Hungarian FM: Turkey 'EU's strategic partner'

Hungarian FM: Turkey 'EU's strategic partner'

The Hungarian foreign minister said his country sees Turkey a strategic partner of the EU, and that Hungary defends a foreign policy based on this principle, instead of one on hostility against Turkey.

Following his working visit in Ankara, Peter Szijjarto spoke to Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview on bilateral and regional ties between Turkey and Hungary as well as his country's stance in Turkey-EU relations.

"We consider Turkey a strategic partner, not only for Hungary, but also for the EU, as Turkey is a country with the strongest economy in Europe's neighborhood," Szijjarto said.

Hungary understands Turkey's intention to become one of the top 10 economies of the world soon, he said, adding that his country wishes to have effective and dynamic cooperation with Turkey as they seek to increase bilateral trade volume to $5 billion.

"We consider Turkey a strategic partner of the EU and that's why we argue in favor of a policy towards Turkey based on this principle, instead of [a policy on] hostility, hypocrisy, double standards, judging, and lecturing," Szijjarto said, responding to a question of what would be Hungary's attitude toward possible EU sanctions at the Euro Summit on Dec. 10-11.

Despite all its negative effects, said Szijjarto, the pandemic would have at least one positive impact that all countries would understand international cooperation based on mutual respect is more needed than ever.

"Turkey-Hungary relations are based on this principle. I mean mutual respect. That's why we can talk to each other even if there are issues which we might have different approach," he added.

He also recalled and hailed the good cooperation between Hungary -- the observer member of the Turkic Council -- and other member states -- Turkey, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan -- during the pandemic.