Skip to comments.Turkey vs. Israel: Very Bitter Shouting Match at Davos (Where's the Full Video?)
Posted on 01/29/2009 5:43:14 PM PST by quesney
Turkish PM leaves stage during debate with Peres over Gaza
Israeli-Turkish relations took a dramatic turn for the worse in Davos Thursday night when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed red-faced off the stage at the World Economic Forum after sparring with President Shimon Peres over the fighting in Gaza.
Erdogan was angry over being cut off by a panel moderator after listening to an impassioned monologue by Peres defending Operation Cast Lead.
Peres's defense was prompted by harsh criticism leveled at Israel not only by Erdogan, but also by the two other panelists, Arab League head Amr Moussa and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
"You are killing people," Erdogan declared to Peres. RELATED
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However, a finger-pointing Peres told Erdogan that he would have done the same if rockets had been hitting Istanbul.
"Do you understand the meaning of a situation where hundreds of rockets are falling a day on women and children who cannot sleep quietly, who need to sleep in shelters? What is the matter with you? You don't understand, and I am not prepared for lies."
Peres's comments were met by hearty applause, which apparently irritated the Turkish prime minister.
Erdogan asked the moderator, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, to let him speak once more.
"Only a minute," Ignatius replied.
Speaking in Turkish, Erdogan said, "I remember two former prime ministers in your country who said they felt very happy when they were able to enter Palestine on tanks. 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's not humanitarian."
"We can't start the debate again. We just don't have time," Ignatius said.
"Please let me finish," Erdogan said.
However, Ignatius responded, "We really do need to get people to dinner."
The Turkish premier 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."
The confrontation saw Peres and Erdogan raise their voices - highly unusual at the elite gathering of corporate and world leaders, which is usually marked by learned consensus-seeking and polite dialogue.
The packed audience at the Erdogan and Peres session, which included US President Barack Obama's close adviser Valerie Jarrett, appeared stunned.
Afterward, forum founder Klaus Schwab huddled with Erdogan in a corner of the Congress Center.
"I have known Shimon Peres for many years and I also know Erdogan. I have never seen Shimon Peres so passionate as he was today. I think he felt Israel was being attacked by so many in the international community. He felt isolated," said former Norwegian prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik.
"I was very sad that Erdogan left. This was an expression of how difficult this situation is," he added.
Moussa, the former Egyptian foreign minister, said Erdogan's actions were understandable.
"Mr. Erdogan said what he wanted to say, and then he left. That's all. He was right," Moussa said.
Of Israel, he said, "They don't listen."
Erdogan brushed past reporters outside the hall. His wife appeared upset.
"All Peres said was a lie. It was unacceptable," she said, eyes glistening.
The unpleasant incident came at a meeting that both Israeli and Turkish diplomatic officials thought could help improve relations between the two countries - relations that have soured considerably due to Erdogan's extremely harsh criticism since the start of Operation Cast Lead.
"Erdogan's actions in Davos show that he doesn't want to miss an opportunity to further harm Turkish-Israeli relations," sources in Jerusalem said in response to the incident. The sources said that Erdogan's behavior on the Davos stage obviously would not help Turkey's attempts to be seen in Europe as a rational and constructive actor on the international stage.
"Israel's strategic relationship with Turkey is important to us, but it is no less important to Turkey," the official said. "Erdogan is harming his own interests."
The official said that Israel was growing increasingly "tired" of Erdogan's tirades, and was unlikely to make any more efforts to "chase after the Turks."
The official dismissed as no longer valid the argument that Erdogan's diatribes - he has called for Israel to be barred from the UN and said its actions were inhuman and would bring it to self-destruction - were the result of domestic considerations, and that he was playing to his strong Islamic base before the Turkish municipal elections in March.
The incident came even as Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan appeared over the last couple of days to be tempering Turkish rhetoric and taking a more conciliatory approach. On Wednesday he called on Hamas to abandon violence.
The Foreign Ministry had no response to the incident, an apparent indication that it did not want to exacerbate the situation.
Where's the video of Peres' passionate, eloquent defense of Israel?
I would’ve loved to have seen that live. Woulda had my popcorn and would be clapping for Israel. Go Peres! Lol
After what Turkey did to us at the beginning of the Iraq War, who cares what they think?
Muslims aren’t interested in the truth; only in what advances Islam and destroys Jews.
[The packed audience at the Erdogan and Peres session, which included US President Barack Obama’s close adviser Valerie Jarrett, appeared stunned.]
Another indication that our president is going to learn really quickly that the world is not always easy to deal with.
Exactly what would Turkey do if the Kurds fired rockets at Ankara or Istanbul?
“Exactly what would Turkey do if the Kurds fired rockets at Ankara or Istanbul?”
You know, that isn’t even a hypothetical. Turkey has sent troops into Iraq for far less. This is the height of hypocrisy from Turkey.
Turkey has to put on a show for their crazy public. Prediction: Obama and the USA’s disengagement and de facto encouragement of fundamental Islamism is going to result in the Ataturk gains flipped in Turkey leading to an eventual world war that will probably be the last war.
These are the stakes no one talks about. The battle lines in Beirut, Golan, Gaza, Iraq/Iran, Turkey, Paki etal fundamentalism vs secularism; all precarious situations that will now probably fall to the muslim fundamentalist favor. Throw in Somalia, Thailand, Kenya, Nigeria, well you get the picture.
It’s mostly about Erdogan’s domestic consumption. But Turkey is kind of in an odd spot. They are a long way from entering the EU but they are not Arab so they are second class citizens in the Organization of Islamic Countries. Turkey has since WW1 marched to its own drum but it would be a shame if they regressed because of what amounts to religious chauvanism. And that certainly won’t endear them to the EU.
There is no Turkey. It is just as “real” as the Soviet Union was. It is a site of butchery committed by Muslims.
It will be a glorious day for all its victims and descendants of its victims when Turkey is dismembered and sent to hell.