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Turkey, Venezuela and the Golden Gamble

In the middle of a dramatic political crisis, Venezuela has been trying to use the country’s massive gold reserves to raise funds and secure allies.

Venezuela has been struggling with a crippling economic collapse, sanctions from trade partners and unprecedented emigration. Following international support, a slow coup to remove the long-ruling Nicolas Maduro from power has forced the sitting president to try repatriating gold from reserves all over the world.

The Bank of England denied Venezuela’s request late last month, citing the need for the country to “explain their decision” and blocked 14 tons of gold from leaving the country.

Speculations regarding a Turkish conspiracy to move Venezuelan gold to Iran and the UAE has been growing. The Venezuelan government resorted to selling their gold shares last year after a sharp decrease in oil production.

It is suspected that gold moving through Turkey by way of Venezuela ends up in Tehran, although all three countries have vehemently denied these accusations. The United States has warned that any country transporting Venezuelan gold would be liable to American sanctions.

Maduro accuses the opposition in Venezuela for the country’s economic despair and is quick to blame the sanctions from Washington and other American allies for the sustained crisis.

Turkish President Erdogan, who survived his own coup attempt, has advised Maduro to “stay strong” in the face of his current political opposition. The two have recently engaged in a series of trade agreements.

Iran has called the Presidential elections which are bringing Guaido to power a an “attempt to make a coup d’etat,” and added support for fending off any sort of foreign intervention and any illegitimate or illegal action.

A Turkish company was helping Venezuela export gold to Turkey until the American sanctions came in to effect in November 2018. Turkey remains to be one of few countries that continues to support the Maduro presidency, while most Latin American and European nations are recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.


Turkey has increasingly found support and common interests with authoritarian nations such as Iran, Russia and China. It is speculated that the gold trade allows Venezuela to skirt economic sanctions placed on Tehran using Turkey as a middleman, while Ankara refuses to comment on their role, stating that evidence is fabricated and unilaterally denies any wrongdoing.



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