MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (Combined Sources)—Texas governor and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry said during a Fox News debate Monday that it might be time to kick Turkey out of NATO, calling the country’s leaders “Islamic terrorists,” reported the Associated Press.
Moderator Bret Baier mentioned Turkey’s ruling “Islamist” Justice and Development Party (AKP) and outlined the increasing murder rates of women, declining press freedom in the country and deteriorating relations with Israel and Greek Cyprus since the AKP came to power and asked Perry if he believed Turkey still belonged 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 … 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,” Perry said, adding that Turkey “moved far away from the country it once was in the 1970s,” when Perry was stationed in Turkey as a pilot, according to the AP.
Turkey’s foreign ministry was quick to “condemn” the statement, reported Hurriyet Daily News.
“It is expected of people aiming for a responsible position like the United States presidency to know more about the world and to be careful about what they say,” the foreign ministry statement read. “Turkey became a member of NATO when the governor was two years old. Turkey is an important member who has contributed immensely to the Transatlantic Organization’s struggle and shall remain as one.”
The statement also described the Turkish political leadership as “globally respected.”
“It’s been shown by the low support he received ahead of the presidential race that Perry’s unfortunate remarks are not taken on by the Republican voters,” the statement ended by saying. “The United States has no time to lose for names who fail its allies.”