Bolivia’s Morales plans visit to Turkey in March

Bolivian President Juan Evo Morales Ayma said this week that as a result of expanding bilateral relations between two countries, Bolivia would open an embassy in Turkey in the near future. 

The agreement on opening the embassy was reached at a meeting between Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and the Bolivian president in the Venezuelan capital Caracas on Thursday.

Oktay was in Venezuela’s capital to attend President Nicolas Maduro’s inauguration ceremony.

Morales said on Twitter that he planned to visit Turkey in March, adding that Turkey and Bolivia had decided to set up a working committee to strengthen bilateral ties. 

The Bolivian president, as the term president of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States  (CELAC), previously invited Turkish government to join the group’s meetings.

The 58-year-old leftist and former coca farmer has been ruling Bolivia for more than a decade, during which the country’s economy has grown by an annual average of 4.6 percent, more than twice the rate for Latin America.

In 2009, the new Bolivian constitution set a limit of two five-year terms for presidency. Morales asked voters for an additional term in a 2016 referendum, but lost it.  He then applied to the Constitutional Court, which ruled that term limits were a violation of the president’s human rights. 

The dissatisfaction ,n Bolivian society over the removal of term limits and proposed development of indigenous lands has harmed Morales’s reputation in recent years, with some seeing in Morales what they say an autocratic streak similar to Venezuelan president Maduro.  

Morales last year drew criticism due to his new presidential palace, a 29-storey glass-fronted skyscraper with a 1,068 square metre suite fitted out with a jacuzzi, sauna, gym and massage room.