A meeting took place in Ankara at the beginning of April President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from Turkey with the President of the European Council Charles Michel And the President of the European Commission Ursulą von der Leyen. In the video of the ceremonial reception of the European Union leaders, you can see Michel and Erdogan sitting in two gilded chairs in the center of the room. There was no chair for Von der Leyen. The confused European Commission president looks around, then takes her place on the sofa to the side, opposite the Turkish president. MSZ.
The incident sparked a diplomatic scandal. The accident that took place in Ankara was dubbed “Sauvage”.. Commentators point out that he was not suitable not only on the Turkish side, but also on the part of Charles Michel. The president of the European Council was supposed to ignore the disrespect shown by Ursula von der Leyen.
Sofagate divides the European Union. “I hardly come across this level of hostility.”
Politico He notes that the Ankara incident shows the depth of the divisions that exist at the head of power in the European Union. The first meeting between von der Leyen and Michel took place at the headquarters of the European Commission. The events in Ankara were to be one of the themes of the meeting. The European Commission president was supposed to “make clear” that she would never allow such a situation again.
Prior to the meeting, the Prime Minister, von der Leyen, also presented a plan to clarify the issue of the priority of EU institutions and to promote equal representation of senior EU officials during external visits. European Council officials did not welcome the plan.
According to Politico, the difference of opinion reflects the struggle between the two institutions and the struggle for greater influence on foreign policy. I rarely encounter this level of hostility between the two organizations […] An EU diplomat said this could harm our external business and be difficult to understand, not just for ordinary citizens.
After meeting with Ankara The regions around Vaun der Leyen and Michel provided a different assessment of the situation. The European Council president’s camp was supposed to indicate that Michel was higher in the diplomatic hierarchy and thus the protocol was not broken. However, Michel himself changed his mind, declaring that he was sorry and did not respond to the incident, because he did not want to cause a scandal and waste a long diplomatic work with Turkey.
“It was intentional. Why did Charles Michel remain silent?”
The diplomatic incident in Ankara sparked a wave of comments. According to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, the Turkish president insulted the president of the European Commission. I do not completely agree with Erdogan’s behavior towards President von der Leyen. I think this was not the correct behavior and I am very sorry for the humiliation von der Leyen was subjected to. ”
Sophie in ‘t Veld, a member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands, added that the lack of an extra chair for Von der Leyen was intentional. “No, it was not a coincidence. It was intentional. Why did Charles Michel remain silent?” She asked. In turn, ZDF TV correspondent in Brussels, Stefan Levert, stated that when two male EU representatives sat in talks with President Erdogan, the number of chairs available was always correct.