Turkey is an ally for energy, immigration and supports a peace deal in Ukraine, Hungarian government says following delegation visit

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán meets with Turkish Defense Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Budapest on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023.
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

Turkey plays an important role in tackling illegal immigration, remains a vocal proponent of peace at the earliest opportunity in Ukraine, and is a necessary ally for Hungary’s energy security, key members of the Hungarian government said on Tuesday following a meeting with Turkish delegates in Budapest.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán first met with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at the Carmelite Monastery where the pair discussed the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, bilateral relations between the two nations, and the wider issue of mass immigration affecting the region.

“We had our first meeting in Budapest with our strategic partner Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban,” tweeted Çavuşoğlu on Tuesday. “We thank him for the productive meeting. We conveyed the greetings of our President Erdoğan and his invitation to Turkey to Prime Minister Orbán,” he added.

The Hungarian prime minister maintained his commitment “to the development of economic relations and will do everything in order to achieve the $6 billion Hungarian-Turkish trade target,” reported Hungarian state news agency MTI.

Orbán also pledged his support for Turkey in tackling the ongoing migration crisis, with the Balkan migratory route now the most widely used to reach the European Union. He insisted that a strong and stable Turkey is key to ensuring that all of Europe can adequately tackle the challenges of illegal immigration.

Lastly, the Hungarian prime minister and Turkey’s foreign minister agreed that “the international community should make efforts to peacefully end the Russia-Ukraine war as soon as possible,” Orbán’s press chief Bertalan Havasi told MTI.

A peace agreement in Ukraine was also the topic of discussion later in the day when Çavuşoğlu met with Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister Péter Szijjártó.

“We Hungarians are interested in peace as soon as possible, but in the transatlantic world very few people talk about peace, and even fewer do for it,” said Szijjártó, as reported by Hungary’s Magyar Hírlap newspaper.

He praised Turkey for being on the side of peace despite the “tsunami of criticism” it receives for holding this position.

Hungary’s foreign minister reiterated the role Turkey plays in European security, particularly in Hungary when it comes to energy, highlighting that critical gas supplies from both Russia and Azerbaijan pass through Turkey.

On migration, Szijjártó acknowledged that without Turkey’s assistance in suppressing the wave of mass immigration, the situation would be unsustainable, highlighting that despite Turkey’s efforts, more than 260,000 people still attempted to enter Hungary illegally last year.

Following the meetings of the two delegations, the Turkish foreign minister is expected to deliver a keynote speech at a panel co-organized by Turkey’s Antalya Diplomacy Forum at the Hungarian Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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