Erdogan Walks Out

Judah at World Politics Review posts on an interesting story:

For all the diplomatic fallout of the Gaza War, the deterioration in Israeli-Turkish relations might be the most alarming. This Youtube video of the Davos Forum where Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed off the stage (at the 1:01:30 mark) after not being permitted to respond to Israeli President Shimon Peres’ remarks, is stunning. Peres’ remarks, too, are remarkable for their passion at a forum that is known for its collegial calm. (They begin at the 39:30 mark.) Notice, too, the body language of Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa during Peres’ remarks.

Erdogan’s anger was directed at panel moderator David Ignatiius for not allowing him to finish his remarks, even if it was the bitter difference of opinion on Gaza that was the subject of discussion.

My Commentary
1) First, this is the same David Ignatuis who in November actually claimed that Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi   issued a fatwa in support of Obama’s campaign.

2)  Erdogan’s frustration is real and representative of widespread sentiment in the Arab and Muslim world.   Israel always trots out the elderly Shimon Peres to make the “why can’t we all get along” speech at these kinds of forums and that always wows Western audiences.  But from the perspective of the pro-Palestinian side  this is old and insulting.  Peres might be serious about peace, but he has very little influence in Israeli politics.   And when Peres talks about how much Israel wants peace, there’s 300 million Arabs scratching their heads,  wondering how that squares with the three week trashing of Gaza which left a good 400-500 women and children dead.  So I can easily see how Erdogan would be pissed sitting through Peres’ 25 minute “Let’s give peace a chance” spiel and then have  Igantius tell him its time to eat dinnner and no he can’t speak for more than a minute.

10 Responses

  1. Turkey? This country killed hundreds of kurds, used death squads, call the kurdish the “people of mountain”.

  2. Guido: Yes but Turkey and Israel are allies. Turkey even allows Israel to use Turkish airspace. So it’s significant that Israel’s latest Gaza operation was so bad that it has soured relations even with Israel’s non-Arab allies (other than the US of course).

  3. Guido, the Republic of Turkey has never killed innocent Kurdish citizens; Turkey has been at war with Kurdish guerilla rebels that use terror to gain strength. and I beleive the Kurdish regions are mountainous

  4. Rob,

    I have not commented in a long time since I was busy. Now, I feel compelled, largely because I feel I disdain both sides more than most (especially in DC, where being a whore to some external interest has been in vogue for years).

    It was moving to watch that, and now I have a lot of respect for Erdogan. I was recently impressed by Turkey’s attempts at diplomacy, since they are perhaps the only ones with the will and position to negotiate with Israel. They got Syria and Israel talking, which few could ever boast about.

    The fact that he is ignored and Peres lauded is shockingly embarrassing. If I were him, I would have walked out in frustration too (only second to the awful interpretation by the Turkish women who can’t keep up; I am amazed if she knows English or cannot translate good Turkisk profanity). This situation post-Gaza has grown largely out of control, and both sides applaud their efforts when both have only guaranteed more misery for who they represent. Only Erdogan had the balls to say what was obvious: how the fuck can you talk about humanity and peace at the Davos Forum after what you guys have been pulling? If Hamas was saying similar things in public, would you take it seriously and not mock it openly through your channels? I like they were not even willing to let him finish listing a very relevant commandment..

    I applaud him for being the only one to call for a reality check.


    P.S. I ironically read this in a novel today and it seems very relevant to me:

    اما حين جاءه ابنه صالح بعد ايام من وفاة ابن الراشد وقال “ان باب الرزق انفتح والعلة راحت” مشيرا الي غياب ابن الراشد نهائيا, فقد رد بمرارة ظهرت علي وجهه “يا وليدي الرزق من الله والموت من الله . . عدوك اذا مات لا تشمت.”

    What scares me is that this thought has never occurred to the leadership of either side. Even their mediators cannot listen to them anymore.

  5. Good post, Rob. The only thing I would question is how serious Peres is for peace. I would disagree with you on Peres’ influence in Israel. I believe he is an Icon there and could use his influence more. Although, I imagine that Israel’s president is like Spain’s King: he’s more for show than anything else.

  6. One more thing. Haraka said:

    “The fact that he is ignored and Peres lauded is shockingly embarrassing. If I were him, I would have walked out in frustration too (only second to the awful interpretation by the Turkish women who can’t keep up; I am amazed if she knows English or cannot translate good Turkisk profanity).”

    From a purely technical point of view, I, as a translator and interpreter was shocked at the female interpreter’s performance. I could see the puzzled look on the participants’ faces when trying to make heads and tales of the English interpretation of Erdogan’s answer to Peres. It was only after when journalists were able to record his message and listen to it several times that the complete meaning was conveyed.

    Personally, I can understand the difficulty of working in a booth. It takes lots of training. It’s not just a question of being fluent in two languages. It is also knowing the terminology, the topics, etc. That being said, anyone can make a mistake, miss a word or phrase, become nervous – especially if it is a first time. However, I am really quite surprised this interpreter was allowed to work at the annual meeting in Davos. I would imagine only experienced interpreters work there. After all, it is a summit, isn’t it?
    And I don’t think she will get a job as an interpreter for at least the next 3 to 4 years due to her performance.

  7. It was moving to watch that, and now I have a lot of respect for Erdogan

    It would appear that Abdel Bari Atwan shares your sentiments.

    A man of ‘Ottoman Empire pedigree’ and a ‘chivalrous knight of proven Islamic mettle’ are just some of the ways Ibn al-Kalaam describes him.

    The most worrying thing for me is the way he conveniently parrots all the familiar anti-Semitic tropes about ‘bloody hands’ etc. what with the historic persecution of Jews under the Ottomans and all that.

  8. John,
    I said Peres “might” be serious about peace. I merely raised the possibility.

    Second, does Peres have a constituency in Israel? I just don’t think he has anywehre near the clout of Netanyahu, Livni, or Barrack. How many seats does his party have in the Knesset? So I think its misleading when the Western media treats him as if he is a major player in Israeli politics- as if his interest in “peace” is shared by the major players in Israeli politics.

  9. Hi Rob,

    Icons are icons. And I believe that in Israel – although I don’t understand the Jewish mindset – older people like Peres who have been in politics for years would morally have more influence. But again, I am just basing myself on any possible analogy with Arabs. I am could definitely be wrong.

    Concerning Shlomo’s comment of “historical persecution of Jews under the Ottomans”, I would appreciate it if he could elaborate. I agree with Abdel Bari Atwan as well. The Arab leaders have been absolute traitors to the Palestinians. When the Israelis kill Palestinians, I am not surprised. This is something to be expected. So the problem is not in the Israelis.

    The problem is in the Arab leaders who on one hand say – and I quote the laughing cow – ” الدم الفليسطي ليس رخيصا ” (Palestinian blood is not cheap) and on the other cooperate with Israel during the blood shed. An example of such cooperation is the sale of meals by an Egyptian company to the Israeli army during the bombing. Here is a link to the story:

    And I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jordanians provided them with water. The fact is that only when the Arabs have leaders that truly represent them and speak in one voice and back up their discourse with actions will the Israelis realize they had better start behaving like good neighbors.

    I would also tell Shlomo that Abdelbari Atwan is actually very moderate. He’s just a decent person who conveys what he sees: if it’s not the demolition of Palestinian homes or theft of their land and killing of so called militants in the West Bank, it is the practical carpet bombing of Gaza.

    Like many analysts have said, this latest crime in Gaza has only alienated Israel’s very few friends. It’s even strengthened anti-Israeli sentiment in the States. I hope the Israelis one day start thinking with those wonderful brains that they have and start correcting some wrongs before it is too late for them.

  10. Можно спросить а как вы зарабатываете на своем блоге ?

    здесь видел ет

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: