ISTANBUL – Turkey said Wednesday that it has no plans to send Iraq's vice president, who is currently in Turkey, back to Iraq for prosecution even after Interpol placed him on its most-wanted list.
Iraq has charged Tariq al-Hashemi with terrorism, accusing him of guiding and financing death squads that targeted government officials, security forces and Shiite pilgrims. Al-Hashemi, a Sunni, says the charges are false and motivated by the political enmity of the Shiite-led leadership in Baghdad.
Turkey's deputy prime minister, Bekir Bozdag, said al-Hashemi is in Turkey for medical treatment and that Turkey had no plans to extradite him.
"I am not sure whether there will be a new evaluation in the period ahead," Bozdag said. "But as the government, our position in this is very clear. We would not extradite someone to whom we've given support."
The minister also noted that Turkey had not had enough cooperation from Iraq in its efforts to detain supporters of the Kurdish rebel group PKK, which carries out attacks inside Turkey from bases in northern Iraq.
Interpol said on its website that it has issued a so-called "red notice" for al-Hashemi, responding to a request from Baghdad. A red notice by Interpol seeks the arrest of a wanted person with a view to eventual extradition. The subjects of red notices are considered to be on the organization's most-wanted list.
Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said the red notice for al-Hashemi "will significantly restrict his ability to travel and cross international borders."