Perry defends controversial comment on Turkey
January 17th, 2012
05:18 PM ET
9 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. Publius Novus

    There should be a ban on discussion of foreigh affairs by Republican presidential and congressional candidates. The harm done to U.S. foreigh relations is incalculable.

    January 18, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. dc

    All Perry has to do is open is mouth and out comes " idiot". Rick Perry needs to man up and drop out of the race it's the right thing to do, he would also stop embarrassing the state of Texas by doing so.

    January 18, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. Dustin

    Charlie, I have been asking that question for years. People here in Texas simply hate government of any type. They think it is evil. That's the reason for guys like Perry doing so well. You have to live here to get it, but I dream of a day when retionalism and intelligence returns to politics in this state. I think once public education and women's rights in Texas have been completely annihilated people might wake up. I find it funny that Perry sites women's rights when he has done everything to destroy them in Texas.

    January 18, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  4. Greg Eatroff

    " Israel is described as democratic. It is NOT. You must be Jewish to be a citizen of Israel."

    I think that would come as something of a surprise to the Arabs (Druze, Christian, and Muslim) in the Israeli parliament.

    I don't agree with every Israeli policy, but it burns my kishkes to see people uncritically accepting and repeating outright lies like the one I just quoted.

    January 18, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    ah the words of Rick Perry..either quite dumb or untrue
    The Obama stimulus created ZERO jobs,.....LIE
    Obama said Americans are LAZY..........LIE
    Mitt Romney is a vulture capitalist........well even a blind rabbit can find a carrot every now and then!

    January 18, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. Martin

    I've lived in Texas for all of my 60 years. I sick & tired of idiots like Perry and Bush giving the impression that all Texans are stupid. We're not. Just the ones that keep electing these fools.

    January 18, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. mike halter

    Rick Perry please go back to Texas and keep your mouth shut.

    January 18, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. give it to me straight

    and then there were four

    January 18, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  9. John

    Rick Perry has aged 10yrs on the campaign trail.

    January 18, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. Keith in NJ

    Better to be silent and thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. Nuf said. Unless the people of South Carolina are idiots (and they are not), Perry's candidacy will be over by sunday. then he can go home and threaten to have texas leave the union. They can elect him president of Texas. W can be the VP. Good riddance.

    January 18, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. logicnLA

    Martin- I would say move to get away from perry but instead, will you please get more vocal and get the likes of him out of your political offices?

    January 18, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  12. MaryM

    Wow. Perry, just go back to Texas. You are way OVER done in this campaign.

    January 18, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  13. Scott S.

    This deserves a facepalm. Rick Perry not only will not win the nomination, he should be permanently banned from running for politcial office. How stuipd can one person be?

    January 18, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  14. JohnW

    "I reject your reality and substitute my own!"

    January 18, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. tim dugan

    one can only hope, that the press and exposure RP has gotten from his presidential bid will sink any future in politics that he has in the state of TX. it seems the only reason he is governor is that no one knows much about him.

    January 18, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. JC

    If George W. Bush and Rick Perry were brothers, Dubya would be considered the smart one. If Sarah Palin, Michellle Bachmann and Rick Perry were all in the same family, Perry might still be the dumb one.

    January 18, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. Dennis

    I would call all the comment made by these candidates are inexperienced, attention seeking, and unrealistic. The comments are made simply to attract as many votes as possible. Just look at how they are cattering to evangelicals, extremists, gun lobby, anti-abortion, anti gay, it's appauling and very dangerous way of playing politics. they are promoting dividing a already extremely divided country on these issues. All at the cost of fundmental rights of these minority groups. Shame on them !!! Shame on you if you buy these idological and extreme views.

    January 18, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  18. lynxboom

    Remember Dixie Chicks? Here we go again!

    January 18, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  19. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Who cares what Perry says? He's going to be heading back to Texas after his SC primary LAST place finish. He should have dropped out after Iowa. A horrible waste of time and money and his scotched earth campaign style is destructive.

    He will NOT be missed.

    January 18, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. Trivi

    There are many such elected officials from Texas; congressman Joe Barton knows how to apologize for apology, for former Sen. Phil Gramm, recession is "mental" and America is "Nation of Whiners".

    January 18, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  21. Bob

    The real truth is the ONLY country with sand under their feet who care or like us is Israel and a lot of Americans (fools) find fault with them. The rest only want our money and help fighting their neighbors.

    January 18, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  22. Bessy

    @ Martin-I couldn't agree with you more, however, I have to admit that because of these two idiots, Bush and Perry, going to Texas and spending my money there has put a very sour taste in my mouth. At this point I just can't do it. The people in Texas have got to start seeing the light as to who they are electing into office. I also feel the same way about Alaska because of Palin. I know it is stupid on my part, but I just can't help it.

    January 18, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. Rick

    Wow, is this guys goal to sow groundless fear, alienate an ally or both?? Either way he's a buffoon and it's a sad sad reflection on Texas that they ever elected such an ignoramus.

    January 18, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. steve

    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.

    January 18, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. Turkish American

    As a American I'm really disappointed that we allow clowns like Perry to speak on TV with out censoring. A comment like this from a presidential 'wishful' can damage long time relationships with any country not just Turkey... People of Turkey Perry does not speak on America's behalf nor will he ever speak on my behalf. I've personally been to Turkey 8 times and it's truly a friendly country that i love to visit with my wife...

    January 18, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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