It was an awkward moment when European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen found herself without a chair to sit on during her visit to Turkey along with her associates and fellow top EU officials.
It so happened that Leyen and other officials of the EU met Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan yesterday, and as the group entered the room, two men took the two chairs available, and the EC President was left standing.
She and another official were later accommodated on sofas next to the chairs. In a video that’s going viral on social media, Leyen can be heard sighing in disbelief as she finds herself in the middle of the situation. “The president of the Commission was clearly surprised. The president should have been seated in exactly the same manner as the president of the European Council and the Turkish president, said the EU executive's spokesman, Eric Mamer, in a statement.
Soon after the video began doing the rounds of social media, #GiveHerASeat began trending. Sharing the video, a European Parliament member wrote: ““Ehm” is the new term for "that’s not how EU-Turkey relationship should be”. #GiveHerASeat #EU #Turkey #womensrights.
Another user said, “Doesn’t matter if the 3d chair omission was sexist, political or an honest mistake. It’s still a missed opportunity for @eucopresident to do the right thing: Stand by @vonderleyen and wait until an extra chair is brought. #SofaGate #GiveHerASeat #CharlesMichel #vonderLeyen.”
A third one commented and wrote, “As much as the situation is annoying, Charles Michel’s attitude ‘so not to not make matters worse by causing a public scene’ is too. Women can speak up for themselves, but allies are crucial. If something is wrong, something needs to be said right away to correct it #GiveHerASeat.”
*All images are from Twitter/@SLagodinsky