'Where is democracy?' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 06, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:58 PM, February 05, 2019

'Where is democracy?'

Erdogan accuses EU of seeking Maduro's ouster; Lima group calls for regime change without force

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday accused the European Union of seeking to overthrow embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro in defiance of "democracy."

"On one side you will say 'democracy, democracy, democracy' and 'ballot box, ballot box, ballot box' and later you will dare to topple the government by violence and ruse," Erdogan told his ruling party lawmakers in parliament, referring to the European Union.

Major European powers including Britain, France, Germany and Spain on Monday recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president until new elections are held after Maduro rejected a European ultimatum to call fresh polls.

The United States welcomed the recognition, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging others to follow suit.

Meanwhile, the Lima Group of Latin American countries and Canada called Monday for a peaceful change in government in Venezuela, without military intervention.

They also urged Venezuela's military to support opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president and "not to impede the entry and transit of humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans."

Erdogan, whose government survived a coup bid in July 2016, has given support to Maduro in the wake of the crisis and told him in a phone call to "stand tall."

On Tuesday, Erdogan called what happened in Venezuela as an "international coup attempt to remove the country's elected leader from power."

He said: "Is Venezuela one of your states?", in a veiled reference to the United States.

"How dare you tell an elected person to leave and deliver the head of state to the one who did not even run in the elections," he added.

“Where is democracy? ... Is it possible for us to accept that?"

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