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. tom

    He is correct. Turkey military is secular but generals are fired by extremist Islamic politicians who now run the country.

    January 17, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  2. Edwin

    Notislam: You say two distinct things. The fact that Turkey is in Cyprus doesn't in any way suggest it is a terrorist regime. For that matter, Turkey only controls half of Cyprus, if I'm not mistaken; the other half is controlled by Greece. Is Greece ALSO an islamic terrorist regime?

    January 17, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  3. Texan against Perry

    Priceless and perfect! Perry gets lost returning to Texas! Finally a way to save us from his further state damage!

    January 17, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  4. JT

    I thought the news stopped reporting on this guy a month ago.

    January 17, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  5. sam11111

    Well, he is representing the stupid & bigot candidates who think the only way to win is to make an outrageous comment like that, and brownnose Israel! It is getting old to hear every candidate running for the president addressing Israelis before the American ppl! is n't that sad!Turkey is a lot more democratic than us!Their growth curve is heading up,, our's( thanks to Perry likes) are heading down! Do not insult the idiots by calling Perry one of them!

    January 17, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  6. hansdick

    Please oh please God. Keep Perry in the race doing your good works. We need the giggle.

    January 17, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  7. Fred Smith

    To sum up everything perry has sad... Herp derp derp derp

    January 17, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  8. UncleM

    There is a massive failure of leadership in this country. The GOP field, state governors like Perry and Palin. Overpaid CEOs. Do we get what we deserve (vote for), or is the system rigged? It certainly seems that the average republican is pretty dumb to accept these candidates.

    January 17, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  9. JC

    God told him to run for President...I think it was to show the rest of the world what Texas has had to put up with.

    January 17, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  10. Greg

    The candidates should do their homework much better. While they think they will get support or attention from certain group/groups, they miss the fact how bad they can hurt their own country. Turkey has been our allies for decades and assisted to US and NATO more than tens of different regions. There can be always conflicts with allies, however this does not give the right to anyone to take the millions of people against us. I thought the candidates had more knowledge regarding what they talk on their speech, instead of taking few newspaper's posts as a reference.

    January 17, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  11. J.V.Hodgson

    His own words will ensure he does badly in South Carolina and he will depart then or just waste some more needless cash for another failure in Florida. By the way America alone cannot eject Turkey from NATO!!
    You know so many of these candidates speak of more war military or economic mostly against islamic states and then wonder why we have a major terrorist risk in the USA!!
    But you know what get down to the nitty gritty of why they are doing this. They want to scupper any Diplomatic initiatives Obama might want to pursue...... they cant vote him down on foreign policy in the main but they can by these unrealistic pronouncements fan any kind of mistrust existing as to America's current foreign policy/diplomacy..

    January 17, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  12. gonaive

    Turkey a terrorist state? This presidential nomination process has gone to the dog IQ level. Please send this guy back to elementary school.

    January 17, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  13. Larry Pooface

    At least he did not make a dinner based reply when answering question about Turkey.

    January 17, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  14. mike_t

    Problem is, he's right

    Once they've emasculated the military, the AK Party will have no fear of finally revealing that they ARE an intent on creating an Islamic republic – something Turkey's constitution forbids right now.

    Once they've stuffed the courts with ther own judges like Roosevelt did, the gloves will come off.

    January 17, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  15. gonaive

    Turkey a terrorist state? This presidential nomination process has gone to the dog IQ level.

    January 17, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  16. peres

    Perry is right Turkish gov is terrorist.

    January 17, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  17. yogi

    Dumbness in the GOP is everywhere, from top to bottom, but to have a guy this dumb as a governor is really astonishing. That he actually was elected says a lot of the state of mind of many Texans. Very sad.
    Obama 2012: Intelligence, vision, charisma, dignity, and compassion.

    January 17, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  18. Log Cabin

    Perry is a proven idiot. That's why conservatives love him. He couldn't find Turkey on a map if his life depended on it.

    January 17, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  19. ALLAN

    Given that Presidential candidates are not fully informed on all the nuances of United States policies, they ought to be careful in their remarks on foreign policy and at the very least make sure that everything they say is factual. Causing unnecessary difficulties ought not to be part of the campaign.

    January 17, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  20. Hulot

    Turkey must own up to the genocide of Armenian, Greeks and Assyrians.

    January 17, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  21. Steve

    And there are still people who call themselves Perry supporters. And they vote. That's a scary thought.

    January 17, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  22. Wow

    Being from the far up north you cannot help but wonder what is in the Texas water. First Bush, now this dude. Isn't there any selection process in Texas that at least allows a minimum level of intelligence for office? Whatever political end of spectrum someone lies on, left or right, you would like to think your political leader is one of the smarter guys in the room, not the one sticking the eraser in his ear.

    January 17, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  23. Lee

    I don't like honor killings. I also don't like the government executing innocent people. Perry has trouble with the first but not the second. Hmmm....I think he should probably shut his mouth.

    January 17, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  24. Lee

    To Lost in Texas forever "Is it any wonder the religious right group that met down here didn't pick Perry." The only reason they didn't pick Perry is because he's too far to the left for them.

    January 17, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  25. babell

    Perry has proven to be even more of an idiot and more embarrassing to the state of texas than bush. He has not idea what he is talking about with respect to most politics, certainly foreign affairs or anything?? go back to praying for rain as your solution to draught. btw, am i the only one who thinks perry reminds them of rod blagojevich (at leads in looks)

    January 17, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
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