Turkey accused the EU of seating arrangements that left European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen unchaired during a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Erdogan and Turkish officials were caught in a whirlpool of criticism after the image spread in a meeting with von der Leyen and European Council chairman Charles Michel in Ankara on Tuesday.
In a well-equipped room with three leaders, there were only two chairs placed next to the corresponding EU and Turkish flags.
Prime Minister Erdogan and Michelle sat down immediately, and Fonde Araien (whose diplomat rank was the same as the two men) remained standing.
“Well,” she said sharply, but mysteriously seemed to spread her arms.
Official images later showed that he was sitting on the couch opposite the couch taken by Turkish Foreign Minister Mebrut Chabsogur.
Mr Kabsogul said Thursday that his criticism of Turkey for diplomatic blunders was “unfair.”
“The seating arrangements were in line with the EU’s proposal. Period. Without accusations against Turkey, we would not have revealed this fact,” Kabsoguru told reporters.
“The EU’s requirements and proposals were met and the appropriate protocol was applied during the meeting,” he said.
The diplomatic fake was instantly branded as “Sofa Gate” on Twitter and became a major issue in the first Turkish-EU summit in a year.
The meeting was aimed at showing a more positive attitude towards relationships after months of trouble on multiple fronts.
But it ended with European officials accusing Turkey (which withdrew from the groundbreaking Istanbul Convention to combat gender-based violence last month) with male nativism.
“First they withdrew from the Istanbul Convention and now leave the European Commission President without a seat for an official visit. It’s shameful. # WomensRights,” wrote Spanish Parliamentarian Iratxe Garcia Perez.
There was also a question as to why Michelle would get to his seat so quickly.
The European Council chair broke almost a full day of silence on Wednesday by writing on Facebook that he realized that the scene gave the impression that I was unaware of this situation. It was.
However, Michelle blamed Turkey’s “protocol failure” that he and von der Leyen had overlooked at the time.
Two EU leaders “chosen not to make it worse by causing a public case,” Michelle wrote.
“I regret that this situation outweighed the major and beneficial geopolitical work we did together in Ankara. I hope Europe will benefit from it.”
Fonde Araien himself emphasized that he used the post-summit press conference to discuss women’s rights in detail with Prime Minister Erdogan.
“I am deeply concerned about the fact that Turkey has withdrawn from the Istanbul Convention,” she said.
The case “sharpened her focus on the matter,” said Eric Mama, a spokesman for the European Commission.
However, Mr. Kabsoguru said Turkey fully knew how to follow the diplomatic ritual and only followed the instructions of the planning delegation sent from Brussels.
“Turkey is a well-established state with frequent guests at all levels,” he said.
“Meetings are held within the framework of the International Protocol Rules and Turkish Hospitality, especially in Turkey.”
Turkey Blames EU For ‘Sofagate’ Scandal Source link Turkey Blames EU For ‘Sofagate’ Scandal