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Hungary and Turkey are important partners and allies in many fields, be it trade, economy, culture, or defense issues, said Hungarian Defense Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky in Ankara after talks with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Monday. The two leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding on military cooperation, which provides the legal basis for future military cooperation between the two countries.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Defense, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky stressed that the two countries’ high-level relations are regular and based on mutual trust. The minister said that both countries are known for their pro-peace stance on the war in Ukraine, and are pushing for a ceasefire and the immediate start of peace talks at every opportunity. Szalay-Bobrovniczky pointed out that Turkey is also providing humanitarian assistance, while Hungary is helping Ukraine and refugees fleeing the war in the largest humanitarian program in its history.
The Hungarian minister stressed that they agreed with his Turkish colleague that in addition to the war, attention must be paid to “the 360-degree threat to NATO, coming from all sides.”
The Hungarian Defense Minister also agreed with his Turkish counterpart on the importance of stability in the Western Balkans. In this context, Szalay-Bobrovniczky said that Hungary is also present as a military force in NATO’s largest land mission, KFOR (Kosovo Force), which until recently was led by a Hungarian commander, and that Turkey plans to take over command from Italy in a year’s time.
The ministry remarked in a statement that the two countries’ armies cooperate in priority areas:
…almost immediately after the start of the war in Ukraine, Hungary set up a battle group, of which Turkey is a member, to reinforce NATO’s eastern wing, and the multi-national command in Székesfehérvár, which is part of NATO’s command structure, also has Turkish participation.”
According to the ministry, Szalay-Bobrovniczky stressed that Hungary has been carrying out one of the largest force development projects in its history since 2017, which includes the replacement of obsolete technology with NATO-compatible, modern equipment.
On Tuesday, the minister posted a video on Facebook, saying that Turkey and Hungary are jointly building the Hungarian army, with the Gidrán combat vehicles. In his post, Szalay-Bobrovniczky recalled that the Gidrán is a breed of horse from Hungarian and Middle Eastern breeds, now known as Hungarian, which later became a well-liked breed of the “most Hungarian arm,” the Hussars.
It is also the name of this fighting vehicle, which is the embodiment of Turkish-Hungarian defense industrial cooperation, the minister wrote. Szalay-Bobrovniczky stressed that by the end of 2023, 40 more of these four-wheel drive Turkish base vehicles will arrive in Hungary, where they will be fitted with the equipment “that will create the Hungarian thoroughbred of the military chess, the 21st century successor of the Hussar horse – the Gidrán.”
Featured photo via Pexels