In a video of the awkward moment in Ankara, von der Leyen seems unsure where to sit, gestures with his right hand and says Erdogan as “Elm” and European Council President Charles Michel takes his seat .
Von der Leyen was eventually offered a seat on a nearby couch opposite Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who holds the rank of lower in diplomatic protocol.
The three presidents have sat together in previous meetings.
European Commission chief spokesman Eric Mammer said von der Leyen was “visibly surprised and this is something you can see from the video.” He said that “those reasons are difficult to identify because they were offered one type of seat instead of one, this is something about which you will have to ask the Turkish authorities.”
Mameer said that Turkey was responsible for organizing the meeting.
He said that when the idea of the Commission comes abroad, I can say that the protocol level of our President is exactly the same as that of the President of the European Council. Our President is a member of the European Council. In and of itself, generally, when she visits foreign countries, she is treated in the same manner as the President of the European Council. “
CNN has reached out to both the European Union Council and the Turkish Presidency for comment.