ANKARA: Turkey on Thursday strongly rejected accusations that it snubbed Ursula von der Leyen – one of the European Union‘s strongest executives – as a result of of her gender, insisting that the EU‘s personal protocol requests have been utilized throughout a gathering on the Turkish presidential palace.
Von der Leyen – the European Commission president – and European Council chief Charles Michel met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks on Turkey-EU relations on Tuesday. The visitors have been led into a big room for discussions with Erdogan, however solely two chairs had been set out in entrance of the EU and Turkish flags for the three leaders.
Von der Leyen stood wanting on the males who took the chairs, expressing her astonishment with a “ehm” sound and a gesture of disappointment. She was later seen seated on a big beige couch, away from her male counterparts.
The photos drew intense criticism on social media and accusations of gender discrimination.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu mentioned Turkey had come below “extremely unfair” criticism over the go to and alleged slight proven to von der Leyen.
“Turkey is a deep-rooted state and this is not the first time that it has hosted a visitor,” Cavusoglu mentioned. “The protocol applied during its (international) meetings is in line with international protocol rules as well as the world-renowned Turkish hospitality traditions.”
Cavusoglu insisted that Turkish and EU officers in cost of protocol had held conferences previous to the go to and that the association was consistent with EU requests.
“The protocol that was applied during the narrow-scope meeting that was held at our president’s office met the requests of the EU side. In other words, such a seating arrangement was made in line with the suggestions of the EU side. Period,” he mentioned.
The Turkish minister added that he felt obliged to put the blame on the EU publicly following accusations in opposition to Turkey from even “the highest levels of the EU.”
EU Commission chief spokesman Eric Mamer mentioned Wednesday that von der Leyen was shocked by the association and that she ought to have been seated along with Michel and Erdogan.
“She decided to proceed nevertheless, prioritizing substance over protocol, but nevertheless let me stress that the president expects the institution that she represents to be treated with the required protocol,” Mamer mentioned, including that von der Leyen had requested her group to make contacts make sure that the incident isn’t repeated sooner or later.
Mamer additionally mentioned Von der Leyen’s protocol group didn’t journey to Turkey along with her because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Michel mentioned late Wednesday that the embarrassment was the outcome of the “strict interpretation” by Turkish companies of protocol guidelines, and he regretted “the differentiated, even diminished, treatment of the president of the European Commission.”
He mentioned pictures of the assembly seemed that he was “indifferent” to the state of affairs. “Nothing could be further from the truth, or from my deeply held feelings – or indeed from the principles of respect which I hold so dear,” he mentioned.
“At the time, while realizing the regrettable nature of the situation, we decided not to make matters worse by creating a scene,” he mentioned.