During Monday night’s debate in South Carolina, Rick Perry argued that Turkey “is being ruled by, what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists.” The argument is ridiculous — Turkey is a key democratic U.S. ally and a member of NATO — and led some Turkish journalists to describe the right-wing Texas governor as an “idiot.”
Perry talked to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer yesterday about his comments, and when asked if he misspoke, the governor replied, “Not at all.” To bolster his allegations, Perry argued that Turkey “allowed 140 to 160 honor killings in 2011.”
The CNN host pressed further, asking, “Are you really saying that” Turkish leaders are Islamic terrorists? The governor tried to turn the question around.
PERRY: Wolf, let me ask you, are you sitting here and defending the act of honor killing?
BLITZER: No, of course I’m not. That’s horrible and disgusting, and people who do that should be punished.
PERRY: Absolutely. And that’s the point.
BLITZER: But I believe the Turkish government isn’t defending it, either. It happens in Turkey, it happens in Egypt, it happens in a lot of Islamic countries, but they’re not supporting that. No one defends that except for Islamic extremists.
PERRY: And that is the reason — that is the reason that I’ve called for going to zero on this foreign aid to these countries that — you know, the idea that we’ve got U.S. dollars going into countries that allow these types of atrocities to occur — and it’s my understanding as well that women who go to the state for protection are not getting those protections.
Rick Perry really has become a caricature of himself. Consider the train of thought here: Turkish officials are terrorists … because some Turks engage in “honor killings” … which is why we should cut off U.S. aid … and if you question any of this, you should be asked whether you support murder.
It’s almost as if the far-right Republican is doing an imitation of Stephen Colbert’s imitation of far-right Republicans. I kept expecting Perry to say he knows Turkish leaders are terrorists because his “gut” told him it’s true.