Ankara: EU protocol responsible for von der Leyen ‘Sofa Gate’
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, Turkey said that the EU side was responsible for the incident.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu during a press conference with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al Mohammad Al Sabah 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," Daily Sabah cited him as saying.
"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, while others saw the incident as a demonstration of an underlying rivalry within the EU.