ISTANBUL -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived in Istanbul on Wednesday as the Russian foreign minister, a key ally to the ostracized Latin American government, was also there.
After being rejected by Washington, Maduro has been on an Eurasian tour. Washington decided not to invite Maduro to the Summit of the Americas.
Turkey is just one of the few countries where Maduro is allowed to visit despite U.S. sanctions.
Similar restrictions apply to Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister.
Lavrov arrived in Turkey two days after NATO members Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria refused to let his plane fly through their airspace to reach Serbia.
His official duties in Ankara, a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, took place at President Recept Tayyip Erdogan’s palace hours before Maduro arrived at that same location.
According to Erdogan, Turkey and Venezuela have cultivated closer ties over the years. Trade has risen to almost $850 million in the last year. As U.S. sanctions have reduced other income sources for Caracas, Venezuela's gold trade has increased with Turkey.
Erdogan stated that Turkey opposed the "one-sided sanctions" against Venezuela at a press conference. He said that Turkey would always stand by the Venezuelan friendly and brotherly people, and that he hopes to visit Caracas next month.
Manduro thanked Turkey and stated that they had signed three agreements regarding banking, agriculture, and tourism.
Maduro had laid a wreath at Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's tomb earlier. He then traveled to the palace in a limousine, accompanied by ceremonial cavalry.
Erdogan was the first Turkish president in Venezuela to visit 2018 and Maduro has been to Turkey several times.
Maduro and his spouse were criticised for eating at the Salt Bae steakhouse while Venezuelans struggled with poverty.
From June 7-10, Los Angeles will host the Summit of the Americas gathering of regional leaders. The United States has excluded Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela from the Summit of the Americas.