'Turkey determined to enhance ties with Venezuela'

Venezuela's Maduro in Moscow seeking financial help

Erdogan defies Trump, calls Maduro Bolivar

Maduro has become increasingly isolated in the world under growing sanctions led by the USA and the European Union which accuse him of undermining democratic institutions to hold onto power, while overseeing an economic and political crisis worse than the Great Depression. The main item between the two countries is gold marketing.

"You can not punish an entire people to resolve political disagreements", the Turkish leader said, according to an official translation of his speech to a business forum.

"Turkish investors will continue to develop and strengthen trade and the progress in oil production and refineries, petrochemicals for gold production, in diamonds, coltan, iron aluminum and tourism", said the Venezuelan president.

Maduro expressed hopes that Erdoğan's visit would pave the way for a "new phase" in relations between the two countries.

"We do not interfere in the trade of the USA or other countries, nobody should interfere with our commercial and economic activities", he said, stressing that the South American country would continue to legally export its gold resources.

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

Without naming the United States, Maduro decried sanctions and said Venezuela had the right to sell gold.

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The US has accused Venezuela's government of violating human rights and triggering an economic meltdown.

Venezuela, overwhelmed by hyperinflation, a severe shortage of commodities and a strong recession, has reportedly exported around $ 700 million worth of gold to Turkey.

Maduro, who landed in Moscow Tuesday, is set to have talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin the following day.

Maduro responded by saying that his government has overcome the challenges it faced.

He also said Turkey plans to build a mosque in Caracas at Venezuela's request. Ties between Turkey and the United States, two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, have also been strained.

On his first official visit to Venezuela, the Turkish leader blasted sanctions imposed on Maduro and many of his top officials by the United States, with which his government also has tense relations.

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