Erdogan stormed off stage at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos on Thursday during a heated discussion over Israel's 23-day assault on the Gaza Strip.
He told Israeli President Shimon Peres, who had launched a fiery defense of Tel Aviv's attack on the coastal enclave over the past month, that Israel "knows very well how to kill".
More than 1,330 Palestinians, a third of them children, were killed and 5,450 others injured since Israel waged its Cast Lead Operation against Gaza on December 27.
The Turkish premier vowed he would never return to the annual gathering of the rich and powerful in Davos.
Around 3,000 supporters gathered at Istanbul's Ataturk airport on Friday, waving red and white Turkish flags and banners reading "Conqueror of Davos" upon Erdogan arrival.
Many carried banners denouncing Israel, a move which raises concern among the Jewish State as Ankara is its closest ally in the Islamic world.
"I did what I had to do," Erdogan told reporters gathered at the airport, adding, "I cannot remain apathetic when it comes to these things, it's just not in my nature. I am duty-bound to defend the honor of my country."
He said that he was not "at heart a diplomat but a politician."