Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
WASHINGTON- Turkey condemned as "unfounded and inappropriate" on Tuesday comments by US Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry that the country is ruled by Islamic terrorists and questioning whether it should remain in the NATO alliance.
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Perry, the governor of Texas, also said during a Republican debate in South Carolina on Monday that the United States should eliminate all aid to its long-time ally.
"Obviously when you have a country that is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists, when you start seeing that sort of activity against their own citizens, then yes - not only is it time for us to have a conversation about whether or not they belong 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 at the debate.
Turkey noted that it had joined NATO when Perry was just 2 years old, and cited its long history of fighting terrorism, including co-chairing the Global Counterterrorism Forum with the United States.
"We strongly condemn the unfounded and inappropriate allegations
expressed yesterday evening about our country during a debate held in
South Carolina by Texas Governor Rick Perry ...," Turkish Foreign
Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said in Ankara.
Asked on Tuesday whether he had misspoke during the debate, Perry said
on CNN he did not have a problem with what he said Monday night and
criticized Turkey as a country that allows honor killings.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the Obama
administration fundamentally disagreed with the assertion that Turkey
was run by Islamic terrorists.