A short glimpse into the mind and logics of the people running Hungary today.
There’s a long history of the current Hungarian Government using diplomatic channels to protest reports in foreign media that paint an unfavorable picture of it. In fact they even have an under-secretary whose only task is to monitor foreign media voices (including blogs) and react to them.
Recently, Hungary’s ambassador to Austria protested publicly against an Austrian art exhibition centered on anti-Roma sentiments in Hungary, for showing Hungary in a bad light.
In another case, PM Viktor Orban himself got active condemning a ‘children’s news’ piece on German state TV’s, which was critical about freedom of press in Hungary and the weakening of the constitutional court. Mr. Orban said (do spot the hidden beauties):
‘I feel sorry for German kids, being subjected to brain-washing. A thing like that would be unthinkable in Hungary. If it happened here, everyone would be fired.’
And now the unthinkable has happened; a publication of a think tank belonging to the Turkish Foreign Ministry came up with the following sentence:
‘As it stands, it is impossible to characterize Hungary as pluralist, much less as democratic in the usual sense of the word; at the time of this writing, the Hungarian government, supported by a large proportion of the population, is clearly on an authoritarian track, already displaying clearly illiberal tendencies.’
The Hungarian Foreign ministry reacted promptly by calling-in the Turkish ambassador in Budapest for a talk. There the Hungarian side put out that this analysis does not fit at all into the context of continually improving Hungarian-Turkish relationships. Also they demanded explanation how such an opinion could be published.
This blogger is happy to report that the ambassador distanced himself from that analysis, emphasizing that the views appearing in the publication are not those of the Turkish Foreign Ministry.