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Article in the Guardian:
Recep Erdogan storms out of Davos after clash with Israeli president over Gaza
guardian.co.uk, Friday 30 January 2009 05.59 GMT
The Turkish prime minister received a hero's welcome when he returned home after storming out of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland follwing a clashwith the Israeli president over Israel's offensive against Gaza.
Thousands of people gathered at Istanbul's Ataturk airport to greet Tayyip Erdogan when he returned, waving Turkish and Palestinian flags and chanting "Turkey is proud of you".
In a heated exchange, Erdogan told Shimon Peres the Israeli air strikes and invasion of the Palestinian territory were "very wrong" and said "many people have been killed".
The incident came after a lengthy debate at the Davos forum about the Israeli offensive, in which at least 1,300 Palestinians were killed.
Erdogan tried to rebut Peres as the discussion was ending, asking the moderator, the Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, to let him speak once more.
"Only a minute," Ignatius said.
Erdogan said: "I remember two former prime ministers in your country who said they felt very happy when they were able to enter Palestine on tanks.
"I find it very sad that people applaud what you said. There have been many people killed. And I think that it is very wrong and it is not humanitarian."
Ignatius said: "We can't start the debate again. We just don't have time."
When the Turkish prime minister said: "Please let me finish," Igatius replied: "We really do need to get people to dinner."
Erdogan replied: "Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. I don't think I will come back to Davos after this."
The confrontation saw both Peres and Ergodan raise their voices, and stunned ther audience, which included Valerie Jarrett, a close advisor to Barack Obama.
"I have know Shimon Peres for many years, and I also know Erdogan," the former Norwegian prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik said.
"I have never seen Shimon Peres so passionate as he was today. I think he felt Israel was being attacked by so many in the international community. He felt isolated.
"I was very sad that Ergodan left. This was an expression of how difficult this situation is."
Amr Moussa, the former Egyptian foreign minister who now leads the Arab League, said Ergodan's action was understandable.
"Mr Ergodan said what he wanted to say and then he left," he added. "That's all. He was right." Of Israel, he said: "They don't listen."