By George Psyllides
TURKISH President Tayyip Erdogan was snubbed by 17 EU ambassadors accredited to Kuwait during a reception there on Tuesday, after he asked their Cypriot counterpart to leave the event, a foreign ministry official said on Thursday.
Permanent secretary Alexandros Zenon said the incident took place at a reception to honour Erdogan who was on a visit Kuwait.
It is customary in such events to invite the ambassadors of all countries, Zenon said.
“I am under the impression due to excessive zeal and not because of official policy,” the Kuwaiti officials asked Cyprus’ ambassador Panayiotis Kyriacou to leave the reception because Erdogan did not want to shake hands with or meet him, Zenon said.
Kyriacou consulted Zenon who told him to stay put. Zenon spoke to the Kuwaiti ambassador in Nicosia “who was very co-operative and expressed surprise and regret”.
In the meantime Kyriacou had spoken to his EU colleagues and the French and Greek ambassadors said they would leave if officials insisted Kyriacou should leave.
All the EU ambassadors stayed at the reception but refused to greet Erdogan.
“They snubbed him apparently in show of support and solidarity to their Cypriot colleague,” Zenon said.
Phileleftheros reported that this annoyed Erdogan who cut his visit short.