CAIRO: As thousands in Istanbul gave Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan a hero s welcome for storming out of the World Economic Forum in Davos, his actions are being met with similar enthusiasm in Egypt.
Erdogan had left a forum panel on Thursday after a heated discussion on Gaza in which he was refused equal time to respond to Israeli President Shimon Peres defense of the Gaza offensive.
Erdogan was strong and courageous. He took a moral, humanitarian and honest stance, said Abdel Alim Mohamed, head of the Israeli Studies program at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. The Arab people wish they had leaders as strong and credible as Erdogan. They wish all their leaders would take Erdogan as an example and counter Israeli lies.
According to independent MP Gamal Zahran, he and a group of other opposition Members of Parliament are scheduled to meet with the Turkish ambassador Monday to personally express their appreciation for the Turkish PM s stance, encourage Turkey to return to the Eastern embrace and not veer towards Western influence.
According to Zahran, Erdogan s support for the Palestinians and his strong stance against Israel’s aggression in Gaza was an attempt by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to turn a new page with the Arab and Islamic world.
It was a historic stance, said Zahran. His actions will not be forgotten by the Arab and Muslim people.
In a similar statement on Friday, PA speaker Ahmed Fathi Sorour was reported to have also called the Turkish PM s action historic.
Though Israel and Turkey have traditionally shared a history of strong economic and diplomatic ties, analysts say they may be headed for a strain.
Israeli-Turkish relations are probably never going to return to normalcy, said Mohamed.
As long as the war on Gaza continues and as long as Israel continues its occupation of Palestinian territories and its siege on Gaza, Turkey will not change its position, he said. Turkey no longer trusts Israel.
Mahmoud Amer, a Muslim Brotherhood MP, sees Erdogan as a politician all Arab leaders can learn from.
He felt the moderator was being biased when he was denied the opportunity to respond to Peres defense of Israeli crimes in Gaza, so he withdrew from the conference, said Amer while emphasizing the importance of balance in diplomatic relations.
However, according to Mohamed, Arab leaders are not likely to take such a confrontational position towards Israel. They don t have the [political] independence to make such a change, he said.
Meanwhile, some have questioned why the Gaza operation was being discussed at the World Economic Forum.
I think Israel was being given the chance to defend its crimes in Gaza, which is why Erdogan wasn t given equal opportunity to speak, said Mohamed.