ANKARA, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday put support behind his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro.
Erdogan's statement came after several other countries recognized Juan Guaido, president of Venezuela's National Assembly who proclaimed himself "interim president" of the country on Wednesday.
"One should respect on the elected. Otherwise, its name is not democracy. If you don't respect, then it is totalitarian mindset. Mauro was elected," Erdogan said during a joint press conference with his Maltese counterpart.
"I was shocked by Trump's statement as a person believing in democracy," Erdogan said, adding that he had a phone conversation with the Venezuelan president and urged him for taking a tough stance.
"Those who struggled for democracy should stand by those elected," he stated.
He recalled that Maduro was among a few leaders that contacted Erdogan just after a failed coup attempts in July 15, 2016 in Turkey.
"If Maduro takes a tough stance, I believe Venezuelan people will back a leader which they voted for," Erdogan added.
The U.S. authorities recognized the opposition leader Guaido as the nation's interim president.
The opposition leader's claim also won support from Brazil, which recognizes Guaido as president-in-charge of Venezuela.