Texas governor Rick Perry caused something of an international incident Monday, suggesting that longtime NATO-ally Turkey was ruled by "Islamic terrorists." His remarks, at Monday night's GOP debate, came too late to make the morning newspapers in Turkey, as much of the country was "fast asleep," but the country's news sites and blogs caught up quickly. In short: they're not happy.
The bellicose remarks were trigged by moderator Bret Baier's statement that an "Islamist-oriented party" had taken over Turkey and the murder rate of women had increased "1,400 percent there." Perry said Turkey is a "country that is being ruled by, what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists" and "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." While recent elections in Turkey signify a move away from the country's historically-secular roots, the suggestion that it's governed by terrorists caused quite the shock in U.S. foreign policy circles and in Turkey as well.
The Turkish Journal casts Perry's remarks in light of calls from "pro-Israel lobbyists" to revoke Turkey's NATO membership. The headline calls the incident a "scandal" and refers to the GOP candidate as "despicable."
News sites Dipnot and Son Dakika cited Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal who pushed back against Perry's remarks calling them "baseless and improper" adding that presidential candidates should "be more informed about the world and be more careful their statements."
"The unfortunate views of Perry are not shared in any case by Republican party supporters, considering the weak support he has received in public polls and primary elections," he said.