SPOTLIGHT: TURKEY AND RUSSIA, REUNITED AGAINST THE WEST
Russia and Turkey have historically straddled East And West, often in different ways and with different degrees of influence over the centuries. Right now, both countries appear crucial — and unpredictable as ever, each in the hands of imperious rulers. Thus all eyes today are on a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin today in Saint Petersburg to "reset" ties between "friends."
The fact that Erdogan's first official visit to a foreign country since the failed coup in Turkey last month is to Russia undoubtedly carries a strong symbolic impact. Putin was notably among the first world leaders to call Erdogan and voice his support after the attempted takeover — in contrast with most Western countries, which Ankara has accused of withholding support in the crucial hours after the attempted July 15 putsch.
In an interview with the French daily Le Monde yesterday, the Turkish president slammed Western leaders for their lack of support and even accused the U.S. of supporting terrorism. Russia, too, has accused the West of supporting terrorism in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine. There is plenty that still stands in the way of a true Ankara-Moscow partnership, most notably Syria itself. But if the beginning of any good alliance is a common adversary, then Putin and Erdogan will have had plenty to talk about in Saint Petersburg.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- Fourth day of the 2016 Rio Olympics: more swimming, more tennis, more basketball, also water polo, archery, canoeing and sailing.
- Two-year anniversary of Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.