It is in the interest of Hungarian security policy, health care, the economy and energy policy to strengthen ties with Turkey, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, told a press conference after talks with Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Szijjártó noted that Turkey currently hosts four million migrants. “If they all broke out for Europe at the same time, we would all be in serious trouble,” he said, adding that illegal migration now posed health risks too.
He called on European politicians to “consider that when they decide to criticise Turkey.”
The global fight against the coronavirus depends on vaccines, Szijjártó said. Countries with enough vaccines will be able to save their citizens’ lives and their economies, he added.
Turkey is currently funding 17 vaccine development projects, with the most advanced soon entering the third test phase, Szijjártó said, adding that Hungary would cooperate in this endeavour.
Szijjártó said cooperation between Hungary and Turkey stood on firm economic foundations. While world trade has shrunk by 9 percent, trade between the two countries has grown by 6 percent, he said.
The first significant outsourcing of Hungarian production will be based in Turkey, where a 800 million forint (EUR 2.2m) plant manufacturing neonatal medical equipment will be built, he said, adding that talks were advancing rapidly on a 70 billion forint Turkish project slated to create 330 jobs in Hungary.
Cooperation is also bearing fruit in Ghana, where Hungarian and Turkish companies are providing oncological equipment to seven hospitals, he said.
Szijjártó said energy supply security had always been a topical issue in central Europe. This October, a corridor delivering natural gas to Hungary from the South will open through Turkey, Bulgaria and Serbia, delivering some 6 billion cubic meters of gas annually from a new source, the minister said.
Further, Hungary and Turkey have decided to hold a joint cultural season in 2023-2024, he said.
Cavusoglu praised Hungary as a strategic partner of Turkey. He called Hungary one of Turkey’s most important partners, adding that cooperation on national security and other issues was constantly developing.
Turkey is soon taking over the presidency of the Turkic Council in which Hungary has observer status, Cavusoglu noted. He invited PM Orbán and FM Szijjártó to the Council’s summit.
He praised the two countries’ mutual help given during the pandemic, and noted Hungary’s readiness to deliver raw pharmaceutical materials to Turkey.
Orbán discusses pandemic, bilateral ties with Turkish foreign minister
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán discussed bilateral relations, the coronavirus pandemic as well as a range of global and regional issues with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Budapest on Thursday, the PM’s press chief said.
At the meeting at the Castle District premises of the Prime Minister’s Office, Orbán and Cavusoglu discussed every aspect of Hungarian-Turkish relations and also touched on topical regional and global issues.
Photo by Zoltán Fischer/PM’s Press Office
The two officials also shared their countries’ experiences regarding the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Orbán briefed Cavusoglu on Hungary’s vaccine procurement strategy, saying that the country’s purchase of a wide variety of jabs had meant that it was ahead of most European Union member states in terms of vaccinations.
The meeting also touched on the Hungarian government’s action plan for restarting the economy, including its wage support provided to businesses, the moratorium on loan repayments, tax cuts and interest-free loans for SMEs.
According to Turkey’s foreign ministry, Cavusoglu’s visit is aimed at preparing for the fifth meeting of the Hungarian-Turkish high level strategic council set to be held in Ankara this year. The meeting will be chaired by Orbán and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Featured photo by Lajos Soós/MTI