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Turkey’s Fidan set to visit Venezuela and meet Maduro

The Turkish foreign minister is set to make his inaugural visits to Venezuela and Mexico in his capacity as his country’s top diplomat.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan attends the joint press conference of presidents of Turkey and Iran in Ankara, on January 24, 2024. (Photo by ADEM ALTAN / AFP) (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)

ANKARA — Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, is expected to meet with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a visit to Caracas this weekend, his first since assuming the role of the country’s chief diplomat in June. 

Departing from Brasilia, where he participated in a G-20 summit on Friday, Fidan has embarked on his two-country South America tour, which will also include a stop in Mexico, from Feb. 24-26, per the statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry. 

During the Venezuelan segment of the tour, Fidan is also slated to meet with his counterpart, Yvan Gil. The two previously met during Gil’s visit to Turkey in July and earlier in June during the inauguration of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Maduro was also among the more than two dozen foreign leaders who attended the ceremony, reflecting the close ties between the two presidents. Erdogan has visited Venezuela multiple times during his over two-decade rule, most recently in 2018. 

Venezuela is one of Turkey’s largest trade partners in the Latin America region. The two countries are working to increase their current trade volume from approximately $1 billion to $3 billion.

Fidan’s visit comes amid increasing international scrutiny aimed at Venezuela ahead of the expected presidential elections later this year. 

Earlier this month, Caracas took the controversial step of shutting down the UN’s human rights office in the country and ordered its international staff to leave Venezuela, citing the international body’s alleged support of opposition factions backed by Western capitals. 

While Ankara opposes the US-led Western economic sanctions on Venezuela, it refrains from publicly aligning with either side in the conflict between the Venezuelan government and opposition parties supported by Western capitals.