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Orbán praises Turkey in Ankara

Hungary “stands by its friends” and it is on Turkey’s side, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at the opening of the Turkish-Hungarian Business Forum in Ankara on Friday, according to official government website kormany.hu.

(Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI)

Orbán said that the country’s “loyal support” for Turkey is not a one-off event, but a consequence of Hungary’s strategy, as a conservative country, of “prioritizing human values,” kormany.hu reported.

“Business and money are important, but the most important thing is for one to have friends,” the government website cited the prime minister as saying. According to Orbán, this gives rise to obligations, and Hungary stands by its friends – even if this is sometimes “uncomfortable.”

“Whatever anti-Turkish statements there are in important European Union countries, Hungary will never add its voice to them,” but will stand by Turkey, kormany.hu further quoted the Hungarian prime minister as saying.

Being on the brink of Europe, Turkey has been protecting Europe’s interior, according to Orbán. Without Turkey, Orbán believes Europe would have been “flooded with many millions of immigrants,” therefore Turkey “deserves respect,” the Hungarian leader added.

Orbán recalled that the visit of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (then Turkish prime minister, now president) to Budapest in 2013 had hugely boosted cooperation and business relations between the two countries. Binali Yildirim, the current Prime Minister of Turkey, agreed that Erdoğan’s visit to Budapest in 2013 had given great impetus to bilateral relations. He added that while there is still work to be done, all the conditions for success are in place in both countries, according to kormany.hu.

While the Hungarian government has praised the current Turkish leadership, Erdoğan’s actions are highly criticized in some European countries. For example, the Turkish president has been banned from giving a speech to supporters during the G20 summit in Hamburg later this week. “We are convinced that such an appearance in Germany is not possible,” Foreign Secretary Sigmar Gabriel said during a trip to Moscow, according to German paper Die Welt.

In April, The New Yorker said that Turkey’s referendum granting extra powers to the president was a move toward the “end of democracy,” adding that it had made the president effectively a dictator.