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Peter Lavelle: Erdogan Will Call Kerry’s Bluff

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan talks to the media in Istanbul February 3, 2014. Dozens of their colleagues are in prison or on trial, thousands of faceless opponents hound them on Twitter, and phone calls from government officials warn them over their coverage - all hazards of the trade for Turkey's journalists. Government critics who refuse to be muzzled can find themselves sacked. Others avoid trouble, such as the broadcaster which screened a documentary on penguins last June while police sprayed thousands of demonstrators in Istanbul with tear gas. What has erupted in the past few weeks - a probe into alleged corruption at the heart of Erdogan's government - might seem like a gift to Turkey's cowed and long-suffering press. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY - Tags: MEDIA PROFILE HEADSHOT POLITICS)

There he goes again – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry likes to talk big, but his words are regularly hollow – if not downright comical. Kerry calls on Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “respect democracy,” “rule of law,” and “democratic institutions” or Turkey’s NATO membership could be on the line. Any U.S. official citing democracy and the rule of law should be and is laughed out the room of global public opinion. Erdogan has already started cleansing Turkey of real and imagined dissent.

The Sultan merely needs to reply he is copying what Washington and its allies do all around the world with impunity. Respecting democracy, rule of law, and democratic institutions has never stopped Washington from undertaking forced regime in a whole host of countries.

Erdogan probably feels he is justified in anything he decides to do at home – no different from Washington’s “wizards of the universe’ deciding the fate of nations and the world. And he knows Turkey does matter to Washington.

On the topic of NATO membership: Kerry is bluffing. Washington can’t imagine a NATO without Turkey and will ultimately accept whatever Erdogan does. American foreign policy is based on hypocrisy and cynicism. Erdogan is a cunning and cruel political animal, but he sees a dark soul mate in Washington with its toolbox of political technologies. All we have to do is wait for Kerry to again step away from his words. Western media and Washington’s “thinktankistan” will say Erdogan is “a son-of-a-bitch, but at least he is our so-of-a-bitch.”

Peter Lavelle is host of CrossTalk political debate program CrossTalk. His view may or may not reflect those of is employer.

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