Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday that Venezuelan gold would be processed in the Central Anatolian province of Çorum.
Speaking at a rally ahead of local elections on March 31, the president said Çorum would reach a new level in terms of gold trade amid reports that Venezuela sells most of its gold to Turkish refineries.
On Monday Reuters reported that Venezuela uses some of the proceeds to buy consumer goods such as pasta and powdered milk, citing people with direct knowledge of the trade.
Trade between the two nations grew eightfold last year.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s gold program has developed in tandem with his deepening relationship with Turkey’s Erdoğan. Both leaders have been criticized internationally for cracking down on political dissent and undermining democratic norms to concentrate power.
A Nov. 1 executive order signed by US President Donald Trump bars US persons and entities from buying gold from Venezuela.