FLORENCE, S.C. — Despite touching off a diplomatic uproar, Gov. Rick Perry is sticking by his suggestion that Turkey, an ally of the United States, is perceived to be under the rule of “Islamic terrorists.”

Turkey’s foreign ministry rebuked Perry for the comments, made in a televised debate in Myrtle Beach on Monday night.

But on a campaign swing through Florence on Tuesday, Perry cited incidents of violence against women inside the country as proof that he was on target.

“My point is that when you see the number of actions against their citizens that we would consider to be terrorist acts, you know, I stand by my statement,” Perry said. “That is not the message I think the Turkish people want to be sending across the country.”

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The governor said he respected Turkey’s right to criticize him, but he said he had the same right to take a swipe at the country.

In its statement, Turkey’s foreign ministry said that it had been on the “front lines” in the war on terrorism and that it was “strongly condemning” Perry’s comments.

“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 ministry said, according to The Associated Press.

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