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Oct 10, 2018

A strong Europe requires a strong and stable Turkey

“The security of Hungary is directly related to the stability of Turkey,” Prime Minister Orbán said during a joint press conference after his talks on Tuesday with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Later, he reiterated Turkey’s indispensable role in stopping the flood of illegal migrants and spoke about economic ties between Hungary and Turkey.

At a joint press conference in the Hungarian Parliament on Monday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told President Erdoğan that a stable Turkish government remains essential to ensuring that nobody threatens the Hungarian – and European – borders through the overland migration route.

“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 said, recognizing Turkey’s role not simply as a barrier but also as a host country that receives and provides for millions of people fleeing war-torn regions.

With a nod to history, PM Orbán said that Hungarian foreign policy must at all times consider the positions of three capitals: Ankara, Moscow and Berlin. Because Hungarians, he argued, have lived within the sphere of influence of these three great powers for centuries.

We have learned our lesson from history, he said, and it urges Hungary to always maintain balanced, organized and positive relations with Turkey and, most importantly, ensure that “relations between the two countries are based on respect.”

Speaking about economic cooperation with Turkey, the prime minister revealed that Eximbank has recently opened a USD 420 million credit line for promoting Hungary-Turkey business affairs. And though the USD 5 billion trade volume goal hasn’t yet been achieved, trade between the two countries expanded by 19 percent in the first half of this year.

On military cooperation, Prime Minister Orbán 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.” Hungary’s goal is to make up for its limited military capabilities and develop a modern, efficient national army.

“Hungary wants a strong Europe, and this requires a strategic agreement with Turkey,” PM Orbán said in closing.