Rick Perry Inadvertently Raises Good Point about Turkish Terrorism

Another GOP debate was held last night, providing ample opportunity for disconnected rich old white men to say ignorant, mildly racist things. Stem-cell experiment/bad suit wearing mannequin Rick Perry is widely acknowledged to have made the gaffe of the night for the answer he provided on an oddball question regarding Turkish relations.

Said Perry:

Obviously when you have a country that is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists, when you start seeing that type of activity against their own citizens, then, yes. Not only is it time for us to have a conversation about whether or not they belong to be in NATO but it's time for the United States, when we look at their foreign aid, to go to zero with it.

Most of what Perry said is not only wrong, but just plain poor policy. Turkey is a tremendous ally of the US and an integral part of NATO, and nothing should change about that. As Turkey positions itself to be an even bigger player in Middle East affairs it's important to maintain a strong relationship.

Perry's most quoted line has been the declaration of the Turkish government as Islamic terrorists. While the secular Turks have turned towards Islam of late, they aren't even close to what would generally be referred to as extremists.

The terrorism accusation is where it gets tricky. Perry was referring to Turkey's actions towards Israel, which hardly constitute terrorism. That's just good old fashioned "mine is bigger than yours" Middle East posturing.

There are, however, quite a few people who would refer to the Turkish government as being manned by terrorists, like the families of the 35 innocent Kurdish civilians who were killed in an air strike two weeks ago.

An air strike in which you cross over a sovereign border and massacre 35 civilians? I'm no Glenn Greenwald, but that seems like something a lot of people would classify as terrorism. If people are furious about US drone attacks, doesn't it make sense to at least express a little bit of indignation here? Instead progressives have bent over backwards to point out Perry's gaffe without once mentioning the plight of the Kurds.

The war between Turkey and the Kurdish separatist movement is nothing new and has claimed tens of thousands of lives. Back when Saddam was in power, though, he liked to be the one to kill the Kurds in Iraq. Turkey has filled that role nicely since Saddam was killed.

The Kurds have the unfortunate distinction of their people being massacred by someone other than the US or the Israelis, so the usual cadre of bloggers and op-ed writers who regularly castigate those nations about similar military actions is awfully silent when it comes to the blood of Kurdish citizens.

To be fair, the militant wing of the Kurdish separatist movement, known as the PKK, have perpetrated their own atrocities. In the summer they launched an attack that killed 24 Turkish troops. Turkey has been adamant about getting revenge.

This was yet another opening to establish a dialogue or at least some awareness of the Kurdish plight that went nowhere. Even more unfortunate for the Kurds, the only guy in the international community that regularly gave a damn about them passed away recently from cancer. With the passing of Hitchens, the chance of any media attention towards the Kurdish plight grows even smaller.

What to do? Isn't there a savvy celebrity pr person who has a client that needs some serious image rehabilitation? You need to hop on this. Haiti's got Sean Penn, South Sudan has got George Clooney, Kurdistan could have….Lana Del Rey? Let's make it happen.

[image via Getty]