Hungarian President János Áder has slammed a Thursday incident in the Úzvölgye (Valea Uzului) military cemetery between Hungarians and Romanians as “blasphemous, in violation of laws and international agreements and also deeply immoral.”
The Úzvölgye memorial cemetery in eastern Romania commemorates Hungarian soldiers fallen in the first world war. In April 2019, the local council erected a memorial site for Romanian soldiers fallen in the second world war. Ahead of the site’s inauguration late on Thursday, the visitors of that event clashed with Szekler demonstrators and eventually forced their way into the cemetery.
Speaking after attending the Whitsun mass in Csíksomlyó (Sumuleu Ciu), a traditional place of pilgrimage in Romania, Áder said that the memorial for Romanian soldiers contained 52 crosses, some of which “have been erected over the ashes of Hungarian soldiers”. The Romanian authorities have also found the memorial site unlawful, he said, noting the Romanian defence ministry’s statement that it has issued no permits for it.
The construction of the memorial site infringes on the Romanian-Hungarian agreement on the maintenance of war graves, Áder said. It is also “deeply immoral”, he added.
Semjén in Úzvölgye Military Cemetery: ‘An Adult Nation Cannot Be Defamatory of The Dead’
It is in the interest of Hungary and of ethnic Hungarians living in Romania to find a solution enabling a peaceful coexistence between Romanians and Hungarians, he said.
There are several empty plots (in Úzvölgye). No one will object to a memorial there to soldiers who have been documented as resting there.”
In a statement on Saturday, Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila condemned “sowing discord among Romanian citizens, incitement to hatred or to disrespecting the country’s symbols”. She is mulling putting the cemetery under direct supervision of the defence ministry, the statement said.
The allied ruling Fidesz and KDNP parties have strongly condemned “the action carried out by Romanian extremists” in the cemetery.
The violence and provocation in the Úzvölgye cemetery is unacceptable. Desecrating a cemetery with heroes resting there and the crosses on their graves is an outrageous act. Romanian authorities must take steps in order to eliminate the tension,”
Fidesz said in a statement, pledging the Hungarian government’s support to the Transylvanian Hungarian community in connection with the affair. Lawmaker Barna Pál Zsigmond of ruling Fidesz called on the Romanian government to look into the events and find those responsible, at a press conference on a different issue on Saturday.
Opposition Jobbik has strongly condemned the clash as an “unprecedented incident” and demands an immediate investigation into the matter. The nationalist party has called on the Hungarian government to take resolute action through every possible diplomatic channel including international organisations in the matter, a lawmaker of the party told a press conference.
Opposition LMP has strongly condemned the Romanian diplomatic response as “impolite and unprecedentedly harsh in its manner”. The party has also called on the Hungarian government to take resolute action.
The radical nationalist Mi Hazánk party called on the Hungarian parliament to condemn the violent incident. Deputy party leader Dóra Dúró said on Saturday that parliament should express “the cohesion of all Hungarians and Hungary’s solidarity with those living beyond the borders.”
Opposition Párbeszéd in a statement pledged solidarity with “all Hungarians who feel intimidated by the attack of Romanian extremists in Úzvölgye”. They called on the Romanian government to convict those responsible and to restore the original site.
Featured photo by Nándor Veres/MTI