The press has wrongly presented the protocol incident in Ankara as a humiliation of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen by President Erdoğan. In reality, the latter, in connivance with the President of the Council of the Union, Charles Michel, tried to elevate the latter to the non-existent position of President of the Union.
The press agencies have widely circulated images of the EU/Turkey summit in Ankara on April 6, 2021. It shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan receiving European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. There are only two chairs for three. Mrs von der Leyen, after standing for a while, sits down on a sofa.
The European media interpreted these images as an insult addressed by the Turkish autocrat to the European Union. Some saw it as a confirmation of his machismo. But this is absolutely wrong and masks a serious problem within the EU.
The meeting should have taken place in Brussels and President Erdoğan went out of his way to ensure that it was held at home, in Ankara. It was prepared telephonically by the protocol services of both parties. The layout of the courtroom was in line with the EU requirements. It was not President Erdoğan who wanted to humiliate Ursula von der Leyen.
To understand what happened, it is necessary to place the event in the context of the evolution of the EU institutions.
Council of European Heads of State and Government (March 25, 2021).
On March 25th, thirteen days before the Ankara meeting, the Council of European Heads of State and Government took place. Due to the Covid epidemic, the meeting was not physical, but by video conference. It brought together the 27 heads of state under the chairmanship of Charles Michel, plus their real leader: US President Joe Biden . The latter confirmed in no uncertain terms that Washington needed a strong European Union at its command. He gave several instructions, notably to maintain good relations with Turkey despite the various current disputes (border demarcation in the Eastern Mediterranean; military occupation of Cyprus, Iraq and Syria; violation of the UN embargo in Libya; religious interference in Europe).
Certainly, President Trump intended to replace US imperial relations with commercial relations.