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Parliamentary questions
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8 April 2021
Priority question for written answer  P-001893/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Hilde Vautmans (Renew)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: EU response to the ‘sofa-gate’ incident in Ankara

On 6 April, Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, Presidents of the European Council and Commission respectively, were on a visit to Ankara for top-level talks with Turkish President Erdoğan on deepening relations with Turkey. The occasion was marred by a diplomatic gaffe leaving President von der Leyen without a chair alongside the Turkish President, where European Council President Michel, was already seated. This incident shows that, following four months of de-escalation efforts, the visit to Turkey was clearly premature and also raises questions about the level of respect Turkish President Erdoğan is willing to show to women in particular and the EU in general. It has also undermined the standing of the EU and its credibility when it comes to raising the bar in the geopolitical arena. In view of this:

1. What inferences does the Commission draw from this incident? Will it affect the favourable overtures that have already been made by the EU to Turkey?

2. What measures will the Commission take to prevent any recurrence of such incidents, uphold EU statesmanship at top diplomatic levels and step up EU international diplomacy?

Original language of question: NL
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