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“Sopagate” with Van der Leyen: EU delegation not allowed to enter room early

IThe “Sopagate” affair over ethical treatment during EU Commission President Ursula van der Leyn’s visit to Turkey continues with mutual accusations.

The European Council (EU) on Thursday issued a statement outlining plans for a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

Accordingly, the EU advance delegation had no access to the room where the subsequent conversation with Van der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel took place. “There was a brief tour of the campus,” the memo says.

Is it “too close” to the president’s office?

The conference room was “considered inaccessible despite our demands” because it was “considered too close to President Erdogan’s office.” Otherwise, the EU side would have suggested that Van der Leyne, like Michael, should be given an armchair and no place on the sofa.

Van der Leyen and Michael traveled to Ankara on Tuesday to explore ways to improve relations between the European Union and Turkey. During a meeting with Erdogan at the Turkish Presidential Palace, Michael was assigned a large chair next to the Turkish head of state. The pictures, taken shortly afterwards, have caused a stir under the catchphrase “Sofagate”.

In one Video spread by the European Union To see how the head of the commission stands and how Erdogan and Michael react with an “um” while sitting in armored chairs. Then you can see her on a sofa to the left at a considerable distance. There he sat down with Foreign Minister Kaushoklu, who took part in the conversation.

New information about preparing the crowd also shows how hard wrestling is already going on behind the scenes. According to the report, EU representatives then went into action in the dining room, granting them access at short notice. There, at his request, “three chairs for VIPs have been adjusted in size in favor of the commission chairman”. In addition, EU Council President Michael suggested that Van der Leyne be included in the official photo of the meeting.

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Regarding the ranking of the two presidents, the memo refers to the EU agreement and the agreement between the ethical leaders of the companies. Accordingly, “the Code of Conduct for Third Countries clearly distinguishes between the position of the Head of State of the Council of Europe and the Head of Government of the Commission.” This may be the “cause of the problem”.

“The president was clearly surprised.”

European parliamentarians have strongly criticized the incident over the past few days. “Sofagate” later became a trend on social networks. EU Commission Spokesman Clarified Wednesday In their view, van der Leyen should be on an equal footing with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and EU Council President Charles Michel. “The president was clearly surprised,” he said. But he wanted to talk about important things.

Michael described the incident “with a strict interpretation of the ethical rules of Turkish services.” He wrote on his Facebook page, which led to the commission’s chairman’s “disgraceful treatment.” The “regrettable” nature of the treatment was clear to him. Both had decided not to “make it worse by a public incident” and to put the content of the talks at the forefront.

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For its part, the Turkish government blamed the EU for the incident. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the seat had been arranged “according to the EU plan”. He described the criticism of Turkey as “unfair”. The meeting was held in accordance with international standards and “Turkish hospitality”.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the former commission chairman, also pointed out that he is sometimes considered the “number two” when going abroad. “From an ethical point of view, it was clear to everyone that the leader of the council was in the first place,” he told the online newspaper “Politico”. “I usually had a chair next to the president’s chair, but sometimes I just sat on a sofa.”

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Iratse Garcia Perez, chairman of the Social Democrats in the European Parliament, insisted that Turkey had withdrawn from the Istanbul Conference on the Protection of Women. “Now they are leaving the president of the European Commission without an official visit,” he wrote on Twitter. It was “shameful”.

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20.03.2021, Turkey, Istanbul: Protesters chanted slogans during the rally.  Turkey withdraws from Istanbul conference of Council of Europe aims to prevent and combat violence against women  The relevant decree of Turkish President Erdogan was published in the Official Gazette on Saturday night, March 20, 21.  This decision met with harsh criticism.  Photo: Emra Kurel / AP / dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

“Um” is now the new word for “how should the EU-Turkey relationship not be?” Sergei Logodinsky wrote on Twitter. For the liberal Sophie in Weld, it was “not accidental, it was intentional”. He also asked why Michael did not oppose the treatment of his colleague Van der Lion.

Green Bundestag member Cem Ostemir commented: “Such signs were deliberately set up by dictatorial oppressors like Putin, #Erdogan & Co. (…) If you can deal with it, you don’t have to. After all, you don’t get respect from men like that! “

After all, the content is about women’s rights

A spokesman for Van der Leyen stressed that the events at the Presidential Palace in Ankara on Wednesday should not happen again. Precautions for this will now be taken. The Commission also noted that von der Leன்n’s meeting with Erdogan on Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Conference on the Rights of Women and the Protection of Women and Children from Violence was a long and open discussion.