The same Republican presidential wannabe who would send U.S. troops back into Iraq and thus would most likely again need to use Turkish land and air space to provide logistics support to our troops there, now labels that nation a country that is being ruled by Islamic terrorists -- and worse.
During Monday's GOP presidential debate in South Carolina, Texas governor Rick Perry also expressed doubts on whether Turkey belongs in NATO and indicated that it is time to have a "conversation" about zeroing out foreign aid to Turkey. (According to the AP, "Turkey does not receive U.S. foreign aid.")
Turkey has been a close ally of the U.S. in support of the war on terror. Its troops have fought alongside our troops in Afghanistan. Turkey plays an important role in not only training, reconstruction and educational projects, but -- as a Muslim country with cultural similarities -- it has a unique role in that war-torn country.
Turkey has been a staunch partner in numerous multinational, international and U.N. security and peacekeeping efforts around the world and has helped finance the U.S.-- and NATO-backed rebel forces that were instrumental in defeating and eventually killing Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi.
Turkey has been a strong member of NATO for more than 50 years -- the only Muslim member of NATO -- and the U.S. and Turkey share membership in and cooperate on several other international organizations and strategic partnerships, military, economic, nuclear energy and cultural projects.
Grouping our NATO partner, Turkey, together with true terrorist states Syria and Iran, Perry also said: "... we need to send a powerful message to countries like Iran, and Syria and Turkey that the United States is serious and that we're going to have to be dealt with."
Is Perry referring to the same Turkey that has been on our side putting pressure on Damascus? Pressure that may include "economic sanctions, secret activities to support the opposition and perhaps a haven along the Turkish border and a humanitarian corridor inside Syria"?
Is Perry referring to the same Turkey that has very recently agreed to deploy a forward-based early warning radar system as part of NATO's missile defense plan aimed chiefly at detecting and countering ballistic missile threats from Iran?
No wonder Turkey is indignant about the Texas cowboy's statements.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry released a scathing statement saying Perry's comments were "baseless and inappropriate" and that the United States has no time to waste with candidates "who do not even know their allies."
"Turkey joined NATO while the governor was still 2 years old," the statement said. "It is a member that has made important contributions to the trans-Atlantic alliance's conflict-full history. It is among countries that are at the front lines in the fight against terrorism."
The Turkish statement said Turkey's leaders were "personalities respected not only in the United States, but in our region and in the world and whose opinions are strongly relied on."
The Turkish statement said Perry's low standings in polls were proof that the Republicans in the U.S. do not endorse his opinions.
"Figures who are candidates for positions that require responsibility, such as the U.S. presidency, should be more knowledgeable about the world and exert more care with their statement," the Turkish statement said.