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. Alan Dean Foster

    A few years ago I spent a month driving a thousand miles or so through western Turkey. I met and spoke with farmers, shopkeepers, restaurant owners, manufacturers, tourism operators, carpet salesmen (of course), construction workers, and many more. Just about any one of them would make a better government representative than Rick Perry of Texas.

    January 17, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  2. DB

    So how does Honor Killings and violence against woman constitute calling them "Islamic terrorists". This dude is extremely out of touch!!!

    January 17, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  3. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Isn't this the same guy who doesn't see a problem with our troops desecrating an enemy corpse? I would be willing to bet if it were a photo of some Taliban fighters urinating on a dead Marine he would demand a full nucler (note, I used the Texas pronunciation) strike. I hate to say it, Texas, but first, you picked Dubya over Ann Richards, then you kept reelecting this guy who has helped (along with his predecessor) to make Texas the political laughing stock of the country. Not only did you produce the two of them, you also gave us Tom DeLay and Ron Paul. What ever happened to the good old days of Lloyd Bensten, Phil Graham, Lyndon Johnson or Jack Garner?

    January 17, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  4. DB

    Did he explain why he is calling the "Islamic terrorist"??? Honer killings aren't terrorism, are they???

    January 17, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  5. Jon

    Can I just say, thank God he's losing?

    January 17, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Perry doesn't know what is going on... Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be an Islamist that wants to move Turkey away from the secular roots, but he isn't a terrorist. This just shows that Perry doesn't know enough about world affairs to be president.

    January 17, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  7. Don in Albuquerque

    Not fit to be a gov., much less President. To even allow this kind of ignorance to run for the office says volumes about how low our standards have gotten. How low can you go America.

    January 17, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  8. Hawk in Texas

    The sane people of texas would love to see perry get lost on the way back to texas. say some where way south of the border. and they can have ron paul to boot. the jobs in the oil field that perry claims he brought to texas were all ready here. just what brought more drilling action is a formation called the haynesville shale. perry is so stupid that he thinks he still has a chance to be the republican pick for president. he is too stupid to realize that he has allready lost.

    January 17, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  9. DENNA

    For Pete's sake, shut up. No one cares what you have to say. Go back to Texas and torture the residents there. Leave the rest of us alone.

    January 17, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  10. Sorensen

    Perry looks more and more like a Marlboro advertisement. That would be a much more succesful career for him.

    January 17, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  11. Charlie in Maine

    Hey Perry, the role of stupid, loudmouth annoying texan President has already been filled. The Bush Error has ended. We ain't startin agin. Capiche?

    January 17, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  12. Shelby

    perry, your many "oopsies" are way over allowance. You are out. Go home.

    January 17, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  13. Owen Meany

    Mikey – Dude you are spot on! LOVE the clown car comment! I can't believe these guys can walk erect let alone run for President.

    January 17, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  14. Nothing new here

    the Texas governor argued that Turkey has moved from "its pro-Western stance" to a society driven by extremist views.________________

    The same could be said of the U.S.A. And idiot Perry shall lead the way....

    January 17, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  15. Tyler Durden

    Only Governor Hair could put the nation at risk of war from a candidate debate podium. WE HAVE SUFFERED HERE IN TEXAS FOR A DECADE UNDER THIS EMPTY HEADED PUPPET OF THE RULING CLASS. We Texans vote on social issues (read, Evangical Orders) and don't even notice when our basic rights like access to the courts are taken from them by a blowhard. Thankfully, the rest of the nation is much smarter.

    January 17, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    A loser, gasping for air without thinking, which is not his strong suit.

    January 17, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  17. SurRy

    Why are dumb male former cheerleader governors from Texas allowed to leave the state? Didn't you folks learn your lesson last time?

    January 17, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  18. sayquitter

    Those are silly accusations coming from a loser, gasping for air trying to be relevant. And without thinking, which is not gov perry's stron suit.

    January 17, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  19. Nowitzki

    Perry is mistaken to say that Turkish US relations were tip-top in 1970s. US-Turkish relations reached to all time low when Turkey invaded Cyprus to protect Turkish Cypriots from the Greece backed Junta. US even imposed embargo on Turkey for using US weapons in Cyprus.

    January 17, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  20. Unknown

    Only a moron would speak to a fellow NATO ally like that, despite Turkey did a lot of our dirty work in Libya not too long ago.

    January 17, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  21. Dee

    Oh my, I live in Texas and this man is so embarrassing to us.

    January 17, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  22. Raj


    Double down on the stupidity!!

    January 17, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  23. TheRepublicanDisease

    To our allies in Turkey, please understand that Mr. Perry only represents approximately half of our nation's population. These are people who speak before they think. They are a menace to you, and to the world, but first and foremost to America. Please don't judge our entire nation because of the words and actions of the most depraved members of our society.

    January 17, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  24. Jda

    Governor Perry was wrong in saying that the leaders of Turkey are terrorists, but he was not wrong in pointing out that Turkey's leaders are militantly Islamic, allied with terrorists, and at odds with us more and more. they have their eyes in grabbing Iraqi oil.

    January 17, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  25. Conrack

    I've got ten bucks that says Perry cannot even find Turkey on the map.

    January 17, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
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