Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Monday said in Caracas that his country could cover most of Venezuela's financial needs and the government of President Nicolás Maduro invited him to boost new Turkish investments in areas such as gold mining and tourism. The main item between the two countries is gold marketing.
We have this strength, we have this opportunity, said Erdogan through an after a meeting with Maduro and many local businessmen.
During another press conference later Monday, Maduro downplayed allegations from Washington that this sort of trade was illegal.
Venezuela and Turkey have a transparent economic relationship of which gold is a component, said Erdogan. We will continue to trade, sell gold with the transparency and legality of our two countries [and] Venezuela produces what it has the right to sell it in the world, he added.
US officials claim Maduro illegally exported 21 tonnes of gold to Turkey to avoid sanctions bd in an attempt to rescue a shabby economy that was once supported by its huge oil revenues.
In the framework of Erdogan's visit, Venezuela and Turkey signed a series of cooperation agreements on energy, mining, and commercial and maritime transport.
One of the agreements formalizes cooperation between the state-owned oil companies Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) and the Turkish Petroleum International Company, in addition to an agreement to avoid double taxation and tax evasion.
The Turkish leader also condemned the economic sanctions that Maduro faces since 2017. Trade restrictions and unilateral sanctions do not seem right to us, Erdogan said. It is a very wrong thing to do. These attempts will further deepen instability ... You can not punish a whole people to resolve political disagreements, he explained.
The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on the Venezuelan régime and more than 50 of its officials for alleged acts of corruption and human rights violations.
Maduro said there was an interest on the Turkish part in joint investments of over 4.5 billion euros. Trade between the two countries reached 800 million dollars in 2017, officials said.
The government of Maduro signed in 2016 a series of agreements with foreign companies to carry out a large state mining project known as the Orinoco Mining Arc” for the extraction of gold, diamonds and coltan, among other minerals.
Venezuela, overwhelmed by hyperinflation, a severe shortage of commodities and a strong recession, has reportedly exported around $ 700 million worth of gold to Turkey.