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Why US needs to keep an eye on budding alliance between Turkey and Venezuela

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The budding alliance between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro should not be taken lightly by the US administration. Of late, Maduro took to Twitter to express that Venezuela’s ties with Turkey are getting stronger. He tweeted: “Our bilateral relations with our brothers in Turkey have strengthened even more, especially in the difficult times that humanity faces due to the outbreak of the Corona virus.”

Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited Caracas to sign agreement with the Venezuela to enhance ties between the two in the field of (culture, health, construction). His marked the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“No sanctions, or blockade, or any type of situation will stop us from continuing to deepen our fundamental relationship and especially our economic and commercial relationship,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said in a joint news conference with Cavusoglu.

Erdogan’s cozying up with Venezuelan dictator has not been recent. Maduro, who has been under sanctions from most of the nations, US being the foremost, was backed by Erdogan right from 2018 elections.

Right before the elections, in conversation broadcasted on Venezuelan state television, Erdogan told Maduro: “I have faith you will be triumphant.” Mr Maduro replied: “Venezuelans are going to give a lesson on democracy and liberty to the world on Sunday.”Venezuela’s socialist president might hold opposing views on Syrian conflict with respect to pro-Islamic Turkish leader, but the have lot in common to bond over.

Besides a shared authoritarian temperament and dislike for Western interventionism Maduro and Erdogan share a similar political bent of mind including blaming external forces for domestic economic crisis, skyrocketing inflation, bending and twisting democracy to suit autocratic goals, and showing complete disregard for human rights.

Turkey’s turning of Syrian immigrants into mercenaries to fight in Libya and Venezuela’s treatment for its own citizens as millions fled to US vouches for the two nations’ state of human rights

It was last year, when Erdogan openly joined Russia, China, Iran and Syria in defending Maduro, that Turkish-US relationship entered into a series of crisis. On one had where US, EU and most of the western nations supported Juan Guaido, who declared himself as Venezuela’s rightful leader and legitimate president; Erdogan sided with camp Maduro.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told media reporters that over a telephonic conversation Erdogan told Maduro, “My brother Maduro! Stand tall, we are at your side”. He added that Turkey rejected all “coup attempts”.

The ties between the two nations seem to be purely based on trade and dubious gold transactions (from Venezuela to Turkey) which Ankara right-away declines to share any details about. Last year, Turkey imported $900 million in gold from Venezuela in the first nine months of the year, Reuters reported.

The United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s gold trade last November to stop illegal shipping of gold from the South American to Turkey for refinement. Some US officials also raised concern that some of the gold might land in Iran, another violation of sanctions on Iran. Many analyst believe that this smuggling of gold would eventually aid terrorist groups in the region, leading to conflict and instability.

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