Hungarian Chief of Staff: If Turkey enables refugees to return to Syria, they deserve support
At the weekly press conference of Gergely Gulyás, the Chief of Staff of the Hungarian Government told journalists that the EU should acknowledge and value Turkey's contributions to the stability of Europe, and that if Turkey takes steps to enable the return of refugees in Turkey to Syria, they deserve support. Yesterday's EU joint declaration stated that the Turkish offensive could displace even more refugees.
As we reported earlier, the European Union's declaration about the situation in north-east Syria was delayed after Hungary vetoed the text of the intended warning to Turkey on Wednesday morning. The EU's declaration was eventually issued at 7:00 PM, after the Turkish offensive had already commenced.
At the weekly regular press conference of the Hungarian government, the government's Chief of Staff answered Index's question saying that Hungary eventually agreed to a text on Wednesday that was an acceptable compromise to them. Hungary approved of a text of the declaration that was a fair compromise as it did not want to break the unity of the V4 countries and of the European Union but noted that:
"The very strong position of Hungarian diplomacy is that if Turkey takes steps to enable the approximately 4 million refugees currently hosted by Turkey to return to their home country, then they deserve support."
Citing the Fundamental Law, Gulyás added that Hungary constitutionally opposes war, but the two aspects have to be considered simultaneously, and Turkey's efforts to preserve stability in Europe must be acknowledged and valued, because if the four million refugees hosted by Turkey would leave for Europe, then the
"European political landscape could go through rapid changes."
As Gulyás explained, Hungary welcomes anything that makes sure that Syrian refugees get to return to their home country. Citing the Fundamental Law, Gulyás added that Hungary constitutionally opposes war as a solution to international disputes, but the two aspects have to be considered simultaneously, reiterating if Turkey takes steps to return the four million refugees to Syria, that deserves support.
Despite a spokesperson for the European External Action Service confirming to Index that Hungary vetoed the draft of the EU's warning to Turkey on Wednesday morning, the Chief of Staff later denied that Hungary vetoed the declaration, saying that Hungary did eventually accept the EU's joint declaration.
The declaration adopted by the EU Council's Political and Security Committee on Wednesday evening calls Turkey to cease their military action in north-east Syria, warning Turkey that the offensive could undermine the stability of the area, destroy the progress made against ISIS, and provoke further displacement of refugees.
The High Representative of EU foreign policy Federica Mogherini said that Turkey's plan to resettle refugees in a north-east Syrian 'safe zone' would destabilize an already fragile area, adding that it is difficult to imagine how the return of refugees there "could be either safe, voluntary or in any way dignified."
(Cover: Lajos Soós / MTI)
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