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Özlem Türeci and Uğur Şahin. Twitter

Ursula von der Leyen honored by Atlantic Council – together with Turkish BioNTech founders

The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen received an award from the Atlantic Council on November 10, 2021 in Washington, DC. Together with her, the top managers from Pfizer and BioNTech were honored. The mutual admiration society praised each other for the "successes" of the vaccination campaign.

Published: November 17, 2021, 9:17 am

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    Washington, DC

    On November 10, 2021 Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, Albert Bourla, the Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, as well as two Turkish-born billionaires Professor Uğur Şahin and Dr. Özlem Türeci, the co-founders of BioNTech, were handed the “Distinguished Leadership Awards,” for “outstanding leadership qualities”.

    The Atlantic Council, an American think tank that has existed for 60 years, is interested in securing the “global future”. It justified the award to the four honorees citing “their vision, their strength of character and their commitment to a more secure future”.

    Şahin (55) and Türeci (63), a married couple responsible for the experimental Covid-19 vaccine, set up Ganymed Pharmaceuticals – a biopharmaceutical developing cancer drugs. Ganynmed was sold to Japanese multinational pharmaceutical company Astellas in 2016, for $1.4 billion. They co-founded BioNTech with the help of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    The Turkish couple now rank among the 100 richest Germans, as reported by German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

    A cringeworthy self-aggrandizing fest

    After receiving the award, the President of the EU Commission praised Pfizer chief Albert Bourla for his service to humanity and for his “vaccine based on mRNA technology”, which had previously “never been approved” or “produced on a large scale”.

    “And we trusted each other. And after you developed your vaccine for Covid-19, you immediately began mass production without waiting for approval – a decision that has been labeled risky and unorthodox. You chose to do it, risking billions of dollars because if you didn’t try, the whole world would pay the price. And by doing that, you and your team may have saved millions of lives.” Sadly there has been no data backing this up, and certainly not in Germany.

    The EU boss continued on a personal note: “With this award, dear Albert, we celebrate your successes and your entrepreneurial spirit. We also celebrate your incredible partnership with Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci. You have come together as scientists and fellow human beings and have worked together for the benefit of all of humanity. Another success story added to the story of our transatlantic partnership.”

    Bourla replied that he was “speechless” by “Ursula’s kind words” – and that he had “almost cried”. Then he heaped equal amounts of lofty praise on the EU’s dear leader. Bourla incidentally had previously denounced the “small circle” of vaccine skeptics: “These are criminals.”

    The EU Commission under von der Leyen signed a third contract with BioNTech-Pfizer in May 2021, with which it ordered 1,8 billion doses of the BioNTech preparation for the period between the end of 2021 and 2023.

    Germany’s RKI has been preparing for at least six booster shots and state of emergency until the end of 2023 since the beginning of September, according to leaked files.

    Family ties

    Aside from her affection for Pfizer, the European Commission President also has certain family connections with other companies in the US pharmaceutical industry. For example, since September 2020 her husband Heiko von der Leyen has been the medical director of the US biopharmaceutical company Orgenesis which sees its future in cell and gene therapy to treat cancer.

    A group of EU parliamentarians recently reprimanded the EU Commission for only providing MEPs with copies of EU contracts with pharmaceutical companies that had largely been blacked out.

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