Friday, January 30, 2009 at 15:40
Latest Post:The Turkey-Israel Clash on Gaza -The American Jewish Committee Joins In
Israeli President Shimon Peres says he has had an "amicable" telephone conversation with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: "I called him up and said, yes, it's nothing against you, nothing against Turkey. We consider you as a friend." Peres added that he had answered "unfounded accusations".
Erdogan, meanwhile, told a conference Friday afternoon: "Nobody has the right to wish that an incident in which 1,300 people died and 5,000 people were injured be ignored.” Even more significant was his linkage of Turkey's emerging role in the Middle East with his domestic political position. Citing the "fundamental slogan" of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish state, “Peace at home, Peace in the world”, he continued, "This is why we mediated between Israel-Syria and Israel-Palestine; we played an active role in the solution of Lebanon conflict.”
Erdogan was careful to express his position as one of opposition to violence and killing, rather than an opposition to Tel Aviv: "We do not blame Israel, the Israeli people and Jews.…We are against anti-Semitism…” He may, however, be facing a challenge from the Turkish military. Brigadier Metin Gurak, the Chief of the Communication Department of the General Staff declared that it was essential to act "in accordance with the national interests" in terms of Turkey’s bilateral military relations with others.
Scenes of thousands of Gazans gathering on streets to show support for Erdogan divided media and the public in Turkey. While some accused the Prime Minister of not putting sufficient emphasis on the "terrorist" identity of Hamas, others appreciated his "determined" and "idealist" posture on the stage in Davos.