BRUSSELS (AP) – The gender equality issue emerged on Wednesday in Brussels, a day after Ursula von der Leyen, one of the EU’s most powerful executives, was treated like the second most powerful official in Brussels. During the visit to Ankara
European Commission President Van Der Leyen and European Council chief Charles Michel visited Turkey on Tuesday to negotiate with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, focusing on EU-Turkey relations after the group. He was brought into the main auditorium to discuss with Erdogan, TV footage showed only two chairs in front of the European Union and a Turkish flag for the three leaders.
Michelle and Erdogan sat in a chair as Van der Leyen stood and watched the two, expressing their amazement with “eh” and disappointed expression. Der Leyen finally sat on the large beige sofa, away from her male partner.
According to EU sources, the meeting between the three leaders took more than two and a half hours.
“It is important for the president to be seated in exactly the same way as the President of the European Parliament and of the President of Turkey,”; said Eric Mamer, spokesman for the European Commission, adding that the Wonder Leyen was surprised by the decision. Prepare such
“She decided to go ahead and prioritize the content over protocol. However, let me emphasize, however, that the President expects the institutions she represents to comply with the established procedures, so she requests that her team take all appropriate correspondence in order to: Make sure it doesn’t happen in the future, ”said Mamer.
He added that Von der Leyen’s protocol team did not travel to Turkey with her due to the coronavirus outbreak.
There was no immediate comment from the Turkish President or the European Council.
The diplomatic incidents were commented heavily on social media. European lawmaker Sophie in ‘t Veld posted pictures of an earlier meeting between Michel’s and former Von der Leyen and Erdogan, with the three men sitting in chairs next to each other.
“And no, it’s not a coincidence. But it was intentional, ”Veld wrote on Twitter, questioning why Michelle was so silent.
“’Um’ is a new word for ‘That’s not the EU-Turkey relationship that should be,’ ‘said another member of the European Parliament, Sergey Lagodinski, using the hashtag. #GiveHerASeat and #womensrights “
Erdogan last month pulled Turkey from a major European conference aimed at combating violence against women, sparking criticism from EU officials. The move is an attack on the Turkish feminist movement, which says domestic violence and homicide of women are on the rise.
Von der Leyen urged Erdogan to cancel the decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention.
“Human rights issues cannot be negotiated. We are very clear about it. We urge Turkey to drop the decision as the first international binding tool against violence against women and children, ”she said.
Asked if the commission viewed the incident as being gender-specific, Mamer said Von der Leyen traveled to Ankara as the EU’s institutional president.
“Being a man or a woman doesn’t change anything with the fact that she should be seated according to the same protocol setting as the two other participants,” said Mamer. Istanbul Convention and the Rights of Women in particular I believe the message sent is clear. ”
Suzan Fraser in Ankara and Raf Casert in Brussels contributed to this story.