|Author (Corporate)||Cardiff EDC|
|Content Type||Blog & Commentary, News|
Information Guide concerning the visit of the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the President of the European Council Charles Michel to Turkey on 6 April 2021 and its aftermath.
The two leaders of the European Union (EU) visited Turkey for a meeting with the country's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which followed up on a previous discussion on the EU-Turkey relations held by the European Council on 25 March 2021. Besides the overall bilateral relations, the two sides also discussed matters relating to the respect of fundamental right and the rule of law, migration and outstanding regional issues.
This meeting was overshadowed by an incident concerning protocol during a photo-op, in what became known as Sofagate. The situation was created when Ms von der Leyen was left standing due to a lack of chairs placed in front of the Turkish and EU flags. The President of the European Commission eventually sat on a sofa equivalent to one placed for Turkey's Foreign Affairs minister.
The incident prompted allegations of sexism and cast a spotlight on the longstanding confusion over who really speaks for the European Union. Criticism was directed at Turkish authorities but also at the President of the European Council, who seemed not to be willing to set things right on the spot. An argument over diplomatic protocol arose between the two EU institutions as a result. The European Parliament summoned the two leaders for a discussion with the plenary on the incident at a session on 26 April 2021.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|
|Subject Tags||Bilateral Relations, European Commission, European Council|
|Countries / Regions||Turkey|
|International Organisations||European Union [EU]|