EUROPEAN Fee president Ursula von der Leyen was visibly surprised after being left and not using a chair in a summit assembly with Turkey’s president.
Video footage picked up the awkward second with the EU fee president reacting by holding out her arms in obvious exasperation and muttering “ermm?”.
Erdogan could be seen sitting in a gilded chair in entrance of Turkish and EU flags alongside European Council president Charles Michel — who’s much less highly effective than the girl president.
However neither man stood to supply German Von Der Leyen — who has been blamed for the EU’s shambolic jabs roll-out — a seat as TV cameras captured the embarrassing spectacle.
His obvious slight got here at the beginning of three hours of talks on points together with ladies’s rights.
Shunned Von der Leyen lastly perched on a settee other than the pair who appeared oblivious to the excruciating snub.
The Turkish chief is claimed to be seething after Von Der Leyen’s assault earlier on his nation’s withdrawal from a gender-based violence conference.
European Fee spokesman Eric Mamer stated “the president of the fee was clearly shocked,” insisting von der Leyen ought to have been handled “precisely in the identical method” as Michel.
The president of the fee was clearly shocked
Eric Mamer, European Fee spokesman
He stated: “She does think about that these points are essential and have to be handled appropriately, which they clearly weren’t.”
The fake pas —shortly dubbed “sofagate” on-line — got here at a fragile second because the EU and Turkey look to rebuild ties regardless of considerations over Ankara’s document on rights, together with discrimination towards ladies.
Talking after the assembly with the Turkish chief, von der Leyen burdened that “human rights points are non-negotiable”.
She stated: “I’m deeply frightened about the truth that Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul Conference.
“That is about defending ladies, and defending kids towards violence, and that is clearly the improper sign proper now.”
Mr Mamer stated that the issue surrounding von der Leyen’s seating throughout the assembly with Erdogan had “sharpened her concentrate on the difficulty”.
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The perceived slight to the primary girl ever to occupy one of many EU’s prime two roles raised hackles again in Brussels.
“First they withdraw from the Istanbul Conference and now they depart the President of European Fee and not using a seat in an official go to. Shameful. #WomensRights,” wrote Spanish European Parliament member Iratxe Garcia Perez.
German MEP Sergey Lagodinsky wrote of von der Leyen’s utterance that “‘Ehm’ is the brand new time period for ‘that is not how EU-Turkey relationship needs to be’.”
However not all of the ire was directed on the Turkish aspect.
Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld was left questioning why Michel was “silent” as his feminine colleague was left and not using a seat.
There was no quick remark from Michel’s spokesman or the Turkish presidency over the incident.