A top Iraqi official has accused Turkey of controlling anti-government protests that have rocked the country over the past few months.
Iraqâ€™s Acting Defense Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi made the remarks on Sunday, AFP reported.
“There are foreign agendas controlling these sites,” Dulaimi said of the protests, adding, “It is like Anbar, or Mosul or Samarra (the cities hit by protests) are part of the Ottoman Empire.”
He went on to say that “protest sites have become a safe haven for terrorists and killers and those who call for strife, sectarianism and hate.”
Iraq has recently seen a wave of deadly violence, including terrorist attacks targeting both Shia and Sunni Muslims.
According to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), April 2013 was Iraq’s deadliest month since June 2008, with a total of 712 people killed and 1,633 wounded in bomb attacks and other violence.
Iraq has been the scene of demonstrations since December 2012, when the bodyguards of former finance minister, Rafie al-Issawi, were arrested on terrorism-related charges.
The demonstrators accuse Maliki of discrimination against Sunni Muslims and demand his resignation. Maliki, however, has denied accusations, saying regional countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are fueling sectarian tensions in Iraq.