In an act of unparalleled courage, two opposition MPs hung a banner out a window of the Hungarian Parliament with the word “Dictator” and three portraits side-by-side: those of Viktor Orbán, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In the not quite polished words of Dialogue, the party that set up the two-person flashmob, these three leaders don’t care for the welfare of the people and are only interested in consolidating their own power. It follows that Viktor Orbán – should he listen to said party – had no business meeting the Turkish president. Nor the Russian, the Chinese or the American one, because he is after all the much-hated Donald Trump.
The pattern followed by Dialogue and its representative Tímea Szabó is in the time-honored tradition of “democratic” leaders blaming “non-democratic” ones for their behavior. Because it is always the liberal élite that gets to decide who the good ones are and Tímea Szabó and associates are always better judges of living standards in Turkey, Russia or anywhere else than the people actually living there.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been leading one of the major Middle Eastern powers since 2002. He has been all over the world, having been in Great Britain nine times, France ten and Germany sixteen. Strategic cooperation between Hungary and Turkey would mean that we could get natural gas through the TurkStream pipeline, while Turkey can also prevent migrant inflow via the Balkans route.
This is a very complex and dynamic network of relations that deserves a pragmatic approach and no nation is in a position to tell another who they should choose as their leader. We should rather examine how Erdogan the “dictator” can be so successful in a successful country and why is, for example, the track record of Dialogue so abysmal.
We should not be naïve: dictators, irrespective of their image, are being received everywhere. Such meetings are not communions of values. In its time, the Soviet Union could demand ideological compliance, but in the year 2018 Red China is just as unemotionally capitalist as Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Sweden.
Many countries are racing to do business with Turkey. We must also be clever in this race and not pay too much attention to what Big Brother is saying. Because the Western Big Brother does not care how Turkish money smells, it just wants to make deals which it is trying to prevent us from.
Title image: Hungarian President János Áder (R) welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) in Budapest (MTI, Zoltán Máthé).