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 of their flags.
“Ehm,” muttered the previous German defence minister, showing not sure the place to go.
Ultimately she was seated on a settee slightly additional away from her counterparts, reverse Turkey’s overseas minister — somebody under her within the protocol pecking order.
— Sergey Lagodinsky (@SLagodinsky) April 6, 2021
“The president of the fee was clearly shocked,” European Fee spokesman Eric Mamer stated, 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 essential and have to be handled appropriately, which they clearly weren’t,” Mamer stated.
The fake pas — shortly 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 file on rights, together with the safety of ladies.
Erdogan angered Brussels forward of the go to by the bloc’s chiefs by saying he was withdrawing Turkey from the worldwide Istanbul Conference on stopping violence towards ladies and kids.
Talking after the assembly with the Turkish chief, von der Leyen pressured that “human rights points are non-negotiable”.
“I’m deeply anxious about the truth that Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul Conference” she stated.
“That is about defending ladies, and defending youngsters towards violence, and that is clearly the incorrect sign proper now.”
Spokesman Mamer stated that the issue surrounding von der Leyen’s seating through the assembly with Erdogan had “sharpened her concentrate on the difficulty”.
The perceived slight to the primary girl 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 depart the President of European Fee with out a 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 must 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 out a seat.
(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)