Erdoğan and Putin: The Love that Shall Not Speak its Name

*Source: Zaman ©

Erdoğan and Putin: The Love that Shall Not Speak its Name

Disclaimer: This article is political satire; purely a work of fiction and any resemblance to world leaders is coincidental.

He used to call me “bold and brave” lamented Erdoğan. It’s like Putin just changed overnight, accusing Erdoğan of all sorts of destructive behaviour like buying oil from the Islamic State. And now what’s worse, he’s “immorally” brought Erdoğan’s family in to it. Young Bilal was so fond of him…

Everyone said they had so much in common. Such proud, macho men; both loved populism, suppression of dissent and Russian salad, hated media freedom and limited presidential powers.

What could have gone so wrong? Even after all those late night diplomatic visits? Long distance is always hard but Putin had just come over to the palace a few weeks ago. No warning signs. Everything had seemed fine.

But oh the betrayal! Erdoğan should never have destroyed Putin’s things; “a stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists.” But Putin should never have tested him like that, provocatively probing his air-space.

Their differences over Assad must have finally worn away at the relationship, as many said it would. Putin always took Assad’s side during a fight, making Erdoğan question his own decisions and power more and more.

Putin angrily warned Turkey that “We will remind them what they did more than once. And they will regret what they did more than once.” He probably will. Post-break up we all lie awake at night; contemplating what went wrong, how we could have done things differently, but we don’t need our ex publicly and consistently rubbing our face in it.

“I think if there is a party that needs to apologise, it is not us,” sniped Erdoğan. Both want the other to say sorry, neither wants to lose face.

Erdoğan’s buddy, Numan Kurtulmuş, accused Putin of putting on a “childish show”, parading through the Bosphorus like that; flaunting his surface-to-air missile launcher.

Their friends in Europe have taken Erdoğan’s side, but they always do don’t they? He always brings baklava to Brussels, oh, and he stops all those Syrian’s from coming unwanted and uninvited to the party.

And they’re already fighting over their stuff; who takes the antique table Obama gave them? Who gets the rug? Who gets the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Putin’s buddy Armenia or Erdoğan’s brother Azerbaijan?

Putin’s coming round to get some of his things back soon, and he’s told his friends to stop visiting. Or the country equivalent which is to say he’s reneging on trade agreements and blocking the sales of tourism packages to Turkey.

Oh God, and they’re both going to the same party in Paris. Bloody climate summits. Neither of them care much for this liberal environmentalist pandering anyway. Maybe Erdoğan just won’t go, it’ll bring up painful memories of when he was called the fossil of the week at another climate party. He’s not getting old, is he? Anyway, he thought that was one of the things Putin loved about him, he was in touch with his older self, his Ottoman self.

He knows he made a mistake, reacting so quickly, he should have talked to Putin first. But then his friends at Nato have said he has their full support so maybe he was in the right…

And anyhow, he’s been trying to make things up, calling for “economic cooperation” not “economic embargoes”, it’s just like Putin to overreact like this; talking about money rather than the relationship problems that caused this break-up in the first place.

Erdoğan said “no one” should expect Turkey to “make concessions” and that “This nation can live without anything… but it cannot live without its independence.” Yeh. We can live without him. It’ll be tough though… Winter is coming after all and it’s going to get cold in bed without Putin’s gas to curl up next to.

Erdo’s friend, Davutoğlu said Putin’s a liar anyway.   “In the Cold War period there was a Soviet propaganda machine. Every day it created different lies… Firstly they would believe them and then expect the world to believe them… Nobody attaches any value to the lies of this Soviet-style propaganda machine.”

Erdoğan seems to want to make up still however, saying that “First the politicians and our militaries should sit down and talk about where errors were made and then focus on overcoming those errors on both sides.”

He probably shouldn’t’ have gone on to call Putin “emotional” though, he crossed a line there, now Putin’s sulking, saying that “The problem is not in the tragedy we faced yesterday the  problem is much deeper”. Plus, it’s not what he did but how he did it.

Plus, Putin thinks there might have been someone else; that Erdoğan committed this “hostile” act because of America. “If somebody in the Turkish leadership decided to lick the Americans in one place … I don’t know, if they did the right thing,” Putin tragically speculated.

Maybe it’s for the best. It had always been a rocky relationship; that stuff in the 90s, oh god, and that ongoing row about the bloody Caucasus, Erdoğan’s relationship with America, and Putin always had a bit of a thing for some of Erdo’s friends in Europe.

They can’t cut their ties completely though, they’re in the same friendship group, they’ll keep going to the same parties; eventually they’ll have to be civil to each other; meet each other’s new trade partners. God, Erdoğan just hopes it’s not Angela Merkel.

Bilge Kalkan

Kalkan, Bilge, “Erdoğan and Putin: The Love that Shall Not Speak its Name”, Independent Turkey, 17 December 2015, London: Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey (Research Turkey). Original link:



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