BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi will be protected by high security staff while staying in Istanbul after holding talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 14 evening.
Two apartments have been rented in the Başakşehir district of Istanbul for al-Hashemi, his family and his guards, who came to Turkey on April 9, daily HaberTürk reported.
The daily said al-Hashemi is being protected during his stay in Turkey by 17 police officers, including one chief police officer from the Turkish Prime Ministry’s Protection Department.
Al-Hashimi’s wife and two daughters are guarded by separate police officers.
The al-Hasemi family is not staying at a hotel due to security concerns, the daily said.
Diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News that it is understood that these measures are taken to provide full security for al-Hashemi during his temporary stay in Turkey.
Sources also said al-Hashemi did not make any asylum request from Turkey and that Iraq has not requested extradition of the fugitive leader from Turkey, as it did from Qatar when al-Hashemi was there.
Al-Hashemi said some of his family members were with him while others were in Jordan.
Al-Hashemi, however, said he will stay in Turkey for a few days more and that he was waiting for a meeting with the leader of the Kurdish regional government, Masoud Barzani in Istanbul, at an interview on private Kanal 24 news channel two days ago.
Al-Hashemi said he would not discuss his return to northern Iraq with Barzani, saying Barzani has already stated his solidarity.
A political crisis erupted in Iraq on December 19, when Maliki's-led government sought an arrest warrant for Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi on charges he ran death squads and the ouster of Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq.
Al-Hashemi denies the accusations and has called for the referral of his case to the Kurdistan region, but Iraq’s judiciary has rejected his request.