Thursday, January 29, 2009

Major International Incident as Erdogan Leaves Stage In a Huff After Debate With Perez at World Economic Forum in Davos


OK, so it is now official. Erdogan wants to destroy the relationship between Turkey and Israel. He wants to make it impossible for Israel to see anything of their old friends in Turkey, and it is a very bad turn of events.

It is especially bad for the 24,000 Jewish citizens of Turkey. Those Jewish citizens of Turkey have already faced bombings, discrimination, threats, intimidation, and even the editorial page of the Istanbul daily calling for the expulsion of the Chief Rabbi of Turkey.

They are, unfortunately, following in the footsteps of their brothers in Islam and exhibiting, once more, that Islam cannot coexist with anyone, and certainly cannot value the blessings of democracy and openness.

Erdogan is a Moslem, and when he won the Prime Minister position in Turkey, there was a great fear he would turn the comparatively secular, democratic, and free nation of Turkey into an Islamic regime.

Unfortunately, those fears are starting to bear fruit.

It is with a heavy heart that I think of those dear Turkish Jews that have so many close ties to their brothers and sisters in Israel, the US, and Europe. I am hoping they will quickly find their way out of that nation.

Jan 29, 2009 21:50 | Updated Jan 30, 2009 0:08
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.

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.


  1. I am one of those Turkish Jews and have no plans to leave Turkey just because Israel can not come to terms with the fact that killing innocent civillians is not the right way to deal with a terrorist government. By killing 1,500 people most of which were civillians, Israel has eliminated any potential friendship opportunities with moderate Islamic countries. Turkey of course is dissapointed after acting as the mediator for so long to see their efforts crushed by the miliotary actions.

  2. erdogan is complaining about what? is he joking when he talks about "killing people", who occupied cyprus and killed 5000 people there and who is killing kurds every day?
    why doesn't erdogan concentrate on turkey's criminal past and nopt so bright present instead of sticking nose in middle east issues

  3. Occupying cyprus? Killing Kurds everyday? Turkey occupied the part of Cyprus just because they wanted to protect Turks in the island as Greece did the same for the other side. Simple. I am not going to even get into the fact that Turks agreed on the plan that Annan and UN put together a few years ago. AS for the killing of kurds everyday, I'd suggest that you should visit Turkey and talks to kurds rather than reading crap on the internet and base your comments on that. Not everything is perfect in Turkey, not even for TURKS, but your accusations should be based on concrete facts! Thanks.

  4. Let me summarize the (some) muslims' point of view as I understand it:
    1. Israel (read:"zionistic entity") has no right to exist.
    2. Therefore Israel has to be destroyed and extinguished (everybody - men, women and children).
    3. Of course Israel has no right to defend itself. Every time it does - it commits crime.
    4. Hamas, Hizbollah and others have right to destroy Israel. Therefore they never commit crime. If they kill israeli children it is normal thing (see point 2).
    5. Holocaust has never happened although it would be very fine if it did. Therefore it must be done again but this time thoroughly.
    6. Israelis are seemingly unable to understand and accept the reasoning presented here. Why? Nobody knows.
    Maybe there are too stupid.

  5. Objecting the terrible massacre in gazza doesnt mean to hate all israeli people or israel or jews of the world. ı condemn israeli politics,but ı also condemn all racists against jews.

  6. Dear Atom,

    I take it you are an Armenian and not a Jew, whom Turks have always felt close. In the tradition of the Armenian diaspora, you go in and create anti-Turk sentiments at every opportunity. I recall clearly how anti-semitic Armenians were when Turkish-Isreali relations were at an alltime high.

    In terms of the Turkish perspective on the Palestinian incursion, most Turks feel sympathy and would feel the same sympathy towards Jews and have felt so with some of the terror acts against Israelis. Lets not forget that Turkey and the Ottoman Empire were beacons of freedom for many Jews from the Inquisition to Hitler. The Khazarian Turkic past of many Ashkenazi also keeps us close.

    But as you indicated, Turks are "moslem" . And, there is a real hard connection to Jerusalem that goes back 1000 years as this land has been the wedge between the West and the East. The Jews and Arabs are only pawns of the West that have created this mess with the territorial dispersements.

    I think you gave yourself away by dissemating this propaganda, where "jews" should flee Turkiye. No Jew would ever leave Turkey and they have not had a treacherous past as you Armenians have.

    So i think you should stop being a rat and grow up to be a man that speaks with honor as an Armenian, not posing as "jews", "greeks", "kurds", etc. to dissemate the hatred that lurks in your veins...


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