Atul Aneja

DUBAI: Jubilant crowds waving Turkish and Palestinian flags greeted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his return on Friday from Davos where he sparred verbally over Gaza with Israeli President Shimon Peres and staged a walkout.

At a World Economic Forum debate in Davos in which Mr. Erdogan also participated, Mr. Peres, in reference to the Gaza war, said: “Do you understand the meaning of a situation where hundreds of rockets are falling a day on women and children who cannot sleep quietly, who need to sleep in shelters? What is the matter with you? You don’t understand, and I am not prepared for lies.” A large section of the audience applauded Mr. Peres for his comments.

Mr. Erdogan directly addressed Mr. Peres and said: “I remember two former Prime Ministers in your country who said they felt very happy when they were able to enter Palestine on tanks. I find it very sad that people applaud what you said. There have been many people killed. And I think that it is very wrong and it’s not humanitarian.”

He added: “President Peres, you are older than I am. Maybe you are feeling guilty and that is why you are so strong in your words. You killed people. I remember the children who died on beaches.”