“Hungarians helped the people of Turkiye at the time of the earthquakes and will continue to help them in the coming period, too,” President Katalin Novák told a press conference held together with her Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday.
The Hungarian Ecumenical Charity has sent donations of a total 100 million forints (EUR 262,900) to Turkiye, while Hungary is also sending 100 tonnes of medicines and medical equipment to earthquake-hit parts of that country, the president said.
The talks between the two presidents touched upon the war in Ukraine, illegal migration, the enlargement of the European Union and of NATO, as well as energy cooperation and demographic challenges, Novák said.
Novak also said she and Erdogan would jointly open a Turkiye-Hungary cultural year in December, to mark the centenary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
On the subject of the war in Ukraine, Novak highlighted the importance of an early ceasefire, peace talks, and an equitable peace treaty, and made special mention of Ukraine’s ethnic Hungarian community. Escalation of the war must be avoided, she said, and thanked Turkiye for its mediation.
Answering a question, she said peace required “a joint will”, adding that “tension should be cooled rather than increased … the warring parties must sit down to the negotiating table”.
Novák said Turkiye had a key role in tackling illegal migration.
The president also said Hungary supported the enlargement of the EU and NATO, especially with regard to the Western Balkans. She noted that she had recently signed Hungary’s law ratifying Finland’s NATO entry, adding that “Sweden’s accession is on the agenda, too”.
Novák thanked Turkey for ensuring supplies to Hungary through the Turkish Stream pipeline, and highlighted the importance of cooperation with strategic partners such as Turkey.
Concerning demographic challenges, Novák said preservation of traditional family values was a top priority for both countries, and invited Erdogan to join the Network of Family-Friendly Presidents.
Erdogan said Turkiye and Azerbaijan were prepared to give Hungary all the support it needed in terms of its gas supply.
Concerning Turkish-Hungarian ties, Erdogan thanked Hungary for the support it provided in the search and rescue efforts following the February earthquake, noting that the Hungarian teams rescued 35 people from the rubble.
As regards the Russia-Ukraine war, Erdogan urged peace talks and an end to the conflict.
Erdogan said he and Novák had mainly discussed trade, military, economic and cultural matters. He said the sixth meeting of the Turkish-Hungarian High Level Strategic Cooperation Council will be held in Budapest in December. Annual bilateral trade has reached 3.5 billion dollars, he said, adding that the two countries were now targeting a turnover of 6 billion dollars.
Novák is on a three-day visit to Turkiye. On Thursday she is scheduled to attend Turkiye’s national assembly, and visit earthquake-hit parts of the country.
Two interesting reads on the role Turkiye (and the European Union) play regarding refugees and asylum seekers: