“We cannot pass the burden of dealing with the migration situation entirely on to Turkey; the European Union still has its own duties and responsibilities”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó stressed on Tuesday in Budapest prior to a meeting with his Turkish counterpart.

Among the EU’s tasks, the Minister mentioned putting an end to Europe’s vulnerability to migration from the south. This requires the establishment of a second line of defence along the borders of Macedonia and Bulgaria, he pointed out.

The regional conflicts that are the cause of the crisis are becoming increasingly serious, Mr. Szijjártó stressed, explaining that ISIS continues to occupy major territories, the Syrian conflict is not lessening and events in the Middle East are also making the situation more difficult.

DownloadPhoto: Zsolt Burger/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

According to the Minister, Turkey deserves praise for its implementation of the EU-Turkish action plan, which must be performed as quickly and efficiently as possible, and Turkey’s efforts are much appreciated. But the EU cannot relax in the belief that having come to an agreement with Turkey it no longer has anything left to do; it must assure the protection of Europe’s borders with respect to migration from a southern direction, he said.

Europe’s responsibility lies not in allowing those who have left their homes to settle in the EU, but to assist them in being able to return home as soon as possible and in enabling them to live a dignified life in the land of their birth, and Turkey’s assistance is vital to achieving this, he added.

The Minister also highlighted the importance of the continued fight against terrorism and assured Turkey of Hungary’s solidarity in this respect.

On the subject of Hungarian-Turkish cooperation, Mr. Szijjártó told the press that Hungary has offered 150 scholarships to Turkish students to attend universities in Hungary. According to the latest non-final figures, trade turnover between Turkey and Hungary was around 3 billion euros last year, and in view of the tough competition for economic cooperation opportunities, Eximbank is providing a 200 million US Dollar credit line to facilitate cooperation between Hungarian and Turkish enterprises, he announced.

Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stressed with relation to the migration crisis that Russian air strikes in Syria must be stopped as soon as possible, because the majority of these attacks are targeting moderate opposition forces and only serve to deepen the conflict.

According to the Turkish Foreign Minister, the issues of migration and terrorism are related; terrorists and ISIS fighters can also be found among the Syrian refugees. To find a solution to the migration problem one must search for its true causes, and until the situation in Syria and Iraq is resolved there can be no solution to this crisis either, he stated.

Turkey has spent 9 billion US Dollars on caring for the refugees so far, Mr. Çavuşoğlu said. More than 50 thousand refugees have arrived at the Turkish-Syrian border as a result of Russian air strikes, ten thousand of whom were allowed entry, while refugee camps were set up for the remainder, but if air strikes continue even more people could seek refuge in Turkey, he said.

The Turkish Foreign Minister highlighted opportunities in Turkish-Hungarian energy cooperation and the significance of inter-parliamentary relations, in addition to which he welcomed the fact that Hungary has always supported Turkey’s accession to the European Union. The EU and Turkey are interdependent, they need each other, he stressed.

Mr. Çavuşoğlu told reporters that earlier in the day he had held talks with Speaker of Parliament László Kövér and would later also be meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)