Turkish-Hungarian cooperation to grow stronger in 2019

Turkey and Hungary will further improve bilateral cooperation in 2019, according to Hungary's new ambassador to Ankara.

"It is a great honor, opportunity, and responsibility for me to become the Hungarian ambassador to Ankara," Viktor Matis, who presented his credentials to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogğan on Thursday, told Anadolu Agency.

"Cooperation and relations between our two countries are so important and are rapidly growing. There are many things to be done and opportunities ahead of us," he said.

On the deep-rooted relations between the two nations, he said many Hungarian experts came to Turkey when the republic was founded in 1920 and contributed to its development.

"The Directorate General of Meteorology in Ankara was founded by a Hungarian. The Ethnography Museum was also founded at the suggestion of a Hungarian," Matis said.

He added that his country has four national museums in Turkey, the highest number of museums it has in any other country: Rakoczi Museum in the northwestern province of Tekirdag, the Kossuth Museum in western Kutahya, the Imre Thokoly Memorial House in northwestern Kocaeli, and the Bela Bartok Museum in southern Osmaniye.

Stressing the great cooperation between the two nations since the 20th century, Matis said Hungary was one of the first countries to open an embassy in Ankara.

He said that a strategic cooperation agreement in 2013 upgraded the relations to a strategic level, and a High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council was also established the same year.

"We are preparing for its fourth meeting in Budapest this year," Matis said, adding that no date has been chosen but Erdogan is set to attend.

Saying that many high-level bilateral meetings are coming up, he added: "Hungary will be represented by Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto at the Turkey-Hungary Second Africa Business Forum, which will be held in Istanbul on Feb. 12-13.

"Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan and DEIK [the Foreign Economic Relations Board] will also represent Turkey," he said.

Matis also praised Turkey's activities in Africa, saying his country wanted to support these.

On the defense industry, he said: "Turkey's development in the defense industry is incredible when seen by a Western."

He added that Hungary wants to cooperate with Turkey in developing defense goods, and the topic is being discussed between the both nations.

Matis also said energy security is a key subject for his country, which wants to add variety to its energy routes.

Calling TurkStream a "serious" project and adding that they want the line to reach Hungary through Bulgaria and Serbia, he added: "The EU needs to understand the importance of the project and support it."

The TurkStream gas pipeline, crossing beneath the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and set to stretch to Turkey's neighbors, will have a capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters (bcm). Turkey will receive 15.75 bcm of the gas, while the remainder will go to Europe.

The second line of the project to transfer Russian gas to Europe is expected to route through Bulgaria following transmission via Turkey. TurkStream gas plans to run from Turkey to Bulgaria, then Serbia, Hungary and Slovakia.

Mentioning how Hungary is now an observer country for the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States (Turkic Council), Matis said they would take steps to improve cooperation in that field.

"Hungary will open a Turkic Council communication office in Budapest. This is very important because we're not a member of the council," he said, adding that a former ambassador to Ankara was already appointed council chairman.

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