In a video of the awkward second in Ankara, von der Leyen appears uncertain of the place to sit down, gestures with her proper hand and says “ehm” as Erdogan and European Council President Charles Michel take their seats.
Von der Leyen was ultimately supplied a seat on a close-by couch, reverse Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who occupies a lower-status rank in diplomatic protocol.
In earlier conferences the three presidents have all sat collectively.
Eric Mamer, chief spokesperson for the European Commission, stated von der Leyen “was clearly surprised and that is something which you can see from the video.” He added that “it’s difficult to judge the reasons why she was offered one type of seat rather than another, that’s something which you’d have to ask the Turkish authorities about.”
Mamer stated Turkey had been chargeable for organizing the assembly.
He added that in relation to “the view of the Commission abroad, what I can say is 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 her own right and generally, normally, when she goes to foreign countries, she is treated in exactly the same way as the President of the European Council would be.”
CNN has reached out to each to the EU Council and the Turkish Presidency for remark.