Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin may not particularly like each other, but they know they have common interests. Thus, relations between Turkey and Russia are moving laboriously back on their feet after the incident in November 2015, when a Russian bomber was shot down by Turkish anti-aircraft artillery on the Syrian border.
Regular communications between the two countries restarted last summer, when the Turkish President made a 180-degree turn and found the strength to apologize for shooting down the Russian aircraft and re-launched relations with Moscow.
On Wednesday, the leaders met in Sochi for a three-hour meeting. Putin has felt the need to smooth Erdogan’s hair and congratulated him once again for “his success in the referendum … which will facilitate the relations between our countries even more.” A note appreciated by his Turkish counterpart, who is trying to give international dignity to a vote that much of the world considered an undemocratic plebiscite.
Moreover, the two presidents have always shown little interest in the appeals for the preservation of democratic and civil rights. They prefer a pragmatic foreign policy able to flex its muscles when needed and based on non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, especially when it comes to Armenia, minority rights and democratic freedoms.