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. Duke One

    Governor Perry is 100% correct; our frenemy has been coopted by the extremist muslims !!

    January 17, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  2. Thinks2010

    Why is it that so many Republicans (Perry, Palin, Bachman) show such a lack of knowledge of world affairs that they can't remember who our allies are? Could it be that they suffer from the kind of non-fact related, religiously focused, politically biased education they want to impose on the rest of this country? These phony 'average Joe' proud-of-their-ignorance candidates are dangerous. It is unnerving to think of the kind of damage their ignorant fanaticism could inflict on this country and the world. On top of that, these poster children for ignorance set a poor example for america's youth. We need well-rounded, educated statesmen like individuals running for office instead of these egocentric political hacks.

    January 17, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. Al-NY,NY

    Perry is flailing away trying to rile up the xenophobes. Unfortunately there are some that actually believe what he says.

    January 17, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. JDinTexas

    Sorry Turkey. We know he's a moron and had no idea he would get out of the yard so to speak. Here's the thing. The govenor in Texas, unlike most other states, has no real power. So a bunch of his cronies bought that office for him and nobody else cared because, again, its a meaningless job. So, sorry again, our bad.

    January 17, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. Bubba

    His foreign policy experience is he can see Mexico from his front porch. Sounds familiar? It is sad that in Texas if a candidate has just one vote more than his/her opponent, he/she is the governor of Texas. No run off. That is how he gets re- elected here.

    January 17, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  6. ed fl

    Hopefully thisTexas turkey gets to remain inTexas. They were stupid enough to elect him hopefully the trend will continue. If there was a contest for stupid the rest of the country wouldn.t have a chance.

    January 17, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. ron

    Oh boy! Whatever will you do with all the free time you're about to have on your hands???

    January 17, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. independent

    Perry has no clue. Instead of castigating Turkey, we should have been pushing the European Common Market to accept Turkey as a member. If they had, Europe wouldn't be so economically shaky now.
    Gov Perry, go back to Texas, where they apparently don't mind all the silly things you say.

    January 17, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  9. sunrisetme

    Talk tough, act tough, shoot first and ask question later is considered as STRONG. Some believe STRONG has to be physical and diplomacy is a sign of weakness. Sad but true.

    January 17, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  10. Dave in Texas

    It is embarrassing to have a Texan this STUPID! And letting the world know he is from Texas – much less our governor.
    After all his stupids comments..It would be good to hold our governor election again, soon before people forget all the gaffes he has made. Embarrassed in Texas.

    January 17, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  11. Emin turan

    Yes, Indeed, the ruling party, AKP, in Turkey has moved Ataturk's secular Turkey from being pro-western to a more pro-Islamic structure. It's mind boggling that AKP, a pro-islamist party, receives the strongest support from the Obama government yet!

    Here is the news to Mr. Perry;

    AKP is also influenced and further controlled by Fetullah Gulen, a Muslim Imam who lives in the US, and by his religious cult worth billions of dollars doing business in the US. Fetullah Gulen's cult provides the $$$$ to support AKP government remotely from the US.

    This Fetullah Gulen cult has the LARGEST establishments in the GREAT STATE OF TEXAS. I am sure Mr. Perry is well aware of them, since this cult also financially supports republican representatives in TX.

    So I am having hard time understanding Mr. Perry when he complains about Turkey being pro-islamic, but on the other hand, allowing Texas to be the largest safe haven and operation base for Fetullah Gulen cult.

    Thank you.

    January 17, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  12. Thomas

    Great , smart guy perry! Syria is on fire and Rick wants to trow fuel on the flames.

    Perry , Go home , start a country western swing band for log cabin republicans .

    January 17, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  13. The all potent one

    V_mag – agree, until there is election reform to eliminate the highest bidder policy we currently have nothing will change

    January 17, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  14. nintex

    Somebody put a sock in his mouth quick before he starts a war with his stupid ignorant inane verbal garbage.

    January 17, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  15. Mossey

    This guy is a complete moron. How did he ever get elected as Governor?

    January 17, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  16. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    Thank God that Rick Perry will not get the GOP nomination because this guy is clueless. Case in point he blasted the president saying that he should have had a welcome home parade for our troops. These are the very SAME troops he later said he would send right back over to Iraq. He says some stupid things then comes out a defends them. Could you imagine him as POTUS? Then again maybe it would be great for the Democrats if Perry DID win the nomination. Obama would mop up the floor with him for sure.

    January 17, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  17. MWM

    Anyone who lumps all Islamists together and does not know the difference between a secular democracy and a theocracy has no business running for any office involving foreign policy.

    January 17, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  18. 21k

    oh for x sake! all he had to do was stay quiet, and it would blow over. what a nitwit.

    January 17, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  19. Sam Cunningham

    Pure ignorance. A guy like this is running for president, huh? Turks don't even want to respond. Though, I read one news about this on a turkish media. Here is what the news reads "Cowboy shoot himself on the foot!" hehehe.

    January 17, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  20. Very sad

    First he condones the urinating on the dead, Then urinates on a long time U.S ally ,
    My god what a complete moron and certainly an embarrassment to any sane minded American.

    January 17, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  21. Sam Cunningham

    I searched everywhere and couldn't find a single reference as to when and how much of aid our government provided to Turkey.

    January 17, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  22. Jane

    Mr. Perry should fire whichever of his puppetmasters put those words in his mouth. If he can remember his/her name. And if he can remember why he's firing the person in the first place. What a tool.

    January 17, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  23. LEE

    God told Rick Perry to run for President, he says. Why won't he listen when God told him to drop out after Iowa, when Virginia and the courts told him to take a hike, or when he failed in New Hampshire? He is an idiot and, somehow, keeps being elected here in Texas, I regret to admit.

    January 17, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  24. Ja-Coffalotte

    What a wanker, Turkey is a better model for Islam than anywhere else, good grief.

    January 17, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  25. Little Tin God

    Perry is just another Texas moron. Remember the other one we finally got rid of in 2009? Does anyone in their right mind (and I do mean RIGHT) really want another Texas moron in the White House?

    January 17, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
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