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News number: 8711111231

18:58 | 2009-01-30

World

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Turkish PM Storms out of WEF over Gaza

TEHRAN (FNA)- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed out of a Davos forum after a heated debate with Israel's President Shimon Peres and slamming moderator David Ignatius.



Erdogan walked off in front of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other panel members complaining that his comments on the conflict were cut short by the Washington Post's moderator David Ignatius.

The Turkish premier noted to reporters following the incident that he was treated unfairly by the moderator who allowed him only 12 minutes to make his points while giving Peres a full 25 minutes to deliver an impassioned defense of Israel's 22-day offensive that devastated Gaza. Arab League chief, Egypt's Amr Moussa rose to shake his hand as the prime minister made his exit, press tv reported.

"I do not think I will be coming back to Davos after this because you do not let me speak," the prime minister shouted as he left, though he said later he could reconsider.

Erdogan criticized the audience of international officials and corporate chiefs for applauding Peres' emotional defense of Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza, which left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead.

Erdogan, who leads one of the few Muslim countries to have diplomatic ties with Israel and who has sought a peacemaker's role in the Middle East conflict, said Israel had carried out "barbaric" actions in Gaza.

"I find it very sad that people applaud what you have said because many people have been killed," he shouted at Peres before being cut off by Ignatius.

Erdogan and Peres spoke by telephone after the debate and the 85-year-old Israeli president apologized for the events, Turkey's Anatolia news agency reported.