On June 28, 2016, the opposition news portal Ej.ru published an article, titled "Back Alley Victory," by Russian journalist Aleksandr Goltz. The article states that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin apologizing for the death of the Russian plane's pilot in the 2015 incident marks a Kremlin foreign affairs victory. This victory, explains Goltz is crucial, since it allows Putin to show Russians that they were not deprived of cheap holidays to Turkey and Turkish fruits and vegetables in vain. Now, Putin can tell Russians to make one more effort, as the West will concede on sanctions against Russia the same way that Erdogan conceded: "The Kremlin propagandists will keep telling us...We just have to suffer a little more, and they will swallow Crimea's annexation.
Golz maintains that Erdogan apologized to Russia because he needed to find an ally, after sustaining several foreign policy setbacks. Nevertheless, the article explains that the seven months of tensions between Russia and Turkey have revealed all "the drawbacks" of Putin's foreign policy. The article concludes: "The Russian leader thinks that international affairs are exclusively dependent on agreements between monarchs, and he undoubtedly feels himself to be one. He and Erdogan are birds of a feather. And now the rest of the entire world, which has long been living in the 21st century, will observe the 19th century style Russian-Turkish diplomatic games..."
Below are excerpts from Goltz' Ej.ru article:
Meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Antalya G20 Summit in 2015 (Source: Kremlin.ru, November 16, 2015).
'Everybody Must See That Erdogan...Was Bound To Give Up In The End'
"The Kremlin stumbled upon yet another victory in foreign affairs. The Turkish president Erdogan did apologize, after all, for the Russian bomber shot down seven months ago. This apology was so important for Putin that excerpts from the Turkish leader's letter were posted on the Kremlin's website. Everybody must see that Erdogan, so insistent that he was right in this conflict, was bound to give up in the end: 'I would like once again to express my sympathy and deepest condolences to the family of the Russian pilot who was killed, and I say I'm sorry'. 'We never had any desire or intention to shoot down a plane belonging to the Russian Federation,' assured the Turkish leader.
'This victory is very important for Vladimir Putin. It proves that three million Russian citizens were not needlessly deprived of their customary cheap vacation in Turkey. It was not in vain that dear Russians had to do without the fruit and vegetables that our southern neighbor had once regularly delivered to our markets. As a result of the sanctions, Erdogan, who had almost gone too far, came to his senses and fell on his knees begging for forgiveness. The same will happen, the Kremlin propagandists will keep telling us, with Europe, which is growing weaker before our very eyes, and with spineless America. We just have to suffer a little more, and they will swallow the annexation of Crimea and the heroic deeds of Russian 'men on leave' in the Donbass. The time when all anti-Russian sanctions are lifted is near at hand.
"Moreover, from the Kremlin's point of view, the victory over Erdogan confirms the soundness of Putin's 'geopolitics,' his idea that the world is like a Leningrad [now St. Petersburg, Putin's home town] back alley. Everything is determined by your ability to fight to the point of exhaustion. In the case of Putin and Erdogan, [this means] to the point of the population's and the economy's exhaustion. Such reasoning usually has one significant flaw. Erdogan is practically Putin's alter ego, the same kind of authoritarian leader, who considers violence to be the main political tool. [He is] the same kind of back alley youngster, who is certain that the laws of the back alley are universal.
Vitaly, Vk.com/13studiya, June 27, 2016.
Russian Cossacks to Erdogan: Why do you hide your tail between your legs? Only yesterday you barked so loud! So loud!
Vk.com/13studiya, June 27, 2016.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to emerge from the sewage and calls the Kremlin. The answering machine: Mr. Erdogan, you have reached the Kremlin. In order to apologize please dial 1, in order to pay compensation please dial 2.
'In The Eyes Of The Civilized World, Erdogan Is Almost As Much An Outcast As Putin'
"But the world is organized differently. In fact, it was the crisis in his relations with the West that made the Turkish strongman bow down to Moscow. He failed to find support in NATO for his anti-Russian escapades. The German Parliament adopted a resolution about the Armenian genocide. In Syria, Washington is placing [its] stake on the Kurds, whom Turkey has proclaimed terrorists. Actually, in the eyes of the civilized world, Erdogan is almost as much an outcast as Putin. That is precisely why the Turkish president grudgingly sent his apology to Moscow. Yeah, sometimes misunderstandings happen between 'stand-up guys'... After all, Putin is not [U.S. President Barack] Obama. He won't talk nonsense about human rights. He'll forgive.
"But here a question arises: to what extent is Turkey ready for a compromise? Will Erdogan make concessions in conflict situations which made the attack on the Russian plane possible? In other words, is he prepared to sacrifice what he considers to be Turkey's vital interests in Syria?
"The Russia-Turkey conflict developed because Ankara counted on Assad's removal and Syria's partition, while Moscow counted on keeping the dictator in his place. The confrontation built up as the Russian planes dealt increasingly heavier blows to the opposition forces backed by Turkey. In the end, a danger existed that these forces would be cut off from the Turkish border. The situation deteriorated so far that even [the prospect of] a large-scale military invasion from Turkey looked quite real, which would have inevitably resulted in armed clashes with the Russian troops. Thus, a situation of direct military conflict with a NATO member was created. I think that it was after evaluating all those risks that Vladimir Putin made the decision to withdraw the bulk of his military forces from Syria.
"All the sources of the Russian-Turkish confrontation in Syria still remain. It is doubtful that Ankara will agree to keep Assad in his place or give orders to its troops to stop attacking government forces. It is even more doubtful that it will give up on the oil it is selling to the opposition.
"The seven-month long conflict with Turkey has shown all the drawbacks of Putin's foreign policy...The Russian leader thinks that international affairs are exclusively dependent on agreements between monarchs, and he undoubtedly feels himself to be one. He and Erdogan are birds of a feather. And now all the rest of the world, which has long been living in the 21st century, will watch the 19th century style Russian-Turkish diplomatic games..."
 See: Vladimir Putin received a letter from President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, June 27, 2016.
 Ej.ru, June 28, 2016.