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. Larry

    This is how wars get started in America with Republicans opening their warmongering mouths.

    January 17, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  2. Annie, Atlanta

    Sniffit and Lost in Texas Forever – good comments.

    January 17, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  3. Hotlanta Homey

    I am surprised A&M has not rescinded his diploma out of shear shame and damage to the school name!

    January 17, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  4. Bleedingheart

    I wonder if this clown could find Turkey on a map. Hell, I wonder if he could find Texas.

    January 17, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  5. Someone Needs to Shut Perry Up...

    Before he says something stupid. Wait...too late! Go back to Texas and shoot some possums.

    January 17, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  6. Laura

    On their facebook page today, LOLGOP posted this "Thanks to Rick Perry, diplomats had to spend all today assuring allies that the Governor couldn't find Turkey on a menu, let alone a map".

    January 17, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  7. NI

    Hey Mr. Perry I am sorry to see you selling your dignity, honesty and honor for few Jewish votes! You are only capable of being the President of USA in your dreams. You are the laughingstock of the world! Cirque du Soleil is looking for a clown. You better apply for that job before it is too late!

    January 17, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  8. Perry is a Moron

    This man should not be allowed anywhere near the oval office. His lack of social grace and clueless demeanor will have us into WW III in no time.

    January 17, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  9. TheLord

    And who is this hick from banjo country, that barks a foreign country has explaining to do? Who does he think he is? Merica, a nation of ignorant ideological clowns

    January 17, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  10. Solitaire

    So it would seem that foriegn affairs is not Perry's best subject. Perhaps he should stick to building fences in Texas rather than building fences between us and our allies. And would Texas please stop exporting it's defective governors?

    January 17, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  11. No way Jose

    And why would you vote for this guy?

    January 17, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  12. Joan

    Some of the comments from the Republican candidates in this primary almost seem dangerous and naive. They could make even more enemies, which heaven knows the US doesn't need. Can you imagine how clips such as these could be used as propoganda in many countries overseas? Right now none of these candidates seems to have the intelligence, capability and maturity required to be a good world leader. They put their feet in their mouths too often. If any of them becomes president don't be surprised if the US will be in Afghanistan longer, troops will probably go back to Iraq, there will be war with Iran and maybe even there could be US troops in Syria. The options are endless for these guys. It is really scary and hopefully Americans will see the dangers of taking a step backward. President Obama got Bin Laden and many other top terrorist leaders, brought the troops home from Iraq, will bring the troops home from Afghanistan and is really respected and liked by the countries that count around the world. How many other world leaders have been personally invited by the Queen to stay over for a couple of nights at Buckingham Palace? Well the Obamas were invited because it has been noted in England that the Queen really likes and enjoys them. He displays class and intelligence and always represents the US well. To try and get attention and sound bites, many of these candidates are playing loosely with the facts, making unfounded criticisms and meddling in matters they really don't know enough about. To put it bluntly, none of them are acting very presidential.

    January 17, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  13. scoto

    As thick as a Texas fence post but not nearly as useful. Indicative of the shameful level to which the GOP has fallen.
    This is one of their candidate for the biggest job in the world. Think about that. Somebody I personally wouldnt hire to lick stamps

    January 17, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  14. TREX

    ........Dont worry Turkey.....this CLOWN will NEVER be President, and probably will lose his state next election. Perry has proved there must be more steers than smarts in Texas...............

    January 17, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  15. Mhogg

    I guess he stepped in it again!!

    January 17, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  16. not_Republican_anymore

    It is beyond disturbing that someone like Perry could ever be seriously considered as presidential material. Media – please expose these dangerously incompetents with the ridicule they deserve. Don't just report these wild statements without comment.

    January 17, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  17. Naved Musharraf

    What a nit-wit. O you people people of Texas ! follow the example of Wisconsin and recall him before he dose more damage to your already battered image.

    January 17, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |

    Good grief!!! Wake up Texans!!! you call this idiot Governor, He should hold no political office, never mind POTUS. The Teapublicans in Texas will vote for ANY numnutz with an R after their name. Obama 2012!!!!!

    January 17, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  19. Layover

    I have a niece and nephew in Turkey working for a Fortune 500 country. Thank you for putting their lives at risk.

    January 17, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  20. ALanC

    Rick Perry oughta be the next president of Yahoo since he is one already!

    January 17, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  21. lsgyrl

    So enbarassing.

    January 17, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  22. joe47y

    I have worked with many intelligent people from Texas, and can't figure out for the life of me who keeps hiring these idiots for governor.

    January 17, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  23. cody

    Please Perry, do not drop out of the race. We in Texas are enjoying the break from you whil you are out there making a fool of yourself.

    January 17, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  24. he said wah????

    And here we have the dumbing down of the Republican't party.

    January 17, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  25. a_gup

    This should be a wake up call for all right thinking Americans! The GOP's fight against intellectuals has led to this sorry state. This is truly jaw dropping!

    January 17, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
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