Venezuela and Turkey Strengthen Ties, Vow to Defend “Cause of Palestine”

Merida, September 8th 2011 ( – On Wednesday representatives of the Venezuelan and Turkish governments announced the successful conclusion of talks aimed at strengthening bi-lateral relations, establishing direct flights between Caracas and Istanbul, and working together within the United Nations (UN) to defend “the cause of Palestine.”

The First Joint Commission between Venezuela and Turkey is said to have “consolidated and broadened” bi-lateral relations between Caracas and Ankara, with numerous new agreements signed in the fields of education, housing, food production and processing, energy, light industry, aeronautics, commerce and cultural exchange.

As part of the talks, on Wednesday Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Madura met with Turkey’s Sub Secretary of Foreign Relations, Selim Yenes, and both signed a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of direct flights between Caracas and Istanbul.

According to an official government statement, one of the agreements signed “establishes the basis for future aerial operations between the two countries, positioning the Maiquetia International Airport ‘Simon Bolivar’ (serving Caracas) as the principal destination linking Istanbul to the South American region.”

Francisco Paz, Venezuelan President of the National Aeronautics Institute (INAC), and Bahri Kesici, of Turkey’s General Administration of Civil Aviation, also signed the agreement.

With respect to Palestine, Venezuelan vice Minister for Asia and the Middle East, Temir Porras, stated that “an important decision will soon be made at the United Nations and Venezuela and Turkey will join hands for this just cause”.

According to Porras, Turkey has played a “stellar role” in the defense of the Palestinian people, “pushing forward, alongside other nations such as Venezuela, the cause of the Palestinians.”

Porras added that the Venezuelan government supports “Turkey’s dignified position with respect to the act of aggression (by Israel) against the Liberty Flotilla.”

Last week the Turkish government cut off all relations with Israel and expelled the country’s ambassador in Ankara after Israel refused to apologize for the death of nine Turkish nationals during the 2010 assault on the ‘Liberty Flotilla’, a boat filled with humanitarian aid destined for people living in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

According to Turkish Minister of Foreign Relations Ahmet Davutoglu, “The Israeli attack occurred in international waters, against unarmed persons” and “shooting unarmed civilians is a crime against humanity.”

A recent report by a U.N. panel found Israel to have used “excessive and unreasonable” force in its assault on the flotilla, though it considered the assault a “legitimate” security measure against those who sought to break through Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.


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