Recently re-elected Turkish president Reccip Erdogan invited Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro to his inauguration Monday, a sign of closer ties between the two strongmen.
According to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, Maduro was one of the 22 heads of state in attendance alongside the presidents of Bulgaria, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, Guinea, Zambia, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Somalia, Mauritania, Gabon, Chad, and Djibouti.
“In sister Turkey, I will attend to important work meetings with investors interested to participate in strategic sectors of our economy,” Maduro wrote on Sunday. “We are heading towards a great Economic Revolution for prosperity and future.”
In sister Turkey, I will attend to important work meetings with investors interested to participate in strategic sectors of our economy. We are heading towards a great Economic Revolution for prosperity and future. pic.twitter.com/YcK3iztfZS
— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) July 8, 2018
“Thanks to the brotherly people of Turkey for allowing us to celebrate the start of a new stage in its history,” he wrote on arrival. “Both nations will write new pages in the strengthening of partnerships for development and bilateral cooperation.”
On Monday, Maduro followed up his announcement by declaring that Venezuela maintains the “best relations of diplomatic and economic cooperation with the brotherly people of Turkey for the well-being of our peoples.”
— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) July 9, 2018
Following Erdogan’s election victory last month, a process marred by a number of irregularities, Maduro was one of many foreign despots to congratulate him on his victory. The result came just over a month after Maduro rigged the results of his own presidential election, banning opposition candidates from running.
“I congratulate the brother and friend of Venezuela, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for his amazing victory in the elections in the Republic of Turkey,” he wrote at the time. “From Caracas, we send him a Bolivarian hug and our firm commitment to continue improving relations of solidarity and cooperation.”
The two men built a close relationship after Erdogan invited Maduro to an anti-Israel meeting in Turkey held by with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
During the meeting, Maduro described Trump’s decision as a “declaration of war against the Arab people, the Muslim people, and the good people of the world,” while Erdogan declared that the U.S. had become a “partner in the bloodshed.”
Last October, Maduro also visited Turkey as part of a ‘Bolivarian Peace Tour,’ where he sought to pursue financial lifelines to ease the pressure of Venezuela’s enormous debt burden, which is estimated at over $120 billion.