By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Ursula von der Leyen, the first female president of the European Union’s executive commission, has lashed out at Muslim-majority Turkey for violating women’s rights saying she was “feeling hurt” by a chair snap.
The European Commission president recalled an April 6 meeting with male leaders in Turkey where she was left without a chair at a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Turkey was criticized, as was EU Council President Charles Michel, who took the only chair next to Erdoğan during the meeting in Ankara, the capital.
Turkey blamed the EU for the blunder that saw Von der Leyen sit on a sofa in an incident that has since begun dubbed as “sofagate.” Michel has since apologized for taking the seat while von der Leyen appeared visibly taken aback.
She made her displeasure clear with an audible “Ahem.” And in a speech to the European Parliament on Monday, Von der Leyen suggested sexism was at the root of the seating blunder. The 62-year-old leader said she could see no reason why she should have been treated differently to Michel.
Her comments came at a time of mounting public discontent among women about the way they are treated in Turkey, which also quit a violence treaty.
“I am the first woman to be President of the European Commission. I am the President of the European Commission. And this is how I expected to be treated when visiting Turkey two weeks ago, like a Commission President, but I was not,” von der Leyen told EU lawmakers.
“I cannot find any justification for the way I was treated in the European Treaties. So, I have to conclude; it happened because I am a woman. Would this have happened if I had worn a suit and a tie?”
She added that in the “pictures of previous meetings, I did not see any shortage of chairs. But then again, I did not see any woman in these pictures, either.”
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