FM: Hungary-Turkey cooperation key focus of foreign policy

Cooperation between Hungary and Turkey has always been a key focus of Hungarian foreign policy, and this will continue to develop.

The foreign minister said cooperation between Hungary and Turkey has always been a key focus of Hungarian foreign policy, and this will continue to develop.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, visited Ankara on Tuesday. He said the big election win by the incumbent parties is a guarantee of Turkey’s place in the country’s foreign policy. Minister Szijjártó told a press conference held with Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu that the economic and security challenges presented by the war in Ukraine underlined the importance of further developing the strategic partnership. Minister Szijjártó said Hungary valued Turkey’s role in mediating between the sides and promoting peace talks.

The minister also underlined Hungary’s stance that Hungary’s security was paramount, saying “we will do everything possible to prevent our country from being dragged into the war.” He said the government’s stance had been vindicated on several occasions, most recently when arms deliveries to Ukraine were bombed near Lviv. “We don’t want to witness such scenes in Hungarian-inhabited areas near the Hungarian-Ukrainian border,” he added. Minister Szijjártó said Hungary at the same time backed Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and it was still engaged in the biggest humanitarian operation in Hungary’s history while taking care of refugees.

Meanwhile, the minister gave warning that the Islamic State terrorist organization was planning further attacks in Europe, and this heightened the significance of border protection and action against illegal migration. “We are not allowing illegal migrants into Hungary, and Turkey also has a key role in this,” he said, calling on the EU to pay the full amount it promised to Ankara for keeping migrants at bay instead of “bargaining” with it.

Meanwhile, he said Turkey had become an important hub for natural gas deliveries. He confirmed that Hungary energy supplies from Russia were flowing according to the schedule outlined in its contract, and Turkey had a key role in this, with ten million cubic metres of natural gas a day arriving in Hungary via the route in question. Minister Szijjártó said that the debate over rouble payments was “meaningless” since the European Union had decided to exempt gas supplies from sanctions.

Çavuşoğlu spoke of the “deep friendship and strategic partnership” between Turkey and Hungary, adding that bilateral relations were developing in all areas. Hungary, he said, was a strong backer of Turkey’s EU accession process.

Çavuşoğlu and Szijjártó laid the cornerstone of Hungary’s new embassy building in Ankara. Szijjártó noted that ever since he came to the helm of the ministry, Hungary has doubled the number of its diplomats serving in Turkey, and he promised more to come.

Photo credit: Facebook/Szijjártó Péter