The European Fee hit out Wednesday at a diplomatic snub that left its head Ursula von der Leyen without a chair as male counterparts sat down at a gathering with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Video from Tuesday’s encounter in Ankara confirmed von der Leyen flummoxed because the Turkish chief and European Council president Charles Michel took the one two chairs in entrance
“Ehm,” muttered the previous German defence minister, showing not sure the place to go.
Finally she was seated on a settee slightly additional away from her counterparts, reverse Turkey’s overseas minister — somebody beneath her within the protocol pecking order.
— Sergey Lagodinsky (@SLagodinsky) April 6, 2021
“The president of the fee was clearly stunned,” European Fee spokesman Eric Mamer mentioned, insisting von der Leyen ought to have been handled “precisely in the identical method” as Michel.
“She does take into account that these points are vital and should be handled appropriately, which they clearly weren’t,” Mamer mentioned.
The fake pas — rapidly dubbed “sofagate” on-line — got here at a fragile second because the EU and Turkey look to rebuild ties regardless of considerations over Ankara’s document on rights, together with the safety of girls.
Erdogan angered Brussels forward of the go to by the bloc’s chiefs by asserting he was withdrawing Turkey from the worldwide Istanbul Conference on stopping violence towards girls and kids.
Talking after the assembly with the Turkish chief, von der Leyen confused that “human rights points are non-negotiable”.
“I’m deeply nervous about the truth that Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul Conference” she mentioned.
“That is about defending girls, and defending youngsters towards violence, and that is clearly the unsuitable sign proper now.”
Spokesman Mamer mentioned that the issue surrounding von der Leyen’s seating through the assembly with Erdogan had “sharpened her deal with the problem”.
The perceived slight to the primary lady ever to occupy one of many EU’s high two roles raised hackles again in Brussels.
“First they withdraw from the Istanbul Conference and now they go away the President of European Fee with no seat in an official go to. Shameful. #WomensRights,” wrote Spanish European Parliament member Iratxe Garcia Perez.
German MEP Sergey Lagodinsky wrote of von der Leyen’s utterance that “‘Ehm’ is the brand new time period for ‘that is not how EU-Turkey relationship needs to be’.”
However not all of the ire was directed on the Turkish facet.
Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld was left questioning why Michel was “silent” as his feminine colleague was left with no seat.
(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is printed from a syndicated feed.)