Asharq Al-Awsat- The secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, revealed that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s walkout at the Davos meeting, last Thursday, following an altercation with Israeli President Shimon Peres, was in protest of the way the meeting was being managed.
Erdogan on Thursday stormed out of a debate on the Gaza war at the World Economic Forum in Davos after a clash with Israeli President Shimon Peres, saying Israel committed “barbarian” acts in the Hamas-ruled territory.
Moussa said in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat that “[the walkout] was in protest of the meetings administration and was not a political walkout, and this is what made me continue to work with the forum and not walkout, so as not to leave the stage clear for Israel to promote errors and mislead the international community.”
Erdogan complained that Israeli President Simon Peres was allowed to speak for 25 minutes, while he himself spoke for only 12 minutes, as did Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa. When Erdogan attempted to intervene and take the floor he was prevented from doing so by the moderator, and so walked out in protest.
Moussa said that what happened in Gaza was terrible, but that “we must follow up on the Arab peace plan initiated by King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia, and that we need to work with US envoy to the region George Mitchell to see if we can get the peace process back on track.”
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan later said that he is very upset over what occurred in Gaza but despite this that it is important that Turkey continue the diplomatic process. He said “I hope what happened in Davos reminds us of the importance of the peace process.”
David Ignatius, a writer for the “Washington Post” and the moderator of the World Economic Forum at Davos informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Erdogan was not given a second opportunity to comment due to time running out.
Ignatius added “I am sorry that time ran out during the meeting making it impossible for any participants to have a second chance to comment on what took place [during the meeting]…the issue of Gaza has raised inflammatory sentiments among all parties.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has called for Erdogan to “respect” Israel, adding that Hamas is the problem, and that most of the region is better aware of this than Turkey, as well as for Turkey to review its relationship with Hamas and Iran.
Livni stressed on Israeli public radio yesterday that “We enjoy important strategic relations with Turkey, which is why I expect Turkey to show respect vis-à-vis Israel despite the demonstrations on the street and the very hard images aired about Gaza,”
She added “It is possible to fix everything; we have to talk, put things on the table, keep our common interests as well as our differences in mind”