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Turkey, Venezuela vow enhanced bilateral ties as Maduro visits

ANKARA, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his visiting Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday pledged to enhance cooperation between the two countries.

"There is a wide cooperation potential between Venezuela and Turkey, especially in trade, energy, mining, construction business, health, agriculture and tourism," Erdogan said at a joint press conference with Maduro in the capital Ankara.

The two economies are complementary, holding various opportunities for new cooperation and mutual investments, he added.

Trade between Turkey and Venezuela, which increased to 850 million U.S. dollars in 2021, will likely reach 1 billion dollars this year, and aims at 3 billion dollars annually as soon as possible, according to the Turkish leader.

Speaking of a memorandum of understanding signed on Wednesday, Erdogan said this has strengthened "the legal infrastructure" of the Turkish-Venezuelan relations.

Calling Venezuela "a friendly country," the Turkish president said he "opposes sanctions against Venezuela" and Turkey will stand by the country "from now onward."

Maduro, for his part, expressed gratitude to Turkey on behalf of his people.

"In times of greatest uncertainty, in the most difficult moments and at the time of the pandemic, Turkey has been always by our side and supportive of us," the Venezuelan president said.

He invited investors from Turkey into Venezuela's tourism, mining, industry, logistics, banking, oil, gold and coal, assuring them of all legal and political guarantees.

Turkey has been continuing its trade with Venezuela despite sanctions by the United States on the Caribbean country.

Venezuela sells gold to Turkey in return for Turkish exports to the Latin American country.