Peres, Erdogan make up after brouhaha


(JTA) — Israeli President Shimon Peres and Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan spoke on the phone after a rancorous public falling-out.

"I am very sorry for what happened and friends could sometimes have an argument between themselves," Peres told Erdogan during the telephone conversation, according to Ha’aretz. "I have always had a great respect for the Republic of Turkey and you as the prime minister. I consider myself as a friend of Turkey and Premier Erdogan."

The two leaders fell out Thursday during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Erdogan had made the case that Israel and the international community must bring Hamas into negotiations because the group won legislative elections and controls the Gaza Strip. he also criticized Israel’s actions during the Gaza Strip war.

Peres delivered an emotional reply, accusing Erdogan of exaggerating Israel’s fault in its war with Hamas.

"Hamas participated in the elections, but they have a very unique idea about democracy," Peres said. "They think a democracy is a story of one day in four years. You go through the elections. After the elections, you can start to shoot and kill and threaten. Finished. Democracy is not a matter of elections. It is a civilization."

Erdogan wanted to reply, but David Ignatius, the Washington Post columnist moderating the discussion, cut him short, saying the session was over.

Erdogan accused Israel of "barbarianism," gathered his papers and left the hall.

Upon returning to Turkey, where he faces elections, Erdogan said his departure was a matter of Turkish "esteem."

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