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ATAA responds to Rick Perry’s wild accusations

ATAA President Ergun Kirlikovali issued the following statement regarding accusations made by Governor Rick Perry and Fox News’ Brett Baier at the January 16 Republican presidential candidates’ debate in South Carolina:

“The ATAA expresses deep concern regarding Governor Rick Perry and Brett Baier ‘statements regarding Turkey.

In stark contrast with Governor Perry and Mr. Baier statements, in 1923 Turkey undertook a transformation from a 623 year-old empire to a modern republic, from a monarchy and theocracy to a secular democracy.  Today, Turkey is a key partner of the United States in an increasingly complex, multi-polar world, particularly in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, the Caucuses, and the Balkans.  While Turkey provides the second largest military in NATO, it is Turkey’s soft power, including grassroots business and democracy, respect for diversity, and cultural and religious sensitivity and interaction that renders Turkey a key ally.  Today, Turkey has the sixth largest economy in Europe and 16th in the world.  Turkey is the seventh most visited tourist destination, while Istanbul is among worlds’ most popular venues for international conferences.

When Governor Perry and Mr. Baier talk Turkey, they should tell the truth, because the American people deserve nothing less.