Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses during an attempted coup in Istanbul, Turkey July16, 2016. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:45 P.M.) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to be learning that even in the complex and inherently paranoid environment of international relations one fixed principal remains that can also be applied to basic relations between individuals – saying mean things makes you enemies and saying nice things makes you friends.

Almost two weeks ago, Erdogan – speaking before Turkish media – made a highly unexpected comment in regards to European relations, pronouncing that ‘I always say this: We are obliged to lessen the number of foes and increase the number of friends.’

Indeed, the Turkish president might have always said that, but in practice it seems that he is only now just learning – after a 27 year career in various seats of public office – that the act of saying nice things is part of the obligation to reduce enemies and gain friends.

The statement came after most of 2017 witnessed Erdogan slander European leaders as fascists of their lack of interest in conducting their own nations’ internal affairs according to how he thought they should be conducted.

As far as fair play in politics goes, there is nothing immoral with criticizing the leaderships of other nations (even over domestic matters), however it can make one very undesirable to be allies with when they mean things at the same time as asking for privileges – in Erdogan’s case, European Union membership.

Whether the Turkish president can retain the knowledge of this most crucial of lessons in regards to relations at any level (personal and professional, individual and international) – and possibly even develop further on the notion to include offering practical benefits in exchange for practical benefits – to aid Turkey’s long overdue re-rapprochement with Europe is yet to be seen.

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