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The EU needs Turkey

Mr. Orbán and several of his ministers attended a meeting in Ankara of the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council, which effectively functions as a Hungarian-Turkish “Cabinet meeting”, or intergovernmental summit.

At a press conference held after the meeting, the Prime Minister responded to a question concerning Turkey’s accession talks with the EU by saying that if we start negotiations, we must see them through honestly. Hungary does not support any kind of suspension or disruption, he said, and believes that a great historical agreement must be concluded with Turkey.

He stated that if we view the situation with sufficient calm, we can see that Turkey will become one of the greatest forces in the European region “overnight”, and that it is “an optimistic and growing nation”. By contrast, the population figures for most countries in Europe are declining. Turkey has set out to become one of the world’s ten strongest economies by 2023, and it also has one of the world’s strongest armies, he added.

In this context Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim said that for decades there have been meetings between his country and the EU, but Ankara has a clear position: particularly in light of Brexit, the EU must reconsider its views on its future, and abandon its confused approach. Turkey would like to join the European Union, and right from the beginning Hungary has supported this aspiration, he said. He added, however, that if Europe “plays hard to get for too long”, Turkey “will decide it has had enough”.

Minister of Defence István Simicskó, who accompanied Mr. Orbán on his visit, met Turkish Minister of Defence Fikri Işık. The Defence Ministry told Hungarian news agency MTI that in bilateral talks they discussed the migration crisis, the opportunities for defence industry cooperation and for Hungarian-Turkish cooperation in military history and the maintenance of war cemeteries.