Mattiolo told Draghi that him calling Erdogan a “dictator” could have “serious consequences”, Italian daily La Stampa reported.
“This must be somehow corrected,” Mattiolo told Draghi, according to La Stampa, to which the premier responded, “I will not correct anything.”
Breaking his silence for the first time on the matter, Erdogan on Thursday said, “This man called Draghi took an axe to relations between us by making this statement.”
Responding to a question on SofaGate, a crisis emerging from the treatment of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during a press event with Erdogan and European Council President Charles Michel, Draghi said Erdogan was among “dictators with whom we need to cooperate” on April 8.
“That Mr Erdogan, who arrests opposition deputies and bombs Kurdish villages, wants to give lessons to the Italian prime minister in style and manners is hilarious,” Italian wire service ANSA cited Secretary National of Italy’s left-wing Sinistra Italiana Nicola Frattoianni as saying.
Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s right-wing La Lega, said in a tweet, “Today more than ever I stand with president Draghi, democracy, freedom and the West.”