Hungarian Companies eye on the Caspian Sea energy sector - Exclusive | Eurasia Diary -

23 September, Wednesday

Hungarian Companies eye on the Caspian Sea energy sector - Exclusive

Azerbaijan is a reliable partner of Hungary in the Central Europe – Ambassador of Hungary in Azerbaijan Mr Viktor Szederkenyi

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Azerbaijan and Hungary have always had better diplomatic relations since the independence in 1991. It is no accident that Hungary has always supported Azerbaijan and has been one of the countries that recognised independence of the country after the collapse of the Soviet Union. As a matter of fact, Hungary and Azerbaijan have unique historical and cultural values that can go far back in history of Turks. This was also affirmed by the Ambassador of Hungary to Azerbaijan Republic Mr Viktor Szederkenyi during his exclusive interview to Eurasia Diary.
“Yes, Azerbaijan is one of the Turkic speaking countries that have much common with Hungary, we have shared historic and cultural roots. We have both strategic and friendly relationship with Azerbaijan. Perhaps, I am a lucky Ambassador that I have been appointed to a country with whom Hungary maintains such an excellent relationship,” emphasised the Ambassador.  
Dear Ambassador, as we remember the Prime Minister Mr. Viktor Orban had also repeatedly stated in his speeches that the Hungarian people are descended from Atilla, the great commander of the Western Huns, and the Hungarians have Turkic origins. As mention to what the Prime Minister said, do the majority of the population in Hungary see themselves as Turks? 
“Yes, we, Hungarians see ourselves as descendants of the Huns and and their great leader, Attila. It is a part of our historic mindset.
While being a Central-European country, a member of the European Union and NATO, we don’t forget our Eastern roots. Sometimes it is said that we are the Westernmost Eastern nation. 
I would like to note for your readers that for example, the Kipchaqs of Kazakhstan who are also a Turkic nation, known as Kuns in Hungary, they have been living in Hungary since the 13th century. 
Let me also mention that the Hungarian language have many similarities with Turkic languages, actually we have hundreds of words of Turkic origin. 
Hungary has been working closely with the Turkic-speaking countries in recent years, particularly with Azerbaijan and Turkey. It also demonstrated Hungary’s determination to integrate into the union of Turkic-speaking states by becoming an observing member of the Turkic Council. What are the main goals of Hungarian Diplomacy in this term?
“Our cooperation with Turkic speaking countries and the Turkic Council has quite a history now. A year ago, we became an observing member state to the Turkic Council. It’s based on the excellent bilateral relations we have with all Turkic Council member states, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the new member Uzbekistan. We have been observer to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Turkic Council for about 5 years now. We also joined as an observer the Turkic Academy in Nur-Sultan and recently we became an observer at the Foundation of Turkic Culture and Heritage which is based in Baku.
oreover, as a contribution to the Turkic cooperation, one month prior to the Summit in Baki we opened the European Representative Office of the Turkic Council of Budapest. This office will provide a platform for business, cultural and other cultural exchanges, and in general to offer a window for the Turkic world to the European Union.”
As is known, Chevron, a US oil company, is selling its shares in the Caspian Sea. We also learned that Hungarian oil companies are interested in acquiring Chevron’s shares. How possible is it for Hungarian companies to replace Chevron in oil production in the Caspian Sea?
“Well, it was Chevron’s decision to reposition itself in the global energy market and the Hungarian oil company, MOL successfully negotiated with Chevron to buy their shares in ACG oil field and the BTC pipeline. This is an ongoing project, subject to approval by other shareholders. We are glad about this possible investment in Azerbaijan, I am sure it would be beneficial for both countries, and our governments always supported cooperation in the energy sector, especially between our major companies, MOL and SOCAR. We consider Azerbaijan as a reliable partner and in the context of our strategic relationship we encourage mutual investments.”
Hungary, on the one hand, is integrating into the Turkic Council, on the other hand, supporting the Nord Stream project according to which the Prime Minister had himself mentioned in his statement saying Hungary is interested in working closely with Russia. How does Hungary in this case balance the diplomatic relations with Russia and the EU?
“Let me emphasize that the North Stream project connects Russia and Western Europe, providing for the energy supply to Western European countries. On the other hand, we do seek cooperation and pragmatic relationship with Russia. We are often criticized for that by some countries, although let me mention here that Hungary suffered significant losses in trade with Russia due to the sanctions but some of those countries who criticize us actually increased their trade turnover. Going back to energy security, Hungary attaches great significance to this is issue, to the diversification of our energy supplies, and in this context let me mention the Southern Gas Corridor where Azerbaijan plays a predominant role. We commend Azerbaijan on implementing this project which is enormously important to Europe’s energy security. The pipeline reaches Turkey now and next year Italy and there will be physical connection to  many Southern and Eastern European countries. Of course, Hungary would also be interested to consider Azerbaijani gas in its future energy mix.” 
We know that Hungary supports Azerbaijan and Turkey in any political and economic problem. However, I would like you to re-evaluate Hungary's position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for our readers.
“Our answer to this is quite simple. Our position remains unchanged in this highly important issue: we support the peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.”  
New cultural bridges have recently been established between Hungarian and Azerbaijani people. What social and cultural projects can be implemented to further strengthen our cultural ties?
“Our Embassy has implemented a number of education projects in Azerbaijan. As my Prime Minister recently told at the Turkic Council Summit in Baku, Hungary is currently providing 725 scholarships in Hungarian universities for the “Turkic world”, and 200 of these are for Azerbaijani students. Annually. This is an investment into our future relationship, in all spheres. 
In the last 2 years, we tripled the number of our cultural events in Azerbaijan. Just to mention a few, couple of weeks ago we had “Hungarian musical evenings” in the famous International Mugham Center.  On the 5th of December, we’ll organize a charity concert in the Philharmonic Hall, proceedings will be directed to children in need. Through our programmes, we always try to reciprocate the hospitality we enjoy here, in Azerbaijan.” 
Eurasia Diary Editor-in-Chief: Elnur Enveroglu

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