Erdogan slams sanctions against Caracas, vows stronger ties

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced sanctions against Venezuela vowing to boost ties with Caracas amid shared tensions with the United States.
Publish date : Tuesday 4 December 2018 12:31
Code: 382951
 
“We do not approve of these measures that ignore the rules of global trade,” Erdogan said the Turkey-Venezuela Business Forum alongside Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on Monday.

“Political problems cannot be resolved by punishing an entire nation,” said the Turkish head of state.

The Turkish president added that his “friend” Maduro was facing “manipulative attacks from certain countries and acts of sabotage from economic assassins,” in an apparent reference to the United States.

In the face of such threats, Ankara will work to enhance trade ties with Venezuela to help the Latin American state deal with its economic crisis, Erdogan said.

“There are solid ties in friendship and solidarity between our countries. We have strong potentials in our economic relations with Venezuela,” Erdogan said. “We are making efforts to diversify and deepen cooperation with Venezuela in every field through win-win understanding.”

He also praised Venezuela’s socialist leader, saying Maduro’s “exemplary attitude is very valuable at a time when enmity toward Islam has risen and Western countries are stoking hostility toward foreigners.”

During a joint press conference with Erdogan later on Monday, Maduro defended his country’s right to export gold after US sanctions last month targeted its shipments of the metal.

“It is very petty to try to use an illegal sanction to prevent Venezuela from selling its gold to the world,” he said.

Erdogan and Maduro signed a series of agreements in the areas of mining, commerce and oil.

Trade ties between Ankara and Caracas have been growing, with Turkish data showing the country imported $900 million in gold from Venezuela in the first nine months of the year.

In November, Washington imposed new restrictions against Venezuela targeting its gold exports.

The sanctions, which target US individuals and companies trading in Venezuelan gold, were announced by National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Caracas has made an effort to reduce dependence on US-led or -controlled financial institutions and instruments, including the dollar, and committed in September to trading in euros, yuan and “other convertible currencies” amid US restrictions.

The Venezuelan government has been facing a series of US embargoes targeting its economy and the country’s officials since 2014, under the pretext of alleged human rights abuses and threats to US national security.

Massive inflation and a shortage of basic commodities such as foodstuffs and medicine have forced an estimated 2.3 million Venezuelans to immigrate to other South American countries.

Maduro has repeatedly blamed a US-led economic war for the crisis, saying Washington is plotting to topple his government.

The European Union has also slapped sanctions on Venezuela over alleged rights abuses and irregularities in the re-election of Maduro.

Turkey, a NATO ally of the US, has been involved in its own trade row with Washington, among other disputes.
Washington imposed tariffs on Turkish imports earlier this year, prompting retaliatory measures from Ankara.

Following his talks with Erdogan, Maduro headed to Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, slated for Wednesday, according to the Kremlin.

Maduro also wrote on his official Twitter page that he was headed to an “important work meeting” with Putin.

KD
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