Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi commented on the affront to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, when she ran out of a chair during the meeting in Ankara with Recep Tayyip Erdogan and had to sit on the side of the sofa. Draghi called the Turkish President a “dictator”. In response, the Italian ambassador to Turkey was called to the “carpet”.
– I completely disagree with Erdogan’s behavior towards von der Leyen. I believe that this was inappropriate behavior and I am very sorry for the humiliation suffered by von der Leyen, said Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
– With those dictators who, however, are needed in order to be able to cooperate, one must be sincere in emphasizing the different viewpoint and be ready to cooperate for the benefit of the interests of one’s country; you need to find the right balance, ‘he added.
Following the words of the Italian Prime Minister, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Italian ambassador Massimo Gaiani. The head of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu said: – We strongly condemn the statement of the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi about our elected president.
Solidarity with Draghi was expressed by the leader of the co-ruling League, Matteo Salvini. – Solidarity and respect for Prime Minister Draghi, intimidation and discrimination by the Turkish dictator Erdogan are unacceptable – emphasized Salvini.
Turkey firmly rejects accusations that Ursula von der Leyen was disregarded during a meeting in Ankara with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the grounds of her gender.
Von der Leyen – the president of the European Commission and the head of the European Council Charles Michel met on Tuesday at the Presidential Palace in Ankara to talk about Turkey-EU relations. Guests were invited to the hall for an interview with Erdogan, but only two chairs were prepared, next to which were the flags of Turkey and the EU. The host took one seat and Charles Michel sat in the other. Clearly dissatisfied and surprised, von der Leyen sat down on the sofa.
Recordings of this meeting met with harsh criticism on social media.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey has faced “extremely unfair” allegations of disregarding Ursula von der Leyen after the visit. – Turkey has hosted guests for the first time. The protocol used during the (international) meetings is in line with international rules, as well as with world-renowned Turkish hospitality, stressed Cavusoglu.
He added that Turkish and EU protocol officials had held pre-visit meetings and arrangements had been made in line with the EU’s demands. – The protocol that was applied during the meeting in the office of our president met the demands of the EU side. In other words, this arrangement of seats was made in line with the suggestions of the EU side, he stressed.
EC spokesman Eric Mamer said on Wednesday that von der Leyen had decided not to make the event a problem and raised women’s rights and the Istanbul Convention on Violence Against Women, from which Turkey withdrew last month, in a conversation with the Turkish president.