Turkey never sides with coup plotters: President Erdoğan
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once more voiced support for Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and said “Turkey is against any kind of coup attempt” on Jan. 25 after the U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself “interim president” of the Latin American country.
“We have never sided with coup plotters and we never will be on their side. They staged a coup against Mohammad Morsi in Egypt, we stood against that, we have never spoken to the putschists since then. Now they are staging another one in Venezuela. We stand against coups wherever they are across the world,” Erdoğan said in a rally introducing mayoral candidates of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for the eastern province of Erzurum.
Erdoğan also spoke to Maduro on the phone on Jan. 24 and said “Maduro brother, stand tall, Turkey stands with you,” according to a tweet by Turkish presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın.
In return, Venezuela’s president expressed his gratitude to Turkey, Russia and China on Jan. 24 for their support after Guaido declared himself “interim president” with the backing of U.S.
“I thank Russia, China, Turkey and other governments and people of the world for their strong support of the legitimately established government of Venezuela,” Nicolas Maduro said in a Twitter post.
“Venezuela is not alone!” he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed support to Maduro in a telephone call on Jan. 24, the Kremlin said in a statement. Putin said he supported a “peaceful dialogue” in Venezuela.
Russia also offered to mediate between the government and opposition in Venezuela if necessary on Jan. 25, saying it was ready to cooperate with all political forces that acted responsibly, the RIA news agency reported.
China also said it supports “efforts” by Venezuela’s government to secure its national sovereignty.
Syria, Cuba and Mexico also have voiced their backing for Maduro’s government.
Guaido declared himself interim president on Jan. 23, winning support from U.S. President Donald Trump, some Latin American countries and some capital cities in Europe.
The German government on Jan. 24 called for democratic new elections in Venezuela, joining forces with the United States in saying it stood with the opposition-controlled National Assembly.
“With regard to #Venezuela, we are not neutral,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter. “We support the National Assembly, which is elected by the people. Maduro has no democratic legitimacy as President.”
United Nations’ human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called on Jan. 25 for an independent investigation into alleged excessive use of force by Venezuelan security forces, citing reports of 20 people killed and more than 350 detained in protests this week.
“I am extremely concerned that the situation in Venezuela may rapidly spiral out of control with catastrophic consequences,” Bachelet, a former president of Chile, said in a statement urging political leaders to hold talks to defuse the situation.
Safe zone in Syria
In the meantime, in his Jan. 25 speech President Erdoğan also spoke about Syria and said Turkey expects a “safe zone” against ISIL and YPG- the Syrian branch of the illegal PKK- to be set up within a few months; otherwise it will establish the zone alone.
Erdoğan said the zone should be “aimed at protecting our country from terrorists, not protect terrorists right beside our border” and should be established within a few months.
“Otherwise, we will definitely form this safe or buffer zone ourselves. Our only expectation from our allies is that they provide logistical support to Turkey’s effort,” he added.