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. Tony in Maine

    Turkey has problems – especially wit Greeks and Armenians which are both Eastern Orthodox Christian. This does not make them Islamists, just like rednecks in our own South who hate and fear those who are different. Where does the Republican Party find these people?

    January 18, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  2. macallen23

    The only thing not debatable anymore is that Perry is the dumbest of all GOP candidates. Congrats.

    January 18, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  3. JimfromBirmingham

    @ kat

    Not knowing whether his comments are correct, but boldly saying that he is better than Obama is truly dangerous. Such a statement is a real "turn off" to the independents who will decide the 2012 election. The fringes of both political parties simply support their parties' candidates without thought – sort of surrendering their personal beliefs to their parties.

    Perry has demonstrated a pleasant personality, but an intellect that is arguably lower than the horse he rode in on. As for whether he is better than Obama or not, an old saying might apply to how the average voter would respond: "Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know". After some of the sound bite clips Perry has given us, I would suspect Obama would beat him easily in a head-to-head race, with Obama winning almost all the swing states, and Perry only taking the really red states, maybe a 2 to 1 electoral vote margin in Obama's favor. I'm a registered Republican who believes the Republican party should nominate the best candidate, but Perry is not that guy.

    January 18, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Well, we now know Rick Perry is not going to be POTUS; not now, not ever.

    January 18, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  5. vatoloke

    Not even yet the GOtP nominee and already stirring international doo. Picking up where his mentor left off. What a maroon.

    January 18, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  6. nyoped

    As a Turk I should say it is a shame that honor killings still happen in some parts of Turkey, however, the violent crime rate is still much lower in Turkey than it is in Texas. And Turkey does not have capital punishment (Texas state kills people).

    January 18, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  7. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    I'm sorry, did dumbo say something? I don't think too many people are actually listening anymore. I take Bugs Bunny more seriously.

    January 18, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  8. Aezel

    Perry's campaign strategy: "Jesus, guns, Jesus, terrorists, Jesus, Jesus, guns, terrorists, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, guns, terrorists, Jesus, guns.......terrorists."

    How's that workin' out for ya there mister genius?

    January 18, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  9. JimfromBirmingham

    Based on what I saw in the military, Turkey is vital to our position in the Middle East, and as an anchor to the southern end of NATO. They also provide us Islamic faces in critical places so the jihadists cannot paint us as Moslem haters. Turkey and Indonesia are two big Islamic allies on the edges of CENTCOM's theater of operations, both of which help us enormously. Perry's comments demonstrate his lack of depth in foreign affairs, coupled with a certain arrogant "we'll go it alone" attitude that our economy will not tolerate anymore. He ignores the reality that sovereign nations negotiate with each other except under the most dire of circumstances (e.g., Iran, unless they abandon their nuclear weaponization program).

    January 18, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  10. Darth Cheney

    Good insight into the cavernous hollow of Perry's brain. The logic here is, quite simply: Premise 1: Turkey is a nation with a lot of Muslims. Premise 2: Muslims are basically terrorists. Conclusion: Turkey is a terrorist nation.

    January 18, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  11. rtard24/7

    perry,palin,trump and bachman dream debate ... common americans please please please for em

    January 18, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  12. Maltese Falcon

    This is what the modern Reaganite Republican party is like. It has Goldwater-type conservative leaders. The biggest problem is that O'Bama is not anti-war. Certainly no one in the Republican party is anti-war except for Rep. Paul who is a little too old to be President. So, you have no choice. The 30 year crusade to reform the Islamic countries is bankrupting the United States. It took until 1965 to pay off all the bonds that were issued to pay for that ridiculous charade known as World War II.

    January 18, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  13. JoeS

    Rick Perry should not run for President. He is an embarrassment to all Americans. From the beginning I saw him in the television, the way He acts and talks, He portrays himself like a cowboy down in Texas. If He became a President of this country, He will shoot first and ask question later. What an idiot.

    January 18, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  14. AEK

    "These people got some splainin' to do, Lucy!" Really Rick, don't ya think we should just bomb em, maybe put a couple hundred thousand "boots on the ground." Maybe they'll all become Christians and form a representative democracy just like us too.

    January 18, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  15. Florida Resident

    Kick his sorry butt back to Texas – we are over Perry.

    January 18, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  16. Mike Botwin

    Republicans just keep looking for places to send other people's children to die. But there's big money to be made in defense contracts.

    January 18, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  17. Russ in Md

    @Annie, Atlanta, Sniffit and Lost in Texas Forever and all the others who can't do research and see that yes, Turkey has been supporting some pretty shady characters "including Hezbollah" not to mention, murders among women has risen dramatically since 2002 I think you should all move to Turkey and enjoy there peaceful way of life.

    January 18, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  18. gggg

    Even the dumbest president knew that there were times you should keep your mouth shut.

    January 18, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  19. Joe citizen abroad

    Unbelievable that this guy is still yapping from the sidelines. Worse yet, I'm sure significant numbers of people hang on his every word.

    January 18, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  20. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Perry is barely qualified to be a dog catcher. If he stuck to that profession at least he wouldn't have to open his sToOpId mouth.

    January 18, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  21. Doug in NYC

    OMG these republicans are not even President and they manage to cause foreign relations problems, imagine if they were President!! As the great Texas Govenor Ann Richards once said regarding Bush 1, but can even more be better applied to Rick Perry "He was born with a silver foot in his mouth". Get these guys off the stage before even more damage is done!

    January 18, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  22. janetlaw

    The entire Republican group have no clothes. And the media is too scared/stupid to say it.

    January 18, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  23. TIM

    Perry just proves with every word that comes out of his mouth that he has no clue what he is doing or what he is talking about. Unfortunately, most Texans are complete morons and share allot of Perry's views. I was born and raised in Texas and it frustrates me so much to see how great our state could be if we didn't have so many people like Rick Perry. Rick Perry has killed Texas pride and he will be the death of America if he ever became president.

    January 18, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  24. John

    This man has no business running for President. This man have Proven time and time again that his Brain Is Fry. I don't even see how Texas people elected him GOV.

    January 18, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Hey, Republican Party; Please take care of your own.

    January 18, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
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