Erdogan, Israeli President Clash at Davos over Gaza

DAVOS, Switzerland (Combined Sources)– Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed off the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, visibly angry after verbally sparring with Israeli President Shimon Peres over the fighting in Gaza.

Erdogan was angry after being cut off by panel moderator David Ignatius after listening to a monologue by Peres defending Israel’s recent brutal offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Erdogan said: "I find it very sad that people applaud what you said. There have been many people killed. And I think that it is very wrong and it is not humanitarian."

Ignatius twice attempted to finish the debate, saying, "We really do need to get people to dinner."

But Erdogan continued.“Mr. Peres, you are older than me,” he said. “Your voice comes out in a very high tone. And the high tone of your voice has to do with a guilty conscience. My voice, however, will not come out in the same tone.”

“You know very well how to kill people," he said and turning to the moderator he declared: “For me Davos is over, I will never attend this meeting again.”

A finger-pointing Peres told the Turkish prime minister during his speech that he would have done the same if rockets had been falling on Istanbul.

Erdogan then said: "Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. I don’t think I will come back to Davos after this."

Experts and analysts immediately criticized Erdogan’s move, saying it contradicted with principles of diplomacy. They also added his move is likely to end Turkey’s regional role as a mediator.

Erdogan is expected to make a statement regarding the incident in the coming hours.

Straining Ties

The verbal bout comes amid a period of rising tension between the two strategic allies over Israel’s incursion into Gaza. The dispute between the countries began earlier this month with Erdogan harshly denouncing Israel’s war against Gaza and accusing the Jewish state of committing crimes against humanity. He suggested that Israel be barred from the United Nations as mass demonstrations were held throughout Turkey with banners that read: "Gaza will be a grave for Israel" and "Put Israel on trial for war crimes."

Angered by Erdogan’s remarks, five major Jewish organizations in the United States called on the Turkish prime minister last week to "urgently address" the wave of anti-Semitism in his country, warning that Turkey’s recent condemnation of Israel will make it difficult to continue supporting Turkey’s attempts to prevent US recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

The partnership, now in danger of collapsing, had provided Israel the benefit of having a working relationship with one of the largest Muslim countries in the world, while enriching its military industrial complex. In Turn, Turkey had gained militarily, economically and diplomatically, receiving also support from powerful Jewish organizations and a succession of Israeli governmen’s against recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

But according to the letter sent to Erdogan, the staunch support for Turkey’s lobbying efforts against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide may end soon. "This time it will be difficult;earlier we supported you not only for the fair case of Turkey, but also it was our friend. Now it is difficult to say that Turkey is our friend."


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