ANKARA, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Ankara strongly rejected Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's warning that ethnic and sectarian conflicts could engulf Turkey and that Turkey should focus on its internal problems instead of issuing warnings against Iraq, an official statement said Friday.
Maliki's remarks on Turkey came after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's comment on the looming danger of an ethnic conflict in Iraq.
On Wednesday, Erdogan said Turkey is concerned about sectarian clashes in war-torn Iraq amidst escalating tensions between the central Iraqi government and the Kurdish regional administration.
Referring to the recent clashes between the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdish regional administration, Erdogan accused the central Iraqi government of trying to turn the conflict into a civil war.
In response to Erdogan's remarks on Iraq, Maliki said on the Prime Ministry's official website that "The internal situation of Turkey is concerned and Turkey should be aware of this. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan should focus on internal issues particularly (Turkey's) specter of sectarian and ethnic conflict and should seek ways for a solution."
Turkey's relations with the central Iraqi government have soured significantly recently due to oil agreements which Turkey signed with the Kurdish administration without the consent of the Iraqi government.
Turkey independently imports oil from Iraq through a twin pipeline running from Kirkuk to the Mediterranean oil terminal of Ceyhan. Baghdad has warned Turkey that its separate deal in the region could damages trade relations between Iraq and Turkey.