ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that his country does not support any external interventions in South America, speaking after meeting with Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro and Erdogan oversaw the signing of five agreements for cooperation on air travel, tourism, culture, agriculture, and international crime. They discussed ways to deepen economic and energy ties and explored opportunities for military industry cooperation, the Turkish leader said.
Maduro’s visit to Turkey, the first by a Venezuelan head of state, comes amid stringent U.S. sanctions on the South American nation and a deepening political crisis in Venezuela as the country struggles with triple-digit inflation and widespread shortages.
In August, U.S. President Donald Trump said he wouldn’t rule out military action against Venezuela in response to the country’s descent into political chaos.
“I believe there is no force above that of the will of the people and we think that most of the time, foreign interventions deepen the problems,” Erdogan said, with Maduro standing by his side.
He added that he hoped to see Venezuela’s “difficult period” end as soon as possible, with “ease, dialogue and compromise.”
Maduro said he hoped to open a “new era” in relations with Turkey, and welcomed plans for the expansion of direct flights between Istanbul and Caracas.
At the request of Maduro, Turkey will also construct a mosque in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, as well as a cultural center, Erdogan said.
Maduro’s visit follows a tour to Russia and to Belarus, where he discussed expanding military ties with the ex-Soviet nation.