The relationship between the two countries are passing through a phase of hostility as Turkish Army Chief Wednesday threatened to launch assault on the main base of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Qandil mountain region of northern Iraq.
According to the Iraqi premier’s spokesman Ali Mussawi, Maliki expressed regret that he could not accept the invitation, as “his schedule is crowded and he is busy.”
Ties between Iraq and Turkey have been marred by a flurry of disputes this year, most recently Ankara’s refusal to extradite Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who has been sentenced to death in absentia by an Iraqi court.
In August, Maliki accused Turkey of treating the autonomous Kurdistan region of north Iraq, with which it has close economic ties, as an “independent state.”
Earlier that month, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited the disputed northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk without informing Baghdad, infuriating Iraq and taking relations to a new low.
In July, Iraq warned Ankara against “any violations” of its territory and airspace, and instructed the foreign ministry to register a complaint at the UN Security Council, after Turkish jets bombed Kurdish rebels in Kurdistan.
A few days earlier, Iraq called on Turkey to stop accepting “illegal” transfers of crude oil from Kurdistan, which an official from the region said had begun earlier in the month.