Defence Minister: Turkey ‘important strategic partner’
The two countries are partners and allies in terms of trade, culture and defence, Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky, Hungary’s defence minister, said in Ankara after meeting Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar.
The ministry said in a statement that Szalay-Bobrovniczky praised high-level bilateral ties based on mutual trust.
Both countries want peace in Ukraine and promote this position at every possible opportunity, the statement said.
“We highly appreciate [Turkish] efforts made towards peace as mediators between the warring parties,” Szalay-Bobrovniczky said in Ankara.
He noted Turkey’s humanitarian aid to Ukraine and Hungarian efforts to help people fleeing the war.
Both ministers emphasised the importance of NATO anticipating threats from all sides, including combatting terrorism. Turkey and Hungary are both committed and respected members of NATO, the statement said.
Both officials also were in agreement on the importance of maintaining stability of the Western Balkans, noting that a Hungarian commander headed KFOR until recently and Turkey will take over the command from Italy in a year’s time.
The two countries’ armed forces cooperate in priority areas: Hungary established a battle group aimed at strengthening NATO’s eastern wing after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, and Turkey is a member.
Hungary is in the process of replacing outdated military technology with NATO-compatible equipment, the minister noted, adding that Turkey’s defense industry is also a supplier. Hungary has put 10 Gidran combat vehicles manufactured in Turkey into service, while another forty will be assembled in Hungary.
During Szalay-Bobrovniczky’s two-day visit, a monument commemorating the soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchial Army will be unveiled, marking the historical relationship between the two countries in the first world war. Also, the countries are celebrating the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2024 with a series of cultural events.