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  • Protesters gather in support of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in front of the Venezuelan Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, Feb. 1, 2019.

    Protesters gather in support of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in front of the Venezuelan Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, Feb. 1, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 February 2019

The Turkish foreign minister said Sunday that the support for presidential usurper Juan Guido by right-wing governments is fueling the crisis in Venezuela.

Turkey's foreign minister said Sunday countries that have recognized Venezuela's self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaido, were fueling Venezuela's troubles and punishing millions of its people.

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Turkey has backed Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in contrast with its NATO allies the United States and Canada, and several right-wing Latin American countries which have recognized Guaido's move to declare himself the interim leader.

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan, who has strengthened economic and political ties with Caracas, called Maduro last month to urge him to stand tall against what he described as "anti-democratic developments.”

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sunday the countries which were supporting Guaido should instead have worked for negotiations to resolve Venezuela's crisis.

"There is a problem in the country. There is a spark that can turn into a fire at any moment. In this case, they should have contributed to the solution of the problem through dialogue," Cavusoglu told reporters in Istanbul.

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"But is that how they handled things? No. On the contrary, the event was fueled from the outside. The people of Venezuela are being punished by such approach," he said.

Cavusoglu said Turkey had tried to initiate talks on Venezuela last year between Washington and Latin American countries. "But today, none of the countries that have taken these steps against Venezuela has sought dialogue."

Disagreement over Venezuela could become another serious point of friction between Washington and Ankara, who are also divided over policy in Syria, Iran sanctions andTurkey's plans to buy Russian missile defense system.

A senior U.S. official said last week Washington was looking at Turkey's commercial activities with Venezuela and would take action "if we assess a violation of our sanctions".

Turkish officials say Ankara's trade is in accordance with international laws and regulations.

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