Our friends the Turks: Hiding Venezuela's gold for Maduro?

What is it about Turkey?

Yes, we expect places such as Russia and Iran to stick up for Venezuela's hellhole regime, along with its fellow Latin socialist hellholes Cuba, Bolivia, and Nicaragua.  But Bloomberg is reporting that U.S. NATO ally Turkey seems to be all in for helping Nicolás Maduro spirit the nation's gold out of the country for his potentially comfortable retirement.  The picture emerges of a dictator about to make off with the light bulbs on the way out.

Back around when Maduro was eating that big steak dinner in Istanbul in front of Venezuelans for an Instagram post, here's what had been really going on, as Bloomberg reported:

Two months after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, a mysterious company called Sardes sprang into existence.

The firm started business with a bang in January of 2018, when it imported about $41 million worth of gold from Venezuela, the first such transaction between the two countries in records that go back 50 years.  The next month its volume more than doubled, with Sardes transporting almost $100 million worth to Turkey.

By November, when President Donald Trump signed an executive order authorizing sanctions on Venezuelan gold — after sending an envoy to warn Turkey off the trade, Sardes had shuttled $900 million of the precious metal out of the country.  Not bad for a company with just $1 million in capital, according to regulatory filings in Istanbul.

The country has a history of helping embattled dictatorships, such as Iran's, evade sanctions through the use of its financial system.  Iran uses gold transactions to evade Western sanctions and continue its business-as-usual dictatorship.  So, at a minimum, Maduro is likely using the gold transactions in Turkey to evade U.S. sanctions.

But now there's a lot of talk of Maduro and his creepy drug-dealing cronies fleeing the country, and not surprisingly, Turkey's name is coming up.

According to a separate Bloomberg report:

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Maduro last month to assure him of his support, addressing him as "my brother!"  The destination for tons of Venezuelan gold, Turkey has offered to take in Maduro, although only as a last recourse, according to a person familiar with the discussions.  Any decision would be taken by Erdogan directly, and right now the priority is on backing him at home, a senior Turkish official said.

What we are looking at is potential thievery, potential sanctions evasion, and potential exile plans with this strange series of gold transactions with the Turks.  Bottom line: Turkey's crazy president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who's made himself Turkey's strongman and probably has a lot of democrats there out to get him alongside the Kurds, is risking Turkey's own interests with the West to aid Maduro, someone he seems to think is important to support.

What kind of an ally is this?  Why the heck is it in NATO?  And why isn't the U.S. warning Turkey it's going to be sanctioned as hard as Iran and Venezuela if it doesn't get its act together?  That and throwing this bogus ally out of NATO would be suitable consequences.

What is it about Turkey?

Yes, we expect places such as Russia and Iran to stick up for Venezuela's hellhole regime, along with its fellow Latin socialist hellholes Cuba, Bolivia, and Nicaragua.  But Bloomberg is reporting that U.S. NATO ally Turkey seems to be all in for helping Nicolás Maduro spirit the nation's gold out of the country for his potentially comfortable retirement.  The picture emerges of a dictator about to make off with the light bulbs on the way out.

Back around when Maduro was eating that big steak dinner in Istanbul in front of Venezuelans for an Instagram post, here's what had been really going on, as Bloomberg reported:

Two months after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, a mysterious company called Sardes sprang into existence.

The firm started business with a bang in January of 2018, when it imported about $41 million worth of gold from Venezuela, the first such transaction between the two countries in records that go back 50 years.  The next month its volume more than doubled, with Sardes transporting almost $100 million worth to Turkey.

By November, when President Donald Trump signed an executive order authorizing sanctions on Venezuelan gold — after sending an envoy to warn Turkey off the trade, Sardes had shuttled $900 million of the precious metal out of the country.  Not bad for a company with just $1 million in capital, according to regulatory filings in Istanbul.

The country has a history of helping embattled dictatorships, such as Iran's, evade sanctions through the use of its financial system.  Iran uses gold transactions to evade Western sanctions and continue its business-as-usual dictatorship.  So, at a minimum, Maduro is likely using the gold transactions in Turkey to evade U.S. sanctions.

But now there's a lot of talk of Maduro and his creepy drug-dealing cronies fleeing the country, and not surprisingly, Turkey's name is coming up.

According to a separate Bloomberg report:

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Maduro last month to assure him of his support, addressing him as "my brother!"  The destination for tons of Venezuelan gold, Turkey has offered to take in Maduro, although only as a last recourse, according to a person familiar with the discussions.  Any decision would be taken by Erdogan directly, and right now the priority is on backing him at home, a senior Turkish official said.

What we are looking at is potential thievery, potential sanctions evasion, and potential exile plans with this strange series of gold transactions with the Turks.  Bottom line: Turkey's crazy president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who's made himself Turkey's strongman and probably has a lot of democrats there out to get him alongside the Kurds, is risking Turkey's own interests with the West to aid Maduro, someone he seems to think is important to support.

What kind of an ally is this?  Why the heck is it in NATO?  And why isn't the U.S. warning Turkey it's going to be sanctioned as hard as Iran and Venezuela if it doesn't get its act together?  That and throwing this bogus ally out of NATO would be suitable consequences.