Davos: Erdoğan walks out

January 29, 2009 at 10:33 pm (AK Party, israel, palestine, turkey, Uncategorized, voltairespriest)

Well, no more Mr Smoothie Guy then. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has within the past few hours walked out of the World Economic Forum in disgust, because of having been denied the same amount of time as was given to his Israeli counterpart, President Shimon Peres, when addressing the assembled audience on the subject of the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza. Quoting Gilad Atzmon and Avi Shlaim, he walked away claiming that he will not be returning.

Erdoğan offers his own explanation in this press conference footage, as televised by Turkish news station TRT 2. Amongst other things he expressly denies any enmity towards “the Israeli people”, and also says “I am a Prime Minister, a leader, who has specifically stated that anti-Semitism is a crime against humanity”.

The BBC’s initial report on the incident can be found here.

I am not a fan of Erdoğan’s, nor indeed of his Adalet ve Kalkınma (Justice and Development) Party. They are a movement of religious-political roots, and it is difficult to deny that they continue to carry at least some of that legacy, albeit by no means in the same way as openly theocratic groups do. What is more, his willingness to quote from Atzmon does raise questions, albeit that he is not necessarily likely to be aware of the man’s highly dubious political pedigree. Nevertheless it is a highly unusual spectacle to see a national leader who is prepared to break diplomatic precedent in such spectacular style. Erdoğan left to a partial standing ovation.

What this does show is just how damaging the Gaza conflict may prove to have been, to relations between Israel and other nations in the Middle East region. Turkey has historically stood aside from Arab-Israeli hostilities and maintained relatively good relations with Jerusalem. Erdoğan himself had been trying to foster talks between Israel and Syria, with a view to ending a conflict which has festered enen since before the former’s inception in 1948. Indeed, far from being a redoubt of stereotypical anti-Western religious fanatics, Turkey is also a nation with (fading) hopes of joining the EU, which would make it the first majority-Muslim member state. This, indeed, in spite of a number of backward and bigoted responses from prominent EU figures. It is also a NATO partner, and a regional superpower with more than half a million men under arms.

It is one thing to foment conflicts with nations whom one’s allies see as pariah states, such as Iran. It is quite another to offend one of your few friends in the Middle East. This argument may eventually be smoothed over, but it marks the beginning of a realignment. Israeli politicians should take note: one fit of pique on a platform speaks volumes. The days of carte blanche from “friends of Israel” are well and truly over.


  1. voltairespriest said,

    Of course, according to some this means that Atzmon “has the ear” of Erdogan…

  2. digg said,

    Erdogan you are the best…

  3. Filiz said,

    Well said Mr Erdogan. Well done sir!

  4. voltairespriest said,

    He’s certainly called a stir. Some in the Turkish media are calling it his “Galloway in the Senate” moment. Oh, if only they knew what an unflattering person that is to compare their PM with!

  5. Akira Bergman said,

    Erdogan shows the world how to react to murder.

  6. Frank Long said,

    Yes, Erdogan’s stand on Darfur was equally impressive.

    Oh …. hold on.

    I’ll get my coat.

  7. SC&A said,

    It was a show, for domestic consumption, no more, no less.

    Both Israel and Turkey have acknowledged that relations between the two countries will not be affected by the events in Gaza.

    Why? Because there is now way you can hide what Hamas really is, who they are and what they represent. While everyone feels good about showing ‘support’ for Gaza, no civilized person can look at Hamas not be repulsed at their ideology and behavior.

    Turkish politics are more often than not mysterious to outsiders, but in the end, Turks are a lot smarter than most westerners give them credit for- they will not ‘Arabize’ their nation the way the Iranians did and suffer the same decline.

    The Turks have always been in the end, a civilizing force.

  8. SC&A said,

  9. Akira Bergman said,


    Your take is too simplistic. Everything can be reviewed, including defence ties. Perez tried to shut Erdogan up, but in the end he was forced to apologize. This shows you that the Israeli state have forgotten its ethics and given totally into pragmatism, materialism and atheism. Hence Erdogan’s lesson to Perez in Torah.

    The article is spot on;

    “Israeli politicians should take note: one fit of pique on a platform speaks volumes. The days of carte blanche from “friends of Israel” are well and truly over.’

    The days of the Neo-cons and their proxies are over.

  10. SC&A said,


    The Erdogan was a show. It took less than 24 hours for he and Peres to kiss and make up. So much for the ‘review.’

    Also, talking about ethics in the Middle East is a dangerous game- pointing fingers always draws comparisons, a game the Arab world and the Palestinians in particular ought best not play. After all, a culture in which the promise is ‘We’ll finish what Hitler started’ and where institutionalized racism, bigotry and calls to genocide are the norm hardly qualifies as civilized.

    From Dr Sanity:

    “The Jews are hardly perfect as a people; nor has Israel been perfect in exercising the right to defend itself; but all those who have eyes can see the careful and humane methods used in every controlled military action against constant Hamas provocation. Hamas, whose brave warriors hide behind women and children; and who deliberately put their munitions in mosques, schools and the homes of innocents is the exact opposite.

    As for the Palestinians? What have they contributed to human society to earn them such impassioned defense by people who tend to consider themselves rather more intelligent than the average American? Oh yes…the suicide bomber and historically unparalleled bestial behavior…”

    From Gagdad Bob:

    “…the Palestinians receive no criticism from the left (and the world community at large), not because they think so highly of them, but because they have think so badly about them–in fact, they actually have no expectations whatsoever about them. In other words, it is not because the Palestinians are so wonderful that they are immune from criticism, but because everyone knows that it would be absurd to hold Muslims to the same standards as Christians, or Jews, or Zen Buddhists–to any standards of decency at all, really. No one is shocked at the barbarity of the Islamic world, whether it is committed by terrorists, or perpetrated in the name of the Saudi or Iranian governments. Imagine being foolish enough to have any moral expectations of the Chinese, or the Palestinians, or the Saudis, or the North Koreans. We expect them to behave barbarously. And they never fail us. And when they do behave in their predictably bestial way, it is never their fault. It is either overlooked completely, or blamed on some provocation, some “underlying cause….”

    …the attitude that dismisses the crazy beliefs of the Muslim world is another example of the hard bigotry of no expectations. It causes real damage, because it panders to the worst in human beings and lets them off the hook. It is like a bad therapist who simply supports a patient rather than interpreting, clarifying, and sometimes confronting.”

    The days of the neocons may indeed be over, but you can be assured that as long as racism and bigotry are part and parcel of much of the Arab and Muslim world, there will no be any rapprochment with western democracies.

    The Arab world are not moral equals. It really is that simple.

  11. Akira Bergman said,


    They may have ‘kissed’ and resolved by now, but this does mean the relationship will continue the old way. The relationships between nation states are much more complicated than the ones between couples and individuals. If you went through a relationship with the opposite sex, you will know what I mean. A kiss can hide love as well as hatred.

    Amongst all that you never mention the forceful installation of Israel in the middle east by the ‘western’ interests, and the subsequent racial cleansing. For this reason it is usually the ‘installers’ who defend Israel and the atrocities it has inflicted on the Arab world. This gross injustice is the reason why the ‘left’ almost always side with the Palestinians. No need to mention the enormous nuclear arsenal Israel holds against the whole civilized world. If it weren’t for the Neo-cons of USA and EU, Israel could not have survived. The main reason for its continued existence is to do with raw and ugly financial and military power. This is not civilization, it is barbarism, racism and bigotry.

    I have also noticed the convergence between Christians, Jews and Buddhists. It is just a reflection of the business ties. Jews and Buddhists are sucking up to the Vatican and the Vatican is sucking up to Neo-cons. The modern Buddhists are no where near what they used to be, with all that fetish with size and brain washing by repetition, just like the Christians and Jews. Muslims are not much better, but at least they acknowledge poverty and injustice. This is the reason why Islam is spreading fast.

    Combine your religious fervor with science and liberate your soul;

    Religion without science is lame,
    science without religion is blind.

  12. SC&A said,

    ‘Racial cleansing’?

    You’re kidding, right? Ina region where Mein Kampf is second only to the Quran is sales, you believe Israel is the problem? For decades, institutionalized racism, bigotry and calls to genocide have defined the Arab world- and you think Israel is the problem?

    From the Hamas Charter:

    “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will
    obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

    “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and
    kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the
    rocks and trees will cry out: ‘O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind
    me, come and kill him.”

    “[Peace] initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and
    international conferences are in contradiction to the principles of
    the Islamic Resistance Movement… Those conferences are no more than
    a means to appoint the infidels as arbitrators in the lands of
    Islam… There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except by
    Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are but a
    waste of time, an exercise in futility.”

    I have noted in the past that ‘Arab world hatred of America and Israel will not be overturned with a change in Congress or the White House. The Arab world will hate America if we come as liberators or if we react in self defense. The Arab world is so dysfunctional that even when they bitterly complain we support the regimes that oppress them, they cannot abide that we might liberate them.

    The Arab world have proven themselves incapable of identifying what might be in their own best interests. The dysfunction of the Arab world is profoundly deep. The pathology is so great that if they were to acknowledge the liberation of the Iraqis from Saddam as a positive outcome, the gratitude to America would only make more profound their sense of ‘humiliation.’

    Why? Because they are so immersed in a contrived culture of shame avoidance (meaning that ‘honor’ is derived only by the humiliation or elimination of others), they have proved for the most part, to be incapable of grasping the meaning of freedom.

    Arab and Muslim societies, led by dysfunctional political and religious leaders, have redefined what it means to an Arab or Muslim. These societies have proven themselves incapable of producing good and decent citizens. Islam, once a religion that was a model for religious tolerance and a culture under which other cultures/religions were allowed to flourish, is now barely capable of acknowledging it’s own past. Islam today is recognized by it’s religious and institutional hate and belligerence, not the philosophy, science, art and literature that contributed to the progress of humankind…

    Many in the Arab world defiantly declare their ‘Arab pride,’ but of course, that really isn’t true. That is a kind of projection. If there really was Arab pride, they would be digging holes for the foundation of schools and factories, and not tunnels to smuggle weapons or explosives for suicide bombers. If the Palestinians wanted to reflect Arab pride, they would build hospitals and not rockets and missiles.

    The Arab world is not fighting for freedom and democracy. They are fighting to retain the values of oppression, tyranny and dysfunction. There is so much self hatred of what they have come to stand for, that they are willing to blow themselves up in the process. Subconsciously, they know what they are fighting to preserve and how they are fighting, is repulsive to any decent, civilized and religious adherent of any faith.

    In truth, the Arab world cannot be proud of itself. The Islamic and Arab cultures that contributed mightily to the progress of mankind, have willingly become the poster children for religious intolerance, hate, violence and even genocide. There is very little the Arab world has to be proud of and pointing to past glory only serves to highlight how far they have fallen. All the phony ‘Arab pride’ in the world has not motivated them to build. All they have done is destroy- and that destruction is a symptom of self hatred. People who hate themselves, destroy everything around them. People that believe in their higher selves, build. The same is true for nations. Nations, societies and cultures are not remembered for what they destroy. They are remembered for what they have built.

  13. Akira Bergman said,

    “The dysfunction of the Arab world is profoundly deep.”


    “Why? Because they are so immersed in a contrived culture of shame avoidance…”

    Incorrect. Your science is poor and your knowledge of history is selective to say the least. This is due to your blind adherence to outmoded religions and greed. You may also be a political operative, and agent of the Neo-cons, judging by the methods you use. You have ignored the “installation of Israel by the colonialists” comment, and trying to crowd it out.

    The materialist and atheist elements of the ‘west’ have been sabotaging democracy in the middle east and around the world for decades. Didn’t they destroy the fledgling democracies of Iran, Iraq, Chile, Indonesia…? They did this in the name of the cold war and then freedom. We know what freedom means for them; freedom for their stinking capital. It is also called colonialism.

  14. Jim Denham, said,

    Akira: do you so despise the Arab world that you deny their rulers are quite capable of “sabotaging democracy” without any help from the “”west”? And as for the creation of Israel being an “installation…by colonialists”…well, that’s one way of describing a people fleeing genocide asserting national self-determination, I suppose.

  15. Akira Bergman said,


    I don’t despise the Arabs, I understand them. The dysfunction in the Arab world is the result of decades of negative selection by the colonialists. Their borders were drawn, and their states were installed by the colonialists. In such a horrible mess how can you expect the Arab states to cooperate in a meaningful way?

    “…people fleeing genocide asserting national self-determination…”

    Sure, but not at the cost and exclusion of other people. They could have done it in a more humane way and cooperated with the Arabs, but that was not an option in the methods used by their colonialist masters. My guess, and wish, is the formation of a federal state formed of two states of Israel and Palestine, with a view to integrate in the future.

  16. Jim Denham, said,

    Akira: “They could have done it in a more humane way and co-operated with the Arabs”…”they” (ie the Jews in Palestine) tried doing that in 1937, and offered a very reasonable compromise to the Arab leaders…and were told to get lost. A little later the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem openly supported Hitler, and formed a Palestinian wing of the SS. When the Jewish refugees formed their state in 1948, they were immediately threatened with annihilation by the surrounding Arab states. But I broadly agree with wish for two states (not sure about a “federation” in the immediate future) and an eventual integration…presumably under socialism at some stage in the indeterminate future. But in the meanwhile, many wounds have to heal on both sides.

  17. Akira Bergman said,


    The events you mention have previous events that led to it and so on, much of it orchestrated by the colonialists and their golden rule; divide and rule. For the healing to start, the fog of the colonialist propaganda must be challenged and lifted, and an agreement on history achieved between the peoples.

  18. Jim Denham, said,

    Akira: I don’t deny that colonialism was evil and has a lot to answer for. I just don’t think it explains everything. In particualr, Israel is *not* simply (or *even*) a “colonial” state. Britain opposed its formation and the US was not enthusiastic. Both of them imposed an arms embargo on Israel when the surrounding Arab states attacked in 1948. If Stalin hadn’t allowed the Czech government to supply Israel with arms, it would almost certainly have been wiped out there and then.

  19. Akira Bergman said,


    Chomsky calls Israel a satellite state and I agree with him. He also called Turkey a satellite but was surprised when Turkey refused USA’s request to use southern Turkey as an attack base on Iraq. I didn’t know the Chech connection but Israel’s later realignment with Europeans and USA was in harmony with its past.

  20. Jim Denham, said,

    Akira: you (and Chomsky) are quite simply wrong about history: Israel was not, at its foundation , a “satellite state”, and as I have explained Britain opposed it and the US wasn’t very supportive, It was only later (after Suez in 1956, in particular) that things changed. Your statement that “Israel’s later realignment with Europeans and the US was in harmony with its past” is bizarre: what past? If you accept (as I understand that you do) the historical truth of what I say about Israel’s foundation in 1948, then what “past” are you talking about?

    Have a read of this:


    ..and if you’ve more time, this:


  21. SC&A said,


    My science is not poor- in fact, it quite accurate and shared by many mental health professionals the world over.

    Your arguments might be more persuasive if you made a single substantive point. Instead, you declare my science ‘poor’. Ob what do you base that remark? Simply making assertions without evidence is not an intellectual achievement.

    Further, it is clear that my knowledge of history- and political science is somewhat better than your own (as a matter of record and disclosure, I am a political behavioral analyst specializing in predictive behavior. Ny areas of expertise are Eastern Europe and the ME).

    Virtually every nation has borders defined by way of conflict.

    Israel was initially formed by way of UN Partition (as was Palestine and Pakistan). That said, the Arabs attacked Israel in 1948- and were promptly defeated. Thus, Israel’s legitimacy is beyond question- her borders were defined botgh by treaty and by conflict (that is why the 1967 borders are recognized by the international community).

    Mr Denham is quite correct when he states that Israel is not a satellite state. In fact, the first nation that voted for the UN Partition in 1948 was Russia, as well as other communist states. You are quite mistaken in both substance and analysis.

    Also, the legacy of colonialism is not quite as you paint it.

    The legacy of colonialism is what those former colonies make of it. More often than not, colonialists came into a society that was far behind their own, in terms of achievement, advancement and human progress. Notwithstanding the mythical and fabricated notions that ‘the white man’ came into primitive, peaceful and loving cultures, only to destroy them, the fact remains that these cultures and societies could have been greatly benefited by the advent of the ‘white man.’ Those societies resisted the advances they could have assimilated into their own culture.

    It is true there were abuses, of course, as there are in any human endeavor. It is also true that taking advantage of modern day tools and ideas are not an all or nothing proposition.

    India and Kenya (and to a lesser extent, Pakistan) have benefited greatly from colonialism, extracting what they needed so as to ensure their own successes. The education systems are a positive legacy of British colonialism, for example. India, Kenya and Pakistan have excellent school systems. The economic potential of these powerhouses is only now coming into being, a result of the legacy of colonialism. The values, principles and beliefs of both the Indians and Kenyans (and to a lesser extent, the Pakistanis, now saddled with radical Islamists determined to bury that nation)) have made progress a reality. It is true their societies and cultures differ from western cultures in many ways, not the least of which are caste systems. That said, the march towards real equality cannot be stopped. Caste systems are indefensible- and everyone knows it. Eventually, the eradication of caste systems will become a reality and when it does, the world will see another kind of economic and cultural imperialism (based on merit) coming from the region.

    The Arab world has proved to be another story. Notwithstanding the almost obscene wealth from natural resources, these societies have little to show for it (save for large cities and buildings, built by others and owned by a few very corrupt few). Unlike other colonial states, they rejected an educational system that could have benefited them (where are the world class universities, for example?). This is in stark contrast to their cousins, the Jews. With memories of their ‘vacations’ in Auschwitz still fresh, they came to an arid land, made the desert bloom, built a real economy and built world class institutions of higher learning- all at the same time. There will those that say, ’sure, we gave them billions in aid,’ but in fact, that is irrelevant. The fact remains they went to work and built their country and institutions from the ground up. The fact is they were able to build those institutions because education and higher learning were integral to principles, values and beliefs of the Jews. That cannot be said of the Arabs (For decades, the Palestinians have received more foreign aid than any other group. Their Arab brethren are gatekeepers of the largest amount of wealth in the history of the world- and yet they still live in squalor, happily led by racists, bigots and corrupt leaders who enrich themselves even as they call for the genocide of others.). The oil riches of the ummah are far greater- and nothing was built for that ummah. Why? Because the values, principles and beliefs are very different from those of their cousins. While that may not have been true a thousand years ago, it is true now.

    You can’t blame colonialism for all- or even most of the Arab world failures. They are home grown.

    When nations that are that are led by or are under the influence of tyrants or dictators, attempt to justify those actions, we can rightly assume that justification is false. Tyrants and dictators do not make moral choices, because moral choices can only lead to the demise of the tyranny.

    Anyone that comes to the defense of tyrannical regimes and their leaders, have themselves made a conscious choice to defend and stand by what is immoral. They themselves consciously adopt an immoral posture.

    Lastly, Peace in the Middle East isn’t that complicated. The UN, NATO, the Quartet and the EU have all agreed on three basic and minimal conditions. Once met, the floodgates of even more aid would open up.

    * Cessation of terror by the Palestinians
    * Diplomatic recognition of Israel
    * Secure borders.

    Which of those things are too onerous a burden for the Palestinians?

  22. empr said,

    a joke about it:

    In Davos, a lady walks to the mens bathroom and the bathroom staff worn her that it is mens bathroom. She stops and ask “Is Mr. President Erdogan inside?” he says “no, why you asked?” she answers “so there is no problem hence there is no men here except him”.

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