Hungary, Türkiye will confer ‘reciprocally’ on Sweden’s NATO bid: Foreign Minister Szijjarto
Hungary has placed ratification on hold due to constant ‘criticism, accusations’ from Sweden, parliament will have final say, Peter Szijjarto tells Anadolu
Türkiye and Hungary have agreed to “reciprocally inform each other” about their steps on Sweden’s accession to NATO, according to the Hungarian foreign minister.
The two countries have a decisive say in the Nordic country’s admission to the military alliance.
Over a year after Sweden officially applied along with Finland, Türkiye and Hungary are yet to sign off on its membership for different reasons, although they ratified Finland’s accession and paved the way for it to become NATO’s 31st member.
For Ankara, the concerns it has repeatedly raised center on security and Sweden’s tolerance for terrorist groups such as the PKK, which is designated as a terror organization by the US, EU and Türkiye.
Hungary, on the other hand, has grievances over Sweden’s criticism of its record on democracy and the rule of law, which Budapest has condemned as false accusations.
“I have discussed this issue with my new colleague in Türkiye, (Foreign) Minister (Hakan) Fidan,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told Anadolu in an interview in New York.
“We agreed that we will reciprocally inform each other about possible future steps in this regard in both of our countries.”
Szijjarto said the Hungarian government supports Sweden’s NATO membership, but the final decision lies with its parliament, which is taking into consideration the “insults” Hungary has faced from Stockholm.
“They had to listen constantly to criticism, accusations and allegations coming from Sweden, (its) politicians. They’re saying that Hungary will not be a democracy, it will be a dictatorship,” he said.
“Such an accusation gives a reason to put this issue on hold for a while.”
Szijjarto also accused Sweden of interfering in Hungary’s domestic issues.
“We never interfere in the domestic issues of other countries,” he said.
“They have accused us on many occasions ... It can be taken into consideration as interference, but it’s not only the Swedish who are doing that,” he continued, alleging that the US and other European nations were also meddling in Hungary’s internal affairs.
Ukraine ‘not heading toward peace’
On the war in Ukraine, Szijjarto said he does not see an end to the conflict in the near future.
“Unfortunately, all developments are showing a totally different direction. The weapons deliveries, the very open reference to nuclear capacities, the offensives against each other from the two sides, the Ukrainian soldiers being trained in European countries, the very deep involvement of the Americans. So these are not heading toward peace for sure,” he said.
He said Ukraine would not be able to fight Russia without US weapons, underlining that a sustainable long-term peace deal depends on an agreement between Washington and Moscow.
He described Hungary’s close ties with Russia as “pragmatic,” since Budapest buys most of its energy from Moscow, including around 80% of its gas from Gazprom.
Hungary is also building its next nuclear power reactors with Russia’s Rosatom, he added.
‘Very positive’ about ties with Türkiye
Speaking about his first conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Fidan, who took office earlier this month, Szijjarto said his initial impression was “very positive.”
“On certain occasions, we have seen each other. We never had the chance to get deeply engaged. But now I hope this is going to change, so I’m very positive,” he said.
Szijjarto said he hopes Hungary will be among the first countries that Fidan visits as the new Turkish foreign minister.
He emphasized that Türkiye and Hungary have always been “very helpful” toward each other in the international political arena.
“We have always respected the decisions and solutions put forward by the other party,” he added.