CARACAS, Venezuela – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has praised the Venezuelan Socialist leader in crisis on Monday as the political and economic ties between the two countries develop.
Erdogan took the stage with President Nicolas Maduro during the first visit of a Turkish leader to Venezuela. He stopped in Caracas after attending the Group of 20 summit in Argentina.
The Turkish president said the Venezuelan government had been unjustly struck by the international sanctions imposed by the economic crisis, punishing an entire nation.
The United States and several European countries have sanctioned the administration of Maduro with the aim of putting pressure on Venezuela to return to democracy.
Erdogan promised to offer help to Venezuela and he congratulated Maduro, opposing the Venezuelan to other world leaders who, he said, espouse feelings of division.
"I think that Mr. Maduro's exemplary attitude is very valuable at a time when hostility to Islam has increased and where Western countries are stirring up hostility towards foreigners, "said Erdogan.
According to statistics from the Turkish Statistical Institute, during the first nine months of the year, Turkey bought for 900 million dollars of gold extracted in Venezuela, revenues which made it possible to replace the oil revenues in lowering of the government.
This marks a dramatic increase in trade between the two countries, which totaled only $ 84 million in 2016, officials said.
Maduro said the two countries would rely on economic and diplomatic foundations to sign more agreements during Erdogan's visit.
Earlier this year, Maduro had sparked criticism during a stopover in Turkey, when he had dined at an exclusive grill in Istanbul.
The video clips on social media virulently showed Maduro eating meat, smoking a cigar and posing for photos with the restaurant's flamboyant chef while the people at home were battling a widespread food shortage.
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