UPDATE – Turkey, Venezuela making efforts to boost ties: Erdogan

                <p>ADDS MORE QUOTES FROM ERDOGAN, BACKGROUND</p>    <p>By Diyar Guldogan </p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - Ankara and Caracas have been making efforts to strengthen cooperation in all areas, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.</p>    <p>&quot;There are solid ties in friendship and solidarity between our countries. We have strong potentials in our economic relations with Venezuela. </p>    <p>&quot;We are making efforts to diversify and deepen cooperation with Venezuela in every field through win-win understanding,&quot; Erdogan said, while speaking at the Turkey-Venezuela Business Forum alongside his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro in the capital Caracas.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>Erdogan said geographic distance between Turkey and Venezuela should not be seen as &quot;obstacle&quot; to strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation.</p>    <p>He said the trade volume between the two countries has exceeded $1billion in the first nine months of 2018.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>&quot;We need to increase Turkey's exports to Venezuela and we need to make our trade more stable and more sustainable,&quot; Erdogan added.</p>    <p>He called on businesspeople to launch projects and make cooperation to develop bilateral economic relations.</p>    <p>Erdogan also said Turkey's economy has shown &quot;strong&quot; performance despite prevention efforts and attacks against it.  </p>    <p>About assassination attempt on Maduro, Erdogan said the attempt was a “dastardly attack” on both the president and Venezuelan people's “will for independence.” </p>  <p>On Aug. 5, explosive drones went off when Maduro was giving a speech in Caracas. He blamed the far-right wing factions for the attack, saying the perpetrators were linked to Colombia and the U.S.</p>    <p>Erdogan said he was honored to pay Turkey’s first presidential visit to Venezuela.</p>      <p>He said Turkey sees Venezuela as a partner in Latin America and Caribbean, and attaches great importance to cooperation and friendship. </p>    <p>Erdogan and Maduro will hold bilateral meetings and later the leaders will hold a joint news conference after signing several deals.</p>      <p>Earlier on Monday, Erdogan also visited Simon Bolivar Mausoleum.</p>