Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan received a hero's welcome on his return to Istanbul on Friday after he stormed out of a debate on Israel's Gaza offensive at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Thousands of people gathered at Istanbul's Ataturk airport to greet Erdogan when he returned, waving banners reading "Welcome back conqueror of Davos" and "World, look at our prime minister," with Turkish and Palestinian flags.
Erdogan walked out of a televised debate on Thursday with Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, after the moderator refused to allow him to rebut Peres' justification about the war.
In response to a question posed by a BBC correspondent after a press conference following the panel discussion which he left, Erdogan said that "Peres was not talking to a clan leader. Peres must learn how to talk to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey".
"President Peres you are older than I am. Maybe you are feeling guilty and that is why you are so strong in your words. You killed people. I remember the children who died on beaches," Erdogan said, through an interpreter.
Turkey's state-run Anatolian news agency, quoting unnamed diplomatic sources, said Peres told Erdogan late on Thursday that he was sorry about what had happened during the panel discussion on Gaza.
"I am very sorry for what happened and friends could sometimes have an argument between themselves. I have always had a great respect for the Republic of Turkey and you as the prime minister. I consider myself as a friend of Turkey and Premier Erdogan," Peres told Erdogan during a telephone conversation, Anatolian said.
Israel killed more than 1,300 Palestinians, a third of them children in the 22-day military aggression on Gaza and wounded 5,300 Palestinians, and Gaza infrastructure suffered massive damage totaling some 476 million dollars, according to Palestinian medics and officials.
Also, Gazans live under heavy Israel siege for a long time and Egypt still insists on not to opening the only Gaza border crossing in a move condemned by Muslims around the world in protests, leaving Gazans desperate to digging tunnels underground and risking their lives.
Last Mod: 30 Ocak 2009, 09:14