Turkish PM storms out of Davos' Gaza session, slams moderator
Hurriyet Daily News Online
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan stormed out of a heated debate on the Gaza war with Israel's President Shimon Peres at the Davos forum on Thursday. (UPDATED)
Erdogan said at a press conference after the incident that his reaction targeted the moderator who, he said, did not give him the floor to speak.
"My reaction here was towards the moderator. Such moderation will cast a shadow over peace efforts," Erdogan told reporters, adding the moderator gave each speaker around 12-15 minutes to speak but he allowed Peres to talk for 25 minutes.
"I did not target at all in any way the Israeli people, President Peres or the Jewish people. On the contrary, during the panels I attended both at lunch and tonight, I specifically stressed that anti-Semitism is a crime against humanity," Erdogan added in the press conference.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon and the General Secretary of Arap League Amr Moussa had joined Erdogan and Peres in the session which was moderated by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius.
"DON'T THINK I WILL COME BACK"
"I do not think I will be coming back to Davos after this because you do not let me speak," Erdogan shouted before marching off the stage in front of the attendance and the audience.
During the joint press conference with the chairman of World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab, Erdogan said he will discuss the issue with Schwab when asked whether he will attend the future WEF meetings.
Although Peres has raised his voice during the session and targeted directly the Turkish Prime Minister, he did not raise his voice because of his respect, Erdogan said.
Erdogan criticized the audience for applauding Peress emotional defense of
Peres, a veteran Israeli statesman who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for his efforts to reconcile with Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization, had told the audience that
"The tragedy of
Ban, Erdogan, Moussa and Peres had all been sitting alongside each other for the debate.
All gave long impassioned statements on the conflict which left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead and widespread destruction in
The U.N. secretary general had called on
Moussa, who also strongly attacked
|30 Ocak 2009|