Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces the biggest challenge to his nearly two decades of uninterrupted rule as galloping inflation, a wilting national currency and resentment toward Syrian migrants sap his popularity — and one world leader is watching closely: Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Mark Galeotti, a London-based lecturer and writer on transnational crime in Russia and director of the consultancy Mayak Intelligence, has studied Turkey's relations with Russia closely. He says that Putin understands and feels at ease with ruthlessly pragmatic strongmen like Erdogan, being one himself, and can overlook their quarrels in pursuit of Russia's interests, especially as it faces major setbacks in Ukraine. In this podcast Galeotti unpacks the relationship, explaining how decision making on Turkey is carried out in the Kremlin and what the real security risks to the West are.
For more on Erdogan and Putin read Amberin Zaman's latest.