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Maliki visits Turkey for talks on Iraqi govt crisis

Maliki visits Turkey for talks on Iraqi govt crisis

In his first visit to Turkey since Iraq's parliamentary elections, which were held seven months ago, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had talks with top Turkish officials yesterday, discussing his bid to form a government. Before meeting with President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul and Ankara, Maliki said he was in Turkey for a "short but very significant" visit. Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, accompanying Maliki, said the talks would focus on ways to further improve Turkish-Iraqi relations. Turkey is the last stop of a tour of the region by Maliki, including Jordan, Iran, Syria and Egypt. Maliki, a Shiite, has recently won crucial support from Iran-backed, anti-US Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, but remains at odds with some Shiite groups and the secular, Sunni-backed al-Iraqiya bloc that won the most votes in the March elections.

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