European Commission and European Council presidents Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel’s Ankara visit had a rocky start this week. Von der Leyen was taken aback when she was not offered a chair and stood awkwardly as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Michel were seated in the only two chairs provided. Although the European presidents were shocked, von der Leyen decided not to make “an issue of it” but during the meeting she talked about topics like women’s rights and the Istanbul Convention, from which Turkey withdrew recently, according to Eric Manner, EU executive arm’s spokesperson. Showing signs of dissatisfaction, except for a surprised sigh, might have provoked a “political incident,” an EU official told Reuters. “Turkey meant no disrespect,” the official said. “It extended a very courteous welcome to both presidents and strictly adhered to international protocol.” The government declined to comment on the topic.
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