A group of European women's organizations started a petition urging European Council President Charles Michel to resign over sofagate, the name given to Michel's failure to yield a seat to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen while visiting the Turkish president.
Michel has been at the center of global controversy since he took a seat from under von der Leyen during their meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 7, dubbed "sofagate" by the press since.
Led by the Millennia2025 Women & Innovation Foundation, a collection of women's organizations started a petition for Michel's resignation on the grounds that he "humiliated" von der Leyen, Turkish agencies reported on April 12.
The petition said that Michel's oversight was an error against diplomacy, against the European Union (EU) and against human rights, particularly women's rights.
The petition said that Michel "fell into the trap set for you by Mr Erdoğan," noting the Turkish president's recent decree to withdraw Ankara from Istanbul Convention, an international document protecting women's rights.
"By ostensibly taking leadership as a man over a woman who is your political equal, you offer reinforcement to the dictator on the crush he wants to impose to women and girls of Turkey," the petition told Michel about the Turkish president.
The petition received over 5,000 signatures on April 12, less than 24 hours before it ended.