Turkey considered the charges of disregard for the president of the European Commission during her visit to Ankara to be unjust, ensuring that the seating arrangement for the meeting was suggested by the European team.
The criticism came after, in a meeting held on Wednesday in Ankara, only the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, were entitled to seats, a fact that led the European Commission to protest against the episode already known as “sofagate”.
The video footage of Erdogan and Michel’s arrival at the presidential palace for the meeting shows the Commission president expressing her surprise at the place reserved for her, on a side sofa before the head of Turkish diplomacy, while the two male leaders they sat on chairs located in the prime area of the hall, framed by the flags of Turkey and the EU.
In a press conference held this Thursday, the Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Cavusoglu, guaranteed that the seating arrangement respected the suggestion of the European Union team.
“The EU’s requests were respected. This means that the seating arrangements were made at your request. Our protocol services met before the meeting and your (EU’s) requests were respected,” said the minister.
“The charges against Turkey are unfair“he said, recalling that” this is not the first time that Turkey has received foreign dignitaries “.
Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey felt obliged to clarify in the face of “accusations that were targeted”.
The European Commission said on Wednesday its dissatisfaction with the diplomatic treatment reserved for President Von der Leyen at the meeting in Ankara, with the institution’s spokesman arguing that “the president should have been treated in exactly the same way as the president of the European Council and the Turkish President “.
Michel denies being “insensitive”
As for the attitude of Charles Michel, who in the images sees himself taking his place next to Erdogan and extending his legs while Von der Leyen opened his arms in a questioning way, the Commission spokesman declined to weave comments.
Charles Michel reacted, however, recognizing that “the few images that were released gave the impression” that “he would have been insensitive to this situation”, but he refused to have that intention, invoking his “deep feelings” and “essential principles of respect “.
“Despite a clear desire to do well, the Turkish services’ strict interpretation of the protocol rules has produced a disconcerting situation: differentiated treatment.
EP calls for debate with Charles Michel and Von der Leyen
The two main political families of the European Parliament (EP) asked this Thursday to schedule a debate with the presidents of the Council and the European Commission, to discuss the travel of both to Turkey, after the diplomatic incident that occurred.
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