Erdogan asks, 'Does Gaza have mass destruction weapons like Israel?'

Turkish PM Erdogan said "during a subway inauguration in Istanbul on Friday, I will give detailed information about our conversation.

Erdogan asks, 'Does Gaza have mass destruction weapons like Israel?'

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, "I attended the panel discussion 'The Case for Middle East Peace' held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland as the prime minister of the Republic of Turkey. My responsibility is to protect the honor of the Turkish nation."

Holding a news conference at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport after his return from Davos, Prime Minister Erdogan said, "the panel discussion attended also by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa started in a nice atmosphere. This is not the first time I attended such an international meeting. Prior to the meeting, the moderator informed us about duration of speeches. During the first round, Mr. Ban Ki-moon spoke for eight minutes while Moussa and I completed our speeches in 15 minutes each. When it was Mr. Peres's turn, he spoke for 23 minutes without any interruption or warning. Also, Peres delivered the speech in a manner which did not suit a president and which included insulting expressions. We cannot accept such accusations and his peremptory attitude.

"To be honest, I come from politics, not from diplomacy. Therefore, I do not speak like a diplomat. All I know for sure that my responsibility is to protect the honor of the Turkish nation. I am not just some leader of some group or tribe. I am the prime minister of the Republic of Turkey. This is my character and my identity," Erdogan said.

"When I asked for a minute to conclude my speech, the moderator tried to cut off my remarks. Upon this attitude, I took my file and left the hall without waiting for closure by the president of Davos. It was not a personal matter, but it was about my country's credibility and esteem. Therefore, my manner had to be clear. I could not allow anyone to damage credibility and honor of my country," he said.

"Later, President Peres called me to express his regret. He told me that he raised his voice because he thought nobody could hear him. During a subway inauguration in Istanbul on Friday, I will give detailed information about our conversation," he said.

Asked about likely impacts of the tension on Turkish-Israeli relations, Prime Minister Erdogan said, "I did not target in any way the Israeli people or the Jewish people. It was a reproach to the Israeli administration."

Upon a question whether we would go to Davos again, Erdogan told reporters, "I do not think I will. Actually, it does not matter at all."

Prime Minister Erdogan walked off the stage during a panel discussion on Israel assault over Gaza held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos when a panel moderator cut off his remarks in response to President Peres.

During panel discussion attended also by secretary generals of the United Nations and the Arab League, Erdogan said, "while Israel bombed Gaza, the humanity remained silent. I ask you all. Does Gaza have a fraction of the weapons of mass destruction that Israel possesses? Do the Palestinians have weapons as much as Israel?" Erdogan said. The situation in Gaza cannot be resolved with billions of dollars. Gaza has collapsed over its people that have no economic means to develop. Even buildings of the United Nations were hit. I am a prime minister who expressly stated that anti-Semitism is a crime against humanity. The aid sent by Turkey was kept waiting at border crossings for 15 days."

Erdogan also said that we would not come to Davos again as he left the hall.


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Last Mod: 30 Ocak 2009, 16:13
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