When U.S. President Joe Biden decided not to invite Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to last week’s Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, the Venezuela leader—whose presidency was for years deemed illegitimate by the U.S, the United Kingdom, the European Union and many of Venezuela’s Latin American neighbors, among others—set out on a whirlwind international trip aiming to show he still has support in other parts of the world.
One of his first stops, unsurprisingly, was Iran, another country targeted by Western sanctions, where he and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi gushed about their deepening friendship. More noteworthy was Maduro’s visit to Turkey, a NATO member and U.S. ally.
Like Raisi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed Maduro with ceremonial flair, providing him with a limousine and a resplendent cavalry escort, while simultaneously berating the West for imposing sanctions against the repressive Venezuelan regime. It was a display of bilateral relations that seemed designed to irritate the West—and indicates yet another dizzying shift in Turkish foreign policy.