman. He has challenged the legitimacy of the trial and said his life is at risk in Baghdad.

Interpol said the red notice, its highest possible alert, was issued following an Iraqi warrant made "as part of an investigation in which security forces seized bombing materials and arrested individuals".

"It is of course important that Hashemi is named among those wanted by Interpol but we also have demands of the Iraqi government," said Bozdag.

"The terrorist organisation and its supporters are there... We also want them but so far we have been unable to get a positive response from the Iraqi government," he said,www.ekurd.net referring to leaders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) holed up in northern Iraq.

Ankara has long demanded that Iraq prevent the PKK from using its territory, halt all rebel activities, limit their movements, close down their camps, cut off logistic support and hand over their leaders to Turkey.

The PKK has several times proposed peaceful solutions regarding Kurdish problem, Turkey has always refused saying that it will not negotiate with “terrorists”.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list. 

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, AFP | ekurd.net | Agencies

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