Europe is in need of allies who can expand the continent’s lines of defence, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said after talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Thursday.
Without them, Europe will crumble, Orbán told a joint press conference after a meeting of the Hungarian-Turkish high-level strategic cooperation council, adding that Turkey was one of the countries contributing to Europe’s defence. Hungary is asking Brussels to provide more direct financial support to Turkey in its fight against migration, he said.
Orbán noted that Europe was facing migration waves from the directions of the Mediterranean, the Western Balkans and Belarus.
The prime minister called on the European Union to support the construction of Turkey’s border walls on the country’s southern and eastern borders and help stabilise northern Syria.
The prime minister said that for Hungary nurturing a friendly, strategic alliance with Ankara, as well as with Berlin and Moscow, was salient geopolitically, noting that Europe confronts health, economic and energy crises on all fronts.
Orbán noted that Hungary-Turkey trade ties increased by more than 30 percent during the period of the pandemic and totalled almost four billion dollars. At the start of the crisis, Turkey supplied raw materials to Hungary for the production of PPE, he added.
He said crisis management in Hungary centred on foreign investments, and he noted that a packaging industry behemoth is implementing the biggest ever Hungarian-Turkish investment near Kaposvár, worth 70 billion forints (EUR 192m).
Bilateral cooperation in nuclear energy, science, research and training is ongoing, he said. Hungary has increased the number of scholarships for Turkish students from 150 to 200, he said, adding that some stipends are for students of nuclear studies.
Orbán and Erdogan planted a tree of Hungarian-Turkish friendship in the garden of the Ankara Presidential Palace before a meeting of the Strategic Council.
After the talks, Hungarian ministers signed nine cooperation agreements in military, scientific, industrial, cultural, technological, tourism, sports and youth areas.
Dániel Papp, the chief executive of Hungary’s public media provider MTVA, signed an agreement with the Turkish state media service TRT and Turkish state news agency Anadolu. Cooperation that dates back many years will be expanded with joint productions and broader cooperation between the country’s respective national news agencies, he said.
The Hungarian delegation returned 101 ancient works of art seized at the Hungarian border in 2016 by the Hungarian authorities.
Photo by Vivien Cher Benko/PM’s Press Office
On Friday, Orbán attends the summit of the Turkic Council in Istanbul.
2024 to be Turkey-Hungary joint year of culture
The year 2024 will be Turkey and Hungary’s joint year of culture, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Ankara on Thursday at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
Erdogan noted that 2024 marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Erdogan thanked Hungary for taking a stand for Turkey on the international stage.
Featured photo byVivien Cher Benko/PM’s Press Office