The head of the Italian government strongly criticizes the Turkish president’s dealings with Ursula von der Leyen. Turkey summoned the Italian ambassador to protest.
Diplomatic tensions arose between Italy and Turkey after Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi described Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “dictator”. The reason was the statement The debate over the arrangement of seats during the visit of the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to Erdogan on Tuesday.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry announced, on Thursday evening, that Turkey had ordered the Italian ambassador to protest. She added that Draghi is expected to back down and make clear. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter that he strongly condemned Draghi’s “ugly and excessive statements”.
“That was behavior I really didn’t like because of the humiliation.”
The Italian prime minister spoke to the press in Rome Thursday evening about the visit of Commissioner von der Leyen and President of the European Union Council Charles Michel to Erdogan. Von der Leyen didn’t get a chair on Tuesday, but she sat on a sofa. The former president of the European Central Bank (ECB) said: “This was behavior that I really did not like because of the humiliation suffered by the President of the European Commission, von der Leyen.” You have to speak in clear language with “these, let’s call them (…) dictators” and express the different social ideas. But one must also be ready to cooperate with them for the good of the country. Draghi said it takes the right balance.
The choice of the word dictator instantly made headlines in the Italian media. Turkey also responded immediately.
In the debate over seating arrangements at the EU-Turkey meeting in Ankara, Turkey defended itself against Brussels’ claims on Thursday. Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said that there were “unfair allegations against Turkey.” “A seating arrangement has been put in place according to the proposals made by the European Union.”
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