Panel discussions at Davos are restricted to one hour, but Erdogan insisted on responding to Peres. Red-faced, and with one hand grasping the arm of the moderator, the columnist David Ignatius of The Washington Post, Erdogan turned to the Israeli president.
“Mr. Peres, you are older than me,” he said. “Your voice comes out in a very high tone. And the high tone of your voice has to do with a guilty conscience. My voice, however, will not come out in the same tone.”
Resisting efforts by Ignatius to end the session, Erdogan continued, saying to Peres, “When it comes to killing, you know well how to kill.”
Eventually, the prime minister gathered up his papers and departed, saying, “And so Davos is over for me from now on.”
Peres pointed at the departing Erdogan and said Turkey would have reacted as Israel did had rockets been falling on Istanbul, participants said.
Although Erdogan has strongly criticized Israel’s Gaza offensive, his country and Israel have long enjoyed close diplomatic relations. With its strong relations with the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party has played a growing role mediating among Israel, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians.
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