The Azerbaijani House in Budapest organizes a lot of cultural programs in the Hungarian capital. One of these was an event held in Rákóczi event boat in Budapest on 7 November to celebrate Victory Day (8 November) and the flag day of the country (9 November). The almost 100 partakers present at the event could listen to powerful patriotic songs, amazing piano pieces, moving speeches, and could have thought-provoking chats with Azerbaijani people.
The Day of the State Flag of Azerbaijan is a national holiday in the country, celebrated annually on 9 November. It was established in 2009 by order of President Ilham Aliyev to commemorate the anniversary of the adoption of “The Tricolour Flag” (Azerbaijani: Üçrəngli bayraq) as the flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918.
In 2020, the celebrations received additional content. The Azerbaijani armed forces launched their attack to retake Shusha from their Armenian enemies on 6 November. The battle considered the bloodiest in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, lasted until 8 November and finished with Azerbaijani victory. Since then,
8 November is celebrated as Victory Day in the Caucasian country.
Probably that is why so many Azerbaijanis living in Budapest gathered on the Rákóczi event boat near the Vigadó in Budapest. After the national anthems, the evening continued with speeches about last year’s events. Later came a couple of beautifully played piano pieces and some patriotic songs about Karabakh and the army of Azerbaijan.
Most people at the event were young, many of them even brought their small children to the celebration. That is not surprising since the Hungarian state provides 200 scholarships for Azerbaijani students each year. Thus, the Azerbaijani community of Budapest is more than 2,000 currently. Many of them are studying at universities, others work or plan to start a family here.
As a young Azerbaijani told me, there are more job opportunities here and the salaries are higher than back at home. On my question why Azerbaijanis like to come to study or work in Hungary, he said that one of the most important factors is Hungarian Wizz Air’s cheap and regular flights between Budapest and Baku. Other factors are the excellent Hungarian education at the universities and that
there is no racism in the country.
On the usual criticism that Hungarians do not speak English, he just smiled, saying that Google Translator helps. And those who need to speak English well, do – he added.
As we reported before, House speaker László Kövér met Azeri counterpart Sahiba Gafarova in July. He said then that “the Turkic linguistic and cultural relations provide a strong and reliable basis for efforts to further strengthen relations between Azeri and Hungarian people.” Azerbaijan could play a special role in Europe’s energy security because of the Southern Gas Corridor project, Kövér added then.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó announced on 10 March that
Hungarian companies would take part in the reconstruction efforts in the Karabakh region.
The minister was accompanied by the heads of six companies with experience in road, rail and general construction, farming and agricultural infrastructure, water management and lighting technology, which could take crucial roles in Azerbaijan’s reconstruction projects. Moreover, Hungary’s Eximbank provided a 100 million dollar credit line to promote such ventures.