Italy’s Draghi calls Turkey's Erdoğan a "dictator" after Sofagate incident

Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi has called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a “dictator”, criticising him for relegating European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to a sofa during an official visit on Tuesday.

“I felt very sorry for the humiliation that European Commission President von der Leyen had to undergo,” Draghi said during a press conference Thursday evening.

During the official visit in Ankara, Erdoğan offered European Council President Charles Michel a chair next to him, leaving a visibly irritated von der Leyen to sit on a nearby couch — an incident that has since gone viral online and been dubbed Sofagate.

With these — let’s call them for what they are — dictators, which we however need to cooperate with … one has to be frank in expressing a diversity of views, opinions, behaviors, visions of society. And also has to be ready to cooperate to safeguard the interests of their country. This is important. We have to find the right equilibrium.

Mario Draghi

Turkey’s foreign ministry later summoned the Italian ambassador to condemn Draghi’s remarks, according to Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency.

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