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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said during hits joint press conference with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Budapest that the TurkStream gas pipeline from Turkey to central Europe is being built and Hungary should be receiving gas from the pipeline by the end of 2021.
Also, referring to Hungary-Turkey cooperation, Orbán noted that in 2013 a deal was reached in Ankara with Erdoğan to establish a Supreme Strategic Council and meet each year. He said military cooperation between Hungary and Turkey, both NATO members, was progressing well. Hungary and Turkey, he said, have jointly funded programmes in Africa, including a medical mission to Kenya. Soon water and health aid to Ghana will get under way, he added. Bilateral trade is worth between 3.1-3.2 billion euros a year, Orbán said, adding that the aim was to increase this amount to 6 billion.
The PM noted that Hungary had made its largest capital investment outside the country recently when oil and gas company MOL acquired a stake in an Azeri gas field coupled with a pipeline to Turkey. The deal, he added, needs to be approved by Turkey’s competition authority.
Meanwhile, Orbán noted that 150 Turkish students study in Hungary thanks to a Hungarian state scholarship.
On the topic of Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria, Orbán said Hungary would always show Turkey respect. “If someone in Hungary fails to show such respect, my job as prime minister is to apologise to Turkey … We don’t accept any country or its leader being mocked by anyone.”
Orbán said Hungary wants to avoid having to halt hundreds of thousands of people at its southern borders. “We must back Turkish efforts to establish security zones in its neighborhood and repatriate migrants.”
Meanwhile, commenting on Hungary’s nominee for EU commissioner Olivér Várhelyi’s prospect of taking over the enlargement and neighbourhood portfolio, Orbán said: “Hungary’s commitment to enlargement … shows we’re not going for an easy win”, adding that there wasn’t a more difficult portfolio in the EU. Hungary, he added, would be able to put forward good arguments for enlargement.