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Which Words By Hungary’s Orban Can Be Trusted? – OpEd

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While giving a speech in Romania on Saturday 23 July, the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán claimed that ‘we [Hungarians] are not a mixed race, and we do not want to become a mixed race’.    

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There have been mostly negative reactions to this in other EU countries. Political circles in Brussels and other major European capitals have condemned Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for ‘openly racist’ remarks he made in his address at Baile Tusnad Summer University. Even Bogdan Aurescu, Foreign Minister of Romania, where Viktor Orbán was giving his relevant address, has denounced the latter’s comments. “It is regrettable that such views are being spread from Romania”, he told Digi 24, calling Orbán’s views on race ‘unacceptable’

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis also criticized Hungarian Prime Minister’s recent remarks on race during a visit to Romania. “It is wrong and inadmissible in principle for a high European dignitary to deliver a speech on the public scene built on the race theory that led to the most terrible catastrophe of the 20th century”, Iohannis said at a joint news conference on July 29 in Bucharest with visiting Moldovan President Maia Sandu.

The European media are also contributing to the critique of Mr.Orban for his recent speech in Romania. Le Républicain Lorrain, in an editorial entitled ‘Viktor Orbán’s troubling game is wreaking havoc in Europe’ (‘Le trouble jeu de Viktor Orbán sème la pagaille en Europe’), said: “Is Victor Orbán xenophobic? Well yes. He has just unveiled another proof of his ordinary racism through describing Hungarians as pure-bloods who do not want to mix with other races”.

Thus, it can be concluded the European political class and public opinion have been and are mostly set against Mr. Orbán’s ideas voiced recently in Romania. On 30 July, the EU parliament leaders publicly slammed him for ‘openly racist’ remarks. While member-nations of another intergovernmental entity, the Organization of Turkic States (formerly called the Turkic Council or the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States) which Hungary joined as an observer country in 2018, is keeping silent on the Hungarian Prime Minister’s July 23 speech at Baile Tusnad Summer University, although those ‘openly racist’ words by him are addressed, among others, to them and their populations.

Here’s what he, in addition to everything else, said in Romania: “There is a world in which European peoples are mixed together with those arriving from outside Europe. Now that is a mixed-race world. And there is our world, where people from within Europe mix with one another, move around, work, and relocate. So, for example, in the Carpathian Basin we are not mixed-race: we are simply a mixture of peoples living in our own European homeland… This is why we fought at Nándorfehérvár/Belgrade, this is why we stopped the Turks at Vienna, and – if I am not mistaken – this is why, in still older times – the French stopped the Arabs at Poitiers”.

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Now let’s compare all the above-cited words by Mr.Orbán to what he said at the 6th meeting of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States held in Cholpon-Ata in Kyrgyzstan on August 9, 2019. Then, he claimed: “Hungary is ready for opening a new chapter in the cooperation with Turkic states”.  

“Hungary has always focused on the cooperation of Turkic speaking states which nurture their language, culture and traditions even in the modern world”, Viktor Orbán noted. “Hungarians consider themselves late descendants of Attila, of Hun-Turkic origin, and Hungarian is a relative of Turkic languages”

“Only those people can be strong who are proud of their national identity”, Hungarian Prime Minister added. Mr.Orbán also said that in light of the “fantastic” economic and political development of Turkic countries, “it is to be taken as an expression of praise if Hungarians are called an Eastern people”

And here’s something else. Viktor Orbán has lately been known for paying particular attention to Kazakhstan. According to him, Hungary and the Central Asian nation enjoy close strategic partnership.

Kazinform, in a report entitled ‘The relationship between Hungary and Kazakhstan is of strategic importance’, and published on 3 September, 2018,quoted Mr.Orbán as saying: “We Hungarians speak Hungarian. This is a unique and distinctive language, and it is related to the Turkic languages. We converted to Christianity, but we are based on the Turkic-Kipchak origins”.

Azattyq.org, in a report entitled ‘Prime Minister of Hungary spoke in favor of close cooperation with Central Asia’, and published on 4 September, 2018,quoted him as saying: “Hungary knows its origin, Europe sees us as the easternmost people of the West. But at the same time, they [the Europeans] see us as the outlanders, because our ancestors were not from there. Hungary has been preserving its cultural inheritance”.

In view of all of the above, one cannot help but ask: which words by Hungary’s Orbán can be trusted?

Akhas Tazhutov

Akhas Tazhutov is a political analysts from Kazakhstan.

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