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Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan — real friends?

6 5 2
10.10.2017

Both feel they are being treated unfairly. Both are regularly snubbed by the West. Both like to present themselves as strong men and in public, they call each other "friends." On the surface, at least, the presidents of Russia and Turkey have a lot in common.

These past weeks, it has increasingly looked as if Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan might enter into a partnership. Bilateral trade is on the rise, while their armed forces and intelligence services are cooperating in Syria.

Read more: Turkey needles NATO by buying Russian weapons

At the same time, they are waging their various diplomatic wars with the EU and the US. Washington and Ankara have stopped issuing visas to each other, and Turkey has imprisoned German journalists and human rights activists, ignoring all objections from Berlin as well as existing laws. Meanwhile, with the support of Moscow, soldiers are fighting in East Ukraine. The Kremlin refuses to even speak about the annexation of Crimea, but continues to demand that the West lift its sanctions.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend?

Both Erdogan and Putin seem to have issues with the West and international law, to put it mildly — what could be more natural than to become allies? To really show his NATO partners, Erdogan has even decided to buy Russian anti-aircraft systems — despite repeated objections from Washington and Brussels.

Miodrag Soric is DW's correspondent in Moscow

But have there been benefits from Erdogan's public outrage, his indignation with the West and the alleged friendship with Russia? No.

Foreign diplomats, whether in Berlin or Washington, have shown themselves to be unimpressed by Erdogan's........

© Deutsche Welle