Perry defends controversial comment on Turkey
January 17th, 2012
05:18 PM ET
11 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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Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry • Turkey • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (372 Responses)
  1. Gurgi

    And Perry keeps walking through that field of cowpies barefoot.

    January 18, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Bledsoe

    I completely agree with Rick Perry. The Turks have always been barbarians throughout history and in fact spawned the First Crusade by torturing and killing Roman Christians living under their rule. Today, until the Turks grant the Kurds the independence they deserve, the U.S. has a moral obligation to cut off all aid to Turkey.

    January 18, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Nobodies Pon

    BTW a country founded on religious freedom. Has people running for high office who dont believe in religiou s freedom. Just because your friend has lunch with your enemy doesnt mean he is not your friend(turkey). Now if your enemy lives in your friends house(pakistan) then i would ask some questions.

    January 18, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. DocinPA

    This moron’s turn is far past. It's time for him to disappear. He is a total embarrassment to America with his one after the other ignorant comments. It is also far past the time for Americans to stop pandering to these lamed brains and take some pride in our country and seek candidates that are of superior mindset compatible with being the leader of the free world. Bush was enough! He had no right to wear the suit of the President of the United States..

    January 18, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. please

    Perry needs to go away before he makes anymore completely unfounded remarks to damage this countries diplomacy. fool

    January 18, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. karma

    ""its pro-Western stance" to a society driven by extremist views." ...gee sounds like the republican party, evangelicals, and the tea-party folks...

    January 18, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. Stacey

    Poor Rick Perry. The stupid klutz is dumber than a bag of onions. No offense to onions!

    January 18, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. Orwell reborn

    Perry is useful because he is dumb and pliable for his oligarch overlords. Got to wonder if the elections in Texas are rigged, or Texans are not as smart as Perry.

    January 18, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. GD

    really? this guy is a complete joke!

    January 18, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    Come on people give the rich secessionist a break. He just waneted to remind us that he served as cheeleadef in the AF.
    That being said these teapublikans would have us fighting every single country if it was up to them. I like that President Obama is more of a diplomat than a shoot from the hip jerk!
    Funny that this clown who has killed how many in his state while governor cares about other killings in other countries.
    We are also "hopeful" that he returns to Texas and gets lost in tha ranch of his!

    January 18, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. Expat American

    Let's see.....Turkey is illegally occupying Cyprus......they are illegally running Israel's legal blockade of Gaza......they are illegally blockading Armenia......they may be our allies, but they are not angels.
    Well said, spot on.

    January 18, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. Buster Bloodvessel

    "I wonder why CNN is keeping this "story" alive and at the top of the Ticker??? Aren't there more important things going on????" A guy runs for president and he doesn't know our allies from our enemies? Turkey, where they don't even veil the women, a nation of terrorists? He's disqualified himself as a candidate, same as Cain, and that's not news? Four exclamation marks is the sure sign of an insane mind.

    January 18, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. Enigma

    It's like George W had a twin. He has to stand by what he said because he has screwed up so many times he is beginning to look like an idiot even to himself. Now he is like "I meant to say that'. He should of stayed home after New Hampshire, now it's just getting embarrassing.

    January 18, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. Pat in IL

    He is already causing serious foreign relations problems. What could happen if he were in a position where people would have to take him seriously? Can't somebody make him shut up?

    January 18, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Expat American

    Perry most likely believes that the pardoned Thanksgiving Turkey is Muslim – and the reason for its Pardon is one of the initiatives for the President’s war on Religion, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

    Perry is one dumb, drunk cowboy. But if he squints his eyes and starts throwing Bibles in the air, then of course rednecks will vote for him.

    God Bleesh Uuuh-Murikkka

    January 18, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. Gobble Gobble

    They cut out the best part of the clip....I saw it live last night and there was a point where Rick Perry asked Wolf if he was personally defending 'honor killings.'

    If this guy got elected he would probably add Wolf Blitzer to the list of terrorist groups.

    "The stars at night, are big and bright, (but the minds are slight).....deep in the heart of Texas."

    January 18, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  17. BillySol

    Perry needs to call on former Speaker of the House, Republican Dennis Hastert, who gets paid $35,000 per month to lobby on behalf of Turkey while at the same time getting huge pension money from the US Govt. In effect, Perry is saying Hastert is supporting and promoting terrorism.

    January 18, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |

    Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
    Everyday in the US, more than 4 women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
    It looks like it US Government Is promoting these murders and not stopping them.
    We should stop paying taxes.

    January 18, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. WhereIsPalin

    I just wanna see if this guy can get re-elected as the governor of Texas.

    January 18, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. George M

    nato member well nato members should not send people to nato countrys to burn their forest down as Turkey did to greece and it was a story by the Turkish news papers

    January 18, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  21. kenny

    Only an idiot will stand by a stupid statement after he has been told by everyone that he was wrong in his statement. That is Gov. Perry.

    January 18, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. Anchorite

    Wow junior high civics students know more about Turkey than this guy. He must think he can pick any country that is Muslim or kind of near the Mideast and just say, "They're all Islamic terrorists and we demand they answer to us for it" and we're all dumb we'll just nod our heads, "Yup, must be Al Cayda."

    January 18, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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