The Turkish reaction came after the protocol insult to which the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, was subjected in Ankara. “The accusations against Turkey are unfair.”Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated at a press conference Thursday, April 8th.
In a video filmed on Tuesday, it appears that the European Commission President is forced to sit on a sofa away from her interlocutors, during a meeting of the heads of European Union institutions with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, because there is no third. A chair to receive her. These images immediately aroused indignation. Sometimes against Turkey, accused of seeking to humiliate the European delegation, and sometimes against the Europeans, who are suspected of having allowed Ankara to step down.
“The requests of the European Union were respected. This means that seating arrangements were made at its request. Our protocol services met before the meeting and their requests.” [de l’UE] Has been respected, Confirmed The head of the Turkish diplomacy, Mevlüt Çavuşolu. “Turkey is a deep-rooted country and this is not the first time that we have received prominent foreign figures.”, he added.
The scene was filmed and widely shared on social media. Under the hashtag #SofaGate, it sparked many comments about the unequal treatment between the heads of European institutions, and about their sexual nature. And with good reason: European Council President Charles Michel and the Turkish president sat in the two seats prepared for the meeting, without worrying about the fate of their interlocutors.
On Wednesday, Ursula von der Leyen expressed her displeasure with her being placed in the back seat and demanded that she be treated on an equal footing with the council chair.
His spokesman claimed so “The heads of the two institutions have the same protocol rank.” But the European Council, the body representing member states, nonetheless declared that its president had precedence over the International Protocol Committee.