Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan and Israel’s President Peres were not the only ones to show anger at the Davos World Economic Forum on January 29, 2009. Radio Free Europe details an earlier “outburst” by Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev at a conference that morning attended by Erdogan:

Aliyev Following Erdogan’s Lead?


And when Aliyev was asked optimistically if Davos 2009 might be the first step toward establishing formal diplomatic ties between Baku and Yerevan, Azerbaijan’s president rejected the suggestion.

Aliyev said his country does not have relations with Armenia because of the “continued occupation of our territory by Armenian armed forces,” though negotiations continue.

“But unfortunately, as Prime Minister Erdogan said, for the last 17 years these negotiations did not lead to a resolution of the conflict. It did not lead to a peace agreement and it did not lead to the liberation of Azerbaijani territory — the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan,” Aliyev said.

“Under these circumstances, of course, we cannot talk about any kind of cooperation — whether it is energy or transportation. And [as long as] our lands are under occupation, this cooperation is not possible.”

Taken together, the January 29 events at Davos demonstrate more than just the failure of the forum to bring together uneasy adversaries. The angry exchange between Peres and Erdogan shows that public debate between government leaders at Davos also can damage bilateral relations between two countries considered allies.

And Aliyev’s outburst suggests his country is ready to adopt the tone set by its regional mentor, Ankara.

Actually, Aliyev was the first one to set an angry tone, not Erdogan.