EU protocol responsible for von der Leyen ‘Sofa Gate’

EU protocol responsible for von der Leyen ‘Sofa Gate’
  • Clock-gray 13:02
  • calendar-gray 08 April 2021

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was taken aback to find her fellow top European Union official taking the only chair available next to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when the duo visited Ankara this week. Yet, Turkish sources stated that the EU side was responsible for the incident, APA reports citing Daily Sabah.

Saying that EU protocol was responsible, sources told Daily Sabah that this seating arrangement was suggested by the EU side prior to the meeting.

Turkey welcomed both EU officials courteously and adhered to international protocol.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu during a press conference with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al Mohammad Al Sabah also touched upon the issue.

“There are unfair accusations toward Turkey. Turkey is a deep-rooted state and is not hosting guests for the first time. The protocol applied in meetings in Turkey is the international protocol and has been carried out within the framework of worldwide known Turkish hospitality,” he stated.



“The EU side’s demands were fulfilled. This means that the seating arrangement was made according to their suggestions. Our protocol units came together previously and their demands were realized,” Çavuşoğlu added further.

Social media users were however quick to blame Turkey after footage from their meeting on Tuesday showed the first female head of the EU executive, the only woman in the talks, gesturing in disbelief and uttering a surprised sigh as European Council President Charles Michel took one of the two center-stage seats prepared, relegating her to an adjacent sofa.

“The few images that were shown gave the impression that I would have been insensitive to this situation,” Michel wrote on Facebook late Wednesday.

“I am therefore sorry for two reasons. First, by the impression given that I would have been indifferent to the protocol awkwardness vis-a-vis Ursula. Finally, I am saddened, because this situation has overshadowed the major and beneficial geopolitical work that we carried out together in Ankara, and of which I hope that Europe will reap the fruits,” he added.


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