POLITICS
01/17/2012 09:54 am ET | Updated Mar 18, 2012

Rick Perry Draws Ire From Turkey After Saying Country Ruled By 'Islamic Terrorists'

ANKARA, Turkey -- United States Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has drawn Turkey's ire after the Texas Gov. said the country was ruled by Islamic terrorists.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry released a statement Tuesday saying Perry's comments were "baseless and inappropriate" and the U.S. should not waste its time with candidates "who do not even know their allies."

In a debate ahead of the South Carolina primaries, Perry 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.

Turkey defended its contribution to NATO in the statement, and said it has been at the forefront of the fight against terrorism.

Mustafa Akyol, a columnist with the English-language Hurriyet Daily news, tweeted, "Rick Perry: what an idiot."

It says Perry's low standings in polls were proof the GOP does not endorse his opinions.

UPDATE: The State Department responded to Perry's claim Tuesday. "We absolutely and fundamentally disagree with that assertion," said spokesman Mark Toner, according to NBC News. "It [Turkey] continues to play a very positive and constructive role in the region. And it is often cited as an example of a so-called Islamic democracy in action."

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