clearn.png
Tuesday April 13th, 2021 12:12AM

Snub in EU-Turkey meeting highlights gender equality issue

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BRUSSELS (AP) — Gender equality issues took center stage Wednesday in Brussels a day after Ursula von der Leyen, one the EU's most powerful executives, was treated like a second-rank official during a visit to Ankara.

Von der Leyen — the European Commission president — and European Council chief Charles Michel visited Turkey on Tuesday for talks with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan focusing on the EU-Turkey relations. After they were led in a big room for discussions with Erdogan, TV images showed that only two chairs had been laid out in front of the EU and the Turkish flags for the three leaders.

Michel and Erdogan took the chairs as von der Leyen stood looking at both men, expressing her astonishment with a “ehm" and a gesture of disappointment. Von der Leyen eventually sat on a large beige sofa, away from her male counterparts.

According to a EU source, the meeting between the three leaders lasted more than two hours and a half.

“The important thing is that the president should have been seated exactly in the same manner as the president of the European council and the Turkish president," EU commission chief spokesman Eric Mamer said, adding that Von der Leyen was surprised by the arrangements.

“She decided to proceed nevertheless, prioritizing substance over protocol, but nevertheless let me stress that the president expects that the institution that she represents to be treated with the required protocol, and she has therefore asked her team to take all appropriate contacts in order to ensure that such an incident does not occur in the future," Mamer said.

He added that Von der Leyen's protocol team did not travel to Turkey with her due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There was no immediate comment from the Turkish presidency.

Michel said the embarrassment was the result of the “strict interpretation" by Turkish services of protocol rules and regretted “the differentiated, even diminished, treatment of the president of the European Commission."

In a statement released late Wednesday, Michel said that although TV images could have given the impression he was “insensitive" to Von der Leyen's uncomfortable situation, “nothing could be further from reality, nor from (his) deepest feelings."

The diplomatic incident was abundantly commented on social media. European lawmaker Sophie in ’t Veld posted pictures of previous meetings between Michel’s and Von der Leyen’s predecessors with Erdogan, with the trio of men sitting in chairs next to each other.

“And no, it wasn’t a coincidence, it was deliberate,” in 't Veld wrote on Twitter, questioning why Michel remained “silent.”

“‘Ehm’ is the new term for ‘that’s not how EU-Turkey relationship should be,’ said Sergey Lagodinsky, another member of the European Parliament, using the hashtags #GiveHerASeat and #womensrights.”

Last month, Erdogan pulled Turkey out of a key European convention aimed at combatting violence against women, triggering criticism from EU officials. The move was a blow to Turkey’s women’s rights movement, which says domestic violence and murders of women are on the rise.

Von der Leyen called for Erdogan to reverse his decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention.

“Human rights issues are non-negotiable. We were very clear about that. We urge Turkey to reverse its decision because it is the first international binding instrument to combat violence against women and children,” she said.

Asked whether the commission regarded the incident as specifically gender-related, Mamer said Von der Leyen traveled to Ankara as the president of an EU institution.

“Being a man or a woman does not change anything to the fact that she should have been seated according to the very same protocol arrangements as the two other participants,” Mamer said. “She seized the opportunity to specifically tackle the Istanbul convention and women's rights. I believe that the message sent was clear."

___

Suzan Fraser in Ankara and Raf Casert in Brussels contributed to this story.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP World News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
EU agency to share results of probe into AstraZeneca shot
The European Medicines Agency plans to announce the conclusions of its investigation into the possible connection between AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and rare blood clots
7:29AM ( 3 minutes ago )
Snub in EU-Turkey meeting highlights gender equality issue
The topic of gender equality took center stage Wednesday in Brussels a day after Ursula von der Leyen, one the most powerful European Union’s executives, was treated like a second-rank official during a visit to the Turkish capital of Ankara
7:22AM ( 10 minutes ago )
UK Deliveroo riders to strike over pay, gig work conditions
Gig economy riders for app-based meal delivery platform Deliveroo are set to join strikes in 5 U.K. cities Wednesday over pay and working conditions
7:06AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
China warns Washington not to boycott Winter Olympics
China’s government has warned Washington not to boycott next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing after the Biden administration said it was talking with allies about a joint approach to complaints of human rights abuses
6:04AM ( 1 hour ago )
Indonesia landslides death toll rises to 126, dozens missing
The death toll from mudslides in eastern Indonesia has risen to 126 with scores still missing as rain continues to pound the region and hamper the search
4:42AM ( 2 hours ago )
'We failed the test' of COVID-19, says human rights champion
A leading human rights expert who is taking over leadership at Amnesty International is tackling vaccine equity as one of the major issues confronting the world today
4:16AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP National News
Senate gives Biden a big tool to work around GOP filibuster
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has fresh options for advancing President Joe Biden’s priorities over Republican obstruction in the 50-50 split Senate
12:11AM ( 7 hours ago )
Biden makes all adults eligible for a vaccine on April 19
President Joe Biden says he's bumping up his deadline by two weeks for states to make all adults eligible for coronavirus vaccines
12:09AM ( 7 hours ago )
EXPLAINER: Senate eyes budget rule to push past filibuster
With the Senate split 50-50, leaders of the Democratic majority are looking for ways to advance their priorities past opponents
12:07AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online National News
EU agency to share results of probe into AstraZeneca shot
The European Medicines Agency plans to announce the conclusions of its investigation into the possible connection between AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and rare blood clots
7:29AM ( 3 minutes ago )
UK Deliveroo riders to strike over pay, gig work conditions
Gig economy riders for app-based meal delivery platform Deliveroo are set to join strikes in 5 U.K. cities Wednesday over pay and working conditions
7:06AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Iran ship said to be Red Sea troop base off Yemen attacked
An Iranian ship believed to be a base for the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard anchored for years in the Red Sea off Yemen has been attacked
6:56AM ( 36 minutes ago )
3rd health minister fired in virus-hit Czech Republic
Czech Prime Minster Andrej Babis has fired his health minister, the third who has lost the job in the pandemic in one of the hardest-hit European countries
6:54AM ( 38 minutes ago )
The Latest: European regulator to explain blood clot probe
The European Medicines Agency will announce the conclusions of its investigation into the possible connection between AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and rare blood clots
6:50AM ( 42 minutes ago )