Maduro, Erdogan wish each other luck before respective elections

The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaks at Chatham House in central London, Britain May 14, 2018. — Reuters pic
The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaks at Chatham House in central London, Britain May 14, 2018. — Reuters pic

CARACAS, May 18 — Days before facing a controversial re-election in Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro broadcast a teleconference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on state television yesterday.

Maduro, increasingly isolated, seemed to want to show that he still has allies in the world.

The broadcast, which lasted more than half-an-hour, involved vague talk about a free trade agreement and greater cooperation but was mostly an attempted show of force for Maduro who despite overseeing a historic economic collapse, is on the verge of re-election thanks to slanted rules in his favor, an opposition boycott and overall fatigue among voters.

Maduro said the May 20 presidential election will offer the world “a lesson in democracy.”

Erdogan, who will stand in elections on June 24, said “I have faith that you will be victorious.”

In the past year, Maduro has sent Venezuelan officials to Turkey seeking financing as the government struggles to rein in hyperinflation and recover plummeting oil production. Finance Minister Simon Zerpa, who has led the Turkish delegations and has made similar trips to China and Russia, sat to Maduro’s right during the call.

“Venezuela is completely open for all investments from Turkey,” Maduro said.

Given the distance and lack of obvious complimentary economic benefits, politics seemed more at the core of the broadcast. — Bloomberg

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