Sofagate: Turkey says EU agreed to protocol

Agreement lacked between Von der Leyen-Michel -Ankara sources

08 April, 18:08

    ROME - Turkish government sources told ANSA that during the Tuesday visit to Ankara by European Commissio President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, "the standard protocol was followed".

    "The president of the European Commission was not treated differently, nor did the EU delegation request a different arrangement. In this situation, we would have expected that the two guests would have found an agreement among themselves," the sources said.

    During the visit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had President von der Leyen sit on a sofa, which he and President Michel sat on two chairs with their respective flags at their backs.

    Controversy erupted immediately, given von der Leyen's apparent surprise, which was captured on video.

    Formally, among visiting dignitaries, European protocol gives precedence to the European Council president over the European Commission president.

    Those who speak of "protocol machismo", however, aren't forgetting a precedent from 16 November 2015.

    In a meeting at the same level, not in the pharaoh-like presidential palace of Ankara but rather in the lobby of a hotel in Antalya, on the sidelines of the G20 hosted by Turkey, both EU leaders at the time - Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk - were seated in two equally spaced chairs on Erdogan's right and left.

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