Updated: April 9, 2021 4:35:42 pm
Italian PM calls Turkey’s Erdogan ‘dictator’ after inappropriate treatment to EU commission president. Turkey and Italy got embroiled in a diplomatic spat after Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ‘a dictator’ following his treatment to European commission president Ursula von der Leyen during talks on EU-Turkey relations.
Von der Leyen, the commission’s first female President, was in a meeting on Tuesday with Erdoğan and the European council president Charles Michel in Turkey. During the meeting, Von der Leyen was left without a chair as accommodations were made only for the two men and had to sit on a nearby sofa. Von der Leyen stood looking at the men who took the chairs expressing her astonishment with a ehm sound and a gesture of disappointment. She was later seen seated on a large beige sofa away from her male counterparts.
According to The Guardian, Draghi told reporters, “I absolutely do not agree with Erdoğan’s behaviour towards president Von der Leyen… I think it was not appropriate behaviour and I was very sorry for the humiliation Von der Leyen had to suffer.” He further added, “With these, let’s call them what they are – dictators – with whom one nonetheless has to coordinate, one has to be frank when expressing visions and opinions.”
Turkish news agency reported that following Draghi’s remarks the Italian ambassador to Turkey was summoned to the Turkish foreign ministry. Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu tweeted, “We strongly condemn the appointed Italian prime minister Draghi’s unacceptable, populist discourse and his ugly and unrestrained comments about our elected president.”
On Thursday, Çavuşoğlu said the seating arrangement for the meeting was in accordance with the bloc’s demands and international protocol and the allegations against Turkey are unjust.
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