Europe fails to correctly recognise its own best interests regarding Turkey, Gergely Gulyás, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office told the Hungarian news agency MTI by telephone on Monday after he attended a roundtable discussion about the protection of the European Union’s external borders, migration and asylum of the 12th Istanbul Security Conference.

Mr Gulyás said Turkey’s role is extremely important because as first safe country it takes care of more than three million Syrian refugees. He highlighted that, as a result, those who left their countries will not move on, but instead, once the circumstances giving rise to their flight are over, they will return to their home countries and will take part in the reconstruction works.

Europe therefore has a vested interest in a strong and stable Turkey, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office stressed, taking the view that the European Union does not handle Turkey well: Brussels should offer Ankara a clear and genuine prospect, something that has not happened in recent years.

At the same time, Mr Gulyás pointed out that Hungary was the first in the EU which made it clear in 2015 that if we want the EU to remain a unified and free economic area and to continue to function without internal borders, our external borders must be protected. He also stressed that each Member State itself must take a stance on the issue of migration.

The Minister highlighted that a representative of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) who attended the Monday panel discussion also recognised the importance of the protection of the external borders.

Mr Gulyás further drew attention to the fact that Hungarian electors have made it clear several times that they do not support migration and do not want to take migrants in, and according to this desire the Hungarian government wishes to spend more on family policy. Mr Gulyás expressed hope that family policy will at some time in the future create a demographic situation which will do away with the need for migration.

The 12th Istanbul Security Conference was organised by the Ankara-based Baskent University and CDU’s party foundation, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

In addition to attending the event, Gergely Gulyás, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office also had talks with Mehmet Ucum, chief legal advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the newly elected Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu.