At joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Budapest, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that the meeting is an outcome of a 2013 agreement that established a Turkish-Hungarian strategic council on the highest level. Since then, PM Orbán said, the leaders of the two countries have come together yearly to discuss the spectrum of issues of critical importance to both countries.
“Hungary exists within a geographic space that has been marked out by three capitals: Istanbul – or Ankara – Moscow and Berlin,” Prime Minister Orbán said, reminding listeners that Russian President Putin visited Budapest a few days ago while the German foreign minister also visited recently.
“Turkey is a strategic partner for Hungary in terms of both migration and security,” the prime minister said, because – as a fundamental premise of Hungarian foreign policy thinking – “without Turkey, it is not possible to halt migration to Europe.”
“This year alone,” Orbán added, “Turkey has intercepted 350 thousand illegal immigrants. Had Turkey not done so, they would have already been here in the vicinity of Hungary’s southern border.”
Asked about what would happen if Turkey decided to “open the gates” and let all migrants move toward Europe, Orbán said that “Hungary is a country that is able to protect its borders,” adding that Hungary has all the personnel, defense capability and technology required at its disposal for protecting the border, which is an external border of the Schengen Area.