Returning to Parliament on the diplomatic incident in Ankara, the President of the Commission said she felt “hurt and lonely”, accusing EU Member States representative Charles Michel in a hollow accusation of not having reacted .
Ursula von der Leyen does not digest “sofagate”. The President of the European Commission on April 26 called on European leaders to demand that Turkey respect women’s rights as a “prerequisite for resuming relations” with Turkey, three weeks after the protocol incident of which she was called. victim.
During a meeting on April 6, Ursula von der Leyen was placed on a couch, while Charles Michel, representative of EU member states, and Turkish President Erdogan sat in the only two chairs available.
“I am the first woman President of the European Commission and I wish to be treated as President of the Commission. In Ankara, that was not the case and it happened because I am a woman, ”she argued during a debate in the European Parliament on the subject. “I felt hurt and I felt alone as a woman and as a European”, she then launched to the address of the President of the European Council Charles Michel, accused of not having reacted.
Ursula von der Leyen linked this incident with President Recep Erdogan’s decision to withdraw Turkey from the Istanbul Convention, described as a “terrible signal”. On this occasion, the President of the European Commission called on EU member states to ratify this convention, because “violence against women and children is a crime and it must be punished”.
EU leaders are due to decide at a summit in June on the follow-up to the relationship with Turkey. The President of the Council recalled that the resumption of relations with Ankara will be gradual and reversible. “Cooperation will be difficult to envision if negative measures are to continue in these areas,” he warned.
The mission in Ankara was to be a message of strength, it was one of weakness
Charles Michel’s behavior in Ankara was harshly judged during the debate, prompting him to again express his “regrets” on April 26. “We are committed, Ursula von der Leyen and I, that this situation can not happen again,” he promised. But elected officials also expressed their concern at the antagonism between the presidents of two institutions. “The mission in Ankara was to be a message of strength, it was that of weakness,” lamented the German Manfred Weber, the leader of the group of the European People’s Party (pro-European right).
“The precedence does not interest me”, for her part launched the French MEP Nathalie Loiseau (Renew), for whom “the real scandal in Ankara, it is not enough to know who is sitting on a sofa or an armchair “. The elected preferred to denounce the violations of human rights of which Turkey is accused and the “unfriendly” actions of Ankara vis-à-vis EU members. “Europe should not ask itself where to sit, but how to stand up,” she said.