Budapest (MTI) – Hungary backs speeding up talks on Turkey’s European Union accession and lifting its European visa requirements, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Tuesday.
Speaking to MTI by phone from Ankara after talks with Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Feridum Hadi Sinirlioglu, the Turkish foreign minister, on migration issues, Szijjarto said Turkey has taken in the largest number of refugees in the world and is “a key country in handling Europe’s migration crisis”. Europe would be unable to manage the pressure of migrants without Turkey’s willingness to accommodate millions of refugees, he added.
Hungary urges the EU and Turkey to agree on an action plan outlining Europe’s support and cooperation in return for Turkey’s efforts concerning migrants, Szijjarto said, adding that the importance of doing so was particularly heightened since there were 30-35 million potential migrants in the region who could very easily and quickly decide to embark on a journey to Europe, and Turkey could play a key role is holding them back.
Hungary supports a rapid conclusion to an agreement between Ankara and Brussels with a view to opening as many chapters in Turkey’s EU accession negotiations as possible. It also backs visa liberalisation for Turks travelling to Europe, he said, adding that Hungary would provide technical assistance towards this end.
Hungary also wants the EU to take over the financing of Turkey’s refugee camps and to fund the creation of new camps if needed.
Szijjarto said his talks also touched on economic cooperation, noting that bilateral trade had risen in the first six months of this year after last year’s already record-high results.
Eximbank’s representation in Istanbul would open within weeks and a 153 million dollar credit line would be opened for Hungarian-Turkey b2b projects. Trade should be boosted also by the fact that freight train services between Budapest and Istanbul will be increased from once weekly to twice weekly from November, he said. Hungary would like to see stronger exports to Turkey in agriculture and the food industry as well as the vehicle industry and electronics, which are already thriving, he added.
Szijjarto is scheduled to hold talks with Ali Alaboyun, Turkey’s energy minister, and Kutbettin Arzu, the farm minister, during the day.