Israeli president regrets Erdogan incident at Davos

January 30th, 2009 - 6:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Tel Aviv/Davos, Jan 30 (DPA) Israeli President Shimon Peres said Friday he regretted the incident at the World Economic Forum in Davos the day before when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed out of a debate over the Gaza Strip issue.The Haaretz newspaper’s website said Peres had made a telephone call with Erdogan Friday morning and assured him that he was “very sorry” about the incident.

“Friends can have disputes among each other,” Peres reportedly told the Turkish premier. “I have always had great respect for the Turkish Republic and for you as its prime minister.”

Peres also said he remained a “friend” of Turkey and of Erdogan, Haaretz said of the telephone call.

The Israeli president’s call followed the turbulence in the otherwise calm atmosphere of the Davos meetings, when Erdogan stormed out after a panel discussion on the Gaza Strip issue, angrily charging that he had not given enough time to speak.

Peres had spoken at length to defend the Israeli offensive and placed the blame for the bloodshed on Hamas.

Erdogan, looking enraged, asked for the right of response from the moderator, David Ignatius of the Washington Post newspaper, who granted him one minute, and told Peres: “You must feel guilty to be so strong in your words,” referring to the president having raised his voice during his address.

“You killed people,” Erdogan said, adding that “the Sixth Commandment says thou shall not kill”.

When the moderator tried to cut Erdogan off, after his minute was up, the premier went red in the face, tried to talk atop Ignatius and then walked out, saying Peres had spoken for more than twice as long as he was given.

He vowed never to return to Davos. “For me Davos is over,” Erdogan said.

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