Prime minister Viktor Orbán – Photo: PMO

Orbán: Hungary sees Organisation of Turkic States as ‘forum of peace’

Hungary sees the Organisation of Turkic States as a "forum of peace" when it comes to the war in Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at a summit of the Turkic grouping in Samarkand on Friday. Hungary, which has observer status in the organisation, is the only remaining eastern people in Europe, and being a neighbour of Ukraine, the effects of the war on the country are "huge and immediate", Orbán said in his address.

“More than a million refugees have entered the country, inflation is sky-high and we’ve never seen food and energy prices as high as they are now,” he said.

Hungary’s aim is for a ceasefire to be declared in Ukraine and for peace talks to get under way as soon as possible, he said. This is also the only way to overcome the energy crisis, he added.

The biggest problem is that in Europe the voices of those who want peace is nowhere near as loud as the voices of those who want to heighten tensions, Orbán said. The European Union is an “escalation spiral” and international organisations are becoming increasingly politicised, limiting the possibility for meaningful dialogue based on common sense, he added.

The “severe sanctions” approved by the EU have also created a difficult situation, hurting the bloc’s original plan to weaken Russia and force peace, the prime minister said. But the sanctions have had the opposite effect, he said, arguing that as the war endured, it was not Russia but rather the European economy that had weakened.

Orbán added that in his view Europe did not have a “will of its own”, and was expected to support the foreign policy of the United States. This, he said, meant that the EU would be facing a serious economic situation for several years to come.

Orbán thanked Turkey for its mediatory efforts to avert a food crisis, saying that such a crisis would generate another mass migration wave directly affecting Hungary. The prime minister noted that Hungary had prevented some 250,000 people from crossing its southern border illegally so far this year.

He also thanked the summit’s other participants for their steps and remarks towards promoting peace.

Orbán also praised Turkey for its role in securing Hungary’s energy supply. Hungary is already paying a high price for energy, and the key to its energy security is the natural gas pipeline running through Turkey, which is the only east-west pipeline operating at full capacity, he said.

He thanked Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, saying Azerbaijan was “Hungary’s only real option” when it came to diversifying its energy sources and importing gas from a country other than Russia. Baku, he added, also supported the initiative to bring green electricity to Europe in the form of a partnership between itself, Georgia, Romania and Hungary.

Hungary’s interest lies in maintaining cooperation between the East and the West, Orbán said, stressing Hungary’s support for the work of the Organisation of Turkic States. Hungary will work to “make the Turkic vision a reality over the coming decade”, he added.

Orbán also said that Hungary will join the proposals aimed at facilitating and speeding up trade, and it supports the establishment of a Turkic investment fund.

The prime minister thanked the summit’s participants for their support for setting up an Institute for Drought Prevention in Hungary.

Commenting on Orbán’s address, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasised the importance of hearing about the situation in Europe. President Sadyr Japarov of Kyrgyzstan thanked Hungary for its active participation in strengthening the integration of the Turkic world at both the regional and international levels.

The Organisation of Turkic States comprises Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. Hungary and Turkmenistan have observer status in the grouping.

Summit participants planted trees in Samarkand later on Friday, near central Registan square, a world heritage site. Mirziyoyev praised the cooperation of member states, and the importance of “preserving the invaluable Turkic heritage.” He praised Samarkand as a “centre of peace and security, education and science.”

Orbán praised the city’s development and said Hungary would be happy to participate in a “world Turkic youth summit” proposed by Mirziyoyev at the summit.

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