We know by now that Brenton Tarrant was an avid traveler; he even paid a visit to North Korea. He was seen in Pakistan and apparently visited Turkey several times. It was Paris, however, that made the greatest impression on him; it was here that he became convinced that the “Great Replacement” was already a reality in some parts of Europe.
Surprisingly, Bulgarian authorities were the first to provide official information about his travels. They know that he was in the country between November 9 and November 15, 2018, allegedly “to visit historical sites and study the history of the Balkan countries.” The Bulgarians are now investigating whether Tarrant really wanted to enlarge his historical knowledge or whether he had some other agenda. I suspect that he was telling the truth because it looks as if he must have studied the history of the Balkans and East-Central Europe fairly thoroughly before he embarked on his journey. He was fixated on Turkish rule over the area, and Bulgaria happened to be one of the first countries to fall to the Ottomans, in the fourteenth century. Moreover, Turkish rule lasted there until 1878. A similar consideration must have figured in his travel plans when he flew to Bucharest and then went by car to Hungary. Transylvania was a semi-independent state under the Ottoman Empire, while the central areas of today’s Hungary fell under Ottoman rule after 1526.
It should be noted that TEK (Terrorelhárítási Központ), known as Orbán’s private army, announced that they are cooperating with the services of all countries involved, including Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Croatia, where Tarrant spent time in December 2016.
Tarrant was taken with those Serbian, Romanian, and Hungarian historical figures who were in some way involved in the struggle against the Ottoman invaders. One of the most important of these men was János Hunyadi (born circa 1407 in Cluj-Kolozsvár), a nobleman of most likely Romanian origin from Wallachia. Tarrant was obviously a great admirer of the hero of the Battle of Belgrade (1456) because his name appears among the historical figures, events, and dates the accused white terrorist wrote on his weapons. The battle led by Hunyadi had major consequences for Europe. The Ottoman forces were on the march after they had taken Constantinople three years earlier, and Christian Europe was duly alarmed. But, with the Battle of Belgrade, their advance westward was significantly delayed.
The Battle of Belgrade is a focal point for Viktor Orbán as well. “The national government” declared July 22, the date of the battle, “a day of significant importance” and last year celebrated it with great fanfare. The keynote speaker, Szilárd Németh, said that “we are in need of the kind of heroism that was exhibited by the men who fought in the battle of Nándorfehérvár,” the Hungarian name for Belgrade at the time. And Viktor Orbán often talks about Hunyadi, who “always moved the border southwards. He said that we must come to agreements with the countries south of us, and together we must defend territories north of that border–including Hungary—against the threat from the South.” Or, as he put it in his state-of-the-nation speech in 2016, “we are giving personnel, border guards, technical hardware and equipment to the Balkan countries because they are the ones who in reality are defending Europe’s border. And while they are resisting, we will also be able to defend our own borders more easily. We have known this since the time of Hunyadi.” One has the feeling that, in this case, Orbán actually took the trouble to learn something about Hunyadi as a strategist. He sees himself as a 21st-century reincarnation of János Hunyadi.
Another Hungarian historical figure who captured Tarrant’s imagination was Mihály Székely (1400-1460), the brother-in-law of János Hunyadi, who was the captain of the Belgrade fortress during the Ottoman siege in 1456. After János Hunyadi’s son Matthias became king of Hungary, he was named governor of Transylvania and in that capacity kept fighting against the Ottoman forces. During one of those encounters, he was captured by the Turks and taken to Constantinople, where he was beheaded.
Holy Roman Emperor and Hungarian King Sigismund of Luxemburg (1368-1437) also made it, not because of his military successes against the Turks but most likely because he organized effective defensive points, hoping to keep the Ottomans out of Europe. The fortress of Belgrade was one of these.
Finally, one can find a Hungarian place name: “Vác 1684.” After the Ottomans tried to occupy Vienna in 1683, the western forces under Prince Charles V of Lorraine (1643-1690), an Austrian general and field marshal of the imperial army, took the town of Vác in 1684. It is somewhat surprising that Tarrant chose Vác because Charles’s reoccupation of Buda and the second battle of Mohács are a great deal more noteworthy in military terms.
And now let us return to the present and take a look at what Zsolt Bayer had to say about the terror attack on Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand. After the obligatory condolences, Bayer wrote that he “cannot escape the thought that this whole thing didn’t happen by accident.” The terror attack reminds him of a “well organized secret service action.” Why? First of all, the name of the place. “This name will be seared into people’s minds: Christ, Christian, church, terror, 50 dead and all are Muslims.” There is another problem, which is its timing. The people of the European Union will be voting in the parliamentary elections in May. Since 2015 the number of terrorist acts has grown; the newly arrived migrants’ integration is nowhere; the migrants commit sexual crimes and oppress their women. In brief, “Europe is afraid and is outraged. It is tired of the horde and the mobs, the dirt, the filth, the ghettos and the no-go zones.” Consequently, “the anti-immigration political forces which support the aspirations of nation states … and anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe are becoming stronger and stronger and then Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian fitness trainer arrives, leaving behind 49 Muslim dead in Christchurch. And he also does the ‘favor’ of putting an 80-page declaration on the internet, justifying his actions, explaining his views and reasons for his actions—and see, a miracle! There is everything in these 80 pages that can be brought up and taken apart for the next two and a half months.” In brief, this is not a good advertisement for the far right, either in the United States or in Europe, and therefore I understand Bayer’s despair.
Evidently there are other suspicious details of this story as far as Bayer is concerned. How could the authorities find out so fast that Tarrant had visited Hungary? He hasn’t even been questioned and already they know that he visited Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary, three countries that built fences to keep out the refugees. The photos taken of the weapons are also suspect in his opinion because “normally” this is not done. The New Zealand authorities’ release of the culprit’s name, nationality, and ethnic origin are equally worrisome because, again, “this is not done,” I assume in Europe. However, the crime was committed in New Zealand, where the privacy laws are less stringent. And the photos also bother him greatly because the names of Hunyadi and Szilágyi can be seen on them. “This way you can explain that the present-day anti-Muslim sentiments [of Hungarians] originate in the past. How can anyone from here on talk about Hunyadi when a murderous animal put his name on his weapons?”
Bayer predicts that “in the next few weeks European bigwigs will talk endlessly about Islamophobia and anti-immigration leading to Christchurch.” Furthermore, he will not be surprised if the police find connections between Tarrant and other like-minded people, especially in Hungary. It is also possible that “within a few days, the vigilant police, while searching among Tarrant’s belongings, will discover an English translation of one of Viktor Orbán’s speeches.” That indeed would be very bad for one of the propagators of the Great Replacement conspiracy theory.
I doubt that Bayer believes that the horror in Christchurch was a set-up. But he might honestly worry that the events in New Zealand could influence public opinion in Europe. It is possible that some people will think twice before they vote for a far-right party that espouses the very ideology that can be found in Tarrant’s manifesto. And yes, Bayer might be right: many people may well discover that Viktor Orbán’s hateful message can lead to the kind of massacre that happened in Christchurch.
Source: Hungarian Spectrum