During Fox News’ South Carolina debate, Texas Governor Rick Perry suggested it might be time for Turkey to be kicked out of NATO, saying the country was being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists. Perry’s response might surprise many, as Turkey is a longstanding US ally in NATO, and a critical diplomatic partner engaged in “a working relationship that is one of the most important but least discussed developments shaping (2011)’s change in the Arab world.”
Moderator Bret Baier asked the Republican hopeful about the country’s Islamist governing party, and outlined many of the problems going on in the nation, including a high murder rate among women, lessening press freedom, and military issues in the region. “Do you believe Turkey still belongs in NATO?”
“Obviously when you have a country that is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists, when you start seeing that type of activity against their own citizens, then, yes,” Perry boldly proclaimed. “Not only is it time for us to have a conversation about whether or not they belong to be in NATO but it’s time for the United States, when we look at their foreign aid, to go to zero with it.”
Watch Perry suggest Turkey be kicked out of NATO below via Fox News:
Update: The Turkish media has responded to Perry’s debate remarks… and they’re not too happy. Here’s what CNN reported earlier this morning:
“The debate that the Republican candidate Rick Perry attended on American Fox TV turned into a scandal that contained very ugly statements about Turkey,” announced TRT state television.
“Rick Perry: what an idiot,” tweeted Mustafa Akyol, a columnist with the English-language Hurriyet Daily news.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Turkish foreign ministry said it has no comment; the Turkish embassy in DC called Perry’s remarks ill-advised.
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