The Washington Post

How right was Rick Perry about Turkey’s ‘Islamic terrorists’ ruling the country?

The foreign policy community collectively gasped during Monday night’s GOP presidential candidate debate when Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) called Turkey’s leadership “Islamic terrorists.”

The State Department offered a clear response that it does not share Perry’s views and the Turkish Foreign Ministry reacted sharply to the criticism.

On Twitter, Perry’s assertion sparked a barrage of comments about the ways in which Turkey does not serve U.S. national interests.

Writing at the Enterprise Blog, AEI scholar Michael Rubin said, “While I would not go so far as Governor Perry, had he simply called Prime Minister Erdogan an enabler for Islamic terrorists, he would be 100 percent correct.” And then he added five instances where he believed that to be true.

Rubin added, “Governor Perry may not have broad foreign policy expertise, but sometimes it’s useful to call a toad a toad, or at least a supporter of toads.”

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He freelances and hosts a podcast at and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.


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