Rick Perry stands by comments on Turkey

Rick Perry didn’t budge from the argument he made in Monday night’s debate that there should be some discussion on whether Turkey stays in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and continues to receive U.S. aid.

“This is a country that’s got some explaining to do to the United States,” the presidential hopeful said on CNN.

{mosads}Earlier in the day the Turkish Foreign Ministry and Turkish embassy in the United States, respectively, issued strongly worded statements criticizing Perry. Turkey’s minister to the United States noted that his country “receives no significant sums of foreign aid dollars from the U.S.” and said Perry’s comments were “misplaced and ill-advised.” Similarly, the country’s foreign ministry said the Texas governor was not well informed.

“Those individuals who are candidates for positions requiring responsibility such as the U.S. presidency are expected to be more knowledgeable on global affairs and more careful in their statements,” a spokesman for the ministry said in a statement.

During Monday night’s GOP primary debate, moderator asked Perry whether he thought Turkey should continue to be part of NATO.

“Governor Perry, since the Islamist-oriented party took over in Turkey, the murder rate of women has increased 1,400 percent there,” Baier asked. “Press freedom has declined to the level of Russia. The prime minister of Turkey has embraced Hamas and Turkey has threatened military force against both Israel and Cypress. Given Turkey’s turn, do you believe Turkey still belongs in NATO?”

In response, Perry suggested Turkey did not deserve to be a member of NATO.

“Well, 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 said. “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.”


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