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Thousands receive Erdogan at home after Davos walkout

30 January, 2009

Thousands receive Tayyip Erdogan at home after Davos walkout
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DAVOS: Hundreds of thousands receive Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on coming back to home after he stormed off the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos after a heated debate on Gaza with Israel`s president.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan clashed with Shimon Peres, whose voice had risen as he made an impassioned defence of Israeli actions in Gaza, jabbing his finger. Erdogan said Peres had spoken so loudly to conceal his "guilt".

He accused the moderator of not allowing him to speak and said he did not think he would return to Davos.

The Turkish PM stressed later that he had left the debate not because of his disagreements with Peres but because he had been given much less time to speak than the Israeli leader.

Turkey is one of the few Muslim countries to have dealings with Israel. In the debate, Mr Erdogan was cut off as he attempted to reply to Mr Peres.

Earlier the Turkish Prime Minister had made an address himself, describing Gaza as an "open-air prison".

When the audience applauded Peres, the Turkish PM said: "I find it very sad that people applaud what you said. You killed people. And I think that it is very wrong."

More than 1,300 Palestinians and 14 Israelis were killed during the three-week Israeli drive in Gaza, which began on 27 December.

After that incident, Israeli President Shimon Peres apologised by telephone to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Thursday after the latter stormed out of a Davos debate, a news agency reported.

Peres spoke to Erdogan for five minutes and apologised, the news agency said, citing a source close to the Turkish premier.

End.

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