International focus has been on the Middle East for decades and particularly on Iran, Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Libya over the past several years. However, whatever is written about the Middle East, Russia is always part of the equation.
For days, both Syrian public opinion and the world have been discussing the question of “What is Turkey doing in Idlib, Syria?” If you are really curious about this question, you must have been born after 2015. Turkey has intervened in northern Syria for both humanitarian and security reasons due to a number of problems, such as nearly 4 million refugees coming to the country during the nine-year war, instability spreading from Syria and dozens of people killed in missile strikes on Turkish soil, which were launched from across the Syrian border.
Russia's eagerness to have a presence in the Mediterranean is an old, well-known and deep-rooted policy. Syria, the country that could offer Russia the best chance of reaching the Mediterranean, presented an incredible opportunity for the country to implement its policy of reaching warmer seas when Bashar Assad called for help from Moscow in 2015. Russia has already developed good relations with countries such as Iran and Syria to contain NATO countries and U.S. allies in this region.
Andrej Kreutz raised a poignant question in his book from 2007, "Russia in the Middle East: Friend or Foe," well before the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011. Even though Russia has been an important player in the Middle East since the Cold War era, its influence in the region has burgeoned since Syrian President Bashar Assad invited Moscow into the Syrian civil war in 2015.
It is true President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin have had an amenable relationship. Turkey and Russia are also both regional actors that share partnerships on many issues. The recent cooperation between the two countries is not as black and white as foreign affairs and alliances between countries were during the Cold War. To call this period of cooperation a "honeymoon," however, would be incorrect.