Comparison of Romania to Islamic State at Budapest demo ruffles feathers in Bucharest

A Budapest demonstration in support of autonomy for Romania’s Hungarian-majority Székelyföld (Szeklerland) counties of Kovászna, Hargita and parts of Maros county has caused a political storm, when organizers called Romania “the Islamic State of Europe.” Bogdan Aurescu, Romania’s foreign affairs ministere, telephone his Hungarian counterpart, Péter Szijjártó, to officially protest the accusation made by Árpád György Mózes, the president of the Society for Szekler Land.

Mr. Aurescu expressed concern that the upcoming March 15th national holiday in Hungary might be used to “make remarks that offend the basic treaty between Hungary and Romania or the Romanian constitution.” The 25th anniversary of the 1990 violent ethnic clashes between Hungarians and Romanians in the town of Marosvásárhely might also serve as an opportunity for increasing tension between the two countries, remarked Mr. Aurescu.

Map of Székely lands

Map of Székely lands

Earlier this week, Mr. Szijjártó noted in discussions that Hungary’s relationship with Slovakia was “good,” but that with Romania it has become “cold.” He noted that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has not held bilateral talks with his Romanian counterpart since coming to power in 2010. Additionally, Mr. Szijjártó has yet to meet Mr. Aurescu in person.

It takes two to tango, and it would seem incomprehensible that the leaders of neighbouring countries would not hold any high-level bilateral talks over the course of five years.

When pressed about the controversial statements at the Székelyföld protest in Heroes’ Square, Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that no official representative of the Hungarian government was present.


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