Celebrating the centenary of Hungarian-Turkish relations

Hungarian daily, Magyar Nemzet reported on the negotiations between Dr Gábor Horváth-Lugossy, Director General of the Institute of Hungarian Research, and Attila Pintér, Consul General in Istanbul, in preparation for the 2024 joint cultural year of the two countries.

"This year marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Hungary in the modern era; the Director General of the Institute of Hungarian Research held discussions in Istanbul on this occasion to launch preparations for the joint cultural year of the two countries. In November last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated after his meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán that 2024 would be the joint cultural year of the two countries.

- The Institute of Hungarian Research posted on its Facebook page on Saturday that Turkey was one of the first countries to sign a friendship and cooperation treaty with Hungary in 1923, in the wake of the international isolation caused by the Trianon peace dictate. The Institute commemorates the event with international academic conferences, joint Hungarian-Turkish book publishing and other programmes to strengthen the memory politics of the two nations in 2023-2024. The details were discussed between Gábor Horvát-Lugossy, Director General of the Institute of Hungarian Research, and Attila Pintér, Consul General in Istanbul.

The importance of the centenary is also reflected by the announcement of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said last November, after talks with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Ankara that "2024 will be the joint cultural year of Turkey and Hungary".

Erdogan also thanked Hungary for standing by Turkey in the international arena and for having always supported Turkey's EU accession negotiations. The strengthening of Hungarian-Turkish relations is also indicated by the fact that both sides are aiming to increase their annual trade turnover of around four billion dollars to six billion dollars. About five hundred Turkish companies operate in Hungary.

Relations between the two countries entered a new stage in 2018, when Hungary joined the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) as an observer state, in which Turkey is not only a founding member but also a key player.

Over the past four years, our country has become a special trusted partner of the Turkish states in the European region. In addition, the war in Ukraine has further enhanced Ankara's international role: in addition to Erdogan's efforts to act as a mediator between Moscow and Kiev, the closure of the transport routes linking Central Asia and Europe has led to a significant increase in traffic on the trans-Caspian-Caucasian-Turkish route.

László Tamás Vizi, Deputy Director General for Science of the Institute of Hungarian Research, summarized the development of Hungarian-Turkish relations in the last hundred years on the Institute’s Facebook page. He explained that official diplomatic relations were established in May 1924 with the opening of mutual embassies after lengthy preparations. Prior to that, at the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the embassy of the Ottoman Empire operated in Vienna, while Constantinople - now Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire until 1923, the year when the Turkish Republic was founded - only had a consulate in Budapest.

At the same time, the expert underlined that the international diplomatic recognition of the two countries allied in the Great War - i.e. the First World War - required a longer process after their military defeat.

"The need for the establishment of Hungarian-Turkish diplomatic relations was expressed by Budapest as early as the autumn of 1920. In his ministerial circular of 7 October 1920, Foreign Minister Imre Csáky designated the establishment of an embassy in Constantinople as a goal in addition to establishing a foreign representation in London" - wrote László Tamás Vizi. He added, though, that Turkey was at the time fighting a war of independence with the Entente, which did not enable official contacts to be established. Informally, negotiations began in January 1923, with Jenő Ruszkay (Ranzeberger) being entrusted with the task on the Hungarian side. The politician was already in Istanbul on 10 January: although the reason for the trip was the Turkish economic congress on the Aegean coast in February 1923, the real aim of the Ankara government was to facilitate the settlement of international relations. On 15 February 1923, Ruszkay met Kemal Pasha in Izmir, where he conveyed the "fraternal feeling and enthusiastic joy of the Hungarian nation and of the governor over the Turkish victory". He reported that "[he] was welcomed very cordially everywhere. Official circles offered their support in every field. The sympathy and respect felt for Hungary was evident in all contacts."

This sympathy and respect between the two peoples and nations was enshrined in the Treaty of Friendship between the Republic of Turkey and the Kingdom of Hungary, signed on 18 December 1923, which, even a hundred years later, has remained a timeless bond based on mutual respect and trust - concluded László Tamás Vizi."

Read the report on the website of  Magyar Nemzet