If Maduro goes, Erdoğan is sure to be next, says pro-gov’t TV host

Supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is equivalent to supporting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and if Maduro is forced out of office, his Turkish counterpart is sure to be next, said a host for Islamist pro-gov’t Akit TV.

"Standing by Maduro is, in a sense, standing by Erdoğan. They may be two different men and these may be two different countries, however, what they have had to face and the situation both countries are are similar. If they send off Maduro, know that Erdoğan, too, will be removed. This is the first step towards sending off Erdoğan,’’ Akit TV host Fatih Dağistanlı said on Saturday.

His comments arrive after Erdoğan on Wednesday expressed his support for his Venezuelan counterpart Maduro after U.S. President Donald Trump formally recognised Maduro’s rival,  opposition leader Juan Guaidó, as the interim president of Venezuela amid the country’s economic downturn which has led to a shortage of basic goods including food. 

As Maduro accused Washington of trying to rule Venezuela, the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Colombia and other U.S. regional allies quickly recognised the interim presidency  of Guaidó.

Ankara has been an important backer for Maduro and the dealings between the countries include trade in Venezuelan gold worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The transfer of such a high volume of gold trade from Switzerland to Turkey has raised suspicions Ankara is facilitating a mechanism to move Venezuelan cash past U.S. sanctions.

Turkey’s pro-government circles have lauded Erdoğan for his stance on Maduro, saying said that Caracas is witnessing a U.S.-backed coup attempt.