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The TurkStream gas pipeline is what guarantees Hungary’s energy security, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said on Monday, arguing it was the only east-west pipeline in Europe operating with 100% capacity. Hungary received 4.8 billion cubic metres of gas via the TurkStream pipeline last year, which covers around half of the country’s total consumption, the foreign ministry cited Szijjártó as saying at a joint press conference with Turkey’s Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa Varank in Budapest. The loss of this delivery route would make it impossible for Hungary to get the gas it needs, the minister added.
Szijjártó also emphasised the importance of diversification, the inclusion of new energy sources and the construction of new pipelines. The most realistic options, he said, were natural gas from Azerbaijan and liquefied natural gas (LNG) coming in to Turkish ports. Talks are already under way between state-owned energy company MVM and its Turkish partner on the volume and scheduling of LNG imports by Hungary, he said. The minister also noted that gas imports from Azerbaijan would require infrastructure developments, for which he said he expected support from the European Union. Meanwhile, Szijjártó noted that both Hungary and Turkey are building nuclear plants with the same partner and technology. He welcomed that all sixteen heat pumps for the four reactors being built in Turkey are made in Hungary.
As regards economic challenges, Szijjártó said Turkish-Hungarian cooperation had contributed significantly to keeping Hungary’s GDP growth rate above the European average in the recent period and helping the country achieve record investments, exports and employment. Bilateral trade turnover reached a new record last year, he said, adding that there are now some 100 Turkish companies in Hungary employing close to 2,200 people. Turkey’s VakifBank has opened a branch in Budapest and the two countries are holding a joint cultural season in 2024, Szijjártó said. In 2025, the two countries will celebrate Hungarian-Turkish science and technology and there are many Hungarian companies benefitting from opportunities in Turkey, Szijjártó added. The minister then presented Varank with the Medium Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary in recognition of his role in Hungarian-Turkish cooperation.