BAGHDAD - Iraq has summoned Turkey’s ambassador in Baghdad, Yunus Demirer, to protest “unacceptable” remarks made by the Turkish premier, a statement posted on the foreign ministry’s website said on Monday. Deputy Foreign Minister Labid Abbawi “acquainted the Turkish ambassador with the Iraqi government’s intense protest against the recent statements made by (the) Turkish prime minister, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, regarding the political situation in Iraq,” the English statement said, referring to a Sunday meeting. Iraq considers Erdogan’s “statements as unacceptable interference in Iraq’s internal affairs,” it said.

Abbawi “expressed hope that Turkish government would stop giving statements that affect Iraq’s sovereignty and internal affairs, and to resort to diplomacy to express viewpoints vis-a-vis the current developments in both countries.”

After closed-door talks on Thursday with Massud Barzani, the president of the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, Erdogan stoked further tensions with Iraq by accusing Maliki of taking an “egocentric approach” to politics.

“The current prime minister’s treatment toward his coalition partners, his egocentric approach within Iraqi politics... seriously concern Shiite groups, Mr Barzani and the Iraqiya group,” the main Sunni-backed political bloc, Erdogan was quoted by local media as saying.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki responded with a statement saying that “insisting on continuing these internal and regional policies will damage Turkey’s interests and makes it a hostile state for all.”