Hungary–Kurdistan Region relations

Hungary–Kurdistan Region relations are bilateral relations between Hungary and the Kurdistan Region[note 1]. Hungary is represented in Kurdistan Region through a consulate general since November 2014,[1] while Kurdistan Region has no representation in Hungary. Relations are characterized by several high-level talks and close ties.[2] The Kurdish President Massoud Barzani visited Hungary in 2012 and in 2015 on official visits.[3][4] Moreover, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán uttered support for the independence of Kurdistan Region from Iraq in 2015 causing concern among the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.[5][6]

Hungary–Kurdistan Region relations


Kurdistan Region

From 2014 to 2018, Hungarian military ordnance to Kurdistan amounted to 250—275 tons of weapons including ammunition,[7][8] and the Hungarian Chief of Staff of Defense Ferenc Korom used the word "loyalty" to describe the Hungarian-Kurdish military relations.[9]


Communist Hungary and Kurdish rebels

When Abd al-Karim Qasim ruled Iraq from 1958 to 1963, Communist Hungarian People's Republic began assisting Iraqis and the Kurdish minority with educational matters, and Kurdish students were allowed to study in Budapest.[10][11] After the Ba'athist takeover in 1963, the First Iraqi–Kurdish War intensified and many of the Kurdish guerillas of Kurdistan Democratic Party were sent for treatment to Hungary. This assistance continued under the Second Iraqi–Kurdish War from 1974 to 1975. In the same decade, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan was founded and held close diplomatic ties to the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, both being members of the Socialist International.[10] During the Iran–Iraq War, Hungarian ambassadors in Baghdad occasionally reported back to Budapest regarding the situation of the Kurdish guerillas against Saddam Hussein.[12][13][14]

Strengthen of relations between Kurdistan Region and Hungary

Even though the autonomy of Kurdistan Region was established in 1992, ties between Kurdistan Region and Hungary were not strengthened until the Government of Viktor Orbán in 2012. In that year, Kurdish President Massoud Barzani led a delegation to Hungary, where they met Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, President László Kövér, Foreign Minister János Martonyi, Economic Minister György Matolcsy and Deputy Speaker of Parliament István Jakab to discuss ways to develop cooperation in various sectors, including investment, agriculture, education and energy. After the meeting, President Barzani stated that the meeting was an "important step towards establishing strong bilateral relations", while Martonyi described it as of "historical significance".[3][15] The following year, Kurdish Foreign Minister Falah Mustafa visited Hungary to meet State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zsolt Németh to discuss political, economic, cultural, and educational ties.[16] Hungarian Deputy State Secretary for Global Affairs Péter Wintermantel visited Erbil in April 2014,[17] while a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two parties in November 2014.[18]

In this period, the Hungarian multinational oil and gas company MOL Group opened an office in the Kurdish capital of Erbil[19] and has since developed a major oil field and purchased Kurdish oil.[20] In 2016, MOL Group reached a deal with Kurdistan Region to relinquish its share in Akri-Bijeel block.[21]

Military aid to Peshmerga

After the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) entered Iraq and captured Mosul during the Northern Iraq offensive, Hungary began aiding Kurdish soldiers (the Peshmerga) militarily. In August 2014, Hungary dispatched over 50 tonnes of ammunition to the Peshmerga,[22][23] while 116 Hungarian soldiers were sent to Kurdistan to train the Peshmerga in September 2015.[24][25] In December 2015, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó visited Kurdistan and pledged humanitarian aid worth US$300 million, whilst visiting the Hungarian soldiers stationed there.[26] Hungarian Defence Minister István Simicskó visited Kurdistan in May 2016 to discuss the war against ISIS and the ties between Hungary and Kurdistan.[8] During his trip, he announced that 110 types of advanced weapons would be sent to Kurdistan.[27] Hungary has also taken in dozens of Peshmerga for medical treatment.[28] In November 2018, a Peshmerga delegation went to Hungary to expand the administrative and medical assistance.[29] In the subsequent month, A delegation led by Chief of Staff of Hungary's defense Ferenc Korom visited Kurdistan to discuss the continuation of military support.[7]

Cultural relations

To strengthen the ties between Hungary and the autonomous region, the main street in Rawanduz was renamed after the Hungarian revolutionary leader Lajos Kossuth. An anthology of Kurdish poems was also published in Hungarian by the state-funded Balassi Institute.[30] In January 2017, Kurdistan Region offered scholarships for Hungarian students.[31] Hungarian archeologists have also explored Kurdistan, with a geodetic survey of the Castle of Dwin near Erbil and an excavation mission in 2018 at Grd-i Tle in Ranya Plain.[32][33] Hungary has also assisted in the rebuilding of the Chaldean Mariyama Private Elementary School in Kurdistan with $700,000. The Hungarian Minister of Human Resources Zoltán Balog visited Kurdistan for the inauguration.[34][35][36]

In December 2018, Hungarian broadcaster ATV Spirit and Kurdish broadcaster Rûdaw signed an agreement to cooperate and share information on the coverage of the region.[37]

See also


  1. "Consulate General of the Republic of Hungary". Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  2. "A successful Kurdistan is in Hungary's interest". 11 May 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  3. "President Barzani meets Hungary's leaders in Budapest". Kurdistan Regional Government. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  4. "Barzanî çû Mecaristanê" (in Kurdish). 10 May 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  5. "Hungary greets Barzani, supports independence". Rudaw. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  6. "Shiite party 'concerned' at Hungary's support for Kurdish independence". Rudaw. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  7. "Kurdistan Hungarian military chief commander, ambassador highlight ongoing support to Peshmerga". Kurdistan24. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  8. "Hungarian Defence Minister arrives in Erbil to discuss ISIS war". Rudaw. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  9. "Ministry of Peshmerga: Opening ceremony of rock display symbolizing Kurdish-Hungarian Relations". Ministry of Peshmerga. 17 December 2018. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  10. "Magyarország és Kurdisztán közti kapcsolatok" (in Hungarian). Raouf Hallo. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  11. "East Europe". East Europe Publishing Company. 10: 15. 1961. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  12. Csaba Békés, László J. Nagy & Dániel Vékony (5 November 2015). "Bittersweet Friendships: Relations between Hungary and the Middle East, 1953–1988". Wilson Center. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  13. Zsigmond Kázmér (22 May 1987). "May 22, 1987 - Report of the Hungarian Ambassador in Iran on recent developments of the Iraq–Iran war". Wilson Center. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  14. Zoltán Pereszlényi (4 October 1987). "October 04, 1987 - Report of the Hungarian Embassy in Iraq on the characteristics of the activity of the opposition forces in Iraq and the reaction of the Iraqi leadership". Wilson Center. Retrieved 2 April 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. "Az iraki Kurdisztáni Régió elnökének magyarországi látogatása". Kormany (in Hungarian). 2 April 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  16. "Kurdistan and Hungary Seek to Strengthen Relations". Kurdistan Regional Government. 16 November 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  17. "Hungarian Deputy State Secretary visits Kurdistan". Department of Foreign Relations. 1 April 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  18. "Hungary Opens Consulate General in Iraqi Kurdistan". DailyNews Hungary. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  19. "MOL Opens its Regional Office in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq". Molgroup. 29 June 2014. Archived from the original on 4 January 2019. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  20. "Hungary deal boosts outlook for direct Kurdish oil sales". Rudaw. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  21. "Hungary's MOL Group Expands Investment In Iraq's Kurdistan Region". Hungary Today. 12 January 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  22. "Hungary Defence Official Meets Washington Officials". DailyNews Hungary. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  23. "Hungarian mission in the fight against ISIS: Fidesz needed the help of the opposition". Hungarian Spectrum. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  24. "Hungary sends special forces to Kurdistan Region". Kurdpress. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  25. "Magyarok az Iszlám Állam ellen". vá (in Hungarian). 30 September 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  26. "Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó proposes USD 300 million aid for Iraqi Kurdistan". 7 October 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  27. "Hungary to increase military assistance to Peshmerga". Kurdistan24. 10 May 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  28. "758 wounded Peshmerga receive treatment abroad: Ministry". Kurdistan24. 15 March 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  29. "Peshmerga seeking support in visit to Hungary". Kurdistan24. 18 November 2018. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  30. "Kurdish poetry anthology published in Hungarian". Daily News Hungary. 24 February 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  31. "Ösztöndíjak várják a magyar hallgatókat Kurdisztánban". 8 January 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  32. Tamás Székely (13 November 2013). "Hungarian Archeologists To Explore Kurdish Castle". Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  33. Attila KirályGábor KallaGábor Kalla, Kristóf Fülöp, Kristóf Fülöp. "ELTE Hungarian Archaeological Mission at Grd-i Tle (Iraqi Kurdistan)". Research Gate. Retrieved 10 May 2019. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  34. "Extending aid to persecuted Christians, Hungary funds Syrian hospitals". Crux. 26 January 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  35. "New school for displaced children opened by Hungary, Chaldean Church". Kurdistan24. 6 March 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  36. "Hungarian minister stresses education during Kurdistan visit". Rûdaw. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  37. "Hungarian broadcaster expands coverage to Middle East through Rudaw". Rûdaw. Retrieved 11 May 2019.


  1. While Kurdistan Region refers to the autonomous Kurdish region in Northern Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan is a geographical term referring to the Kurdish area of Iraq. They are therefore not identical, though most of Iraqi Kurdistan is incorporated in Kurdistan Region.

Further reading