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    Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters during a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the attempted coup in front of the Turkish Parliament in Ankara, Turkey July 16, 2017.

    Erdogan Refutes Guaido's Claims on Venezuelan Officials' Escape to Turkey

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    ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refuted the claims made by Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido, who alleged that a number of high-ranking Venezuelan officials had left their country for Turkey.

    "No one fled from Venezuela to seek refuge in my country. This is not true. Guaido is not the elected leader. If he says things like this, this is because he does not know Turkey," Erdogan said in an interview with the NTV broadcaster.

    On 22 February, Guaido arrived in the Colombian border city of Cucuta, where so-called humanitarian aid from the United States and a number of other countries was being collected, in order to help deliver the supplies to Venezuela despite the fact that the government refused to accept the aid. While the attempt to forcefully bring the aid into Venezuela failed, Guaido stayed in Colombia to take part in Monday's meeting of the Lima Group in Bogota. Guaido announced on Monday that he intends to return to Venezuela this week.     

    READ MORE: US Humanitarian Convoy for Venezuela Contained Expired Goods — Ambassador

    On Tuesday Deputy Judge of the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice Juan Carlos Valdez told Sputnik that Guaido could face a significant term in prison after his return to Venezuela from Colombia, where he traveled in defiance of the travel ban imposed earlier by the Venezuelan Supreme Court.

    He added that the prosecution was currently analyzing the possible crimes committed by Guaido.

    At the same time, Guaido, who is currently in Colombia, told Colombian broadcaster NTN24 that he was going to return to Venezuela, despite the risk of being arrested. 

    On 5 January, Guaido was elected as president of the Venezuelan opposition-run National Assembly, whose authority has not been recognized by any other branch of power since 2016.

    READ MORE: US Preparing for Military Incursion in Venezuela — Moscow

    On 23 January, days after the Supreme Court nullified Guaido's election as the National Assembly's head, the opposition leader proclaimed himself Venezuelan interim president.

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused Guaido of being a "US puppet" and trying to stage a US-orchestrated coup.

    The United States and around 50 other countries have endorsed the opposition leader as the Venezuelan acting president.

    China, Russia, and Turkey, along with a number of other countries, have voiced their support for Maduro's legitimate government. Mexico and Uruguay, in turn, have refused to back Guaido and declared themselves neutral, promoting dialogue as a means to resolve the crisis in the country.

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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (392)

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    refuge, statement, Juan Guaido, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Venezuela
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