TURKEY-EU-ITALY: Draghi accuses Erdogan of humiliating Von der Leyen
ROME (Reuters) – Italian Council President Mario Draghi on Thursday accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of humiliating European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen this week and said it was important to ‘be frank with the “dictators”.
Ankara reacted quickly through the voice of its foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, who condemned the “hideous” remarks of the Italian leader.
Ursula von der Leyen was relegated to a secluded sofa when she traveled to Ankara on Wednesday with European Council President Charles Michel, who occupied the only available seat alongside Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“I completely disagree with Erdogan’s attitude towards President Von der Leyen (…) It was not appropriate and I was very sorry for the humiliation Von der Leyen had to endure” Mario Draghi told reporters.
“With these, let’s say it, dictators, with whom we must nevertheless coordinate, we have to be frank when we express different visions and opinions,” he added.
According to the Turkish Anatolia news agency, the Italian ambassador in Ankara was summoned by the Turkish Foreign Ministry following Mario Draghi’s remarks.
(Angelo Amante and Gavin Jones in Rome, Daren Butler in Istanbul; French version Jean Terzian)