Thursday, April 8, 2021
Der Lion was kicked out of bed
Michael denies the allegations after “Sobagate”
Leaders of the European Union and Turkey are meeting in Ankara to ease tense relations between the two camps. But “Sopagate” hides the conversations. EU Council President Michael now faces criticism for his behavior in the situation.
During a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, EU Council President Charles Michel rejected criticism of his conduct. Unlike him, Michael said that the inability of EU Commission President Ursula van der Leyon to take a place next to Erdogan was “due to a rigorous interpretation of the ethical rules of Turkish services”. This led to “reduced treatment” by the head of the commission, he lamented.
Van der Leyen and Michael traveled to Ankara on Tuesday to explore ways to improve relations with Turkey. A video shows how the head of the commission initially stood in the office of the Turkish president and interacted with Erdogan and Michael while sitting in two armchairs next to each other. Then she had to sit on a sofa a considerable distance away.
The affair, dubbed “Sopagate”, provoked massive criticism and misrepresentation allegations. Michael had to ask himself the question of why he did not protest against the treatment of his colleague.
The pictures gave the impression that “I would have been insensitive in this situation,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “There can be nothing from reality.” The “regrettable” nature of the treatment was clear to him. “But we decided not to make it worse by a public incident.”
Junker: Sometimes treated like “number two”
Former EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has pointed out that he too is sometimes considered the “number two” behind the Council’s chairman when he travels 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 would sit on a sofa.”
The Turkish government has denied responsibility for the incident. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said there were “unfair allegations against Turkey.” “A seat was arranged in accordance with the recommendations of the European Union.” The meeting was held in accordance with international standards and “Turkish hospitality”.