Perry defends controversial comment on Turkey
January 17th, 2012
05:18 PM ET
8 years ago

Perry defends controversial comment on Turkey

(CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry on Tuesday stood by his comment that Turkey's regime is led by "Islamic terrorists" and called on the U.S. government to cut all foreign aid to its NATO ally.

"This is a country that's got some explaining to do to the United States," Perry said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

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Citing an increase in violence against women in the country, the Texas governor argued that Turkey has moved from "its pro-Western stance" to a society driven by extremist views.

Perry first made the comments during Monday night's South Carolina presidential debate, in which he questioned whether NATO should revoke Turkey's membership.

Turkey's ministry of foreign affairs released a blistering statement Monday in response to Perry's remarks, which have since caused a firestorm in the Turkish press.

"Turkey became a member of NATO when the Governor was just two years old…Turkey has also been among the front line countries in the fight against terrorism…The U.S. has no time to lose with such a candidate who does not even know America's allies," the statement said.

But Perry argued the U.S. should ends its aid to a country that he said has seen a rise in "honor killings," a violent act in which family members kill a relative, almost always female, because they feel the relatives' actions have shamed the family.

He also cited growing tensions between Turkey and Israel as a reason to dismantle foreign assistance to the country.

"The idea that (Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan's regime has somehow or other earned our respect is not correct," Perry said

Ankara's relationship with Washington has been turbulent over the last decade, with sharp divisions emerging with the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

But that relationship has improved dramatically over the last several years. Turkey has commanded the NATO mission in Afghanistan four times over the last decade, and the United States shares real-time intelligence from aerial drones for the Turkish military's ongoing war with rebels from the Kurdistan Workers Party, who operate along the mountainous border between Turkey and Iraq.

- CNN's Ivan Watson and Yesim Comert contributed to this report.

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Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry • Turkey • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (372 Responses)
  1. Ruby M. Fletcher

    Perry is not qualified to be governor or Texas. My granddaughter knows more than he knows, she is in law school. This is sad that Texas has a governor that is reallt, and I hate to call anyone dumb, but he is. His wife needs to ask him to step down from the governorship. He is pityful, I sort of feel sorry for him. Who is really running Texas? It can't be Perry. I remember everyone was wanting him to run. Now they see he is not fit. Romney is not too much smater. I can't see him running the country either. I am not just been bias, I am being HONEST!!!!!!

    January 18, 2012 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  2. john

    This man brings a whole new meaning to the word stupid

    January 18, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  3. shwan ahmad

    Turkey is a terrorist state . People get assinated for their thoughts , Just recently Turkeys war planes bombarded a kurdish village and killed 40 innocent civilians . Ardogan is the head of a political party that carries islamic idiologe with the dream of islamic empire . Turkey has 20 milion kurds with no rights whats soever . They are not allowed to study in their mother tonge language ... they are not allowed to have kurdish names .... the name you give to your kids has to go through government filters ... Radeo and TV s are runed by the government dogwatch pesonnel ... and Turkey has an army with barbaric history in the killing fields and villages , towns destruction .... Turkeish ary is the champion of killing innocent people .... so in the end i want to say i agree with Governor Rick Perry that Turkey shouldnt deserve NATOs membership and as amater of fact its shame to have Turkey a barbaric state to be member with the countries such a united state of america .

    January 18, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  4. Brett

    When Perry fails in his nomination bid, he's going to write a book filled with his insight and wisdom, and it will be called "The Book of Moron."

    January 18, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  5. suni perkins

    NOOOOO what the dem/libs & a lot of Republicans do not like about Perry is he tells it like it is and he will not back down or kiss up!!!!

    January 18, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  6. Don

    Turkey is a fairly rich country, so we only give them $5 million in aid that is mostly for joint military purposes. Maybe Perry should look into this before he threatens to cut off all American aid. I don't think they'd notice.

    January 18, 2012 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  7. MR AMERICA

    Perry couldn't pour soup out of a cowboy boot even if the directions were printed on the heel...

    January 18, 2012 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  8. Jerome, Denver Colorado

    And we thought we had seen the last of the Republican morons, when Sarah Palin opted to not contests these elections??? Rick Perry is a certified buffon!! What did Texans see in this dude??

    January 18, 2012 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  9. Just make it up

    I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard while listening to this republican presidential candidate try defending his blunder. Once again he found himself forgetting who our allies are, and instead of admitting another debate blunder, he claims that Turkey is run by extreme terrorist, because he has heard that there were honor killings there. Does he realize there are honor killings happening in the United States? And then when he feels he is in a corner, he ask Wolf if he thought honor killings were good? Duh... well no, they are not good.. but it is not the sign of extreme terrorism. But he finished off his comments by stating that he would not give a dime to these middle eastern countries like Turkey and Eygpt.. and in the next sentence said the reason the middle east countries don't like Obama is because we don't give them enough support. He jumped over the fence and back... real smarty pants there.

    January 18, 2012 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  10. Squigman

    In a word. Pathetic.

    January 18, 2012 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  11. chuchsheen9

    Where is the Freedom Flotilla for Syria? Turkey knows that Israel will feed them with a plane ride home. They also know that Syria will torture and kill them.

    January 18, 2012 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  12. Frank Farter

    And anyone who still believed that Rick Perry could lead the world's lone superpower, without making it a mockery of it and alienating all of our allies, has now been silenced, by Rick Perry himself. What a ridiculous, out of touch thing to say. Even Joe Biden laughs when Perry opens his mouth. Please, Rick, stop talking, and go back to Texas, before your tarnished local legacy goes in the tank entirely. Turkey is a NATO member, a democracy, and an important ally (think back to the gulf war, and the air base and air space Turkey let us use, just to mention one small tidbit.)

    January 18, 2012 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  13. Alison

    I think today's speech of Perry was over the limits How can you call a long lived european ally and call them terrorists for out of nowhere? This is too cheap politics that even doesn't deserve the respect of baboons. Just look at history how strong the relationship is between US and Turkey, yet Turkey has been more liberal than US on many issues. Sad but true... Drinking alcohol on the streets, open bars until 6am, bars in front of mosques and you call them radical Islamist? So inane!

    January 18, 2012 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  14. general

    I'm voting for Ron Paul but call me crazy, I kinda like Perry other than his fake Christianity..Like the peeing on corpses, i know it;s wrong, but realistically you are asking kids to go kill each other for no reason than after they kill their enemy to treat them with respect?? Get real washington..Other thoughts – Newt is the biggest coward in this planet. South Carolina should succeed

    January 18, 2012 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  15. oguz

    Turkey does not get foreign aid from any country. It has one of the largest economy in Europe and the largest army. Turkey has played very significant in many NATO operations. Perry seems like an ignorant guy and does not suit as a leader.

    January 18, 2012 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  16. Mohammad

    Look it ain't what it sounds, Perry got lots of money from ultra right Jewish and evangilical rich and since he ain't going no where with his low poll numbers, at least he is paying something back to make them happy. Puke puke puke some more.

    January 18, 2012 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  17. Arvine

    Do these candidates have anything positive to say or contribute about any issue?

    Are evangelical zealots, gunn owners, banks and oil companies the only segment worth courting?

    "decline accelerators" or "job creators"?

    January 18, 2012 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  18. jimatmadison

    More proof as to why Texas Republicans should be dismissed out of hand for any position above town coucil of rural podunks.

    January 18, 2012 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
  19. j.b

    As Texans we made one mistake on one governor!!! We won't do it again! Why those guys just simply shut up for a second and debate on real issues instead of making our real friends in europe angry! This old g.w bush era will ever end? ...Perry is a joke! I'm sorry for those who spend some money on him! Those who helped him to run should have donate their goodwill on some homeless people on the streets of Texas...that way, they should earn more respect and true prayers from our own! Turkey is our true ally at that part of the world who has fought side by side with our fellow troops in Korea! not Israel not Pakistan not Afghanistan none whatsoever!!! Now that MORON perry pisses them off! how great it is!!! dumb got dumber! go figure! clearly the republican era for our country is done after regan!

    January 18, 2012 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  20. Shifter

    That picture makes him look like Emperor Palpatine.

    January 18, 2012 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  21. Russell

    Can't wait until Perry is out. Not long now. The guy is – like W before him – a mental lightweight. It all about ideology to him, not facts. When serious questions were raised about Texas possibly executing an innocent person and a commission was formed to investigate, Perry, as soon as he could, appointed members to the commission that he knew would scuttle the whole thing. Let's not deal in facts or seek the truth, let's just gloss over it all and keep the killing machine rolling. It's astounding anybody thinks this idiot has what it takes to be president, but the Republican party is more and more often turning to the idealogues, the religious bigots, and others like them for their candidates.

    January 18, 2012 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  22. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Oops nitwit won't talk about the growing number of women and children who disappear daily in America. The Penecostal Federation need to muzzle their puppet .

    January 18, 2012 05:11 am at 5:11 am |
  23. mkeey

    This is a guy that has signed the most death warrants for prisoners in America, complaining that Turkey allows "honor killings". This is a guy that denies minority their right to live the way they want "like gay wedding". He refuses to remove the "nagger head" sign from is range, now complaining about Turkey. Turkey had had a female Prime minister; female pilots, women in turkey had had voting rights long before some most advance country in the world, like Germany. G-D shall safe American from this kind of ignorant conservatism.

    January 18, 2012 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
  24. alfranken

    We are going to see a new trend of desperate candidates making destructive claims against other countries for the purpose of enticing the evermore powerful extremists in our country - people who themselves would be and probably are considered terrorists in the eyes of others in other countries with our lame premises of occupying their land with our troops.

    January 18, 2012 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  25. mkeey

    Perry ooh perry!! you are a big shame to the great country of America.We just do hope that the world would not see Americans just the way they view you.Don't you have smart advisers? You are giving more Americans reasons to vote Obama 2012.

    January 18, 2012 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
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