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U.S. rejects terrorist accusation against Turkey

(Xinhua)

09:46, January 18, 2012

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. State Department on Tuesday rejected the assertion by a Republican presidential contender that Turkey is ruled by "what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists," calling the country a strong U.S. ally in the region.

"We absolutely and fundamentally disagree with that assertion," department spokesman Mark Toner said, in response to the remarks made by Rick Perry, who is also the Texas governor.

In a debate on Monday, Perry also questioned Turkey's NATO membership, drawing fire from Turkish Foreign Ministry for his " inappropriate" words.

Toner described Turkey as "a stalwart ally," saying that "We have a strong partnership with Turkey in addressing issues of regional and global security, as I said, both bilaterally and within NATO."

He noted in particular the country's "very courageous stand" against what's going on in Syria.

He called Turkey one of the oldest and a stalwart member of NATO, saying "We stand by our relationship."

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