“Without the upholding of the agreement between the EU and Turkey on stopping migration, we would have to deal with significant migration pressure from the south, and accordingly Europe’s security currently begins in Turkey”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said following a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Budapest on Friday.

At the joint press conference following the meeting, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted: “Hungary regards Turkey as a strategic ally and a friend, and highly appreciates the role played by Turkey in guaranteeing European security”. “It is to a major extent thanks to Turkey that the 30-35 million people living in the vicinity of Europe, who are in such a position that they could set out for the continent at any time, have not done so as yet”, he stated.

“4.5 million migrants are being cared for in Turkey and are not being allowed to begin moving towards the EU”, he explained. “They are also resisting the continuous organisation of caravans, since there are powers that are continuously attempting to organise migration based on the South American model, but the Turkish authorities are preventing this”, he said. “Hungary also highly appreciates Turkey’s role in the international fight against terrorism”, Mr. Szijjártó told reporters. “Cooperation within this field must be tightened, because almost five thousand EU citizens were fighting for the Islamic State terrorist organisation, and they now want to get back into Europe”, he added.
He also spoke about the fact that cooperation between the EU and Turkey must be based on mutual respect and sincerity. “A result of over 50 percent at democratic elections does not indicate a weakness of democracy, but the fact that there exists a leader in whom people trust, and it is not good to continuously lecture Turkey when we are dependent on them from a security perspective”, he declared.

“Since we don’t know whether Hungary will succeed in purchasing natural gas via Ukraine next year, we must play things safe and prepare for the eventuality that we are able to acquire gas from other sources in the long term. Part of the required quantity of gas may be procured from the south, for which there are three possible scenarios, and it depends exclusively on our allies, which will be realised”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister told the press. “The national interest, national security, the functioning of the Hungarian economy and supplying Hungarian citizens are the only things that matter to Hungary in this respect, and if it is not possible to procure gas via Romania or Croatia, and the Turkish Stream 2 gas pipeline is successfully constructed, it will purchase gas from there”, he stated.

“The next session of the high-level Strategic Council will take place in Budapest in the autumn, for which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will also be visiting Hungary”, Mr. Szijjártó noted. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stressed: “There are countries that are criticising Turkey, whereas they should instead be concentrating on more important issues, such as immigration and the fight against terrorism, during the development of relations”.

“Hungary is an important ally and a good friend and partner, political relations are excellent, and economic cooperation is also good, but this is something the parties would like to develop further, and trade flow must be increased”, he said. The Turkish Foreign Minister thanked Hungary’s support of his country on international forums. In reply to a question concerning the fact that Turkey is purchasing air defence missiles from Russia, Mr. Çavuşoğlu explained that Turkey has an urgent need for an air defence system, and Russia submitted the best quote. “Hungary does not accept the claims made against it, but if the United States is concerned, a joint working group should be set up and experts should examine the issue”, he stated.

“Turkish-American relations include many other areas, and cooperation must not be allowed to cease because of a few disputed issues”, he added. In reply to a question on Turkey’s EU accession, the Turkish Foreign Minister told reporters: “Many EU member states, including Hungary, support Turkey’s accession to the European Union”. “Turkey is open to cooperation with the EU, but this also requires openness on the part of the community”, he said.
“Sincerity and straight talk are required”, and if the large member states do not want Turkey to join the EU, they shouldn’t keep the country “hanging on”, Mr. Szijjártó added. “A comprehensive strategic partnership could be established between the EU and Turkey that is favourable to both parties, and if membership is impossible, then discussions should concern this partnership”, he said. Prior to the press conference, a cooperation agreement was concluded between Hungary’s Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s Strategic Research Centre.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)