QA-16, 28 April 2021, Statement of the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Tanju Bilgiç in Response to a Question Regarding the Discussions Concerning the Seating Arrangement During the Visit of the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission to Turkey
The seating arrangement debate that occurred following the visit of the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission to our country has no connection with being either European, or a woman; and has no link whatsoever with the Istanbul Convention or the status of the European Commission. It is therefore meaningless to seek ulterior motives or bad intentions in this matter.
The issue here is the result of lack of coordination among, and negligence of the EU protocol staff. Turkey has met the requests it has received. In accordance with universal protocol regulations, no differentiation is made in Turkey in the implementation of protocol arrangements based on the gender of the visiting officials. As such, no one should question the hospitality and experience of Turkey, who has a deep-rooted tradition of diplomacy, in hosting delegations.
Turkey is pleased that the Presidency of the EU Commission has been taken over by a woman for the first time and believes that this constitutes an important step in women's empowerment and equal rights. Our President has a close and friendly relation with Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen based on mutual trust and respect.
It is regrettable that this event, which originated from EU’s internal political quarrels and whose every detail is known by the EU officials, is still being used as material for political debates in some EU countries, and is particularly being associated with gender discrimination.
What is crucial here is that the leaders of the two important EU Institutions have together visited the EU candidate country Turkey, and the content as well as the results of this visit. Our hope is that the EU institutions will reach a consensus amongst themselves and avoid similar incidents elsewhere.