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  • Turkey's President Erdogan and Bolivia's President Morales are seen during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Ankara.

    Turkey's President Erdogan and Bolivia's President Morales are seen during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Ankara. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 April 2019

Erdogan said he would be visiting Bolivia later this year along with a Turkish business delegation that would explore the mechanism of trade expansion.

President of Bolivia Evo Morales arrived Monday in the Turkish capital Ankara and met with his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a first-ever visit to Turkey by a sitting Bolivian president in an effort to strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations.

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Earlier Tuesday, the Bolivian leader paid tribute to founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Atatürk at his mausoleum in Ankara.

Evo Morales said that his country would be opening an embassy in Ankara within weeks. The two leaders also agreed on exponentially increase bilateral trade, since the current volume of US$113 million dollars per year, "is too small" and the new target is US$500 million per year, Erdogan said.

On his part, Morales highlighted the enormous potential offered by Bolivian lithium deposits, the largest in the world, in which Chinese and German companies already work, and noted that it " the presence of Turkish companies would be important."

"These are times of cooperation, we are not part of the walls that divide the peoples of the world, the time for the imperialist partition is over, peace will only be guaranteed if social justice and the dignity of peoples are respected," Evo Morales said.

Erdogan said he would be visiting Bolivia later this year along with a Turkish business delegation that would explore the mechanism of trade expansion.

But he also welcomed the fact that "they tell us that in the first quarter of 2020 the first direct flights from Turkey will arrive in Bolivia", in reference to the planned expansion of the Turkish flag company Turkish Airlines, which in recent years has opened routes to Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia and Panama.

Morales also thanked the donation of Turkish medical equipment for Bolivian hospitals and said that his country has "a great interest" in the "acquisition and transfer of defense material.”

Both presidents also stressed their agreement in positions on several issues of foreign policy, especially in support of the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela against U.S. interventionist policies backed by right-wing allies.

"Almost all governments (Latin American), whether left or right, reject military intervention in Venezuela despite their ideological differences, to designate presidents is like appointing a viceroy during colonial times," Morales said.

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