Video of the leaders in Ankara’s ornate boardroom shows Erdoğan and European Council President Charles Michel settling into their gilded chairs. At the same time, Ursula von der Leyen continues to stand.
Von der Leyen stands and waves her hand, drawing attention to herself, “Um…” Eventually, Leyen is offered a beige couch across from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who occupies a lower status in diplomatic protocol.
“‘Em’ is a new term. This is not how the relationship between the EU and Turkey should be,” Sergey Lagodinsky, a German member of the European Parliament and head of the legislature’s delegation to the common European-Turkish Parliamentary Committee, wrote on Twitter.
Another MEP, Dutch MP Sophie Veld, noted:
“It was not accidental, it was deliberate.”
The EU leaders’ visit came two weeks after Turkey withdrew from an international treaty aimed at preventing violence against women, known as the Istanbul Convention.