Turkey blames EU for ‘seating arrangement’ scandal in Ankara

Turkey has blamed the EU for seating arrangements that left European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen without a chair during a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara.

Erdoğan and Turkish officials came under a torrent of criticism after images went viral of his meeting with von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel in Ankara.

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The well-appointed room which the three leaders entered had only two chairs arranged next to the corresponding EU and Turkish flags.

Erdoğan and Michel quickly seated themselves while von der Leyen — whose diplomatic rank is the same as that of the two men — was left standing, Agence France-Presse reported.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday that criticism levelled against Turkey for the diplomatic blunder was “unfair”.

“The seating arrangements were made in line with the EU suggestion. Period. We would not be revealing this fact had accusations not been made against Turkey,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters.

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“The demands and suggestions of the EU side were met and the proper protocol applied during the meeting,” he said.

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