Europe’s security begins with Turkey, Hungarian FM tells the bloc

DAILY SABAH
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Hungary's Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto at the Informal Meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers (Gymnich) at the Grandmaster's Palace in Valletta, Malta, 28 April 2017 (EPA Photo)
Hungary's Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto at the Informal Meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers (Gymnich) at the Grandmaster's Palace in Valletta, Malta, 28 April 2017 (EPA Photo)

On Friday, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó said that the security of the European Union begins with Turkey and for that matter the bloc should refrain from criticizing Ankara.

His remarks, as reported by the Hungarian news agency MTI, came after an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Valetta, Malta.

The main topic of discussion at the meeting in Valetta focused on relations between Turkey and the EU, Szijjártó said.

"We must refrain from criticizing Ankara and we must maintain dialogue because this is not only in the economic interests of the EU but also in its fundamental security interests," Szijjártó told MTI.

Szijjártó said that the stability of Turkey, which signed an agreement with the EU to halt the influx of migrants in exchange for 3 billion euros, was crucial for the bloc.

If this agreement fails, Szijjártó warned, millions of migrants could move on into Europe via the Western Balkan route and potentially arrive at Hungary's southern borders.

Szijjártó also explicitly mentioned the April 16 Turkish referendum on constitutional reform, stressing that it was up to Turkish citizens to decide upon the future course of their country and that Hungary respected the outcome of the referendum.

"We regard it as very strange that it is the very Western-European political elite, who let millions of Muslim immigrants into Europe, are now trembling because of the developments in Turkey," he reportedly said.

The foreign minister also highlighted that permanent criticism undermines the agreement between Turkey and the EU.

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