The foreign minister said Turkey is key to handling the energy supply crisis hitting Europe and Hungary.
Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the TurkStream pipeline remains the only east-west pipeline on the continent operating at full capacity. Diversification, a key concept for energy security in the future, is dependent to a large extent on Azeri resources which would also be delivered via Turkey, he said. Talks are underway on increasing Hungary’s access to Turkish gas lines to deliver Azeri gas that way, he said. Meanwhile, Europe would be unable to handle another global challenge, illegal migration, without Turkey, Szijjártó said. Hungary is under significant pressure: Hungarian authorities have thwarted 260,000 attempts at illegal entry last year only, he said. He called on the international community to enable Syrian refugees in Turkey to return to their homelands. “That would be key to Turkey’s peace, stability and calm, but also an important European measure against migration,” he said. Elevating the level of cooperation between Hungary and Turkey would help Hungary tackle all three challenges, Szijjártó said. The agreement could be signed “at the next high-level meeting”, he said. Responding to a question on the NATO integration of Finland and Sweden, Szijjártó said the Hungarian parliament will table the ratification document in February. At the same time, he said he would “not rush Turkey on the issue, as Hungary never rushes other countries on matters unrelated to Hungary.” He called the burning of the Koran at a Swedish protest “unacceptable”. The Swedish statement that the gesture was an act protected by the principle of free speech was “stupid”, he said. “Countries looking to join NATO with Turkish support should act more carefully,” he said.