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. Balaban

    U.S has always idiot politicians, Rick is just one of them.

    January 18, 2012 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
  2. mike in wa

    East vs West thinking needs to end. We are no longer in the Cold War with USSR. Yes we have a relationship with Turkey but it is hardly best buddies type relationship. v_mag if you do not like your choices in that area then you are free to pick up and move something you could not do in the USSR. By the way the same goes on in the democratic party within those democratic enclaves.

    January 18, 2012 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  3. Indy

    "We confide in our strength without boasting about it; We respect that of others,without fearing it" Thomas Jefferson 1793

    The Republican candidates promoting fear and hate as usual around the world,without looking in their own backyards

    January 18, 2012 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  4. Franny

    We Texans who have never liked, or voted for Perry? Realize just how dangeously stupid this man has shown himself to be, and many are embarassed by his antics. Anyone who would support this yahoo needs their heads examined!

    January 18, 2012 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  5. gerald

    turkey isn`t an ally to the US they just like your money,but i`m starting to think Perry has a few screws loose thou,saying sht like this and the 4 marines that were in afghanistan are only children not criminals,what country send children to fight wars for them?the end is near for him in this political race

    January 18, 2012 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  6. ShirazSun

    My theory is that Perry is in hot pursuit of the Sarah Palin contingent of the Grand Old Party.

    January 18, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  7. Marie MD

    These people are past boring and ridiculous to get any kind of attention.
    Wake me up after they pick their loser to go against President Obama who will have four more years!

    January 18, 2012 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  8. nytw

    People better quit picking on Ricky Perry or he will file a lawsuit against you in federal court.

    January 18, 2012 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  9. Paul

    This guy is still running?

    January 18, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  10. BB

    What a shame it would be for USA to have a president like him...

    January 18, 2012 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  11. mommytwice

    So, honestly, is there really anyone who takes this lunatic seriously as a presidential candidate?? Really???

    January 18, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  12. sick of republican phonies

    First Bush, now this moron...are there ANY republicans in Texas with half a brain? Oh yeah, I forgot I'm talking about the GOP... I'll settle for a quarter of a brain, as it would still be a vast improvement.

    January 18, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  13. Steve From NH

    Does he know that Turkey is not Pakistan? Maybe he thinks that Turkey is the capital of Pakistan, or that since Texas is Beef Country, Turkey must be bad.

    January 18, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  14. centrist111

    He just keeps raising the bar on stupid comments to keep his name in the paper. He is the loud kid in class who blurted out anything so people would listen to him.

    He has self-destructed so many times in this campaign, I certainly don't understand who is funding this guy...unless it is the DNC.

    January 18, 2012 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  15. eli sabat

    It makes me sad to see what options we have to our next most crucial election.

    January 18, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  16. Jeffrey McIntyre

    Dear Turkey
    We apologize for Mr. Perry's statement. You see, he is sort of grumpy because he just figured out what a lot of us knew already, he's a loser!

    January 18, 2012 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  17. Anonymous

    I think Rick needs to stay out of the sun.

    January 18, 2012 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  18. Don

    Step aside Ricky. Let the big boys have the stage. You're not ready for primetime.

    January 18, 2012 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  19. JJR

    You want to be my president and you are worried about 160 honor killings in Turkey? How about doing something about 17,000+ murders that happen in this country every year?

    I'm glad this guy has no chance winning the GOP. What's worse is the rest of the GOP candidates are no better. I'm not a big Obama fan, but he looks golden next to all of these GOP clowns.

    January 18, 2012 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  20. Cfrench

    These evangelical republicans are more dangerous than the fanatical muslims. All they know is violence.

    January 18, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  21. Terry

    I agree with Mr. Perry. Turkey should sever all ties and relationships with terrorist countries, and Turkey must support women's rights. Good grief governor, you are talking about the United States. Rick Perry must have forgotten that Turkey provided access and logistical support for the invasion of the Sovereign Nation of Iraq, which appears to be no better off today than it was ten years ago. Oh what the hell, let's invade Turkey. Does that make it better Mr. Perry? We can say that the turkey from Texas wants to invade Turkey, all for women's rights. Wow, Governor Perry for Women's Rights, who would of thought that one would make the news?

    January 18, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  22. Dave

    Perry is just another dumb-as-a-stump Texan with no sense. We've already had one for eight years and we don't need another.

    January 18, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  23. Juneyt

    We have finally found a Republican presidential candidate that appears to be dumber then W. Actually, Perry makes W look like Albert Einstein : )

    January 18, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  24. Doomed

    When Perry first raised his head in the presidential bid, I thought of him as the typical, crooked politician. Now, I just see the poor man as someone who is a "few bricks shy of a load." I truly believe the man is "challanged".

    January 18, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  25. Fred

    Perry's worried about Turkey's mistreatment of females??? Please! Take a better look at the good ol' boys and bubbas in Texas and pay some lip service to the abused women in your own state! (Yup... you can't fix stupid.)

    January 18, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
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