Relations between Hungary and Turkey have never been as close and as peaceful as they are today, foreign ministry state secretary Levente Magyar said in Budapest on Thursday.
Addressing a ceremony at Budapest’s Gul Baba Cultural Centre held on the occasion of the inauguration of a statue of 16th-century dervish Gul Baba in Istanbul, Magyar said the Hungarian and Turkish people were bound together by their millennia-long kinship and centuries-long friendship. Thousands of years ago, Hungarians and Turks came to Europe from the same area, he said, noting that when the Ottoman Empire set out to conquer Europe it was the Hungarians that stopped them.
That battle was a matter of life and death for the Hungarians, the state secretary said.
However, after being liberated from Ottoman rule, Hungarian leaders fleeing Austrian oppression found refuge in Turkey, Magyar noted, adding that Turkey had then become “the most important friend” of the Hungarian national movement. That showed that the earlier battles between the two peoples had only been a power struggle and not something that had stemmed from any deeper differences, he said. From then on, Hungarians and Turks were loyal friends, he added.
Hungary eventually made peace with the centuries-long struggles with the Turks and now relations between the two peoples are close “in all areas of life”,
Magyar said. “History can no longer cause so bad a storm that will turn the two peoples against one another,” he said. This is also symbolised by the statue to Gul Baba in Istanbul which represents the mutual respect between Hungarians and Turks, Magyar added.
The inauguration of the Gul Baba statue in Istanbul was broadcast live at the Budapest event. The statue is a replica of the bronze statue inaugurated at the entrance of Budapest’s Gul Baba Cultural Centre and Exhibition Hall in 1997