Yet these underlying differences have rarely turned into public disputes. As a report by the Moscow Carnegie Center put it, Russia and Turkey “have largely managed to compartmentalize their relations.” That’s down to pragmatism and realpolitik. But the similarities between the two countries’ leaders are hard to miss. Here are some reasons why Putin and Erdogan could look to each other, and find a kindred spirit.
It’s a club.
Affinity between dictators constitutes a revanch feudalist theme in contemporary foreign affairs. Central to each: the rejection of classical liberal values and the embrace of unsavory methods in their political life plus the pursuit of grandiose ambitions perhaps associated with a giantism suited to immortality.
Russia, Syria, Iran, Hungary, and Turkey may not be doing gangbusters as states — from from it — but as gangsters set up in palaces or commanding immense portfolios on top of much unsung suffering, they’re at the top of their game.
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