We are brothers: Maduro and Erdogan toast friendship with deals

  • We are brothers: Maduro and Erdogan toast friendship with deals

We are brothers: Maduro and Erdogan toast friendship with deals

The Venezuelan government has been facing a series of USA embargoes targeting its economy and the country's officials since 2014, under the pretext of alleged human rights abuses and threats to United States national security.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro conferred the country's highest distinction, the Order of the Liberator, on his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the event, local media reported.

"Political problems can not be resolved by punishing an entire nation", Erdogan said, with Maduro by his side at a forum attended by business people from both countries.

He also reaffirmed Turkey's commitment to continue buying Venezuelan gold, which was targeted by the latest round of US sanctions. In response, Erdogan said he was willing to strengthen trade ties.

The president also said Venezuela had handed over two schools affiliated with the FETÖ - the group behind the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey - to a Turkish education body.

Erdoğan and Maduro will hold bilateral meetings and later the leaders will hold a joint news conference after signing several deals.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro insists that national gold exports should continue despite sweeping U.S. sanctions targeting the industry.

He underlined his confidence that Turkish investors would "act on the interests of both countries", praising the "beautiful" buildings erected in the South America country by Turkish firms.

Ankara also helps Venezuela to avoid some of the constraints of United States sanctions.

Despite efforts by the west to crack down on the Maduro regime, Turkey has imported over $900 million in gold this year in support of Venezuela.

Maduro has repeatedly blamed a US-led economic war for the crisis, saying Washington is plotting to topple his government. Ties between Turkey and the United States, two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, have also been strained.

The European Union has also slapped sanctions on Venezuela over alleged rights abuses and irregularities in the re-election of Maduro.

Maduro also wrote on his official Twitter page that he was headed to an "important work meeting" with Putin.