Turkish PM faces call to end Davos meet boycott

Turkish PM faces call to end Davos meet boycott

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish PM faces call to end Davos meet boycott

PM Erdoğan (L) storms out of Davos after a spat with Israeli leader Peres. AP photo

Stephen Kinnock, the director of the Europe and Central Asia region for the World Economic Forum (WEF), has openly invited Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the WEF, which he left after a Davos, Switzerland meeting where he argued with Israeli President Shimon Peres in 2009.

“Continuation of our relations with Turkey is of utmost importance for us. It would be nice to see Turkey represented at the highest level again,” said Kinnock during a press meeting in Istanbul yesterday. Kinnock was in Turkey to participate in the WEF meeting on the Middle East, North Africa and Eurasia, which opened with a reception yesterday evening.

Today Erdoğan is set to officially open the event, which will continue through tomorrow.

Doğan TV Holding is one of the two host broadcasters for the meeting, and www.hurriyetdailynews.com will be broadcasting key meetings

The WEF’s follow-up meeting, with the theme of “Bridging Regions in Transformation,” is set to bring together more than 1,000 leaders from business, governments, academia and civil society from over 70 nations. The meeting is being held with the support of the government of Turkey.

Turkey has passed through a major transformation with solid political stability and a strong and financially resilient economy, Anatolia news agency quoted Kinnock as saying, adding that the country’s inflation rate was nowhere near the “incredibly high figures” of a decade earlier.

Kinnock said Turkey’s economy-management team had taken “some very radical measures” to back up boosting political stability, but added that two issues remained critical for the country’s economic outlook: decreasing demand in Europe and Turkey’s current account deficit and the cost of energy imports.

“For me Davos is no more. I will not come to Davos ever again,” a very angry Erdoğan said back in 2009 when he was cut off by the moderator of the session, whom Erdoğan accused of giving him much less time to speak than he gave the Israeli president.

‘We need to move on’
“What happened has happened,” said Kinnock yesterday. “We need to leave that behind and move on. Turkey is very important for us, and we are happy to be here again. The meeting in Istanbul is a testimony that we have the correct dialogue with Turkey.”

Turkey’s experiences are playing an important role in the transformation that North Africa is going through, according to the WEF’s Middle East and North Africa director Miroslav Dusek. One year after the start of the Arab Spring, parliaments are being founded following elections in this region. Turkey at this point continues to be a big source of inspiration, said Dusek.

“Looking 20 years ahead, we want to make sure that in 2012 in Istanbul we helped decision-makers across all levels of society put together a foundation for the whole region to emerge as one of the most stable, secure and prosperous regions in the world,” Dusek said at the press meeting.

The presence of so many leaders from Central Asia demonstrates how important this dialogue is for countries in transition and how the determination to find solutions drives them to converge, Anastassia Aubakirova, the WEF’s director for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, said in a written statement yesterday.