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tv   Ali Velshi on Target  Al Jazeera  October 15, 2015 1:30am-2:01am EDT

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here if all goes well the south florida streets can be home it a healthy top layings of rare and delegate blooms. andy gallagher, al jazeera, miami, florida. just a reminder that you can keep up to date with all the news on our website, that's at >> i'm ali velshi. "on target" tonight, friend or foe: the key american ally in nato that seems to be playing boat side i sides in the fight against i.s.i.s. . what a difference a year makes. especially when it comes to power politics in the middle east. last year turkey was a relatively stable country. it also seemed to be sorting out a decades-old conflict with its largest ethnic minority, the kurds.
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but after twim bombings i after twin bombings in the capital that stability seems to be not available. single deadliest terror attack in turkish history. in reality, this kind of attack isn't new. three times in the last year bombs have ripped through kurdish rallies in turkey and as the death toll plownts mounts, appropriates are dim. mohammed jamjoom is in ankara. >> you can see it in their faces, see it in their sighs. with every passing day, resentment grows. >> in the heart of the capital, in ankara, these explosions occur? this raises so many questions. >> reporter: since the attacks near ankara's
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train station, seen here on the right, the mother of two. both were attending a peace rally whether the suicide bomberbombers attacked. in the painful wait to locate their bodies, fadil and his relatives are as angry as they are sad. >> translator: how can anyone say there is no security weakness when it comes to the situation? how do these people bring the bombs here? allow do they enter the square? how do they detonate the bombs? >> reporter: as questions pile up, satisfactory answers have yet to be found. these tents were set up immediately after the attack to accommodate families of the victims. now, most of the people we've spoken with here are kurdish. they have donated dna to help authorities identify the remains of their loved ones. family members wait outside ankara's medical forensic authority complex.
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farmer had been working the fields in her village whether she heard the news. >> my audit came here for a peace rally, did she have a gun in her hand? no. she cam empty handed. she just came to ask for peace. >> like many kurds she accuses the government of treating her like a second class citizen. >> i've been here for the last three days. i've gotten no information whatsoever. is my daughter dead or alive? if she is dead then show me her body, her flesh and blood. nobody here is helping. >> at a timing of tension in turkey it is clear that much of the population feels aggrieved and frustrated. >> why do they call us separatists? we are pro-peace, living for peace, dying for it. even in our death we're asking for peace and peace only. >> that so many people were killed at a rally where they
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were demanding peace, only makes it hurt that much more. with trauma this severe these wounds will be extremely hard to heal. >> mohammed jamjoom joins us from ankara. mohammed what is the sense you are getting of the mood of kurds and the people you have been speaking to there? >> reporter: ali, alternation is realltension isreally rising. you made an important point just a few moments ago, this was the third rally that had prokurdish caiforts in i activists in it. we were there in the aftermath of that bombing. the kurds that attended that rally were extremely upset. they said the government wasn't doing enough to protect them in these rallies. now this has happened, many more people have died and the kurds are even more upset at a time when turkey is ensnared in more conflicts.
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you have turkey in its fight against i.s.i.l, you have turkey in the fight against the armed separatist group the pkk. and then you also have turkey with the syrian spillover that's going on, the violence on the border with syria. so taken with all of that a lot of people in ankara people that the government has bitten off more than they can chew and a lot of people we have spoken with can feels the government needs to create a feeling of unity, of peace.the kurds we have spoken with feel very aggrieved, upset, and like second class citizens. and these elections are right around the corner on november ali. >> this is let's think about this on a grander scale. turkey at one point not that long ago supported the syrian regime of bashar al-assad then it fell out with them and allowed nato to use bases,
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turkey is a nato country, to have air raids going into syria. then it started its own air raids but started attacking kurdish forces in syria. this has caused renewed problems at home because the kurds were the allies of the west in the fight against i.s.i.l. so it becomes particularly complicated because it's not quite clear who's on whose side here . >> reporter: it's a very complicated situation, there are a lot of nuances here and shifting alliances. and after the bombing that happened in july, on the border with syria, you have turkey, basically equating i.s.i.l. with the pkk. with the armed kurdish separatist group. a lot of people didn't understand that, thought that turkey was going after i.s.i.l. and the pkk.
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that was just too much they felt for government to take on at the same time. now you have a much tougher situation in the southeastern part of the country whereas not -- you don't just have turkey bombing pkk targets in the north and the southeastern part of the country. but in the predominantly kurdish parts of the country you have pkk hitting cushedz targets. thi kurdish targets. also when you factor in the idea that kurdish fighting forces seem to be the most capable against i.s.i.l. in places like iraq and syria, a lot of people here question why turkey would take this opportunity to go after kurdish faters. so again it's really -- fighters. so it's really em
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battling forces, at a time when the country needs to come together and heal. ali. >> mohammed jamjoom, thank you. turkey has made it clear it's got its own agenda. in fact, turkey has launched air strikes as mohammed said, against one of the groups that have had success with i.s.i.l. kurdish fighters. stay with me. the american military has been coordinating with kurdish fighters in the battle against i.s.i.l. automatically that usually marines not attacking groups that the other country is supporting. but these are unusual times, and ankara has a long history of fighting with those kurdish separatists. turkey did slightly change its tuna and go after i.s.i.l. after the militant group was suspected in a bomb attack earlier this summer but today there's
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evidence that turkey is still fighting both i.s.i.l. and the kurdish fighters who are fighting i.s.i.l. it is a risky play especially whether a proxy war bruce inside irkto, before the hotly contested elections, around all politics is local, i appreciate it if you are still with me because it is complicated. you have to take a step back and examine turkey's power plays in the region. a member of nato since 1952, turkey is the only muslim majority nation to be in the organization and has the second largest standing military force in nato after the united states. but turkey is also surrounded by long simmering conflicts and hostile neighbors. to the south, turkey, once a solid ally with israel, has been
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sending money to the gaza strip since 2008. the palestinians controlled by hamas, considered to be a terrorist group. more than $300 million in annual aid. that support came to a head in 2010 when the turkish sponsored gaza freedom float illa was boarded by the israeli military. that left eight turks and one dual turkish american dead. >> there is sympathy among the turkish citizenry of humanitarian rights. but allied that public sympathy for palestinian rights with political support for hamas. >> turkey has a porous 800 mile border, a smugglers' haven for centuries. now turkey's neighbors syria and
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iraq are swept up in violence and turmoil. president erdogan was once a leaf ally of bashar al-assad. but crossing the border into syria to fight against the assad regime. over time, many armed militants have joined the islamic state of iraq and the levant, beginning in 2013, i.s.i.l. forces swept across northern syria and northern and western iraq. capturing iraq's second largest city, plowls i mosul, in june 2. turkey chose to ignore black market oil smuggled into the territory. black market oil supplies i.s.i.l. with as much as $2 million a day in revenue. >> now if i.s.i.l. is smuggling
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oil over that border, well maybe some turkish people benefit from that. not a great security for turkey, but turkey's view of the islamic state is slightly ambivalent, they are determined to see the end of bashar al-assad and they don't in looking at syria see very many players there who are likely the achieve that end. >> reporter: one of turkey's most complicated relationships is with iraq's kurds who have autonomy in iraq. over the past few years, turkey has forged a relationship with iraq's kurds yielding 6.2 million barrels of oil imports, through a influence pipeline. the iraqi kurds in turn use that money
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to help finance kurdish peshmerga soldiers battling i.s.i.l. forces. >> it provides a benefit to turkey which has a big oil need of course and it's also a way of putting the dampers on kurdish ambitions within turkey alone because the kurdish in iraq will not encourage that. >> in august, turkey sent fighter jets, in the previous month, it agreed to allow the u.s. forces to use the base at incirlik. the stated goal at the time was the creation of a safe zone along the turkish border free of i.s.i.l. fighters and controlled by moderate syrian insurgents. but the turks also hoped the safe zone would be a new home for the 1.7 million syrians who took refuge in southern turkey.
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that hasn't happened. now, turkey isn't sending any ground troops into syria. a sign that it's unwilling to be drawn into a devastating conflict to the southern border. coming up, i'm talk to a special agent about the bombings could have on turkey's role in the entire region. >> welcome to al jazeera america. more reporters, more stories, more perspective. >> from our award-winning news teams across america and beyond. >> we've got global news covered.
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>> well, turkey is already dealing with roughly 2 million
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(* * *. >> so there's a possibility that i.s.i.s. will be involved in something like this. something they like to do, they like to create fault lines to create a vacuum and three can operate within that vacuum. we should not forget that last summer i.s.i.s. directed a magazine towards the turkish population, making it part of the caliphate, the so-called caliphate. i.s.i.s. is also herly involved in recruiting turkish citizens. there are a some hundreds, some say they are 2,000 -- >> when they come from the west to go in -- >> this is foreign fighters too, absolutely. we have did about 30,000 foreign fighters from about 90 different
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countries. the greatest majority of them came through turkey. you have significant amount of foreign fighters that come from turkic countries. the taj ajik, the wiegers. the ethnic population, fighting in northern syria. >> now as it relates to syria this is a complicated relationship. as i was speaking to mohammed jamjoom about, some years ago, the turkish government supported the assad government. they were actually very close. but now they're fighting i.s.i.l. and the kurds in there. turkey has got a bit of an identity problem at the moment.
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>> they do. and what happens is when they have good relationship with assad the main policy of turkey at the time designed by the current prime minister, his policy was zero problems with our neighbors. it's amazing how the arab spring took turkey from having zero problems with neighbors to no friends at all. >> right. >> among their neighbors. it's interesting if you look at the map today, vaughn probably the only friend turkey had, if you can call iran a friend. they have significant political relationships going on. today you have russia operating in syria you have assad gaining ground and momentum after the russians attacked in syria and his least from a political perspective, many countries around the world to include even some gulf countries
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agree that assad can be part of a transition. turkey does not have good relationship with him. turkey does not have good relationship with egypt because of the muslim brotherhood issue. they don't have a lot of good relationship with countries like saudi arabia for example also because of the muslim brotherhood situation. so the situation with turkey is very much complicated. and that is a reflection negatively on the domestic politics in turkey. >> and that matters to us because turkey is a member of nato. stay right here, we'll take a quick break and we'll talk about whether we come back why turkey >> killing of journalists is a question that is directed to society. >> they are impartial. >> if you wanted to be a good journalist in iraq, you had to risk your life. >> they observe and report. >> kidnapping is a very real problem. >> journalists on the front lines. >> sometimes that means risking death. >> getting the story, no matter
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what it takes. >> that's what the fourth estate is all about. that's why i'm risking my life.
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>> talking tonight about the politically volatile situation in turkey as president erdogan's party tries to win back votes. a recent bombing that killed at least 100 people in ankara. we're back with ali sufan. turkey is a nato member. it has tried to join europe, it was rebuffed, europe didn't want
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a muslim member of eu, turkey sort of decided if we're not going to have our influence in the west we're going to have our influence in the muslim world. that seems to be the way it was going in but now as you deftly pointed out, it's losing its friends there. we need turkey to be a stable power. >> more important, turkey is the 16th economy in the world. and turkey is a secular muslim country. you know a major muslim country. >> or certainly was but that seems to be a little bit in danger as well. >> it continues, you have an election for example, last july, whether where, sorry last june, where president erdogan's party did not get the majority that they need. in order to rule and in order to govern. so they waitfor the 45 days, three were not you know able to put a coalition together. but now the problem is, and which creating a lot of domestic issues in turkey and olot of division in
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turkey, that president erdogan wanted to switch the role of presidency, the role of presidency in turkey is a ceremonial role. now he wanted to make turkey a presidential country where he will have the power. and as long as he's going to be going on that path he's going to have significant amount of political instability inside the country. not only because of the kurds but also because of many other opposition groups to include even some people secretly in his own party who don't like that, who don't want to change the constitution of turkey. so now i think the only way you can actually put turkey back on the path of democracy is where people in president erdogan's to stand up for him and basically saying look, you know what? we're not going to change the constitution, and you know you have a ceremonial position. >> right. >> and you know, whoever wins the election, will govern.
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and i think if we don't, if president erdogan continual to insist to change the country into his own shape, i think unfortunately, turkey is going to go in a path of chaos. >> the danger here is when you look around the middle east you have countries that have descend intermediate chaos, you've got syria and iraq as prime examples. you have libya, you have a lot of other countries who ostensibly look like countries, but are heavily influenced, i include pakistan in that group, how is the u.s. allied with turkey ensure that it doesn't go down that path? >> this is such a difficult situation. we hope that the november 1st election will come up with an answer. to be honest with you i don't think anybody knows what's going to happen. i don't believe president erdogan's the way it looks at least today, i don't think president erdogan's party will
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be able to get a great majority that they need to govern alone. i think the kurds will probably participate heavily in the election. especially after the attack against them in ankara. and there's a possibility that we're going to go back to square one. now how will president erdogan deal with that defeat? will he agree to form a coalition government? and rule with other political parties? opposition parties in turkey? or will he insist to do something else, play another political trick. i mean, it's yet to be seen. we don't know but unfortunately what's happening today in turkey is a reflection of what's happening in the region. and as you mentioned, earlier, you know a year ago turkey was an unusual stability and today it's not. >> so quickly it can come unwound. ali, great to see you. chairman and ceo of the sufan group.
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that's our show today, i'm ali velshi, thank you for joining us. 11 million tuning in to see the candidates in the democratic presidential view and talking about the issues, foreign, domestic and cosmic. what the exchange met for the five candidates on stage. what happened in vegas. it's the "inside story." >> welcome to "inside story."


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