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Erdogan Visit and Resulting Traffic Chaos Angers New Budapest Mayor

Fanni Kaszás 2019.11.08.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arrived in Budapest yesterday, met with President János Áder and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, visited several places in Buda, and held a joint press conference with PM Orbán. Traffic restrictions and blockages caused major traffic problems on the Buda side of the city and the Budapest mayor also expressed his opinion of the Turkish President’s visit. 

Not everyone was pleased with the arrival of the Turkish President. As we reported yesterday, opposition parties protested against the visit with posters and stickers, and at least three demonstrations were announced, as well as commemorations for the Kurds were held around the city.

Opposition Parties Protest Against Erdogan Visit

Due to traffic restrictions and blockages because of Erdogan’s visit, traffic chaos began in Buda at around 6 pm. At Széll Kálmán Square, Margit Bridge, and Batthyány Square, for a long time people were stuck in underpasses and were unable to continue their journey home.

At half past six in the evening, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony wrote on Facebook:

I also protest against an oppressive dictator’s visit to Budapest, as a mayor. It is no coincidence that a few days after my election, the Kurdish flag was put out in my study window, because I felt obliged to stand up for the Kurds as a mayor supporting peace.

According to the mayor, it’s sad that the Hungarian government does not feel the same way and even paralyzes half of the city for a day because of Erdogan’s visit. He added:

there is no diplomatic purpose that would legitimize a country’s prime minister to charmingly welcome and entertain war criminals. Think about this, when you see photos of the two illiberal leaders from the notorious balcony of the Carmelite Monastery.

Later, at eight-thirty in the evening, the Budapest mayor published another post, in which he wrote:

“Until now, professional cooperation between the police and the capital in ensuring the security of diplomatic events has been fair. However, what happened this evening is unacceptable: it is impossible for subways to stop for a long period of time, due to a visit by a Head of State. I asked the leaders of BKK and BKV to take immediate action to restore public transport and to only consult with the police in similar cases with the permission of the Budapest mayor.”

featured photo: Márton Mónus/MTI