It’s official: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will come to Budapest. The Turkish president is due to visit in the upcoming months and will inaugurate the renovated tomb of Gül Baba in the 2nd district.
The renovation of 16th-century Turkish poet Gül Baba’s tomb began two years ago; according to 24.hu, besides a few minor tweaks, the tomb is ready for the inauguration. The cost of the reconstruction–which includes the picturesque, yet neglected Gül Baba street–is divided between the two states. Situated in one of the Hungarian capital’s most scenic spots, the tomb is not only a popular tourist destination but an Islamic pilgrimage site as well.
The Turkish president will return Viktor Orbán’s gesture, as Orbán attended his inauguration in Ankara last week. As we previously reported, with the exception of the Bulgarian president, Orbán was the only leader from the European Union to attend.
While the Western countries seek to distance themselves from the Turkish leader–who, according to critics, is amassing dictatorial power and waging war against human rights and freedom of the press–Orbán sees Turkey as a major ally. While many say that Orbán sees Erdoğan’s increasingly authoritarian regime as an example, Turkey’s growing economic and geopolitical importance makes the country a major trade partner. Besides playing a vital and unavoidable role in the migration crisis, Turkey also shares close cultural and historical ties with Hungary.
As previously reported, besides insisting on respecting and upholding ties with Hungary’s Western allies, Orbán reportedly views healthy relations with the Berlin-Moscow-Istanbul triangle as indispensable to Hungary’s existence and independence. As a result, Orbán asserts that Hungary can’t afford to pursue hostile foreign policies with these countries.