MOSCOW -- As ties between Moscow and Washington plunge to new lows over the conflict in Syria, official rhetoric and Russian media reports suggest the Kremlin is busily working behind the scenes to ramp up its global reach with military bases from the Caribbean to Southeast Asia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are keen to demonstrate their political friendship is back on track. But behind the smiles and shared jokes during their October 10 meeting in Istanbul, the rivalries that caused relations to nosedive remain.
In a highly dramatic development, Russian bombers have begun using an Iranian base for bombing missions over Syria. Why Moscow would want to do this is clear: flight time to Syria is much shorter from northwestern Iran than from southern Russia.
The recent failed military coup in Istanbul is pushing the Turkish government to prioritize a rapprochement with Russia, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is due to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on August 9.
Russia’s state-run RT network has broadcast footage appearing to show Russian jets in Syria armed with cluster bombs, weapons which are widely condemned for their indiscriminate nature and which Moscow has denied using during its intervention in the five-year-old conflict.
A long history of mutual enmity is exacerbating tension between Turkey and Russia. Leaders in both countries are apt to view their current hostilities through the prism of a bitterly contested imperial past.
A Kyrgyz in a Mongol warrior princess getup won the Turkvision song contest in the third iteration of the event that brings together Turkic peoples from across Eurasia in a musical celebration of a shared culture.