Why are Russia and Turkey growing so close? Putin needs allies, and Erdogan needs bolstering.

BRUSSELS — Turkey’s mercurial president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is in political issue earlier than elections subsequent 12 months, together with his financial system imploding, a central financial institution practically out of overseas alternate and volcanic inflation working at about 80 % yearly.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has his personal troubles, with the battle in Ukraine bogging down and hard financial sanctions hitting Russia’s trade and broader financial system.

The mutual challenges have pushed the 2 males nearer collectively than ever. They’ve met twice within the final three weeks, most not too long ago final weekend in Sochi, Russia, hoping to reduce their vulnerabilities by increasing their partnership and agreeing, Mr. Erdogan stated, on financial cooperation that he hoped would whole $100 billion.

It’s a relationship that raises the hackles of Mr. Erdogan’s NATO allies, as he offers Mr. Putin a large gap within the dam of sanctions the West has tried exhausting to construct in its effort to stymie Mr. Putin’s battle in Ukraine. Some surprise the place Mr. Erdogan’s actual loyalties lie, past his personal self-interest.

There may be little doubt that, for now, the bond is proving to be mutually helpful, as particulars of their negotiations emerge within the aftermath. For Mr. Putin, the advantages embody vitality and arms gross sales, funding and an in depth connection to a member of NATO, which is making an attempt to isolate him and assist Ukraine defeat his invading military.

Turkey, which isn’t a member of the European Union, has refused to use Western sanctions towards Russia. It’s exploring methods to work with in any other case sanctioned Russian banks and settle for funds by way of Russian bank cards. Russian gasoline flows unimpeded by way of the TurkStream pipeline. There are additionally reviews that Russia is searching for Turkish assist in offering “subsystems” for its weapons, which might not supply Western parts immediately.

For Mr. Erdogan, the advantages contain money infusions into the central financial institution, low-cost vitality, world significance, a big export market, renewed Russian tourism and, crucially, obvious Russian acquiescence to his politically fashionable efforts to crush Kurdish separatism in Syria, the place Russia helps the Syrian authorities of Bashar al-Assad.

However the two leaders stay first-order frenemies, every a prickly strongman who has gathered up extraordinary powers to himself and retains his personal counsel.

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