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Turkish PM could turn his Israel reaction into a historic opportunity

On Thursday, I wrote an article on Davos that I liked and which I saw as important. But I withdraw it from publication in the newspaper after the argument erupted between Prime Minister Erdogan and Israeli President Shimon Peres.

I did not write another one for that article. I refrain from giving knee-jerk reactions during such critical periods.

 

The impact of my initial feelings has passed and I can now see the incident more logically.

 

The moderator of the session was truly appalling. He should have moderated such a critical session more delicately.

 

I have known Israeli President Shimon Peres for years. He always has been the person of "moderacy". However he was extremely tense in the session. His anger increased as he spoke. The Peres I know was gone and a terrible character was sitting there.

 

This gave justification to Erdogan's reaction. Despite this fact, there is one thing on which Peres was right.

 

Three out of the four people in the session was anti-Israeli; and therefore the session was unbalanced.

 

Giving Peres more time to speak after the others spoke for 15 minutes each is acceptable under the principle of objectivity.

 

* * *

When it comes to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, I can understand his reaction to some degree. I did not approve of the physical intervention of the moderator.

 

But I believe that Erdogan went too far with some of his remarks. For example, the remark, "You know very well how to kill," was very harsh.

 

But the thing I am curious of is this: Was the prime minister there to make this theatrical show or was it a spontaneous reaction?

 

I think we should seriously consider either of them.

 

But the real question in my mind is this:

 

What turned his reaction into something that was debated worldwide? His remarks or his reaction in storming out of the session?

 

I think it is the second one.

 

Because almost every single thing he said in the session echoed his previous remarks.

 

If all of us pass judgment by only looking at this one gesture, then we should open debate on other things.

 

I believe the destiny of a country should be drawn by more rational attitudes. Such behavior may be favored by some politicians, who want to make the crowds proud and mobilize them with enthusiasm.

 

But if you look at history, mass action triggered by a theatrical show of anger, has never brought permanent happiness to a nation.

 

If it is not this way, and is instead an expression of anger and injustice, then rational diplomacy should be launched immediately to compensate for this reaction.

 

So if the prime minister is really sincere in leaving the session on an emotional reaction, he should then establish the logical aspect of this policy immediately.

 

* * *

Turkey had passed from "institutional diplomacy" to "personal diplomacy" twice in the last 50 years.

 

The first came when Turgut Ozal adopted a stance of personal diplomacy during the first Gulf War. This time, in the second Gulf War, the Turkish parliament stepped in and rejected abid that would have allowed American troops to enter Iraq via Turkish soil.

 

Now we are seeing another example of "personal diplomacy". We all know that Gaza is Erdogan's personal political matter.

 

We can debate it, but we cannot deny this fact: Such a policy is a part of the charisma of a leader.

 

But there is something else that history has shown us. Institutional wisdom is more cautious than personal wisdom and is more in a country's interests.

 

* * *

At this point, a historic mission awaits Erdogan. Television footage shows that Erdogan has a certain charisma in the region.

 

This could well be turned in to a precious service for Middle East peace. It could be very beneficial if Erdogan gives this message to Hamas:

 

"Stop the rocket fire. End the terror attacks. Accept the existence of Israel. Sit at the table for peace talks."

 

Yes, today Erdogan is the leader who has the biggest right to participate in talks about the situation in the region. Because he showed a reaction that might have severe costs for Turkey in the longer term.

 

Therefore he has the right to expect these steps from Hamas. Then his reaction of storming out of the session will have "a historic meaning".

 

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