A Sample of Strategic Cooperation: Hungary-Uzbekistan

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The 9th Summit of the Heads of State of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) was held in the Ancient city of Uzbekistan, on n October 11, 2022. Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban has joined the summit and came together with the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev. During the meeting of the two leaders; cultural issues, as well as cooperation in the fields of economy and energy, have been discussed.

Hungary, which is approximately 85 per cent dependent on Russian gas imports, has faced a variety of issues on energy security due to sanctions imposed on Russian energy after the Russia-Ukraine War. Concerning this, Budapest is exempted from the oil-import ban and has been one of the few states that transparently deprecator to the latest plan which is aiming to reduce gas consumption of the European Union (EU). Hence, Budapest officials; have encountered serious economic challenges such as rising inflation, currency devaluation and budget deficit, right along with the termination of EU funds due to non-compliance with EU standards.

Hungary has gravitated to Central Asia as the most reasonable and reliable option in order to ensure the security of its energy supply and to find a solution that will not lead to incompatibility with EU policies. Such that, the OTS summit has created an opportunity for Orban and thus, dialogue on the Budapest-Tashkent line has paved a window for a solution to Hungary’s energy crises.  Following his meeting with Mirziyoyev, Orban made the following statements[1]:

“In the present war and sanctions crisis, the whole of Europe, with Hungary in it is struggling in order not to lose its economic impetus. In this situation, however, rather than slowing down the intensity of cooperation with Uzbekistan, our strategic partner in the region, we are seeking to increase it”

As understood by Hungarian leaders’ remarks, Hungary has a desire the deepening its joint projects with Uzbekistan which started in nuclear energy, chemical industry, finance and telecommunication. Also, Hungary, which has been an EU member since 2007, evaluates its cooperation with Uzbekistan within the scope of the union and points to Tashkent due to its rich energy resources and critical geopolitical location in order to alleviate the impact of the war on the EU. Because Uzbekistan has the potential to supply natural gas to all of Europe through the Southern Gas Corridor which crosses Azerbaijan.

As is well known, Uzbekistan in Central Asia and Hungary in Europe are constituting key points in the Middle Corridor. Thus, the expanding relations between these two countries, not only offer a lifeline to the energy crises of the EU but also lead many sectors of the economy will benefit from the development and deepening of relations.

On the other hand, President Mirziyoyev visited Budapest on 3-4th October 2022, and during his visit, decisions are made that covered cooperation in agriculture, transportation, medicine, textile, food, electricity, water saving and industry sectors. Mirziyoyev, once again, reiterated that both countries agree to implement the decisions taken at this meeting.

In brief, both Budapest and Tashkent have willing to strengthen their diplomatic relations. Thus, Hungary, which experience difficult times regarding energy security is aware of the prominence of cooperation with Uzbekistan, which confirmed the multi-dimensional and multi-vectorial diplomacy with new reforms, which may lead to relief economically, particularly in energy. This is why Budapest has headed towards Uzbekistan, and, for this reason, it can be said that the relations between the two countries increasingly proceed.

A significant focus of the relations will be energy resources, particularly natural gas. In his remarks at the TDT Summit, the Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto highlighted the importance of energy resources by expressing the following: [2]

“If we rely only on facts and do not consider this issue from the point of view of political and ideological restrictions, then it is obvious that without the Turkic states it will be impossible to provide our energy supply.”

Szijjarto’s statements may lead to the conclusion that the Turkish states are key actors in the European energy crisis and that Hungary’s objective is to improve cooperation with all the Turkish states, with the help of its cooperation with Uzbekistan.

After the Russian-Ukrainian War, the changing equations for Europe have grown the significance of establishing mutual relations with Central Asian countries. Regional states, specifically Uzbekistan, have rich energy sources, as well as growing and developing economies day by day.

In conclusion, the increasing cooperation between Hungary and Uzbekistan can be expanded to include the entire Balkans and Central Asia, and through this, oil, natural gas, commodities and export goods will be able to transport in both directions via the Middle Corridor. This, overplus serving the development of the entire region, can strengthen the Asia-Europe and thus the East-West interaction.

[1] “Hungary Intensifies Strategic Cooperation with Uzbekistan”, Hungary Today,, (Date of Accession: 11.11.2022).

[2] “TurkStream Pipeline Guarantees Hungary’s Energy Security, Foreign Minister Reiterates”, TASS,, (Date of Accession: 12.11.2022)

2020 yılında Hacettepe Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezun olan Elif Tektaş, aynı yıl Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli Üniversitesi Lisansüstü Eğitim Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda Ortadoğu ve Afrika Çalışmaları Bilim Dalı’nda yüksek lisans programına başlamıştır. Halihazırda yüksek lisans eğitimine devam eden Tektaş, iyi derecede İngilizce bilmektedir.