Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blasted the economic sanctions imposed against Venezuela, vowing efforts to strengthen bilateral trade ties amid the two countries’ tense relations with the United States.
“We do not approve of these measures that ignore the rules of global trade,” Erdogan said at 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 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.