Budapest, September 6 (MTI) – Representatives of the Hungarian and Turkish governments visited the 16th-century tomb of Gül Baba in Budapest, a shrine to be reconstructed in a project co-financed by the two countries, on Tuesday.
Hungary’s deputy prime minister Zsolt Semjén told a press conference held at the site that “the background to the scheme is excellent Turkey-Hungary relations”. He noted that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed on the renovation project during the latter’s visit to Budapest in 2013.
Veysi Kaynak, deputy prime minister of Turkey, referred to Hungarians and Turks as two peoples with “some rivalry” in the past, but also with “strong kinship and friendship”. That friendship, he said, was promoted by dervish Gül Baba, a poet and soldier who had been sent to Buda in 1541 by Sultan Suleiman to set up a Bektashi monastery. Gül Baba was “an advocate of peace and co-existence”, therefore reconstruction of the shrine is equally important for both parties, he added.
The event was attended by economy minister Mihály Varga, the district’s parliamentary representative, who voiced hope that the project, planned to be completed by 2017 using a budget of 2.5 billion forints (EUR 8.1m) would result in a “facility with novel content” for both visitors and the local community.
Apart from renovating the shrine and its gardens, the project will also involve reconstruction of the surrounding streets and parks, complete with a new museum and cafe.