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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the 6th Summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States

Honourable Presidents,

First of all, allow me to thank you for your invitation to attend this summit. It is a great honour for us to be given the opportunity to cooperate with you, and we wish to thank our Kyrgyz friends for their brotherly hospitality. As you know, we live in Hungary, we are Hungarians, and we speak Hungarian. This is a unique and strange language, which is related to the Turkic languages. We have always closely followed the cooperation between countries of Turkic identity. Among you we are the people who have moved farthest West, and who also converted to Christianity. So we are a Christian people living in the West, standing on foundations of Hun-Turkic origins; the Hungarians see themselves as the late descendants of Attila.

Honourable Presidents,

Hungary, together with Turkey, is a member of NATO; and Hungary is also a member of the European Union. I can assure you that being both a member of the European Union and an Eastern nation is a unique experience. The Government of Hungary is committed to ensuring that, in the modern, global world, Hungary preserves its language, character, culture, origins and traditions. We believe that – also in the 21st century – the only states which can be strong are those which are proud of their national identities and are able to preserve them. Today’s Western teaching does not recognise this truth, but we insist on preserving our Hungarian national identity.

Honourable Presidents,

Hungary respects and nurtures its Turkic roots. Every year our country hosts Europe’s largest event of ancient traditions: the Kurultáj, or tribal assembly of the Hun-Turkic nations. This year twenty-six nations were represented – including Turks, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Turkmens and Azeris.

Honourable Presidents,

In Europe Hungary is often described as the most westerly of the people of the East. Earlier this was meant as a slight – intended to express disdain and condescension. However, due to the fantastic achievements of your countries – due to the economic and political development of your countries – being referred to as an Eastern people should now be taken as praise.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It has been proven beyond doubt that the old world order – with its dogma that capital and knowledge flow from West to East in search of cheap labour – has come to an end. We are living in a new world order, and its history is fundamentally determined by the development of the rising states in the East.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In 2010 I returned to government after eight years in opposition, and in 2010 we decided that we would open up in your direction. We have built our foreign policy towards you on the foundations of mutual respect: we respect our partners’ history and traditions, as well as the specificities and realities that stem from ancient cultures. Therefore I would like to reassure you that this respect also guides our cooperation with the countries of the Turkic Council. Since 2014 Hungary has had observer status in the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking-states, and in 2017 we submitted an application for accession to the International Turkic Academy. Today I have the honour of asking you to make it possible for Hungary to engage in even closer cooperation with the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States. I also wish to inform you that Member States of the Turkic Council are playing an increasingly important role in Hungary’s foreign policy aspirations: for years our relations with Turkey, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have been at the level of strategic partnership. Our goal is to also embark on this path in relation to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

As regards the main topic of the meeting – sport and young people – allow me to inform you with due modesty that in the course of its history Hungary has won 177 Olympic gold medals – the highest number per capita of any country in the world. We have an outstanding university of sports science, which is also open to you, and which also seeks cooperation with you. The President of Kazakhstan raised the idea of creating a platform focusing on young people. I wish to inform you, Honourable Presidents, that at present Hungary is funding 595 scholarships for young people from the six Turkic-speaking countries who are currently studying in Hungary. These are Hungarian state scholarships, and next year we will increase their number, because this year they attracted more than two thousand applicants.

In response to the words of the President of Kazakhstan, and in agreement with the President of Azerbaijan, I would also like to inform you that in recent years the Hungarian Eximbank has opened a credit line worth a total of USD 1.5 billion, for the promotion of investment, trade and project cooperation with the six Turkic-speaking countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Honourable Presidents,

Hungary is ready for the opening of a new chapter in Hungarian-Turkic cooperation. We are grateful – the Hungarian delegation is grateful, and I also am personally grateful – to you for giving us the opportunity to be here among you.