Orban: Hungary Will ‘Use Force’ If Turkey ‘Opens the Gates’ of Europe to Migrants

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrives for European Union Summit at European Union Headquarters in Brussels on October 17, 2019. (Photo by JULIEN WARNAND / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JULIEN WARNAND/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
JULIEN WARNAND/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán vowed that Hungary will “use force” to protect its southern border from waves of migrants if Turkey carries out its threat to direct 3.6 million people to Europe.

Speaking to the Hungarian private broadcaster HirTV, Orbán warned in comments reported by euronews: “If Turkey sets off further hundreds of thousands on top of this, then we will need to use force to protect the Hungarian border and the Serbian-Hungarian frontier, and I do not wish for anyone that we should need to resort to that.”

Orbán’s comments come after the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, continued to threaten the European Union not to oppose his actions in Syria: “I say it again. If you try to label this operation as an invasion, it’s very simple: we will open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees your way.”

Orbán concluded: “The next weeks will decide what Turkey does with these people. It can steer them in two directions: take them back to Syria or set them off towards Europe.”

“If Turkey chooses the latter, these people will arrive at Hungary’s southern border in huge masses,” Orbán warned — recommending that the EU should provide more funds to Turkey to help rebuild Syrian towns.

At the height of the European migrant crisis in 2015, hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa marched over Hungary’s southern border and deeper into Europe.

Hungary was able to reduce illegal crossings by 99 per cent after Prime Minister Orbán sealed the country’s southern border with Serbia, effectively shutting down the main Balkan migration route. Over the two-year period after the construction of the wall, border crossings fell from 391,000 in 2015 to just 1,184 in 2017.

Prime Minister Orbán and President Erdoğan are set to meet in Budapest next month.

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