Erdogan Storms Out, But Weapons Sale Still On
Despite an escalation in the hostile atmosphere has developed between Turkey and Israel, a weapons sale between the two nations is expected to take place as planned, according to government sources.
Israel has agreed to sell Turkey several unmanned drones of both the Heron and Harpy models. Harpy model drones have been used to take out Hamas terrorists.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed angrily out of the World Economic Forum's Davos conference on Thursday night, torpedoing President Shimon Peres's hopes for reconciliation. The incident took place after Peres and Erdogan debated onstage.
After Erdogan, Arab League head Amr Moussa and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon harshly criticized Israel's Cast Lead operation in Gaza, Peres turned to Erdogan and told him Turkey would have done the same.
If rockets hit Istanbul, Turkey would have responded, Peres said, adding, “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?... You don't understand, and I am not prepared for lies.”
Peres's statement was met with applause.
Erdogan asked to respond, and was given a short time to speak in which he termed Israel's actions “very wrong” and “not humanitarian.” He was then silenced by a moderator, leading him to leave in anger while saying, “Thank you very much. I don't think I will come back to Davos.”
Moussa supported Erdogan's actions, while other leaders expressed concern over the situation. Erdogan refused to discuss his decision to leave with reporters, while his wife accused Peres of lying.
Upon returning home to Turkey, Erdogan was greeted by thousands of enthusiastic supporters. Demonstrators flooded the airport bearing Turkish and PLO flags and shouting slogans in support of Gaza Arabs and Erdogan.
Israeli diplomats implied Thursday night that Israel might not continue to attempt to appease Erdogan, who has harshly criticized Israel since the Cast Lead operation began over a month ago. An anonymous official told foreign journalists that Israel would not “chase after the Turks.”