Erdogan told Turkish officials to boycott Davos – Bloomberg
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has intervened to stop Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek from attending the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) meeting in Davos this week over the organization’s stance on the Israel-Hamas war, Bloomberg reported on Monday.
Simsek was due to travel to Switzerland for the annual gathering of business and political elites until Erdogan called off the trip, Bloomberg reported, citing “people familiar with the matter.”
It is unclear how many others were planning on traveling in Simsek’s delegation, with Bloomberg simply stating that the Turkish leader had “asked his country’s officials to skip” the summit.
Back in October, WEF founder Klaus Schwab released a statement condemning Hamas’ “terrorist attacks against Israel.” The statement also called for the protection of “the civilian population in Gaza,” without explicitly stating whether this responsibility fell on Israeli forces or the Palestinian militants.
Erdogan has been far more scathing in his criticism of the Jewish state, accusing Israel of committing “genocide” in Gaza and declaring that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “no different than Hitler.”
The Turkish president has not been to Davos since 2009, when he took part in a debate with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Erdogan, who at the time was Türkiye’s prime minister, berated Peres over Israel’s incursion into Gaza the previous year, before announcing that “I don't think I will come back to Davos after this” as he left the stage.
A WEF spokesperson told Bloomberg that the “serious security and humanitarian situation in the Middle East will be a key focus,” of this year’s summit, and that “over 50 leaders from the Arab world, including a Palestinian high-level representative” will be present during the weeklong meeting.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog will sit down for an interview with Schwab on Thursday, while UN and Red Cross officials will brief attendees on the humanitarian situation in Gaza on Tuesday.
Türkiye arrested 33 people suspected of spying for Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency earlier this month, accusing them of plotting to conduct “reconnaissance” work including “pursuing, assaulting and kidnapping” foreign nationals living in Türkiye on behalf of Israel. The arrests came after Ronen Bar, director of the Israeli Shin Bet intelligence agency, warned that West Jerusalem would hunt down Hamas operatives in multiple foreign countries, including Türkiye.