On Thursday evening, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi described Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “dictator”, in response to a question about the protocol incident with European Union officials in Ankara.
Draghi said during a press conference in Rome, in response to a question about Erdogan’s behavior regarding what happened to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who was left without a seat for a while during a meeting with him: “I felt a great anger at the humiliation that the Commission President was subjected to by these people, Let us call them as they are, the dictators. “
Von der Leyen was a surprise when Charles Michel, president of the European Council, sat on the only available seat next to Erdogan in his presidential palace on Tuesday.
In a video clip of the incident, the Chairperson of the Commission, the first woman to occupy this position and the only woman in the meeting, stood for a moment and brought a movement to her surprise from the two men before sitting on a sofa adjacent to the two main seats.
The video tape of this protocol incident shocked many European representatives and senior officials in the bloc.
“I absolutely do not agree with Erdogan’s behavior towards President von der Leyen … I think it was not a decent behavior and I feel very sorry for the insult that Von der Leyen was subjected to,” Draghi told reporters.
He added: “With these, let us call them by their names, the tyrants, whom one finds himself, however, obliged to coordinate with, one must be frank when expressing different visions and opinions.”
However, he considered that Erdogan remains among a group of officials with whom “coordination should be made,” despite political differences with them.
“One should be frank to express the difference in his opinions, behaviors, and how he sees society, but (he) must also be prepared not for coordination but for cooperation for the sake of his country,” he added, stressing the need to find a “delicate balance” between these two matters.