Turkish Deputy Premier Bekir Bozdag said that Turkey would not extradite Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi.
ANKARA- Interpol recently issued a "red bulletin" for al-Hashemi, responding to a request from Baghdad. We cannot extradite a person we are supporting, added Bozdag on Wednesday.
He noted that Turkey supported al-Hashemi, and this support would continue.
Turkey, too, has requests from Iraqi government, said Bozdag, adding that they provided shelter to terrorist organization members and its supporters who were staging terrorist acts on Turkey. Turkey wants these people, but, we have not received a positive response from Iraqi government yet, Bozdag said.
He noted that al-Hashemi was currently in Turkey for medical treatment.
Interpol issued a "red bulletin" for al-Hashemi, however, diplomatic sources said that this was not a warrant of arrest. Sources said that red notices were based on national warrants, and published at the request of a member state as long as the requests did not violate Interpol regulations. Sources noted that red bulletin was not an international warrant of arrest, adding that there was not a certain verdict about al-Hashemi. Sources stressed that al-Hashemi was still the vice president of Iraq and he had diplomatic immunity.
Al-Hashemi is being tried in absentia in Baghdad on charges of terrorism as well as guiding and financing death squads that targeted government officials, security forces and Shiite pilgrims.
The trial was postponed to May 10 after lawyers for al-Hashemi, who has denied the charges, appealed to have parliament create a special court to hear the case.
The Sunni vice president has vowed not to return to face what he calls politically motivated charges. Al-Hashemi has denied all charges against him calling the charges as "politically motivated".
Al-Hashemi is a member of the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya political bloc, which won the most seats in the 2010 parliamentary election.
The Iraqi national government currently is mostly made up of Shiites.
Meanwhile, al-Hashemi told reporters on Tuesday that the issue was all over political, and the charges against him were groundless.
I am a suspect, not a criminal, thus, Interpol should not rush to put warrant of arrest into effect about me, said al- Hashemi.