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. Texasmike

    Perry is so out of touch, he's losing the Texas republican primary.

    January 18, 2012 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  2. John

    Unfortunately the damage has already been done, last thing on Turkey's leader mind will be, a candidate running for president has these views, It'll once again show that while you're an ally today , tomorrow you can be on the "axis of evil" list.

    January 18, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  3. Martha's Muffin

    Dear Texas.
    We forgave you once.
    Now you owe us.
    Please round up your village idiots,
    they keep escaping.

    January 18, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  4. Rich

    Rick doesn't even know where Turkey is....Needs to go and get his g.e.d.

    January 18, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  5. Robert Gardiner

    Perry pretends to defend the rights of women as long as they're not American women wanting to make their own decisions about their own body. What a hypocrite.

    January 18, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  6. wonderabout

    The Second-Coming of the Village Idiot .... His handlers should tattoo this on the back of his hands: "Engage Brain Before Opening Mouth"

    January 18, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  7. Edwin

    This man doesn't even deserve to be an elementary school principal. What is worse than a pure idiot is an idiot who doesn't admit his mistakes.

    January 18, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  8. Faber McMullen

    Mr. Perry is an embarrassment to all conservative Texans.

    January 18, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  9. perrrob

    Geez ... his tin foil hat is way too tight ... lock that guy in a looney bin fast!

    January 18, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  10. Larry, Curly, or Moe for GOP Nomination

    Wow! we have a real live Shakespearian tragedy here. McBeth couldn't tell the difference between his friends and enemies. Perry has just murdered (sliced and diced) common sense. What an idiot. Disgrace to all Texans.

    January 18, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  11. Speak the Truth

    Isn't this the same governor who wants young girls who have been raped to be shown a sonogram of their fetus before they can have an abortion? How is that protecting women? Does anyone have duct-tape?

    January 18, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  12. Marjee123

    Goodness every time you read an article you see where these bunch of clowns make such stupid statements you wonder how in the world they ever got as far in life as they have. Guess all that corporation money did it huh.

    January 18, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  13. rude

    Turkey is very VITAL to the US in this area. Their help in containing Iran will be very important and Pery's comment only demonstrates the stupidity of the Moslem Haters. His comment only demonstrates how incompetent he would be if actually elected.

    January 18, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  14. Tin Foil Hat

    Sometimes i wonder if all of this has been carefully planned.
    I know this sounds tin foil crazy, but look at what the GOP has thrown at us.
    Every nutball off the Tea Party Floor,
    Palin, Bachmann, Cain, Santorum, Gingrich, Perry.
    Then, the handful of odds and ends that will never get the white house
    Romney, Huntsman, Paul, Hucabee, Trump.

    You guys even have Democrats scratching thier heads (and Laughing thier butts off).

    January 18, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  15. Jules

    Perry should just drop out of the race. He is an embarassment to himself and to this country. He proved once again he knows nothing about the world and the country isn't Texas. If I hear him say, "in Texas ..." one more time I will throw up. He is not even a B rated GOP candidate – he is further down the line than that. Come on, Rick, time to go.

    January 18, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  16. Jt_flyer

    The dream candidate of the MILLITARY defense contractors. Calling him a loose cannon is an insult to GW Bush.

    January 18, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  17. As Far As Siam

    Shake thet clown car real good.
    Has everybody fallen out yet ?
    Is there another one still stuck inside ?
    The Koch Brothers are getting desperate.

    January 18, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  18. Gilligans Island

    Vote for me, and i promise you....

    Dis, Dat, and de udder ding.

    January 18, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |

    "The U.S. has no time to lose with such a candidate who does not even know America's allies,"
    Wow! What a statement. These presidential candidates must realize that every time they open their mouths', they make America look even dumber. Our allies are satisfied with our current Commander In Chief.

    January 18, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  20. Norm

    What prompted baby Bush to freak out on Turkey?
    This is the same guy that keeps talking about having his state leave the union.
    That's fine.
    Texas makes the whole country look dumb.

    January 18, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  21. KyleGlobal

    Perry, shut your ignorant mouth before you do even more damage to the United States and its interests.

    January 18, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  22. Duck Duck Duck - GOOSE

    I just sold Texas back to Mexico.
    I gave them $12.62 cents, and a case of beer.
    They drove a hard bargain.
    No need to thank me, it was my pleasure.

    January 18, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  23. Pete

    You would think the Republican Party would be embarrassed by the likes of Perry, but nothing embarrasses them anymore. They are so intent on gaining back power, they'll take any moron under their wing with a half baked idea and some political backing. Obama will be swept back into office because the Republican Party is anti-social security, anti-government, anti-budget balancing, anti, anti, anti anything that might solve the country's problems. The debt ceiling was raised 172 times, but they've turned it into a crisis in their blind pursuit of power. Can't wait until November and these candidate morons go back into obscurity.

    January 18, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Not for nothing, but good lawd he's looking whupped!

    January 18, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  25. Dan

    I don't think the US provides "aid" to Turkey in any way. Their economy is booming, they're a regional power and one of America's oldest allies. If anything, perhaps the US provides some sort of military-related stipend, seeing as how American forces use Turkish bases and station weapons there. I don't think Turkey needs any aid.

    January 18, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
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