Turkey on Thursday criticized Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s “ugly” comparison of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to a tyrant, Agence France-Presse reported.
Draghi on Thursday accused Erdoğan of being a dictator for holding a summit with the EU’s two top leaders in which European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen ended up without a chair.
Turkish officials denied blame for the episode, insisting they were following the protocol instructions they had received from the EU.
The Turkish foreign ministry immediately summoned the Italian ambassador to protest Draghi’s remarks, in which he said von der Leyen had been subjected to “humiliation” by the Turks.
“We strongly condemn the unacceptable populist remarks, and the ugly and unreasonable comments made by the appointed Italian Prime Minister Draghi,” Turkish Foreign Minister MevlÜt Çavuşoğlu tweeted.
Ömer Çelik, the spokesman for Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said he “regretted” Draghi’s comments because they do “not reflect the depth of Turkish-Italian relations.”