Are we headed for another diplomatic clash with Turkey? It sure looks like, as Trump administration officials make it very clear that the US is not happy with Turkish support for Venezuela:
Turkey is failing to heed US requests to halt its support for Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, Donald Trump’s special envoy to the Latin American nation has warned.
Elliott Abrams told reporters on Thursday that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, was “strongly supporting the Maduro regime” and that US officials had “not had the cooperation from Turkey that we want”.
Mr Erdogan, however, has emerged along with Russia and China as an important ally for Mr Maduro. The Turkish president has urged his Venezuelan counterpart to “stand up tall” and has described the US efforts to force him from power as a “coup attempt.”
Mr Erdogan’s stance on Venezuela has emerged as a new flashpoint in the already strained relationship between Ankara and Washington, with Turkey’s imports of Venezuelan gold a particular source of concern. US officials have claimed that the country imported 20 tonnes of the precious metal from the South American nation last year, worth almost $1bn.
Turkey is rapidly morphing into a hostile state, so I am not sure what the US can do to stop them from buying Venezuelan gold. I am sure that Erdogan will be very happy to hold all of Maduro’s gold for him, especially if Maduro’s government collapses. That gold will help Erdogan maintain his own grip on power in Turkey.