Szijjártó first foreign minister to visit Turkey after failed coup

August 19, 2016

Budapest, 2016. június 24. Szijjártó Péter külgazdasági és külügyminiszter sajtótájékoztatót tart a brit népszavazásról Budapesten, a minisztériumban 2016. június 24-én, a brit népszavazás másnapján. A brit szavazók 52 százaléka szavazott a kilépésre, 48 százaléka a bennmaradásra. MTI Fotó: Koszticsák Szilárd

Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó is the first high-ranking European politician to visit Ankara after the failed Turkish coup, writes Origo.hu.  According to the Hungarian online daily, Szijjártó will meet his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğluval.  His main task is to prepare for Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s visit to Ankara later this year.

According to previous plans, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would have visited the small Hungarian town of Szigetvár on September 7, commemorating the Turkish siege against its castle. Erdogan cancelled his visit,

Almost a month has passed since the failed coup in Turkey, following which 60,000 people in the country’s military, judiciary, civil service and education were detained, suspended or placed under investigation. Ripples of the failed coup have reached Hungary as well, with the Turkish government asking Hungary to shut down Orchidea International School. Ankara accuses the private institution of having close ties to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom they suspect to be the mastermind behind the coup attempt.

The Ministry of Interior is carrying out the Orchidea investigation, but according to Hungarian news website Index.hu, it has yet to find any links to terrorism.

The second and third Orbán governments since 2010 have been supportive of Erdogan, and this has not changed in light of recent events. At a press conference in July, Szijjártó emphasized Hungary’s close ties to Turkey and labelled the failed putsch “an act of terrorism”.

“Hungary’s government strongly condemns the attempted putsch which started last night in Turkey,” Szijjártó said. “Given the number of dead and manner of the putsch, it can be called an act of terror. We have solidarity with Turkey’s democratically elected government and with the Turkish president.”