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. Voter

    I thought they were talking about Ally bank, which I agree – they are terrorists.

    January 18, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  2. BillyD1953

    Perry is a typical GOP candidate– uninformed and out of touch with reality.

    January 18, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Mossey, Rick Perry got to be governor because 5 people on the Supreme Court decided that his predecessor, Dubya, was the President elect. After that it was just a matter of claiming his opponents were either not Christian, or were Communists, or wanted to take their guns away. Then, the state with the highest Tattoo to Teeth ratio just kept reelecting him

    January 18, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  4. Jack

    Ah well, the world is just too complicated and nuanced for Perry to understand. Life just isn't as simple as good guys in white hats on white horses like they teach you in Aggie School.

    January 18, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  5. jack

    Perry should try to support friendly relations with foreign countries, like George W. Bush said to have good relations with the Grecians, we should do the same with the Turks.

    January 18, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  6. MT

    Texas makes domestic abuse data very hard to find. The latest published stats are for 2009, and show an increase of 3,000 victims over 2008. What are you hiding, Governor?

    January 18, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  7. carly

    how do clowns like this get elected?

    January 18, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. bobalu

    Perry has said so many stupid things that he feels he doesn't have the option to backtrack anymore. No matter how stupid he must move forward.

    January 18, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. HL

    Perry's stupidity is just appalling, and can't imagine somebody like this as President of the US.
    The worst I've seen since Sarah Palin.

    January 18, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. Tom

    Not only uninformed, but a hothead, too! How can anyone who cares about our country consider this man a serious candidate for POTUS?

    January 18, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  11. unretired05

    Texas textbooks gave us this.

    January 18, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  12. noel

    from texas, can't stand perry, but sometimes the truth hurts folks...his comments were spot on!!! CUT OFF FOREIGN AID. YOU CAN'T BUY FRIENDS!!!

    January 18, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  13. Ken in MD

    No wonder this guy is so far back in the polls. He's even losing in Texas!! He's following in Bush's footsteps where he sees terrorists in his sleep. If you can't make people like you, make them afraid of everyone else.

    January 18, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  14. Mindie in Indie

    way to p off one of America's ACTUAL allies you moron. Everyone's a terrorist to the GOP (oh, except themselves of course)

    January 18, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  15. tewrobert

    Its kind of nice to see someone thats not afriad to speak his mind and stand behind it...........

    January 18, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  16. godoflunaticscreation

    I loathe Perry but his remarks are partly correct. I wouldn't go so far as to say turkey is a terrorist state but they have plotted false flag terrorist attacks that were prevalent in the news and cost many Turkish military, their jobs. Look up operation sledgehammer, in which they planned to bomb Turkish mosks and shoot down a civilian aircraft over Greece. They then plotted to blame it on the Greeks. This WAS in the news and is NOT a conspiracy theory. It DID end in the resignation of many Turkish Military. They are not a terrorist state but they are our ally for their own benefit and a risky one at that. If you really think the Turkish people have a favorable view of the U.S then you are more ignorant than Perry.

    January 18, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  17. Tex71

    Shucks, it aint mah fault! Last time Ah was in the hospital they made a mistake and connected mah lower intestine to the inside of mah head.

    January 18, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  18. PTBarnumboy

    Duh?? Still can't believe the good people of Texas have bought this guys line of bull for all these years.

    January 18, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |

    Aw nayow, come own yall! Ah am jes a good old boy from Texus. How am ah sposed to know what "ally" mean. Ah thot it was like allah. It have two L's, dont it.

    January 18, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  20. kevin

    I keep saying this but...Let Texas become it's own nation. We have used up all the resources. What is left for this "state" to offer besides idiots? Rick...leave the union while you are still in power. Then you can declare war on the US and not be a traitor!

    January 18, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  21. MikeMazzla

    This guy is a crackpot.

    January 18, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  22. danger

    The man literally puts Americans at risk.

    January 18, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  23. GIUK

    Rick Perry; The politician with special needs.

    January 18, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  24. Gunay in DC

    I dont' think Perry knows much about domestic violence in America, let alone Turkey. The Domestic Violence Resource Center says that at least 600,000 women are victims of domestic violence each year in America. More than three women are murdered by their intimate partners in America every day. Domestic violence is perhaps a more pressing problem than international terrorism, for it is widespread and happening in our neighborhoods behind closed doors every day throughout our nation. IF Perry was smart, he would advocate to stop domestic violence in America, starting with Texas, and help an example for the rest of the world, before attacking Turkey in such extreme terms.

    January 18, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  25. Steven

    Seems a few states have idiots for Governors. Bet you a dollar that Texas reelects Perry. Just because many things in Texas a large does not mean Texan's brains are big.

    January 18, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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