European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen was stunned to go looking out her fellow prime EU official taking the solely chair accessible subsequent to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan when the duo visited Ankara, and her spokesman made that clear on Wednesday.
Footage from their assembly on Tuesday confirmed the primary female head of the EU govt, the solely woman within the talks, gesturing in disbelief and uttering a shocked sigh as Erdogan and European Council President Charles Michel took the 2 centre-stage seats prepared, relegating her to an adjoining sofa.
“The president of the Fee was clearly stunned,” said the EU govt arm’s spokesman, Eric Mamer.
“The president (von der Leyen) ought to have been seated in precisely the identical method because the president of the European Council and the Turkish president.”
The Turkish authorities didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.
Nonetheless, a member of the European parliament, Sophie in ‘t Veld, requested why Michel had not reacted.
Whereas the Fee conveyed von der Leyen’s irritation, an EU official who declined to be named said that to take motion may have provoked a “protocol and political incident, each in direction of Turkey and the European Council”.
“Turkey meant no disrespect,” the official said. “It prolonged a really courteous welcome to each presidents and strictly adhered to worldwide protocol.”
Within the earlier, three chairs had been equipped when the Turkish chief visited Brussels for talks with the heads of the Fee and the European Council, which collectively represents the bloc’s 27 member states.
Mamer said von der Leyen decided to not make “a problem out of it” and within the dialog launched up girls’s rights and the Istanbul Conference on violence in direction of girls, from which Turkey withdrew ultimate month.
Ties between Brussels and Ankara have been strained since a coup attempt in 2016 prompted a crackdown on civil rights in Turkey, nevertheless they’re now testing a cautious rapprochement.