'Turkey will continue to support Venezuela'

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Turkey's foreign minister on Monday reiterated Turkish support for the country of Venezuela and its elected leadership.

"Turkey will continue to support Venezuela, as problems there could affect all of Latin America and even the Caribbean," Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told a joint news conference alongside his Venezuelan counterpart Jorge Arreaza in Ankara, Turkey's capital.

"Turkey recognizes Maduro regime as the legitimate government of Venezuela under the principle of non-interference in states' internal affairs and respect for the people's will," Çavuşoğlu said.

Arreaza, for his part, said that Turkey showed Venezuela an exemplary friendship during a difficult time his country experienced.

"It is necessary to say that Turkey and Venezuela will work incessantly to find alternative ways to boost trade relations and carry the cooperation one step further," Arreaza added.

Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10, when Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.

Tensions flared when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself acting president on Jan. 23 -- a move supported by the U.S. and many European and Latin American countries.

On the other hand, Turkey, Russia, China, Iran, Bolivia and Mexico have put their weight behind Maduro.

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