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. Jim in CA

    Governor Perry should withdraw from the primary. He first embarassed himslef, then he embarassed the state of Texas and now heembrassing our country on the world stage. There is no excuse for not knowing our allies from our enemies. This is not only further embarassment for the Governor, but it probably will kill his chances of any future run. Time to cut his losses.

    January 18, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Dave

    I am sure our Defense leaders appreciate this given our strategic U.S. Air Base in Izmir, Turkey.

    January 18, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. JJ

    Turkeys record before the Islamist's took over was about the worst of any country. They committed genocide on a larger percentage fo their pollution than did the Nazis, they invaded and are occupied Un member states. As far as being our ally, they refused use of the basis the US funded and built to help knock Saddam out of Kuwait, and busted the sanctions. All the while while being the largest constant dollar recipient of US aid in the past 100 years excepting Isreal. With allies like that who needs enemies

    January 18, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Buster Bloodvessel

    Kemal Ataturk was one of the best leaders ever; he used his absolute power to transform Turkey, then stepped down and let them run their country. They did poorly but they have his example to remember. Really, 'terrorists?" He needs to go there and look around. So out of touch.

    January 18, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. hypatia

    If that man shoves the other foot up there, he's gonna walk up his own backside.

    January 18, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  6. JohnRJ08

    Does this guy go to bed at night wearing a beanie with a little propeller on the top?

    January 18, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. James in Columbia

    Is this guy insane? This is one of our allies. What's next, should we break off relations with Canada too? Time to go home Perry, your moment has passed...

    January 18, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. Cedar Rapids

    "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"

    And it was a coup plan by the military to OVERTHROW the government, it wasn't the Turkish government plotting.

    January 18, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. vatoloke

    Absolutely not the brightest light in the harbor.

    January 18, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. Mark

    Just a few words – big Texas-sized scarey dumb buffoon that is so clueless about the world he lives in and doesn't even know it. Typical rethuglican! Sad part is these nutjobs have followers with even less knowledge and common sense. Go back to Texas and seceed already.

    January 18, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  11. Jason

    For the love of God Turkey is one of the least religious countries in the Middle East. Then again, considering how Perry believes that its fundamentally wrong for gays and lesbians to fight for their own country, we shouldn't expect the guy to harbor any intelligent thoughts.

    January 18, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Latch

    Republicans, when faced with facts that totally contradict their latest gaffe, always double-down and refuse to admit they might maybe possibly be wrong.

    January 18, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    I wonder why CNN is keeping this "story" alive and at the top of the Ticker??? Aren't there more important things going on????

    January 18, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    He makes Dubya look like a Mensa candidate.

    January 18, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. nlb

    No worries, Turks don't take this guy seriously. Unfortunately can't say the same thing for the teapublican base.

    January 18, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  16. Martin

    About the only good thing I see from Perry's campaign is it has given my fellow Texan's the opportunity to see what a total moron he really is. He's never really had to campaign here to get elected, just be a republican. Maybe this will open some eyes here in Texas.

    January 18, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. RINO Bil

    Perry kinda makes W look smart ... which I didn't think was possible.

    Hell, he even makes Palin and Bachmann look smart.

    At least Rick Perry is good for something.

    January 18, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. ElSid

    I doubt he can even find Turkey on a map. Thankfully he has no chance getting nominated!

    January 18, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  19. T. M. Syed

    Rick Perry is trying to stir up controversy to improve his miserable ratings. He is a nut job who lacks common sense and reasonable intellect. His earlier comments on social security and session from the union are just a few examples.

    January 18, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. Independent

    Thank you to all who showed some sympathy to us, your fellow Americans who happen to live in Texas. Perry is so preternaturally stupid that he even makes W. look pretty good. We here in the Lone Star state apologize for having bred this half-breed and now having America exposed to him as well. We hope that SC will reject him soundly enough that even he will drop out of the race, although, sadly, that means that he will return to Texas. And if SC does not reject him soundly enough–then, let them have him for governor!

    January 18, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. bcm

    I have some very good friends from Texas and even a few relatives who live there but I have to say that some of the most arrogant and ignorant politicians I have ever seen are from Texas. People in Texas really need to spend some time researching those they vote for, not just whether they're a republican or democrat. This man is a total embarassment.

    January 18, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Deakon

    I would have thought that one turkey would have a better understanding of another Turkey.

    January 18, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  23. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Just drop out already, Rick. You have consistently shown you have no business anywhere near the White House.

    January 18, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. ChristoInferno

    Duh. He's got no shot of winning the nomination, he knows he can say anything now.

    News flash to CNN: Perry is no longer news. You may as well be reporting on the Kardashians.

    January 18, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. Just make it up

    I think it was said best by the ragin cagin who stated: Now that Texas has Perry, Louisiana is finally able to make fun of Texas. Their IQ has dropped into the single digit.

    January 18, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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