But the cancer of authoritarianism within NATO is not confined to Turkey. At least two other members, Hungary and Poland, are also exhibiting worrisome symptoms. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has made a reputation as a leader vehemently opposed to immigrants coming into his country. His views are so extreme that critics within the European Union brand them as xenophobic.
But it is Orban’s treatment of domestic political opponents that has set off even louder alarm bells. His government has conducted a crackdown on human rights groups that is not far removed from the behavior of Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia. Over the past few years, harassment of media outlets, civil organizations and other critics of Orban’s rule has steadily grown. In rhetoric reminiscent of Putin, Orban asserts that such groups are “paid political activists attempting to assert foreign interests in Hungary.” The prime minister now even touts the alleged virtues of autocracy, citing China, Russia, Singapore, and Turkey, as models of successful countries that Hungary should consider emulating.
Budapest’s authoritarian drift, combined with the government’s growing foreign policy flirtation with Russia has alarmed not only officials in other NATO countries but pro‐Western elements in Hungary itself. Such concerns were evident in February 2015 when thousands of demonstrators poured into the streets of Budapest to protest Orban’s policies and urge visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel not to accord his regime any deference.