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#SofaGate - When chairs remain reserved for men

This week, there was a diplomatic scandal at the high-level EU delegation meeting in Turkey with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. When the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the Council, Charles Michel, arrived at the Turkish President on Wednesday, the Turkish government had only provided two chairs in front of the European and Turkish flags. Michel then took the chair next to Erdoğan, and it became apparent in recordings that von der Leyen – justifiably – disagreed with having to take a seat on a sofa.

At the Greek TV station Skai (from min. 3:30, see below) and in POLITICO I have made it clear how I view this incident:

    1. Von der Leyen is not the problem. The problem is the two men who put her in that position.
    2. A visit to Erdoğan in Turkey is the worst conceivable time to play good old macho politics.
    3. Ich finde es wichtig, dass wir mit der Türkei reden. Sie ist unsere Nachbarin; viele Türk*innen leben in der EU – und viele Europäer*innen in der Türkei. Aber meiner Meinung nach hätte man bei dem offiziellen Fototermin zum momentanen Zeitpunkt, gerade vor dem Hintegrund der Unterdrückung der HDP (pro-Kurdish "Halkların Demokratik Partisi") and Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention.
    4. Human rights and democracy are two central pillars of a Green policy, and especially of a Green foreign policy. The current soft line of the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats with Turkey will most certainly come to an end once the Greens are in government from October onwards.
    5. We have demanded a plenary debate in which we will discuss this visit.
    6. But for now, we should also focus on the other issues that are important in relation to Turkey: Human rights, the situation of refugees, arms exports, Syria and the Istanbul Convention. We support all democratic forces and women's and human rights defenders in Turkey.

(For those who prefer reading to listening: POLITICO has also reported extensively on the éclat).

Hier geht es zum Tweet
Hier geht es zum Tweet

Hannah's contribution from min. 3.30:

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