What Did Orbán and Erdogan Just Discuss in Ankara?

  • 17 Mar 2023 9:40 AM
  • Hungary Matters
What Did Orbán and Erdogan Just Discuss in Ankara?
Talks between Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara focused on the war in Ukraine and energy security issues, the PM’s press chief said.

In the statement, Bertalan Havasi said Hungary and Turkey, as neighbours of Ukraine, had an interest in “a just peace” reached through diplomatic means as quickly as possible.

“Drifting into war and its escalation must be avoided,” the statement quoting the two leaders said.

President Erdoğan thanked Hungary for the solidarity it showed in the aftermath of the earthquake in Turkey and for its “enormous help”, especially the “heroic” efforts of Hungarian search and rescue teams. Orbán asked Erdoğan to ensure that Turkey continues to be a reliable partner in the delivery of natural gas from the east, which is crucial for Hungarian energy security.

EU Power Dynamics Shifting

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in Ankara that besides the issue of war in Europe, the whole of the continent’s power dynamics were shifting and this would impact the Turkic world. Hungary, he added, also sees a danger of the re-emergence of global economic blocs.

This goes against Hungary’s interests, as the country sees its future in collectiveness and connections, Orbán said. Turkic states can play a key role in this, he said, arguing that European, Caucasus and Central Asian countries, linked by mutual respect, could set an example to the rest of the world.

Hungary is in favour of a new phase in economic, trade and energy links with the Turkic states, Orbán said. It wants to participate in the Turkic investment fund as soon as possible, he said, adding that the necessary finances were available.

Orbán expressed his condolences on Hungary’s behalf over the devastating earthquake that hit Türkiye last month, praising the courageous efforts of rescue workers. Hungary also sent search and rescue teams to the earthquake-hit areas in the first days after the disaster, who managed to save many people, he added.

The prime minister noted that Hungary on Thursday delivered 100 tonnes of hospital equipment to Turkey’s disaster management authority, adding that Türkiye could also count on Hungary when it came to the reconstruction efforts.

Orbán said that seeing the development Türkiye had gone through over the last 23 years and the “fantastic progress” it had made over the last decade under Erdogan’s leadership, he was certain that the reconstruction would be successful.

On the occasion of Hungary’s recent March 15 national holiday, Orbán noted that after the Germans and Russians crushed the revolution of 1848, hundreds of army officers, scientists and politicians fled to Türkiye where they were welcomed.

Global Majority For Peace

The voice of peace should be at least as loud as that of war, and it should be made clear that the global majority wants peace, Viktor Orbán said in Ankara.

Speaking at the summit of the Organisation of Turkic States (OTS), the prime minister said Europe was “suffering from war psychosis”, and was being drawn into the war in Ukraine. He thanked Turkic leaders for “strengthening the voice of peace”.

The prime minister also thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his successful mediation between the warring parties so far, and asked him to continue his efforts. “This is the only way there can be a chance for peace,” he said.

Orbán also thanked Erdogan for Hungarian-Turkish coordination within NATO. The war is the number-one issue in Europe today, which puts Hungary in a difficult situation, Orbán said.

Because Ukraine is a neighbouring country, the effects of the war on Hungary are “severe and direct”, he said, noting high inflation and record energy prices.

Many Hungarians have died in the war as well, given that ethnic Hungarians living in western Ukraine are also being conscripted into the army, Orbán said.

Saving lives is the priority for Hungary, and so it is promoting a ceasefire and peace talks, he added.

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