Continued from page 1

Al-Hashemi — who has been in office since 2006 — is on Interpol’s most-wanted list, but Turkey has shown no interest in sending the vice president back to Baghdad, straining diplomacy between the neighboring nations.

Al-Hashemi appeared defiantly upbeat at the packed press conference.

“I am not worried about my life,” he said. “I am worried about the future of my country.”

Associated Press writer Chris Torchia in Istanbul contributed to this report.