Erdoğan decries intervention in Venezuela elections after meeting with Bolivian president

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stressed the need to respect embattled Venezuela's electorate and decried intervention by third parties into the country's elections during a joint press conference on Tuesday with Bolivian President Juan Evo Morales Ayma, independent news site T24 reported.

Morales arrived in the Turkish capital Ankara on Tuesday for talks with Erdoğan, becoming the first Bolivian president to make an official visit to Turkey, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.  

"The people of Venezuela in last year's presidential elections exerted their will. We do not find it right that the results our Venezuelan friends have obtained at the ballot boxes are questioned. Assigning a leader as one would a state governor is in no way compatible with democracy,'' Erdoğan said, in an apparent reference to the intense international pressure for the country to call early elections amid allegations of corruption an economic crisis.

Erdoğan noted the trade volume between Turkey and Bolivia has reached $113 million with a 250 percent increase in the past two years with both countries agreeing that this figure should be at least $500 million.

Bilateral relations between the two nations have increased in recent years, with Turkey opening an embassy in the Bolivian capital La Paz last year and Morales vowing earlier this year to soon open a Bolivian embassy in Turkey.

The Turkish president also thanked Bolivia for supporting the Palestinian cause, ''especially its efforts to protect Palestinian civilians and the status of Jerusalem.''

"We also follow their stance on the Golan Heights with appreciation," Erdoğan said.

Bolivia currently holds the rotating presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, and Morales has invited Ankara to join the group’s meetings.