The PJ Tatler

Turkey Bastes Perry, but Doesn't He Have a Point?

No one likes being called a “terrorist,” least of all actual terrorists or those who sympathize with terrorists. Turkey, which has increasingly turned Islamist as the global Islamic revival gathers steam, objects to being so named by Texas Gov. Rick Perry in Monday night’s debate.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry released a scathing statement saying Perry’s comments were “baseless and inappropriate” and that the U.S. has no time to waste with candidates “who do not even know their allies.”

In a debate ahead of the South Carolina primaries, Perry, the governor of Texas, said Turkey was ruled by “what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists,” questioned the country’s NATO membership and said it should not receive U.S. aid.

He said Turkey was moving “far away from the country that I lived in back in the 1970’s as a pilot in the United States Air Force that was our ally, that worked with us.”

In recent years, Turkey has denied the US a major invasion route into Iraq, which prolonged the war and sapped American military strength and resolve. Turkey has turned away from its historic ally Israel in favor of Hamas, Israel’s mortal and terrorist enemy. The Turkish flag flew on the Gaza boatlift crafts, which were intended to break the maritime closure of Gaza to, among other things, make it easier to ship weapons in for use by…what’s the word I’m looking for? Right — terrorists. Turkey has welcomed Egypt’s turn toward Islamism. Human Rights Watch has acknowledged that violence against women is on the rise in Turkey, and that the Erdogan government has taken a step backward in dealing with it. Perry mentioned that trend in his debate remarks. These are simply facts, choices Turkey has made on its own over the past few years.

On the other hand, Turkey has contributed a small number of non-combat troops to the war in Afghanistan and is out today warning that Iran is planning attacks against US targets inside Turkey itself.

The Turkish Security General Directorate (EGM) has warned police departments in all 81 Turkish provinces that they must be vigilant and remain alert to the existence of such a threat. The intelligence pertaining to the possibility of such an attack was delivered in a secret letter to the information department at Turkey’s General Directorate of Security. The written statement indicates that a team linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard will be sent to Turkey and that it may be planning to bomb the US embassy or consulate general in the country. The Quds Force is infamous for its role in attempting to export Iran’s revolution to other countries through the instigation of chaos and by acting as the overseas branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp.

Today’s Turkey is very much a mixed bag. It certainly isn’t the place Air Force pilot Rick Perry lived in in the 1970s, and still it retains much of its western influence. But its people have elected Islamists to power and its vector points toward more Islamism, it is friendlier to the enemies of civilization than it should be, and there is no Ataturk on the horizon to halt the trend.

Gov. Perry seems to have struck a nerve by getting a bit too close to the truth.