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. Charlie in Maine

    Well that must be news to our staunch NATO ally. Honestly when are the good and smart people of Texas rise up against these idiots who make their stae look bad? I don't like Perry at all but I am thinking of donating money so he can afford a handler to keep him from saying the stupidest of what he is thinking.

    January 17, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. Mikey

    Can you imagine this idiot as POTUS? Turkey is an important ally. Trouble is, based on comments made by other candidates, Perry is only slightly dumber than the rest of the "clown car" field of candidates. That includes sucessful corporate parasite, Mitt Romney, who has also said some provocative things about foreigh partners. Saying statements are aimed at the low IQ, red meat GOP base doesn't make me feel any better about it.

    As far as the elections goes: Let's keep the one we already have. The steady hand. Obama 2012

    January 17, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. Thomas

    Get this turkey back to Texas before he causes us real problems with his abject ignorance. His fellow Texan Ann Richards had him pegged long ago when she said "stick a fork in him, he's done."

    January 17, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. v_mag

    Speaking as a native Texan, I hope Perry gets lost on his way back from SC.

    January 17, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Yes, shifting norms and the ebb and tide of conservative/fundamentalist/religious anger and aggression towards those who won't live by their religious rules and beliefs often result in temporary periods and outbursts of increased violence and political extremism.

    What? You thought I was talking about Turkey?

    January 17, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. diridi

    none of Republicans are even worth....a dime.

    January 17, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    Now America is starting to see what we in Texas have to put up with. And some people here LOVE this guy, don't get me wrong. But Perry is and always will be in my book a MORON. He says some of the most stupid things then he comes out and defends it. Like it's ok for marines to "pee" on the bodies of dead enemies was the latest gaffe he made before this one. ( the sins of youth?) Is it any wonder the religious right group that met down here didn't pick Perry. Rick needs to get back here because unemployment is over 8% in Texas and since he claims he creates a lot of jobs we need some.

    January 17, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. Steve, New York City

    Once again, Governor Perry demonstrates EYE-POPPING STUPIDITY.
    So anyone who has to balance "East vs. West" and has an honest policy disagreement with Israeli policy is an Islamic terrorist???

    This guy makes George Bush # 43 look like a Nobel laureate.

    January 17, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. Notislam

    Turkey is an islamic terrorist regime. Turkey must end its illegal occupation of Cyprus.

    January 17, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  10. v_mag

    How does anyone figure there is democracy in this country? We always have 2 or fewer choices in Texas: Republican/Democrat, or maybe just Republican. Unless you live in a Democratic enclave like Austin, you will always wind up with the Republican. The Republican is graciously pre-selected for us by the Republican establishment, just like the Communist Party used to do in the USSR.

    And we imagine that we have some input into how we're governed? We have no input. All we can do is protest enmasse like OWS, and then we get pepper-sprayed for excercising First Amendment rights. Things really suck in this country.

    January 17, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. sf

    There are several idiots like Perry at my job that are in management's a wonder this company stays afloat with the way they think, act and bully their way into their positions while keeping everyone else "in their place" by use of their political/managerial muscle! disgusting!

    January 17, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. Roz Shearer

    Please DO NOT give Rick Perry anymore airtime – I watched the first 5 minutes and then I had to hit the mute button. I do not like to mute Wolf Blitzer, but Perry's voice and stupidity was hurting my ears...

    January 17, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. Strategic Bob

    Rick Perry is both an idiot and a job creator. After all, undoing the damage this fool causes every time he opens his mouth has got to be a growth industry.

    But you have to give Perry credit for one thing. Being better looking than Reagan and dumber than W, Rick Perry is the perfect embodiment of everything that the intellectually and morally bankrupt Republican Party has become.

    January 17, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  14. dana

    Didn't Turkey refuse us to use their air space at least once during Afghanistan or was it the Iraq wars, I'm not sure but it was one of them

    January 17, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  15. Carole Curtis

    I just listened to Wolf Blitzer interview Rick Perry and this man is no way qualified to be the President. His ideas on how we deal with our middle eastern allies is way off the chart.

    January 17, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  16. Jerome in Bama

    Rick Perry's response to Wolf's question about Turkey was nothing. He is really as dumb as they get. And Wolf just let Perry walk all over him without answering the question. Make these people answer the questions, please.

    January 17, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  17. john Mt pleasant sc

    Turkey is the ONLY islamic country that is democratic. It is not a terrorist state. It elects its leaders. Israel is described as democratic. It is NOT. You must be Jewish to be a citizen of Israel. I can become a citizen of Turkey even though I am a Christian.

    January 17, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  18. Audrey Meridienne


    Good anti-Turkish propaganda from a(n):
    a) Armenian
    b) Kurd
    c) Greek
    d) Jew

    Though it sounds like "c" in this case, please state after you post your lies and false accusations. We would like to know which failed nation/race has more hypocrites with extreme double standards. Thank you.

    January 17, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  19. john Mt pleasant sc

    And Rick Perry ought to do toothpaste ads. He sure as heck is not any kind of intellect

    January 17, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  20. said hajem

    Turkey was named after Kamal Ataturk the father of secularism. This guy has no clue about foreign policy; he is just another cowboy from Texas like Bush.

    January 17, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  21. Haj

    I think he was confused, when he talk he sounds like Sara paling

    January 17, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  22. 100% ETHI

    Well said, Governor. We know Turkey Twice:
    1st) a big Bird during Thanksgiving Day with some Stuffing and
    2nd) as people with full of tearorist leaner.

    January 17, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  23. Arand

    Gov. Perry, if you're such a closet Crusader, why don't you grab a sword, horse and shield and go slay some of them infidels? Your arrogance is only topped by your stupidity.

    January 17, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  24. brian in denver


    January 17, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  25. CanadianSue1

    Americans never cease to amaze me. That this guy is being considered for president is beyond comprehension. What a turkey!

    January 17, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
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