“We do not approve the critiques made by EU against you. Because, we understand what is that horrible attack against your democracy one year ago. We have to stand by Turkey in its fight against terror to keep its stability. We have to respect its fight against terrorism to protect its national security.”
When the history dimension of Turkish-Hungarian relations is considered, it is seen that both culture affected each other. With respect to politics, economy and culture as well, Turkish-Hungarian relations are strong and therefore, it is a known fact that Hungarian could keep their language and culture alive without being exposed to any pressure in the peace and tranquility atmosphere which is brought by Budin pashas. Such that, the former President of Hungary Pal Schmitt said it is a chance of Hungary to be ruled by Turks for almost 150 years: “If our country had been captured by another nation, not by Turks, they would have demanded us to change our language and religion, and then we would have been assimilated. For 150 years, Hungary was a strategic place for Turks.”
Ottomans were undoubtedly smart people and wherever they gained dominance, they assumed themselves as the protector of the native culture and language, because they had universal thinking. They did not have the complex of inferiority, as well. In fact, they gave importance to plurality, and took on keeping these various cultures alive without being destroyed.
We can see the traces of this confident policy in Turkish-Hungarian relations. It is among the most substantial evidences of this that Hungarian culture and language has survived until today. In his remarkable book Traces from Hungarian Turkish World, Sándor Takáts wrote that Budin pashas used Hungarian in their administrative works even from the mid-WVIth century, others too, paid attention to Hungarian in their official and social contacts by looking at them and he also said: “Thus, they obliged Vienna Palace to form Hungarian Section of Registry. This was totally unbelievable.”
“Legitimatizing Hungarian language rights” said Takáts, “Being used widely and developed of our language was the keystone and stamp of our national sovereignty, and it was also an important element of the survival of our nation state. Legitimatizing Hungarian language and legitimatizing the ideal of Hungarian Kingdom meant the same for Turks, actually. Budin pashas were the propagandist of this ideal in Istanbul.
They only exchanged letters with Hungarian King and negotiated with Hungarian King. They seemed like they were not aware of the emperorship position, in the person of him, they did not recognize anyone other than Hungarian King. Only the title of Hungarian King was said at the gate and ambassadors of western states in Istanbul used this Hungarian King title, as well.”1
As Sándor Takáts said, by protecting Hungary, Ottomans became very effective in the preservation of Hungarian identity till the end of the WVIIth century. This effect, in my opinion, conduced Hungarian intellectuals to sympathize Ottomans, even by mentioning that they are related with Turanian tribes, they did some works to establish a Turan Association, in 1912, in Budapest, and to publish a magazine named Turan. Such that, in the years when the emperorship Turkey started to fall apart, by the influence of Hungarian Pan-Turanists, it is possible to say that Pan-Turanism became an issue among intellectuals in Turkey.
In an article published in the issue of 8 February 1912 of the magazine Turkish Homeland, the aim of the Hungarian Turan Association of which the honorary presidents were Count Balazechini and Vambery and the actual president was Count Pál Taleki was stated as “To make political, economic and social researches about the Asian and European tribes who are the relatives of Hungarians and to enable these tribes to develop.”
In those days, Turkey’s Consul General of Budapest was vibrant and fervent patriot Müftüoğlu Ahmed Hikmet Bey who also ached for Turanism ideals.
Hungarian Turanists sent some committees for some occasions, too. Moreover, the president of Turan Association Count Pál Taleki came to Istanbul in the May 1914, visited Turkish Homeland magazine, and conducted some negotiations. According to the what Fethi Tevetoğlu wrote, during the First World War, a Turkish-Hungarian Amity House was founded and later the same society held Turkish-Hungarian Meeting. One of the most important activities of Turkish-Hungarian Amity House in the opening of which the Consul General Ahmet Hikmet Müftüoğlu had a significant contribution as well, was to reclaim Gül Baba Tomb in Budin.2 Besides Ahmet Hikmet who donated to Gül Baba Tomb brilliant silk prayer rugs that he ordered from Hereke Factroy and the scripts (celi levha) that he had the Calligraphist Halid write and the Deputy Consul General of Pest Enis Behiç Koryürek who gave a fervent speech at the Turkish-Hungarian Fraternity Meeting, they both served to this amity.
As well as political and economic aspect of the Turkish-Hungarian relations, there were cultural ties, too, and these ties were much stronger among the intellectuals. In fact, it is known that the great pianist and composer, Hungarian origin Franz Liszt came to Istanbul to give concerts in the Ottoman capital in 1847, and stayed there for five weeks. Hosted in Alexandre Comendiger’s house in Beyoğlu Nuruziya Street, Franz Lizst gave concerts before Abdülmecid at the old Çırağan Palace, at the Franchini Mansion in Büyükdere, at the Russian Embassy and lastly at some public places. Violin virtuoso Karl Berger who was a fan of Franz Lizst chose to live in Istanbul, too, and became one of the friends of Mesut Cemil in the first place and then Şerif Muhyiddin Targan, too.
Turkish-Hungarian relations developed in time and started to produce some works in different fields. Such that, by declaring 2011 as the “Franz Liszt Year”, Turkey made a great contribution to the relations of two cultures, mutually.
By saying that with this great historical and cultural accumulation, Hungary’s support for Turkey’s European Union process is very important for Turkey, the President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who visited capital Budapest on the invitation of the President of Hungary Janos Ader, said “We will be in closer collaboration with Hungary to make contributions of Africa’s development efforts. Having their origins in Asia, as the two countries, we will keep working together in this geography, as well.”
By pointing at the restoration of Gül Baba Tomb, President Erdoğan who said the place where the Gül Baba Tomb that keeps its existence from the WVIth century until now is located and Gül Baba was martyred is still called as Gül Baba by the people of Hungary, thanked Hungarian authorities for the contribution they gave to the restoration of this significant artefact which is one of the symbols of joint history.
These words of the President of Turkey Erdoğan, who emphasized Turkey and Hungary have strong historical ties, drew attention:
“We came together in Kyrgyzstan last month and at the Turkish Council Meeting by our support, too, so Hungary gained observant status. We will keep giving our support to build bridges between Asia and Hungary, hereafter as well.”
The President of Turkey Erdoğan, continued as “I believe this sacred place will be preserved by the future generations scrupulously and will keep being one of the most valuable symbols of Turkish Hungarian amity.”
“We especially believe that in the period when the threats against the regional peace and stability escalated, this collaboration gained much more importance. Just to spite the ones who set people against each other by scratching religious, ethnic and cultural differences, we speak the language of solidarity by protecting the auspicious heritage of Gül Baba.
We will plant the seeds of love instead of hostility, like Gül Baba did almost 500 years ago. After the five years of interval, this visit that I made as a President is a very important message for the upcoming period. Turkish-Hungarian collaboration will keep taking roots in the shadow of Gül Baba.”
Our scholar diplomats like Ahmet Hikmet Mütfüoğlu and Enis Behiç Koryürek had a share in the acceleration of the Turkish-Hungarian relations, while years past in between, their heritage is undertaken by the foundations like TİKA and the Yunus Emre Intitute.
The President of TİKA Serdar Çam who was presented with the State of Hungary Decoration of Merit is the maintainer and the protector of this culture, like Ahmet Hikmet Mütfüoğlu and Enis Behiç Koryürek. The Yunus Emre Intitute of Budapest, too, that is responsible from opening channels in the Turkish-Hungarian relations for a new cultural interchange, in other words, conducting a kind of cultural diplomacy, works on the future of both countries together with the Hungarian intellectuals.