The European Commission on Wednesday criticized a diplomatic snub that left her head Ursula von der Leyen without a chair as her male counterparts sat in a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Video from Tuesday’s meeting in Ankara showed von der Leyen taken aback as Turkish leader and European Council President Charles Michel took the only two chairs in front of their flags.
“Ehm,” the former German defense minister muttered, seeming not to know where to go.
Finally, she was sitting on a couch a little further from her counterparts, opposite the Turkish Foreign Minister – someone below her in the pecking order of protocol.
– Sergey Lagodinsky (@SLagodinsky) April 6, 2021
“The chairman of the committee was clearly surprised,” said European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer, insisting that von der Leyen should have been treated “exactly the same way” as Michel.
“She considers these issues to be important and need to be dealt with appropriately, which they clearly were not,” said Mamer.
The misstep – quickly dubbed “sofagate” online – came at a delicate time as the EU and Turkey seek to rebuild ties amid concerns over Ankara’s rights record, including protection of human rights. women.
Erdogan angered Brussels ahead of the bloc leaders’ visit by announcing that he was withdrawing Turkey from the Istanbul Global Convention on Prevention of Violence against Women and Children.
Speaking after the meeting with the Turkish leader, von der Leyen stressed that “human rights issues are not negotiable”.
“I am deeply concerned that Turkey has withdrawn from the Istanbul Convention,” she said.
“This is about protecting women and protecting children from violence, and that is clearly the wrong signal at the moment.”
Spokesman Mamer said the issue surrounding von der Leyen’s seats during the meeting with Erdogan had “increased his attention to the matter.”
The light perception of the first woman to occupy one of the two main roles of the EU has raised difficulties in Brussels.
“First they are withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention and now they are leaving the President of the European Commission without a seat on an official visit. Shameful. #WomensRights,” wrote Iratxe Garcia Perez, Member of the European Parliament from Spain.
German MEP Sergey Lagodinsky wrote of von der Leyen’s statement that “‘Ehm’ is the new term for ‘this is not how EU-Turkey relations should be’.”
But all the anger was not directed at the Turkish side.
Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld wondered why Michel was “silent” when his colleague found himself without a seat.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by The Bharat Express News staff and is posted Platforms.)