Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: MTI

Szijjarto: Cooperation with Turkey economic, security priority

Hungary's government sees strengthening cooperation with Turkey as an economic and security priority, Peter Szijjarto, Hungary's minister of foreign affairs and trade, said on Friday, after meeting Turkish Minister of Trade Mehmet Mus in Budapest.

If Hungary wants to become a winner in the new era of global economic development, it has to boost its relations with the most rapidly developing countries of the world, Szijjarto said.

Trade between Turkey and Hungary surpassed one billion euros in the first quarter of 2021 alone, a nearly 30 percent growth in annual comparison, Szijjarto said.

Further, Turkey plays a crucial rule in guaranteeing the security of Europe as a whole, Szijjarto said, referring to the 2016 EU-Turkey migration agreement.

As NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan could result in growing terrorism and migration, that role might take on new significance, he said. Cooperation with Turkey should be strengthened on that front too, and the EU should fulfil its commitments, he warned.

Hungary has a vested interest in economic cooperation between the EU and Turkey, he said. He called for an upgrade of the EU-Turkey customs union and for concluding the talks on visa liberalisation, as well as for “steel tariffs that hamper cooperation in the industry as little as possible.”

Mus said Hungary and Turkey had a long tradition of friendship. He thanked Hungary for “standing by Turkey” and said they counted on Hungary’s support during the talks on the customs union.

Turkey aims to reach a 6-billion-dollar trade volume with Hungary, Mus said. The Turkish central bank has allocated substantial sums to finance joint projects, he said. Talks on business cooperation are expected to continue in the autumn, with joint investments and projects in African countries on the agenda, he said.

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