European Union: scandal over the trip of Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen to Ankara continues

A diplomatic incident last week in Ankara, where the Turkish President, the President of the European Council and the head of the European Commission met, threatens to turn into an internal political crisis, reports Euronews.

The essence of the incident is as follows. During the protocol shooting in Ankara, Ursula von der Leyen was left without a chair, since there were only two of them. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Charles Michel took seats opposite each other, and Mrs. von der Leyen, due to the absence of a third chair, stood aside for a minute or two. The head of the European Commission tried to attract the attention of the interlocutors, shrugging his shoulders and saying “uh-uh” … However, the third seat did not appear, the men were not going to give her their place, and the head of the EU, whose status in the negotiations was equal to that of Erdogan and Michelle sat down on the sofa opposite Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister.

On Tuesday, von der Leyen and Michel are to submit to the European Parliament a detailed explanation of the incident at their ill-fated meeting with the Turkish president. Parisian law professor Alberto Alemanno says:

This is undoubtedly a major diplomatic victory for Erdogan, although I don’t think he acted 100% on purpose. But this was a manifestation of a power game between the European Commission and the European Council. It also showed some of the EU’s weakness internationally. In a way, it was another trap. The European Union is damaged again, just weeks after chief diplomat Josep Borrell’s disastrous trip to Moscow. The union has shown again that it is not ready to use the sovereign autonomy to which it continues to claim and which it is trying to form.

Against the backdrop of this scandal, European Women’s Associations are demanding the resignation of EU Council President Michel. The Millenia Foundation, a foundation for the protection of women’s rights and gender equality, initiated a petition on April 8, which received 4,000 signatures by the evening of April 11, and today it already has 7,000 signatures. In the document, European women’s organizations accuse the President of the Council of the European Union of “a thoughtless attitude that harms all citizens of the European Union. And besides – damage to diplomacy, the European Union and human rights, especially the rights of women. ” The petition also says:

An indistinct apology will not resolve the political vacuum that you have created for Europe in relation to its citizens and in relation to the world, most of whose media reported this incident, ridiculing it. Therefore, we ask you to step down as President of the European Council.

Both Ankara and Brussels are trying to get out of the scandal with the least losses, blaming each other for what happened. Cavusoglu states:

The seating was carried out in accordance with the EU proposal. Point. We would not have talked about this if the accusations had not been made against Turkey.

The EU protocol group in charge of the visit announced that it was denied prior access to the negotiating room:

If access were granted to the tete-a-tete room, we would offer guests to kindly replace the sofa with two armchairs.

The official representative of the EC, Eric Mamer, expressed regret in connection with the “differentiated” approach of the Turkish side to Michel and von der Leyen, as well as, to some extent, “even a derogatory attitude towards the President of the European Commission.”

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