Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that he would seek deeper ties with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, during his second visit to the country within four months.
Hungary and Turkiye are the only holdouts in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) to not have ratified Sweden’s bid to join the defence alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Hungary has still not voted to approve Sweden’s entry into Nato, aligning itself with Turkiye which had long blocked Stockholm’s membership and has been stalling the process even after Erdogan lifted his veto in June.
Earlier this month, Erdogan made Turkiye’s ratification of Sweden’s Nato bid conditional on the US Congress “simultaneously” approving Ankara’s request for F-16 fighter jets.
However, the two leaders did not comment on the issue in an address to reporters after their meeting.
Nato enlargement was discussed during Erdogan’s visit, according to Hungarian President Katalin Novak, who also met the Turkish leader.
Erdogan’s visit coincides with the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
“We wish to further strengthen our ties in areas such as defence and energy, where we already have fruitful co-operation,” Erdogan said, adding that the two countries aimed to increase their trade volume to $6bn from $4bn currently.
Erdogan was received with military honours in Budapest’s historic Heroes’ Square before heading into a meeting with Novak and then with Orban.
Orban presented Erdogan with the gift of a Nonius horse – though the Turkish leader fell off a horse in 2003.
“The gift from one equestrian nation to another,” Orban wrote on Facebook.
In return, Orban was gifted with an electric car made in Turkiye, a photo of which he posted on X.
“The best deal I’ve ever made! For one horse power, I got 435. Welcome to Hungary President Erdogan!” he wrote.
During the press conference, Orban said his country was “looking for allies with whom we can win”.
“The big plan is that Turks and Hungarians will be victorious together in the 21st century,” he said.
The two leaders signed a joint political declaration moving their relations to “advanced strategic partnership level”, which Orban described as “the expression of the closest, friendly, fraternal and political co-operation”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest.