Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan are too alike to remain enemies for long. On Monday, the Kremlin's official website published excerpts from Erdogan's letter to Putin in which the Turkish leader apologizes for the downing of a Russian warplane in November and offers compensation to the dead pilot's family.

There may be economic reasons for the unexpected apology, but the two leaders' ideological closeness — and their interest in doing deals — probably also helped end the spat.

After the Russian plane flying a mission in Syria briefly crossed the border into Turkey and was downed by the Turkish air force, Putin demanded an apology and an offer to compensate Russia for the damage, but Erdogan insisted that it was Putin who should apologize for the airspace violation. Both sides accused each other of backing terrorists in Syria; at times, the rhetoric appeared too heated for the rift ever to be healed.