Orban: Turkey instrumental in stopping ‘waves of migrants’

Turkey is instrumental is stopping the “wave of millions of migrants” on their way towards Hungary and Europe, although the Hungarian opposition cannot or will not understand that, Prime minister Viktor Orban told public Kossuth Radio on Friday.

Any attempt to remove Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s from office would be in the interest of “pro-migration forces”, Orban said in an interview after Erdogan’s visit to Budapest on Thursday. By undermining Turkey’s “strength, balance, security, reliability and order”, pro-migration forces aim to “realise their dream” of having millions of migrants flood Europe, he said, adding that US financier George Soros had outlined such a goal “in his famous plan”, arguing that Europe needed the influx of one million migrants a year.

As long as Erdogan is in office and Europe succeeds in striking a deal with him, he will “open the gates to Syria rather than Europe”, Orban said. “Until then, we are safe.” Hungary is providing substantial financial and military aid to Kurds living in Iraq, Orban noted.

Regarding recent visits of President Vladimir Putin and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to Budapest, Orban said Hungary fell within a geographical area defined by Istanbul, Moscow and Berlin. Hungary’s interest is that those countries in turn have an interest in Hungary’s success, he said. Shared interests based on mutual respect should be at the root of those relations, so no party feels threatened by the other, he said.

The Hungarian public supports a foreign policy based on national values and prompted by national interests, he said. Earlier, foreign policy was rooted in “a feeling of inferiority”, he said, adding that the present approach “corresponds to Hungarian instincts better”.

Regarding the issue of Hungarian minorities living in Transcarpathia, western Ukraine, Orban said that minority “has been abandoned and has a difficult life, so its claim to Hungarian government support is justified.”

Ukraine is a signatory to an agreement with NATO stating it intention to strengthen its relations with the military alliance. In that document, Ukraine pledged not to curb the rights of minorities in the country, Orban said. Ukraine has failed to keep that promise, he said. When Hungary raises its voice on the issue, it also promotes the cohesion and stability of NATO, he added. Orban said he hoped that the policies of the recently elected Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, would not be anti-Hungarian.

Regarding the statement of Andras Fekete-Gyor, the leader of Momentum, on supporting a Liberal Romanian candidate in the presidential campaign instead of a Hungarian one, Orban said such a policy was built on an internationalist, cosmopolitan world view reminiscent of the Liberal SZDSZ party of the 1990s. “Ours is not like that; it is rooted in national values.”

Regarding the European Union’s next seven-year financial cycle, Orban said Hungary’s stance was that new policies should not be launched that were worse than the old ones. Old EU policies should be kept in place, he said, adding that he expected the new EU budget for the 2021-2027 period to be accepted during Germany’s presidency in the second half of 2020.

Speaking about a recent cabinet meeting attended by the new mayor of Budapest, Gergely Karacsony, Orban noted that the governing alliance, though it had won the election overall, had suffered heavy losses. Yet the opposition still insisted on “toying with [their accusations that there is] a dictatorship”. “Luckily, nothing of the sort happened during the mayor’s visit.”

He said the period of the past 9 years in Budapest under the former mayor, Istvan Tarlos, had been a “golden age” during which the central government and municipality had managed to agree on the developments needed to be carried out. Orban said Budapest had now changed course. “All the old left-wing government cadres are coming back,” he said, adding that they had a different approach to that of Tarlos.

Orban said he had raised the issue of 15-20 projects at the meeting with Karacsony with a view to coming to an agreement on them. “I had to withdraw a lot of things; it wasn’t pleasant for us . to give up dreams.”

The PM referred to the flagship development project in City Park, claiming it to be “the biggest cultural development in the Western world”, and saying it had “stalled” because the mayor had vowed to abolish elements of the plan, including for the National Gallery, the House of Science and Innovation and the rebuilding of the City Park Theatre. He added, however, that it had come as “a pleasant surprise” that Karacsony had shown willingness to allow the rebuilding of the Regnum Marianum church, which had been blown up by the communists.

In the case of the World Athletic Championships slated to be held in Budapest in 2023, he said Karacsony had asked to delay deciding the matter until the end of the month. Orban noted that the international federation was expected to reach a decision by Nov. 15, so he hoped the municipality would soon change its position on the issue.

On the topic of tourism, Orban said: “Hungary now is a more Hungarian country than it used to be, which is why we have become more interesting to the world.”

Source and photo: MTI

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