Baghdad – Iraqi prominent leader Osama Al-Nujaifi said that his government has held several meetings with the Turkish government, before and after the failed coup against President Recep Tayyib Erdogan.
During an interview with Asharq al-Awsat newspaper on Sunday, Al-Nujaifi said that the meetings were held in both Istanbul and Rome to agree on new arrangements aiming at boosting bilateral relations.
Regarding claims submitted by Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi about corruption perpetrated by the house speaker and other Iraqi officials, Al-Nujaifi said that Obeidi should have presented information regarding corruption and blackmail to the competent judicial authorities and not before the parliament.
Last week, an Iraqi investigative judiciary commission imposed a travel ban on the speaker, two lawmakers and several other people in connection with corruption allegations.
A Judiciary spokesman, Abdelsattar Bayraqdar, said on Thursday that the investigative judiciary committee was formed by Iraq’s Judicial Council to look into claims submitted by the defense minister about corruption and blackmail committed by the speaker and other Iraqi officials.
Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said that the defense minister’s allegations against parliament speaker were dangerous statements that could threaten homeland security.
Al-Nujaifi noted that the corruption scandal – currently referred to as “Obeidi’s storm” – has opened a new chapter in the country’s political life. However, the leader of Mutahidoun coalition criticized the means used by Obeidi to reveal the information he had before the parliament.
He added that the defense minister was provoked by some deputies, and stressed the need for the judiciary to look into the case and reveal the truth regarding the corruption allegations.
The defense minister told parliament last Monday that Speaker Salim al-Jabouri and several lawmakers were corrupt and had sought to blackmail him.
Al-Nujaifi said that even if the judicial authorities did not prove corruption charges against Jabouri, the speaker has failed in managing the parliament and was incompetent.
He also noted that corruption was widely present in Iraq, adding that the defense minister had information on other parties and politicians.
Al-Nujaifi went on to say that a group inside the Sunni community has become a “destruction tool”; he added that such movement should be eradicated in order to preserve the unity of Sunnis.
On the Iraqi-Turkish relations, Al-Nujaifi said that the Iraqi prime minister had asked him to play a role in cooling down the relations with Turkey. He added that Abadi was keen on consolidating relations with Saudi Arabia, but noted that some forces have been trying to hamper these efforts.
He also stressed that boosting the relations with the Kingdom would have a positive impact on stability in the region.