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. TexasAnnie

    Geezalicious– I will NEVER understand how anybody in this state ever thought this airbag deserved their vote. What an embarrassment to this state! Please please please tell me he will never be elected to another office anywhere ever. Let him go back to leading cheers for the Aggies.

    January 17, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  2. uzi4u

    Turkey's leaders meet with Hamas which is a designated terror group, not only by the U.S. but also by Europe. And certainly the Turkish government is run by Islamists who support terrorism and fund terror groups like the Union of Good which has ties to Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. So yeah, maybe Perry is correct in calling them terrorists.

    January 17, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  3. Germann in America

    Well, at least he will never be president. Stupid statements like these are the reason he will heading back to Texas to watch the rest of the game from the bench.

    Honor killings in Turkey are almost exclusively done by the Kurdish population. The same group that the west likes to show as innocent victims always getting persecuted by the countries they live in. Turkey is always being scrutinized for its treatment of the Kurds because they don't want this barbaric behavior in their country but then also getting blamed for those things the Kurds do as well.

    January 17, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  4. Wise1Speak


    (a.) more dangerous than G.W. Bush,
    (b.) more extreme than Rick Santorum,
    (c.) more ignorant than Michelle Bachmann,
    (d.) more erratic than John McCain
    (e.) all of the above

    Answer = 'E'

    January 18, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  5. jdoe

    Let's make enemies and start more wars. The Texas defense industry could use more money.

    January 18, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  6. DocinPA

    This twit pulls another lame move, then has his staff dig something up that he can regurgitate to somehow defend his moronic faux pas. These candidates are not just reality show fodder, they're absolutely dangerous. It's obvious that none of them are capable of winning against Obama's infinitely broader cerebral superiority. I just wish this could be over tomorrow so we could get on with rebuilding our nation after Bush brought us to the brink of disaster.

    January 18, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  7. ThinkAgain

    When was the last time Parry attended a national security briefing? What does he really know about the situation?

    His willingness to mouth off just to pander to his "base" shows what a nimrod this guy is. Texas, I feel sorry for you!

    January 18, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  8. labbi

    Lol this guy doesn't know what he's talking about..Turkey is a true ally of the US

    January 18, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  9. Canoeman1

    Nobody should ever question Perry's knowledge about extremist actions and feelings. Perry is the king of extremism. Hell, I expect to see Perry and Palin dump their spouses and marry because they are equally extreme.

    The "good people" of Texas never supported Perry. It's just that we got a bunch of bad people years ago when people from other states started flocking here because their own corners of the world were falling apart around them, and rather than assimilate into the Texas culture they worked stridently to change it to be just like the failed places from which they came.

    It was bad when we had that Yankee carpetbagger Bush as our governor (he was born in Connecticut, you know!), and now we have Perry. We keep trying to pawn him off on somebody, but nobody is taking. Hopefully, we will not be stuck with this Aggie cheerleader, er, I mean yell leader too much longer. Perhaps he will follow his beloved Aggies into the SEC, or something. Alabama or Georgia would be good places for Perry to reside, or perhaps South Carolina. He has a lot in common with people in all three of those states. His leaving Texas for either of those states would raise the IQ of Texas, and it might do the same for his new state of residence.

    January 18, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  10. mike

    Having been stationed in Turkey and knowing some of Its' history, the best I can say of Perry is he is undoubtably ignorant of history, international politics and the Turkish people. He is not, cannot be and never will be Presidential material.

    January 18, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  11. A Southern Lady

    Rick Perry – another not-too-smart Texas Republican governor.

    January 18, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  12. Tom

    Rick Perry is making a mockery out of the USA. He should be advised to stay on his meds.

    January 18, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  13. John Cage

    I am fromTexas, embrassed and ashamed how could we elect that idiot. America please forgive him this fool he don't know any better. Come home now Mr. Perry you made a fool out of yourself we not going to let you out anymore

    January 18, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  14. alex

    The more i hear the GOP candidates, the more i lean towards Obama. These people are dangerous and have no idea what they are saying. Hey republicans, is this the best you can offer. I suggest have a tea party and drown in it. We don't need you.

    January 18, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  15. Poipounder

    Republicans voted in GWB...Perry is just another GWB

    January 18, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  16. Canadian Jim

    Mr. Perry: It takes one to know one.

    January 18, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  17. SurRy

    Hard to believe anyone could make George W. Bush look intelligent.

    January 18, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  18. John

    Not ALL Texans are idiots, but their Presidential offerings seem to be. 'Axis of Evil' and 'Islamic terrorists' are not the way to make friends and influence people. The essence of politics is to be able to talk to people, so alienating some directly up front with name-calling (an ally no less) OUGHT to effectively keep such bone-heads out of any political arena. Duh.

    January 18, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  19. CedarRapids

    This is what happens when you try to appeal to your support base by using base methods.

    January 18, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  20. Someone in Columbus

    He's like the guy at the party that doesn't know when to leave.....

    January 18, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  21. Orwell reborn

    The Texas governor proves the USA has moved from "its pro-Western stance" to a society driven by extremist views.

    January 18, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  22. kat

    I don't know if Perry's comments are correct or not, but I do know that he or any of the other GOP candidates, with the exception of Paul, would be better than the clown we have now.

    January 18, 2012 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  23. Mike

    I agree with Perry, Turkey is a third-world semi-Democracy.

    January 18, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  24. telrider

    The only way that any of these GOP candidates would win the presidency race is the way they did it last time by cheating in votes counting and get court elected. Other wise they absolutely don't worth a dime.

    January 18, 2012 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  25. mike

    Another George Bush....he will declare put Turkey in the axis of evil and start a war !!!

    January 18, 2012 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
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