Hungary Supports Kazakhstan’s Crackdown On Protesters
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News reporting from Budapest, Hungary
BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – In a controversial move, Hungary’s hardline Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has expressed support for Kazakhstan’s autocratic leadership after at least 164 people were killed in anti-government protests.
Orbán voiced his solidarity and condolences to Kazakh President Kasim Zhomart-Tokayev as forces “tried to overthrow the constitutional order in the country,” said Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó.
The prime minister shared views of Tokayev, who gave his troops shoot-to-kill orders to end protests that erupted over fuel price hikes but soon showed broader anger with Kazakhstan’s autocratic leaders.
The foreign minister said Orbán called Tokayev Monday “because Kazakhstan is a strategic partner.”
Orbán’s comments seemed at odds with views expressed by the European Union of which Hungary is a member. EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell earlier spoke about his “great concern about developments in Kazakhstan.”
“Rights and security of civilians must be guaranteed,” he added on social media. Borrell also suggested he was worried about the arrival of troops in Kazakhstan from a Russia-led military alliance.
“External military assistance brings back memories of situations to be avoided,” he said, adding that the “EU is ready to support in addressing this crisis.”
Orbán, who has come under pressure over his perceived crackdown on the independence of media, the judiciary, and other violations of EU law, has cozy relations with autocratic leaders.
Hungary has an observer status in the Turkic Council, which comprises Turkic countries Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.
Orbán, who claims to support persecuted Christians, acknowledged to a Worthy News journalist reports that believers face persecution in these nations. “If the foreign policy of any country in the world were based on that we cooperate only with those countries who are in Western understanding democracies, two-third of the world would be out of our foreign policy reach,” he said.
The government defended its stance on Kazakhstan, saying Hungarians requested help and were being evacuated as planned.
“Hungary’s diplomatic representations have been in contact with some 100 Hungarians in Kazakhstan since the beginning of the unrest in that country,” minister Szijjártó stressed.
He added that many of the 12 Hungarians asking for help have already left the country.
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