Szabolcs Kerék-Bárczy’s open letter to American-Hungarian leaders

Today I would like to share a letter written by Szabolcs Kerék-Bárczy and addressed to three American-Hungarians active in Hungarian affairs–Maximilian Teleki, Frank Koszorús, Jr., and Eugene Megyesy.

Szabolcs Kerék-Bárczy began his career as secretary to Prime Minister József Antall’s chief-of-staff. During the socialist-liberal government of Gyula Horn he attended Harvard University and received his master’s degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government. After Viktor Orbán won the election in 1998 he returned to the prime minister’s office as chief-of-staff of István Stumpf, the minister in charge of the office. Between 1999 and 2001 he was adviser to the foreign ministry. Between 2001 and 2004 he served as Hungarian consul in Los Angeles. Later he served in various capacities in the Ibolya Dávid-led MDF until 2010. He describes himself as a liberal conservative. Currently he is a member of the presidium of the Democratic Coalition (Demokratikus Koalíció).

Szabolcs Kerék-Bárczy

Szabolcs Kerék-Bárczy

Maximilian Teleki is the president of the Hungarian American Coalition, which describes itself as a politically independent group standing up for Hungarian interests in the United States. In fact, the Coalition is closely associated with the Hungarian right and with defenders of Viktor Orbán and his policies. The same can be said about The American Hungarian Federation, whose president is Frank Koszorús, Jr. Koszorús just received high honors from the Orbán government. The third recipient is Eugene Megyesy, an environmental lawyer who used to be associated with the Colorado law firm Dufford and Brown. Formerly he was honorary general consul of Hungary in the region. Currently he is an adviser to Viktor Orbán.

It was only yesterday that Teleki, who by the way does not speak Hungarian, defended Viktor Orbán and questioned the United States’s right to criticize “democratic developments” in other countries. And, he continued: “Can our wisdom override the will of the people?” He is deeply ashamed of the superficiality of American politics and media when it comes to judging Orbán’s Hungary. He is deeply disappointed, and his trust in “our leaders has been shaken.”

Judging from Maximilian Teleki’s reaction, I doubt that he or any of his fellow American-Hungarians will take to heart Szabolcs Kerék-Bárczy’s request “to live up to the democratic heritage you cherish in America.” 

* * *

Mr. Maximilian Teleki
President
Hungarian American Coalition

Mr. Frank Koszorús, Jr.
President
The American Hungarian Federation

Mr. Eugene Megyesy
Senior Advisor to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
Former Honorary Consul General of Hungary in Colorado

 

Budapest, December 4, 2014

Dear Messrs. Presidents,
Dear Max, Frank and Gene,

As you are aware several senior Hungarian individuals have recently been banned from the USA by the application of Presidential Proclamation 7750. This is an absolutely shocking and unprecedented action within the transatlantic community because it means that a) the US government considers persons close to the Hungarian government a direct threat to US national security and b) the US administration supposes that these individuals would not be persecuted for their alleged unlawful activity in Hungary. By this the US government says nothing less than Hungary is not a democracy because in a democracy illegal activities are investigated and punished.

The application of PP 7750 was preceded by other worrying events. Formerly President Obama stated that “from Hungary to Egypt, endless regulations and overt intimidation increasingly target civil society”. President Bill Clinton was even more straightforward when he said in the US Daily Show that Mr. Orbán was an admirer of “authoritarian capitalism” and never wanted to leave power. “Usually those guys just want to stay forever and make money” he added. This week Senator John McCain called Mr. Orbán “a neo-fascist” leader and he also stated: “Prime Minister Orban has justified his actions by calling for a new state model based on ‘illiberal democracy,’ but his vision defies the core values of the European Union and NATO. Please note that nobody attacks Hungary or the Hungarian people, only certain concrete actions of the Hungarian government! While one may consider the plentiful critical and even harsh journalistic statements that have appeared in the international media partial or exaggerating, similar statements by senior US officials must be taken seriously. Because all of us are sure that US presidents, the secretary of state and congressmen are interested in nothing else but the stability of the transatlantic alliance, the spread of liberal democracy and the prosperity of our community.

If all of this is true we must seriously analyze the facts that led our American friends arrive to the above mentioned conclusions. These facts have been published widely in the past four years. For example, Secretary Hillary Clinton referred to these some time ago and several official documents reflect US concerns. The US administration has always been consistent: they observed problems, consulted with relevant Hungarian authorities and officials, made statements when repeated consultations did not produce results and then acted. The US concerns regarding the measures of the Hungarian government (e.g. the slow abolishment of checks and balances, curtailment of the freedom of press and civil liberties, structural corruption, fight against free market economy etc.) naturally result in actions. Responding to these concerns the Hungarian government has always been cynical and aggressive and no progress has been made in order to improve democratic processes and transparency in the country. In fact, from a democratic point of view, the situation in Hungary has deteriorated dramatically in the past few years.

Dear Friends,

Knowing you for ages and being aware of your commitment to liberal democratic values, I ask you where you stand on these concrete issues? This is time to be explicit and no dubious speech is accepted. You have helped the opposition of the dictatorship before 1990 and contributed significantly to the democratic changes twenty-five years ago. I am sure we share the same values and that is why I am very concerned that you are silent about the Orbán government’s activities. A lot of people call you friends of Hungary and they wait for you to speak up for everything Viktor Orbán and Fidesz is fighting against: freedom of speech, religion, enterprise, and transatlantic principles. We Hungarian democrats and proud patriots want to get ever closer to the West where our sovereignty can be complete: we know that there is no alternative for us to the EU and NATO and anybody who challenges these organizations is against both Hungarian and US interests. We also want to live in a regulated but free market economy that is based upon stability, security and trust, the rule of law, the respect of private property and equal opportunities. We refuse any discrimination among persons because we believe in the unquestionable respect of human dignity.

I respectfully ask you to live up to the democratic heritage you cherish in America, your Hungarian roots as well as your distinguished and well applauded accomplishments in the Hungarian-American community. Please, make clear that your friends are Hungarian democrats no matter what party they represent, if at all, and your foes are those, regardless of their party affiliations, who tear down the firm wall between democracy and dictatorship. Let us join forces and make a common statement in which we 1) confirm our commitment to liberal democracy, free market economy and our transatlantic community, and 2) condemn any attempts that weaken or demolish these ideals: our common ideals we have been fighting for on both sides of the Atlantic.

I look forward to your response.

With kind regards,

Szabolcs Kerék-Bárczy
Member of the Presidium of Democratic Coalition

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Member

“By this the US government says nothing less than Hungary is not a democracy because in a democracy illegal activities are investigated and punished.”

Duh!

This is like the lawyer who objects the prosecutor for depicting his client as a criminal. That is the whole idea, Mr. Kerek-Barczy. That’s the whole idea.

Also not only the US government. Almost everybody on this blog and thousands on the streets of Hungary. When Ildiko Vida is in charge of investigating her own criminal activities as the head of the Hungarian IRS. That is not democracy.

Member

Dear Eva, I am not sure when the letter was written, but the Fidesz mouthpiece Magyar already published an “article” from Teleky
http://mno.hu/kulfold/teleki-ez-a-szemellenzos-magatartas-art-amerikanak-1261983
I think where he stands is very clear. Where MN stands is also clear. THey support those who steal form Hungary,who mislead Hungarians, who distribute anything that left in Hungary to their friends, and those are not the USA and EU, but Orban and his friends.

göllnerandrás
Guest

Bravo ! The critical silence in the face of the mounting evidence of Orbánist wrong doings, the uncritical embrace of Orbán’s corrupt, anti-democratic wheelings and dealings by all the people addressed in Kerék-Bárczy’s letter has been deafening for the past decade and a half. Time’s up gentlemen ! Sitting on the fence and branding all of Orban’s critics as traitors is no longer tenable. Wake up please and smell the roses 🙂

buddy
Guest
A bit OT, sorry, but since you mentioned Eugene Megyesy I really have to tell a funny story about him: When I moved to Denver, I actually called up Mr. Megyesy’s office since I was curious what he did as the local honorary counsel there. It turned out that the number to contact him was his law office, located in Downtown Denver. His secretary told me that, no, she wouldn’t connect me to him because “he really doesn’t do much as the counsel.” I swear to God, those were her exact words. So I was puzzled, why would he have this title if he doesn’t do anything? Vanity? Well, as it turns out my bank was located right next to his office: https://www.google.hu/maps/@39.7440433,-104.9873978,3a,75y,103.74h,85.61t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1snHrdoCHVDu13s3aZPOLZEQ!2e0?hl=en Megyesy’s office was the office building on the right. Now here’s a StreetView closeup of that lamppost on the left: https://www.google.hu/maps/@39.7441332,-104.9873992,3a,15y,96.37h,87.87t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sMElwhv_ZypcSfvaCrgQpGA!2e0!6m1!1e1?hl=en The sign on it says: Hungarian Consulate Parking Only So Mr. Megyesy took the role of Honorary Consulate, did nothing, and got free parking in Downtown Denver right in front of his office building. Not a bad gig! I should add that I got to know many of the Hungarians in the area through their cultural… Read more »
Owl
Guest

I have had the chance to meet Mr. Megyesy not so long ago in his office. The sign on his door read Miniszterelnöki Főtanácsadó – Chief Advisor to the Prime Minister, which kind of prepared me for what I was to hear inside. Mr. Megyesy lectured me on how great things were in Hungary. On how unjustified the “attacks” and critiques of the past four years have been. Within seconds I understood that the man was enamored with Viktor Orbán. Mr. Orbán is his infallible leader, kind of a Führer (or, to paraphrase Mr. McCain, a Duce). Nothing will change his adoration for Mr. Orbán, for the regime, for the cause.

I don’t even understand why Mr. Kerék-Bárczy bothered to include Mr. Megyesy among the addressees of his letter (I don’t know the other two gentlemen but as leaders of the Hungarian expat community in the US I sort of understand why the letter was addressed to them). What exactly did he had in mind, why should Mr. Megyesy react on this, what kind of a reaction does he expect?

People in Mr. Orbán’s entourage don’t think. They believe.

Istvan
Guest
I have to say for Mr Teleki to call Senator McCain’s comments on the Senate floor “arrogant” seems incrediable to me. For Mr Teleki a leader of a small organization whose constituent member organizations recieve cultural grants from PM Orban’s government to call an elected member of the United States Senate and a decorated war hero arrogant for defending the interests of our nation is to say the least presumptuous. I do think every American has a right to question the foreign policy positions of our elected officals, but to buy into Putin’s argument that our country is attempting to undermine the democratically elected government of Hungary as the article discussing Teleki’s thinking appears to do is an entire different thing altogether. Teleki owes the thousands of patriotic American Hungarians a clarification of his thinking and not his comments through Orban’s mouth pieces. The United States of America and NATO are in a major conflict with Russia over that nation’s seizure of Ukainian territory in violation of all established international law. Now Orban’s government is undermining the unity of the west in this struggle. Does Teleki stand with his own nation in this conflict? Because if he does he surely… Read more »
buddy
Guest

@Eva “He is another great Hungarian from the DC area”

My God, that guy is a total lunatic! It actually reads like comedy.

Hard to pick out a favorite passage from this insane rambling, but I think the best part was when he insinuated that McCain is in big, big trouble unless he starts apologizing right away!

Member

The Hungarian America Coalition that Teleki is the President of coincidentally received almost $1,000,000 revenue in 2010. That amount was almost double then in any previous years. Take a look on their financial sand draw your own conclusion: http://www.faqs.org/tax-exempt/DC/Hungarian-American-Coalition.html#balanceSheet
http://www.guidestar.org/organizations/52-1768656/hungarian-american-coalition.aspx#forms-docs

Member

Oops! I apologize. I totally missed it. Kerek-Barczy is one of the good guys. Oh, well. I should stop reading HS on my phone while walking my dog in the rain. It’s an addiction.

About Koszorus. Does his law firm still recieve significant business from the Orban government?

The third article Eva quoted is by Mr Topolanczy. Now he is the real Fidesz Rambo! This guy reguraliry pollutes every mailing lists in his way. I remember him posting something on the Unicum list in the DC area about Charles Gati, something like “these people are not representing Hungary’s interest”. He is such a trooper. Funny how he signed that article: “former GS-13 government employee” (the GS scale is a paygrade scale).

Interesting that many of these turul troopers actually worked for the us government. I think Mr Zoltani, who frequently posts here praising Orban also worked for Uncle Sam. I don’t care, I just find it funny. Kerek-Barczy is trying to appeal to the commintment to the democratic values. What is that actually?

Mrozek
Guest

“Dear Friends, Knowing you for ages and being aware of your commitment to liberal democratic values, I ask you where you stand on these concrete issues?”… I cannot believe that Kerék-Bárczy calls them “friend” and assumes “liberal democratic” calues. His letter shows that he and his party are totally disoriented.. Koszorus is a Republican hack, Teleki is a paid by Orbán & Co. It is hard to believe but Teleki supported John Kerry long time ago… these guys are small scale operators with absolutely no real influence in Washington.

Member

In October Koszorus wrote a letter to Obama (they are reguraliry correspond with the White House trash can) and tried to explain the president that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way the Hungarian government is handling the Norwegian fund backed NGOs.

Joseph Novak
Guest

These Gentlemen do not represent the American Hungarian community. Their organizations are better known in Hungary than here, in the United States. Mr. Teleki’s group, financially supported (kept alive) by the Orban regime, is a paid mouth-piece.Galas in Washington, a very poor web presence and the Diaszpóra Tanács in Budapest aside, their influence in null. On the other hand, Mr. Kerék-Bárczy’s letter should serve as a wake-up call to the other, active American Hungarian organizations, especially to our churches. For these so-called Christian Right politicians, in light of their actions are, neither Christian, nor right.

o'magyar
Guest

The Hungarian Coalition is hopelessly blind, anti-democratic, and preoccupied by communist ghosts.

Geza Kmetty
Guest
I am a refugee from Hungary. I live the American Dream in Arizona. Never heard of the above mentioned gentlemen, promoting and defending the current political anomaly, or animal, called Prime Minister of Hungary, Orban Viktor, and his 40 thieves. (Ali Baba es a 40 Rablo). I was involved in the ’56 revolution as a 17 year old high school student. I was there where all the historic events took place.I heard Nagy Imre’s speech. I heard Sinkovics’s reciting the Szozat at the Kossuth Lajos ter…I loved being there, and I loved and proud of being a Hungarian…again, after years of pretending to be a good Communist Pioneer….I left because the Russian Tanks supported Kadar Janos would have put me in jail until I was 19, then would have hung me on a rope with the rest of us Pesti Sracok !!! As a dual USA-Hungarian citizen, I live part of the time in Budapest. I speak fluent Hungarian, I vote there and in the US also and keep in touch with intelligent patriotic Hungarians there personally. I know what is going on within available media and personal contact sources. The idea, that my Arizona Senator McCain’s comments about a… Read more »
poniklo
Guest

It’s common knowledge that Mr. Megyesy is Orban’s trusted advisor on all matters American. Why, one wonders when he has nothing to offer whatsoever?

Mr. Topolanszky, don’t even get me started. For at least 15 years, since he was fired from the State Department he hasn’t been doing anything at all (though lately he was supposed to work for Nézőpont, the other fidesznik ‘think tank’ besides Századvég), so he must be pretty happy that an online medium solicited his views on anything. (Comparing McCain to Gyurcsany? How clueless can one be?)

Mr. Teleki: his CV is a joke too. No wonder he is loyal to Orban. He has zero experience with which he could get a normal private job, he is entirely dependent on Orban and he is useful only as long as he supports Orban wholeheartedly.

Based on what they wrote, these people are hairraisingly ignorant and dumb.

Whether or not these people are US citizens is irrelevant, they are foremost Orban loyal people. They need to be, they can’t keep up appearances and (economic) status without the Orban government.

Guest

I really had to laugh aloud reading Topolansky’s wisdom …

Poor Hungary! If you follow Topolansky’s “logic” the whole US has turned against Hungary:

Not only Obama and Mrs Clinton, now even the Republicans – why might that be?

Could it be that Orbán is doing something wrong – of course not! The little duce is infallible …

Guest

Eva, obviously o’magyar means the The American Hungarian Coalition !

Guest

” it reminds everyone of “Russia Today”

Yes, that was the first thought that came to my mind – it’s so funny! Maybe the people responsible thought it might be a good parallel – because everybody knows that RT is the most objective news source available (end of sarcasm …)!

PS:

Sometimes I really miss the opportunity here to use a smiley 😀

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

Good to read Postings of Mr. Kmetty and other Hungarians who have no illusion about the postcommunist maffiastate. Whenever I lecture about Hungary, I start with the remark that I am against sweeping judgments and that Orbán and his ilk are not the same as Hungary or the Hungarian people.

Guest

Wow! It works! 😉
Should we try all of them?

o'magyar
Guest

I am underscoring the words of Karl Pfeifer.

Geza Kmetty is absolutely right.

We all need a free Hungary that is proud of its 1956 Pesti Sracok!

Geza Kmetty’ ideals must be adopted by all decent Hungarians.

McCain will go down in Hungarian history, as one of our best friends.

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