The security of Hungary is directly related to the stability of Turkey
08. 10. 2018.
After talks in Budapest on Monday with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that the security of Hungary is directly related to the stability of Turkey.

At a joint press conference held in the Parliament Building, the Prime Minister said that a stable Turkish government and a stable Turkey are essential for ensuring that Hungary faces no threats of any kind from the land route for migration into Europe.

Mr. Orbán pointed out that one of Hungary’s strongest national interests is for Turkey to always be strong and stable enough to create peace in the region and to hold back illegal migration heading towards Europe.

The Prime Minister also recognised that, as a host country, Turkey takes in and provides for millions of people fleeing from neighbouring countries.

Photo: Gergely Botár

He also thanked the President of Turkey for fully honouring the migrant agreement concluded with the EU, which is also a precondition for security in Europe.

Mr. Orbán spoke about military cooperation and the fight against terrorism. He said that the level of military cooperation between the two countries has so far been low, but this will now change, and the intention is to develop intensive cooperation in the arms industry.

The Prime Minister observed that the economic difficulties of the past few decades meant that there had been neither the residual strength nor financial resources for development of the Hungarian army, but “We will now make up for this deficit: Hungary’s goal is to build a modern and efficient national army.”

Photo: Gergely Botár

Regarding economic cooperation, he pointed out that a few years ago the two countries agreed to increase the volume of Hungarian-Turkish trade to USD 5 billion; while there has been some increase, he said, they have not yet reached this target. In the first half of this year, however, there was a 19 per cent increase, he noted, and so the target of USD 5 billion no longer appears to be unrealistic.

He added that Eximbank has opened a credit line worth USD 420 million for the purposes of Hungarian-Turkish cooperation.

The talks also focused on Turkish investments in Hungary, in relation to which the Prime Minister asked Mr. Erdoğan to support and encourage Turkish investors. They also discussed the opportunities Turkey presents for the Hungarian economy. In this regard the Prime Minister said that at the meeting he had stressed the opportunities in agriculture and water-related technologies.

According to Mr. Orbán, Hungarian foreign policy must at all times pay particular attention to three capital cities: Ankara, Moscow and Berlin. Hungary, he said, has lived for many hundreds of years within the sphere of influence exerted by these three great powers.

Photo: Gergely Botár

It is therefore important, he continued, for Hungary to always have balanced, well-ordered and positive relations with Turkey, and that “relations between the two countries are based on respect”.

In his view, the agreements now concluded and the two countries’  “congruent aims” will enable Hungary to take part in the growth of the Turkish economy.

Asked about Turkey’s accession to the EU, Mr. Orbán said that so far Hungary has supported Turkey, and will continue to do so in the future. He believes that Europe must decide what it wants, as if the continent truly intends to become a political player with major global influence, it must find the right form of cooperation with Turkey.

Photo: Gergely Botár

Referring to the EU’s position, he said that “What we are doing now is insincere”. With regard to EU-Turkish negotiations, he added that he does not remember a previous example of several negotiating chapters being opened without a single one being closed. He noted that he likewise cannot think of another instance of the EU indicating willingness to engage in accession talks with a candidate country, while important EU Member States simultaneously declare that “we will never admit this country to the EU”.

In conclusion the Prime Minister said that Hungary wants a strong Europe, and this requires a strategic agreement with Turkey.