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. works4me

    Turkey... he doesn't speak for the rest of us. He's just a Presidential "hopeful" like the other 4... just hopefuls.
    This one is just milking the limelight of the run with no where to go. His own state doesn't even want him.
    This is part of the Presidential Hopeful Palinisation (PHP) they sometimes contract.

    January 17, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  2. eclectos

    Let's just nuke the whole Middle East and have done with it. There's not a good Evangelist Christian nation among them. We should have finished it during the Crusades, right, Mr Perry? Geesh. If the Republicans get in, the Mayans were right.

    January 17, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  3. weequahic68

    Tell this guy to just shut's OK to act like a moron here but we finally have gotten sime respect from foreign governments which has taken us a few years since the other moron was president.

    January 17, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  4. Jeff in TX

    Desperation, that's all. The man is a desperate knucklehead.

    January 17, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  5. lenard

    I lived in Texas for 3 years. I believe it is now being run by Christian Terrorists.

    January 17, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  6. Benjamin Mendoza

    There is really nothing else to add. The previous writers have described this Moron Quite WELL.

    January 17, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  7. Texas Doc

    How he is not the GOP frontrunner boggles the mind. He is EXACTLY what they stand for. Sure Romney is the godless 1% icon, but Perry is what we are really all about. If he would just quit beating around the bush and stand up for real Christians everywhere and come out against Romney's 'problem' it would all be settled.

    January 17, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  8. Hair bear

    I'm sure by the time Perry gets back in Texas,the folks there will have had enough of this guy! He has embarrassed his state to the fullest! He should go home and ride off into the sunset never to be seen again!

    January 17, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  9. fred

    for a change, perry is right. the islamic apologists and arab appeasers don't like the truth but turkish actions speak louder than words and their actions in sponsoring a flotilla of palestinian troublemakers to impress their muslim neighbors showed us who they really were.

    January 17, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  10. AK_steve

    "Ya'll got some explainin' to do."
    Really? This got wants to lead the country? What a bumpkin.

    January 17, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  11. p

    Perry: Please give up and go home to Texas, so Texans can vote you out of office asap...

    January 17, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  12. JonDie

    What a turkey! (not the country of Turkey; Rick Perry; calling Rick Perry "dumber than dirt" is an insult to dirt everywhere)

    January 17, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  13. Seattle Sue

    Perry has shown over and over again that he does not know mitt about anything.

    January 17, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  14. neogeo

    Maybe he is tired of running for President and he got in way over his head and he is just saying stupid things so he can get out of the race. Do ya think?

    January 17, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  15. Emin turan

    Rick Perry says the American monetary aid to Turkey should stop, because of women right issues in Turkey. However Turkish Islamic cult in Texas brings Turkish teachers to teach at at charter schools which are partially funded by American citizens' taxes. These teachers in return pay some percentage of their income back to support the cult. If Perry does not want American dollars to support Turks, he should start investigating Turkish charter schools operating in his own state.

    January 17, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  16. dreucalypt

    Perry is just following the Republican playbook: tell and outrageous lie, and if you get called on it, repeat it again in a louder voice, until ultimately you intimidate the press into repeating it as if it were true.

    January 17, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  17. Alex,Denver

    Good thing neither Rick or the Trump are sitting today in the White House. Wars have been started just from a leader spouting off rhetoric.

    January 17, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  18. Roland

    Rats, There is now yet another village in Texas that has lost their idiot.

    January 17, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  19. One Man Speaks

    I have a friend, a veteran B52 pilot of the First Gulf War and Texan.
    His words, "When Perry starts talking people will know what he's all about and won't vote for him.

    January 17, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  20. Regis990

    I love it when a GOP candidate says something stupid then spends the next day telling us what "they really meant to say". Yet, they still keep saying stupid things. Amazing.

    January 17, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  21. BunnyBunny

    If, one of the more stupid ones get elected they will have their own 'Dick Cheney' to give them orders right? Being stupid can be dangerous, to us, if elected.

    January 17, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  22. Deep in the heart of TX

    One day the chump will realize his "prayer meetings" only appeal to the slack jawed back water baptists in the South that want to "take back their country".

    The rest of us are Christians, NOT evilgelics.

    January 17, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  23. Jared

    Good grief...every single time he opens his mouth he makes Sarah Palin look smart. Imagine the two of them having their own reality TV show, where they learn how to do something each change a tire, or use an ATM. That would be some serious comedy. Someone needs to tell Perry that the joke has been on him for months now.

    January 17, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  24. Annie, Atlanta

    Oh dear. Will someone please tell him, for me, that it really is time for him to go home to Texas before he embarrasses himself and our country any further. Please.

    January 17, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  25. Larry

    Perpetual war. That’s what Conservative men are all about. They’ve got to keep Lockheed Martin and Halliburton in the b l a c k.

    At the debate, with the battle cries from all of the Candidates, the Conservative sheep clapped in unison.

    Thank God we have a Democrat President.

    January 17, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
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