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Turkish PM greeted by cheers after Israel debate clash

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Turkish PM greeted by cheers after Israel debate clash

Post by Mohamed on Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:49 pm

Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, arrived home to a tumultuous reception of cheering crowds early today after storming out of a debate in Davos over Israel's recent offensive in Gaza.

Hours after clashing with the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, in angry scenes at the normally sedate world economic forum, he was welcomed at Istanbul's Ataturk airport by thousands of supporters waving Turkish and Palestinian flags and chanting "Turkey is proud of you". Sympathisers also left bouquets of flowers at his official residence.

The outpouring of support displayed the domestic political capital Erdogan gained from his performance at the Swiss resort, where he told Peres: "When it comes to killing, you know very well how to kill." He then walked off the stage, declaring that he would never return to Davos, after claiming he had not been allowed to speak by the debate moderator, the Washington Post columnist David Ignatius.

Erdogan also accused Peres of raising his voice and claimed the Israeli statesman had been allowed more speaking time than himself and the panel discussion's two other participants, the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, and Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League.

Peres had earlier made an impassioned defence of Israeli actions in Gaza, asking Erdogan: "What would you do if you were to have in Istanbul every night a hundred rockets?" Erdogan responded by saying: "President Peres, you are older than me and your voice is very loud. The reason for you raising your voice is the psychology of guilt … I know very well how you hit and killed children on the beaches."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/30/turkish-prime-minister-cheered-davos-row-gaza
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