What is happening in these months between Russia and Turkey is not a news: Russia and Turkey are old enemies, they fight wars against each other since the middle of the 17th century.
At that times the orthodox Principality of Moscow proclaimed itself as the protector of all the orthodox people and started to fight against the Ottoman Empire to protect Greeks and Serbians orthodox people, but, most of all, to reach Mediterranean Sea and Bosporus.
Until the end of WW I°, Russia and Turkey were close enemies; after the war, the Communist Revolution and the Kemal Revolution changed many things in both countries. Russia and Turkey started to “recollect” their tensions with the glue of strong economic ties, even if both countries have nowadays huge interests in the same areas of influence.
Unfortunately, this situation of peace, trade and bilateral contacts broke down with the emersion of the ISIL, which caused the spark that set off the war into the almost hot Middle East.
How we arrived at this chaotic situation?
The ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, after having submitted the northern part of Iraq, insinuate itself in Syria where almost a war was fighting among the president Bashar Al Assad, supported by Russian government, and groups of rebels (wishing to overthrow the Assad regime), supported by the U.S.A. and Western governments.
All the area, furthermore, was destabilized because the ISIL was fighting a war also against Kurds (helped by Russians), and many people were leaving the region trying to cross the Turkish border with the aim to reach their Turkish relatives or, however, a safe zone.
This caused a harsh reaction of the Turkish government, which historically doesn’t consider Kurds a national country (they are, more or less, considered like bandits); besides Kurds, many thousands of Syrian people left their houses to escape from ISIS, they entered in Turkey with the goal of reaching Europe.
Cutting many points of troubles among the playing “actors”, how arrived the hard face to face between Russia and Turkey?
At first, Putin sent only arms, equipments and trainers to Assad Army; then he sent air forces (bombers, fighters and helicopters) and some troops. But was during last G-20 summit that the Russian President Vladimir Putin set the turning point: he criticized some G-20 members for helping the Islamic State, with a clear reference of Turkey. These critics had a double importance because the summit was set in Antalya, Turkey, and only two days after the terroristic attacks in Paris (13th November).
The foul deed happened on 24th November 2015: a Russian Su-24M was shot down by a patrolling Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet.
One of the two Russian pilots was killed by anti Assad rebels, while another Russian soldier was killed during the rescue operations of the survived pilot.
When Ankara immediately turned to Nato for support after the event, rather than turning to Russia to find a way out, Putin was furious and stated that it was a “stab in the back.”
The Russian government reacted preparing a sophisticated anti-Turkish agenda in retaliation for the jet issue: an economic embargo on Turkish goods and a progressive political isolation of Turkey on international plan.
Turkey seriously underestimated how Russia would react to the plane shoot-down. Ankara seemed to presume that the crisis would be temporary. This was a serious miscalculation and demonstrated the failure of Turkey’s leadership to understand the Putin persona.