In Caracas, Erdogan slams sanctions on Venezuela

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Figures from the Turkish Statistical Institute say that in the first nine months of the year, Turkey bought $900 million in gold mined in Venezuela - revenue that has helped replace the government's crashing oil revenues.

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.

Maduro brought to the meeting his two most powerful Cabinet members: Hezbollah-linked Economic Minister (and former Vice President) Tareck El Aissami and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez.

Maduro contends he is the victim of an "economic war" led by US-backed adversaries.

"Whatever Venezuela produces, it has a right to sell in the world", Maduro said.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Nicholas Maduro expressed hopes that Erdogan's visit would pave the way for a "new phase" in relations between the two countries.

In November, Washington imposed new restrictions against Venezuela targeting its gold exports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin right greets his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro during their meeting at the Novo Ogaryovo residence outside
Russian President Vladimir Putin right greets his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro during their meeting at the Novo Ogaryovo residence outside

Hit by low oil prices, mismanagement, hyperinflation and the impact of USA sanctions, Venezuela's economy has plummeted.

Hit by U.S. and European Union sanctions, and ostracized as a dictator by Western powers for his brutal suppression of the opposition - many of whose leaders are in jail or exiled - Maduro has recently reached out to Washington's foes in a bid to raise investment.

Following his talks with Erdogan, Maduro headed to Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, slated for Wednesday, according to the Kremlin.

The US has accused Venezuela's government of violating human rights and triggering an economic meltdown.

The meeting with Putin will let Maduro "close the year 2018 with a flourish, in terms of strategic relations that Venezuela is building with the world", he said.

Massive inflation and a shortage of basic commodities such as foodstuffs and medicine have forced an estimated 2.3 million Venezuelans to immigrate to other South American countries.

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