Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Tuesday with the European Union’s two presidents, however an ungainly second when the woman among them was left standing prompted a little bit of a diplomatic stir.
A video of the leaders assembled in an ornate assembly room in Ankara confirmed Erdogan and European Council President Charles Michel settling themselves into gilded chairs, whereas European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen appeared not sure of the place she was anticipated to sit down.
Von der Leyen stood watching them, gestured together with her proper hand and appeared to say “um” or “ehm.”
She was in the end provided a beige sofa about 12 toes away, reverse Turkish Overseas Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who occupies a lower-status rank in typical diplomatic protocol.
“ ‘Ehm’ is the brand new time period for ‘that’s not how EU-Turkey relationship needs to be’. #GiveHerASeat #EU #Turkey #womensrights,” tweeted Sergey Lagodinsky, a German member of the European Parliament, who’s chair of the legislature’s delegation to a joint E.U.-Turkish parliamentary committee.
One other member of the European Parliament, Dutch lawmaker Sophie in ‘t Veld, famous that at conferences between Erdogan and the prior pair of E.U. presidents, who had been each males, the three leaders had been seated subsequent to 1 one other, in equal chairs.
“It wasn’t a coincidence it was deliberate,” she wrote on Twitter, the place some folks defined away the incident as extra about social distancing than protocol. “Why was @eucopresident silent?” she wrote, utilizing Michel’s Twitter deal with to ask why he didn’t provide his fancier seat to his counterpart.
Critics had already been taking goal on the go to, which got here two weeks after Erdogan pulled Turkey out of a global treaty geared toward stopping violence towards girls often called the Istanbul Conference. Erdogan allies mentioned the transfer didn’t imply girls’s rights had been being downgraded.
Von der Leyen, a former German protection minister, and Michel, a former Belgian prime minister, are usually handled as equal in rank. As head of the European Fee, von der Leyen leads the E.U.’s govt wing and oversees the bloc’s membership negotiations with Turkey, that are on life help. Michel represents the leaders of the 27 particular person member nations of the E.U.
Earlier than the episode of chair-and-sofa diplomacy, the three leaders posed for photos standing collectively, von der Leyen to Erdogan’s left and Michel to his proper in a extra customary illustration of their standing. Solely afterward did von der Leyen appear to get ushered to the facet.
The official E.U. video was shot from behind von der Leyen, exhibiting the scene taking part in out from her perspective.
After the assembly, von der Leyen made no direct point out of the incident. However she did categorical concern about Turkey’s file on girls’s rights.
“I’m deeply apprehensive about the truth that Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul Conference,” she advised reporters. “That is about defending girls and defending kids towards violence. And that is clearly the mistaken sign proper now.”