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It is in Hungary's interest that Turkey releases migrants towards Syria rather than in the direction of Europe, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told public radio.

Turkey hosts some three million migrants, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoǧan has vowed to “let them out” if Europe fails to take over some of the financial burden, Orbán said in an interview to Kossuth Rádió. Migrants can break out towards Europe or Syria, their homeland, Orbán said. The latter needs to be stabilised for them to go back, he added. “That is what seems to have happened there”, he said, adding that Turkey had set up a safe zone in northern Syria recently.

If Turkey “opens the gates to Europe”, hundreds of thousands will flood into Greece, the Balkans and eventually all the way to the Croatian or Hungarian border, he said. “It is in Hungary’s basic interest that this does not happen,” Orbán said. “One Röszke was enough,” he added, referring to a clash between border guards and migrants camped on the Serbian side of the Röszke border crossing in 2015. Regarding Turkey’s offensive on Syrian soil, Orbán said the US and Turkey had “made an agreement”, and so “we have no further foreign policy task here … other than agreeing with the two largest military powers of NATO.”