Erdogan does not give a chair to Von der Layen, puts it on a sofa (Overview)

The heads of the EC and the European Council criticize Turkey for its withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen was left without a chair to hold during talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ankara violated diplomatic protocol, REN TV reported.

European Council President Charles Michel also took part in the talks in the Turkish capital. Erdogan welcomed European officials at Bestepe Palace.

While Michel was honored with a chair next to the Turkish leader, Von der Layen had to sit on a sofa on the side. According to the minutes of such meetings

the sofa is designed

for translators and others

secondary participants

A day after the meeting in Ankara, the European Commission openly objected to the contempt for the chairwoman of the institution.

An EC spokesman said that von der Leyen could have left the meeting, but decided to stay and fully participated in the ensuing conversation, according to BTA. Footage from the event showed Von der Layen standing upright while Erdogan and Michelle took the only two seats to take pictures.

The camera captures the confusion of Von der Layen, who later pointed to the sofa – she does not understand where she should sit while Erdogan and Michelle take their seats. The Belgian does not object to this, does not cede his place to Von der Layen and does not insist on bringing a third chair.

The head of the EC had to sit in the same way as the president of the European Council and the Turkish president, the spokesman said. According to him

Von der Layen and Michelle

enjoy the same

protocol status

A Politico source familiar with the European protocol says he has never seen such a distinction between the chairman of the council and that of the commission on their joint trips.

The fact that the issue was not raised openly does not mean that it was not reported. However, Ursula von der Leyen decided to stay to give priority to the content of the talks over the minutes, the spokesman added. He said the EC would take steps to prevent such a case from happening again, and declined to comment on Michelle’s behavior. His answers to questions at a press conference made it clear that the Turkish side had not apologized.

The Washington Post and some Turkish analysts linked the incident to the fact that Von der Layen is a woman, while others drew attention to Turkey’s recent withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention and the eloquence of the gesture on the situation of women in Turkish society.

The meeting was the first of the European leaders with Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a year.

During the talks, Charles Michel said that the EU was ready to propose a specific agenda for strengthening economic cooperation with Turkey, the Anatolian Agency reported.

Ursula von der Leyen stressed the need to develop economic relations, and said that

Turkey is a valuable partner with

vital in

the customs union

She added that in order to boost trade, Turkey and the EU will work to modernize the customs union, discussing existing difficulties in implementing it.

The head of the European Commission stressed that if Turkey adheres to the agreement on migrants from 2016, it will be a “sign of good will”. She assured that the EU will continue to fund Turkey for migrants and that the European Commission will soon make a proposal that will have a positive impact on support for refugees in Turkey.

The two EU officials have expressed deep concern over human rights in Turkey.

“The rule of law and respect for fundamental rights are the core values ​​of the EU, and we have shared with President Erdogan our deep concerns about recent developments in Turkey in this regard,” Michel said after nearly three hours of talks in Ankara.

Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention is a matter of grave concern, he stressed.

“Rights issues

not subject to man

of negotiations,

they are an absolute priority. We were very clear about that, “Von der Layen said, calling them a” crucial “element for better EU-Turkey relations.

“I am deeply concerned that Turkey has left the Istanbul Convention. This is the protection of women and the protection of children against violence, and this is obviously the wrong signal at the moment. “Turkey must respect international human rights rules and standards,” Von der Layen said, recalling that the country has been a member of the Council of Europe since its founding.

“Promise for a” new era “from the EU” is the headline of Aksham newspaper on the topic. “Positive relations with Turkey are of interest to the EU. We are ready to propose a specific agenda to strengthen the connection “- this is how the newspaper summarizes the EU messages.

“Don’t become a hostage of Athens,” European leaders called on Aksham, quoting Turkish presidency spokesman Ibrahim Cullen as saying about the talks in Ankara. According to the spokesman, it was emphasized in the talks that “some member states should not be allowed to hold hostage the EU’s relations with Turkey”.

According to the Yeni Birlik newspaper, which quoted European sources, the EU and the US are following the same line with regard to Turkey. Prior to the meeting of Charles Michel with the Turkish President, the President of the European Council met with the US Ambassador to Ankara David Sutherfield, with whom they shared a common opinion on the issue of establishing positive and mutually beneficial relations with Turkey, the newspaper said.

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