Mario Draghi has angered Turkey by calling its president Recep Tayyip Erdogan “a dictator” and accusing him of humiliating European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen throughout a diplomatic go to to Ankara this week.
Italy’s prime minister criticised Erdogan for an incident the place von der Leyen was left standing awkwardly because the Turkish president and Charles Michel, European Council president, sat down in two adjoining armchairs in what has grow to be a heated controversy between the EU and Ankara over protocol and blame.
“I absolutely do not agree with Erdogan’s behaviour towards president von der Leyen,” Draghi mentioned. “I do not think it was appropriate behaviour and I was very sorry for the humiliation von der Leyen had to suffer.”
Draghi then adopted up his feedback by calling the Turkish president “a dictator”, however defended the EU’s persevering with diplomatic engagement with Ankara.
“With these dictators — let us call them what they are — one must be frank in expressing one’s diversity of views and visions of society,” he mentioned. “One must also be ready to co-operate to ensure the interests of one’s country. The right balance must be found.”
Turkey’s international ministry mentioned it had summoned the Italian ambassador in Ankara over Draghi’s “unacceptable statements”.
Faruk Kaymakci, who’s Turkey’s deputy international affairs minister in addition to director for EU affairs, knowledgeable the ambassador that Erdogan “was a leader elected with the most votes” and Turkey strongly condemned Draghi’s remarks. He mentioned Turkey anticipated the “extreme and ugly remarks unfitting” of an ally to be instantly retracted.
Kaymakci additionally mentioned the talk over the protocol mishap was “meaningless and ill-intentioned”, geared toward undermining a constructive agenda between Turkey and the EU, that are looking for to maneuver on after tensions spiked final 12 months over Turkish drilling for fuel in japanese Mediterranean waters internationally recognised as belonging to Greece and Cyprus.
In feedback made on Twitter, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s international minister who was in attendance on the assembly between Erdogan, von der Leyen and Michel, referred to as Draghi “appointed”, in a pointed reference to the truth that he didn’t face any type of in style vote to grow to be Italy’s prime minister.
Draghi’s feedback mark the second sturdy diplomatic intervention for the previous European Central Bank president in slightly below two months since being requested by Italy’s president to grow to be prime minister and lead a nationwide unity authorities through the nation’s Covid-19 disaster.
In early March, Italy made a request to the EU to dam the export of a batch of AstraZeneca vaccines to Australia, within the first intervention for the reason that EU launched guidelines over the cargo of vaccines exterior the bloc.
The transfer, which got here after Draghi expressed sturdy criticism of delays to AstraZeneca deliveries of vaccines to the EU, established Italy as one of many extra vocal EU international locations in favour of strictly policing exports from the bloc.