Turkey becomes the staunchest defender of president Nicolas Maduro

The US and Canada, and much of Latin America – with the exception of Mexico, Cuba and Bolivia – have lined up against the embattled Nicolas Maduro, now struggling to hang on as president of Venezuela. Russia – which has billions invested in the country – is the only world power that has come to its defense.

But Maduro has found an unlikely in Nato and G-20 member Turkey and its president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has pulled out all stops in voicing support for the government in Caracas.

“Our president has called [Maduro] to express Turkey’s support,” Mr Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin wrote on Twitter.

“Brother Maduro, stand tall, Turkey stands with you,” he quoted Mr Erodgan as saying. “With President Erdogan’s leadership, Turkey will maintain its principled stance against all coup attempts.”

The unqualified support by Mr Erdogan for a Latin American leader 6,000 miles away raised eyebrows.

“If you follow foreign policy, it’s really quite strange to see such a strong relationship between Turkey and Venezuela,” said Emre Ersen, professor of international relations at Istanbul’s Marmara University.

Even Washington’s arch-nemesis Iran, which has ploughed billions in investments in Venezuela, took a restrained tone, calling for non-interference in the battle between Mr Maduro and the National Assembly president, Juan Guaido, who has been recognised as the country’s leader by Washington and Ottawa, as well as most of Latin America.

“We hope all disagreements and political problems in Venezuela are resolved as soon as possible by the people and the government of this country and through legal and peaceful methods,” Iran foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said.

In contrast, Mr Erdogan and his supporters have enthusiastically supported Mr Maduro on social media. Of 137,000 tweets using the hashtag #WeAreMaduro, more than half were in Turkish. Less than a third were in Spanish, according to an analysis by the firm Spredfast.

They launched a coup attempt in Turkey and spilled blood. Now the US is carrying out a coup in Venezuela and the world is watching

Ersin Celik, editor of pro-government newspaper

Many Turks likened the unrest in Venezuela to the 2013 coup that toppled Egyptian Islamist Mohamed Morsi, and the attempted coup against Mr Erdogan by alleged supporters of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen in 2016.

“They carried out a bloody coup in Egypt,” tweeted Ersin Celik, an editor of the pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper. “They launched a coup attempt in Turkey and spilled blood. Now the US is carrying out a coup in Venezuela and the world is watching.”