Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's misogynist treatment of Ursula von der Leyen should not divert from wider concerns as to why the EU keeps turning a blind eye to a Turkish leader notorious for his contempt for women's and human rights, Left (formerly GUE/NGL) Co-Presidents say in recent a statement.
Questions must be asked as to why Council President Charles Michel and President of the European Commission von der Leyen left Ankara without taking the Turkish President to task over his record on women's rights, but also his relentless repression of political opponents, for example the repression against the left-wing opposition party HDP.
Co-president of The Left in the European Parliament Manon Aubry (France Insoumise) is particularly scathing about the meeting in Ankara:
"Erdoğan pulling Turkey out of the Istanbul Convention wasn't just a publicity stunt: he is truly contemptuous of women, and his public humiliation of Ursula von der Leyen underlines his misogyny. At a time when more women than ever have been victims of gender-based violence in Turkey, and many more are now protesting for their rights, the EU cannot be turning a blind eye to Erdoğan's authoritarian rule by rewarding his regime with more money. Charles Michel, in particular – who neither spoke up for von der Leyen nor took Erdogan to task for his transgression – is helping to legitimise the EU as a supplicant."
Co-president Martin Schirdewan (Die Linke, Germany) added:
"What this week's events have shown is the utter contempt Erdoğan holds for the EU. The public demonstration of his misogyny just further underlines why he is neither fit nor appropriate to be a 'partner' for the EU. But we shouldn't forget the wider issue: here we have a Turkish leader whose relentless repression of his political opponents and use of human rights violations are plain to see. Yet, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel shamelessly cosied up to Erdoğan in Ankara by signing away billions of euros and economic aid so that refugees are kept in Turkey, and cannot apply for asylum in the EU."
"Is this what EU leaders do in defending our values and respect for fundamental rights? It's shameful," Schirdewan concluded.
Originally published at the website of The Left in the European Parliament