Friday, April 9, 2021


Under the Ottomans the Divan hold a kind of fascination.

Today's sofa was booby-trapped.

The presidents of the EU Commission and of the Council of Ministers were given their alloted seats during their audience with the Turkish president last Tuesday.

Against expectations, Ms. Ursula von der Leyen got a second tier sofa assignment, while the president of the Council sat next to President Erdogan. It has happened in the past.

Here it looked bad, it felt wrong, it was a diplomatic snub and appeared also like a sexist statement. Coming from Recep Tayyip Erdogan, nothing unusual, but would he have dared to stage a similar offence to, inter alia Chancellor Merkel?

The relations between the EU and Turkey are frosty. Probably Turkey might have intended to signify the lack of esteem it felt for the EU as such. It has a lot of cards to play since it could unleash a flood of refugees into Europe. It plays similar tricks in NATO which were left unansered under the Trump "regime".

Charles Michel, president of the Council should have politely stood up and invite Ms. von der Leyen to occupy the seat of honour.  He didn't, and showed no discomfort. His post facto explanation sounds fabricated by some jet-lagged underling.   Mr. Michel gave proof that to be tall is not enough to give you stature. The smallish Ms. von der Leyen came out the winner, whatever Michel's spindoctors might come up with. The Turks have the last laugh and word, saying that it was all the EU's doing.

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