tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN July 15, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT
that erdogan made isis worse. he was supporting factions of not isis itself, but extremist fundamentalist groups. and therefore, ultimately what he did was get friendly with groups that turned on their master like frankenstein, if you will. in that regard, they will say that turkey's own internal security was put at risk. michael, stay with us. i turn you over to wolf and the situation room. ly see you sunday for "state of the union." happening now, breaking news, coup around way. the prime minister of turkey says military units have launch add uprising. gunfire reported in the capital, bridges blocked and low flying aircraft have been spotted.
and terror investigation, police comb through the apartment of an attacker that drove a truck through crowds in france. did he have any ties to terrorist groups? >> and a mile of horror on the sea front. americans are among injured here in the united states. a and donald trump picks mike pence overnight. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following several major breaking stories. the prime minister of turkey and nato ally says military units
are attempting a uprising. military aircraft are buzzing the capital. ro reuters says the military is attempting to take control. and france is staggered by another terror attack. this time a slaughter along a seaside boulevard. the attacker plowed through holiday crowd with a heavy truck mowing down people for more than a mile before he was killed. 84 people are dead including ten children. more than 200 people were hurt, 52 remain in critical condition. officials say the driver was a 31-year-old tunisian in paris for a decade. he had no known ties to terrorist groups. a texas man and his 11-year-old son among the dead. three u.s. college students
injured and one is missing. after putting off of news conference for 24 hours, trump tweeted today that he was pleased to have chosen pence, but sources tell dana bash that he has doubts well into the night and was asking if he could change his mind. >> and mike mccall is standing by and our analysts, correspondents, and guests have more on today's events. a key nato ally, turkey. there are reports of gunfire in the capital. tanks on the streets, low flying aircraft are seenover head, and reuters saying they have taken power. let's goat jim schuto.
what are you hearing? >> remarkable events unfolding in the last several minutes. we know the turkish military issues a statement saying they have overthrown the government of president erdogan. they say they want friendly relations with the world and they say they're doing this to restore democracy and human rights. the prime minister of turkey in this statement said an attempted coup was under way, and then drew back from the term and called it a mutiny saying it is only parts as opposed to the entire military. >> an enormous show of military force in istanbul, but also in the capital of turkey. you're seeing tanks at the
airport. the main bridge you're seeing there, krask has been blocked there. you're also seeing low flying jets and well chelicopters and cities. flying within feet of the ground. as this is happening, you have that the president of turkey, mr. erdogan is on vacation in turkey on the coast. we're told he will be making a statement shortly. the turkish military has carried out coups before. they view themselves an a guarantor of democracy. we know there has been tense relations between the turkish military at times with the erdogan government. one with moving turkey in an islamic direction, and two what is seen by anti-democratic moves
by the government of erdogan. shutting down need ya organizations unfriendly to the government, and shutting down social media as we're seeing there tonight. you a lot of opposition here and a leader who has been elected a number of times as well. >> it is still very tense and very murky right now. some elements say they have taken over, some say they have not. >> there is a show of force right now. is it all coming from one direction. are they all disloyal to the government? are some executing a show of force in support of the government? >> stand by, i want to go to barbara star who is following this as well. this is a key nato ally. they have access to critically important military facilities in turkey including the air base where they launch a lot of air
strikes. what are you hearing from your sources? >> tonight, wolf, this is a crisis for the pentagon and for nato. turkey a member of nato. the u.s. for the last several months has been conducting air strikes in syrian and iraq. they are asking them to crack down on christ. the turkish military and security forces also control the flow of maritime traffic in and out of the black sea. if the turkish military is in charge there now, there is a
problem for the pentagon and the obama administration. they do not deal with countries where there is a military coup. so what will happen now. will they have to pack and go or will they say it's not anti-american so we will stay down there and do our thing? technically they should pack and go. they're not supposed to be dealing and supporting governments of a military coup that takes over by force. a deeper issue, the u.s. sells billions of dollars in american made ware planes, weapons, armored war tanks to turkey. so again, you a situation tonight, all of this weaponry out there. the planes, the tanks, is it american made, is it being used potentially against the turkish
people? this pakistans a huge probl-- b huge problem. officials here, a couple hours into the crisis are still scrambling first to figure out what is happening, and second to figure out what it all means, wolf? >> barbara, stand by, jim sciutto is getting updates. >> we're hearing from the u.s. state department that social media has been shut down. the state department also is confirming reports in their words of gunshots and what they call a possible attempted uprising. state department confirming that to u.s. citizens. one final thing, secretary of state john kerry is in moscow right now. he responded to a question about
it and he said he hopes there will be security, peace, and contin contin continuity. >> top officials are meeting right now, certainly having emergency meetings as well right now. >> yes, and the first question is what is going on? they say it is too early to tell. one more thing about turkey. the u.s. has a lot of important allies, it's hard to think of a more important ally than turkey right now in light of their proximity to syria, a crucial ally for the u.s. as well. >> we have an expert on turkey with us right now. you're well plugged in, what are you hearing about the latest reports there is a coup under way and maybe even the military have taken power? >> it started about an hour ago.
it is a very hierarchy military. they just issued a statement in favor of the military, i have heard that tanks that encircled the head quarter of the justice party, there are tanks in the city square, that have crossed the bridges on the european and asian sides of the city. the airport is shut down. it may be an evolving coup. the government is responding to it. it looks like they will step down. >> the biggest grievance they have is what? >> i think it is restoring
turkey democracy, number two massive foreign policy failure that exposed turkey to huge threats to isis next door. to confrontation with all regional countries from russia to egypt, and more recently isis threats, huge attacks inside of turkey that have killed hundreds. i think that will be the biggest grievance. >> i want to go back to barbara starr. the u.s. military watching very, very closely what is going on. deep, deep concern right now. this is a key nato ally. was there any indication that a coup could be in the works? >> i think for the last several weeks there has been a lot of concern about the growing tensions inside turkey and the government. but you know look at those pictures we're showing, wolf. the big problem for the u.s.
military tonight as they look at those photos, they don't necessarily know are those pro government troops of coup troops. whose troops, weapons, tanks, and aircraft are on the street. this is a very significant issue. is the democratically elected government going to be able to maintain control. if we wake up tomorrow and the turkish military is in control, this is the challenge for the u.s. that we were talking about. only a few weeks ago, the ahead of the u.s. command made a trip to turkey to talk to the troops there about the fight against isis. isis is watching this too. if they sense instability, this is what they like. this is what terrorists like. they move in when they sense there is not control and it is always wort repeating this is the summer subpoeeason, million
tourists and americans there in turkey tonight. >> we'll have a lot more on this chairman of the house and homeland security steateam. >> as you said there are key nato allies. istanbul to the airport. we had that recent isis attack in istanbul at the airport. i think the military and president erdogan have had tension overtime. he through the hierarchy out of the military. the military says their more secular. i think that tensions have always been there, but the isis attacks recently along with the russians being in that space is driving it, in my judgment.
this is a nato ally. they conduct the air strikes from turkey into iraq and syria. we don't want it to jeopardize these operations. >> we were just told that an announcer got on tv saying a peace council has now taken over. it looks like the military, elements of the military are moving very, very quickly to try to take charge and get rid of president erdogan. >> i think so. whether they have taken it over is not confirmed at this time, but there has been a historic attention between the military and erdogan. and i think the recent security issues being raised with isis, for years erdogan and his administration turned a blind eye to the foreign fighters that would go through turkey and into syria to hit president assad. and more recently they realize
that isis is not their ally and they have blown back on the turkish government and people. >> you know there have been strains from time to time in the u.s. turkish relationship. they have complained about president erdogan that he was too islamist. he was taking stepped towards anti-democracy. the military may be more pro american than erdogan who is the democratically elected president of turkey. >> if this has happened, my concern is our air base over there. and then being a n.a.t.o. ally, will the military that has taken over support our military base being there. if this movement is about security within turkey, i would think they will be supportive of our efforts. >> this is almost a situation that if it develops along these
lines. there was a democratically elected islamist brotherhood, a military coup, and the new leader of egypt is more pro. >> i just met president cece. he is cracking down on the muslim brotherhood there. they don't always see eye to eye, particularly when it comes to the muslim brotherhood. i think our interests at stake are that we want to make sure the nato ally stays an ally and that the air base stays in tact. >> stay with us, there is more, we're watching developments there, also getting new information on the investigation into that horrible terror attack
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injuring more than 200. we are talking with congressman mike mccaul. first i want the latest from clarissa ward. >> there has been a massive clean up operation under way. i saw one particularly harrowing detail of a truck that was collecting bikes and baby strollers under it and crushing them. it would have been teaming with
people who would have been there to watch the fireworks when the attack began. >> mayhem and carnage. hundreds are sent running for their lives. tonight the driver has been identified as 31-year-old mohamed bouhlel. he was not on the radar of counter-terror investigators. >> he was unknown by the intelligence services. he was never the suggest of a file of any kind of radicalization. >> they're coping through the suspect's house where he lived alone. a neighbor said he was odd. the attacker's ex-wife has been taken into custody and is being questioned by police. investigators are trying to figure out if the assailant
acted alone or had help. the horrific scene unfolded around 10:30 p.m. thursday night. thousands were gather today watch fireworks celebrating french independence day. the attacker first opened fire on the crowd from inside of the rented 18 ton refrigerator truck. then he accelerated plowing through the crowds for over a mile, swerving left and right to hit as many people as possible, including dozens of children. >> people were crying and covered with blood, it is so sad. >> when police tried to stop him, the attacker opened fire. >> the police -- >> police chased the truck for nearly 1,000 feet.
the police officer was able to neutralize the person. >> when the truck finally came to a stop retiled with bullet holes, the attacker was dead, slumped on the passenger seat. they found a semiautomatic hand kb gun, ammunition, and fake guns and fake grenades. among the dead, two americans. tonight president obama is condemning the attack. >> we pledge to stand with our french friends as we defend our nations against this scourge of terrorism and violence. and this is a threat to all of us. >> now as investigators continue to look into possible connections with terrorist groups, there is a sense, wolf, here of growing unease in
france. in just a year, three major terrorist attacks. when the president's motorcade passed by here, mixed emotions. some are saying they're not feeling very safe at home. >> clarissa joining us from nice in france. now we're back with mike mccaul here. i know you're being briefed on this terror attack. what is the latest you're hearing about any possible connection to a outside terror group? >> that's what french and the united states investigators are looking at. running his numbers and name through data basis. a cell phone was found in the vehicle. a search warrant on his home to get his forensics on any computer devices he may have. but the clear fact is that he was not on the radar.
there is clear indicators that he was a threat. and it keeps you up at night because it can happen overnight. they radicalize. we know the isis spokes man called for these types of attacks recently. calling for external operations in france. >> so the question, you're the chairman of the house homeland security committee, are you worried this could happen here? >> of course, when the isis spokesman calls for these types of attacks, it has been played out three times prior to this, a copy cat in the united states. someone talking to somebody in syria. one thing is clear, there is a lot of chatter going on in france right now that concerns the president of france. that is why he is keeping a very high state of alert through this month. you chatter between syria and people, operatives.
in france you have a network here of cells between brussels. >> chatter among people plotting other attacks in france? is that what you're suggesting? >> well that is the concern, i can't get more into it, but the chatter level is high and they're concerned about other plots potentially on the way. the world cup had been a potential target. fortunately that didn't have any problems, and now the tour de france. in terms of this suspect and connections in brussels, we don't see any connections between those individuals and people in the united states, but that is something we're always looking at. >> mr. chairman, thank you for joining us. mike mccaul of texas.
our deepest condolences, two of the casualties are from your area, your part of texas. >> just right outside of austin. >> a very sad development. thank you for joining us. turkish military leaders suggesting that marshall law has now been imposed. that coup is moving along very, very quickly. a military coup in turkey. we're getting new information. stay with us. every day, brian drives carefully to work. and every day brian drives carefully to work, there are rate suckers. he's been paying more for car insurance because of their bad driving for so long, he doesn't even notice them anymore. but one day brian gets snapshot from progressive.
turkey. a key nato ally. phillip crothers is with us. first a update from you, jim sciutto. this is a fast moving story. apparently marshall law has been declared. >> the turkey military saying they have imposed marshall law. that means a curfew for the turkish people. they are also saying they will uphold their international agreements. turkey is a u.s. nato ally, and then it went into a list of justifications. they said to restore democracy, restore human rights, restore
corruption. and in part in reaction to recent acts of terror. they say they're doing this to help make the country safe. we had a truly remarkable moment, the elected turkish president erdogan, gave his statement on skype. and he was claiming to the turkish people that he is still president and encouraging them, in his words, to go in the streets to support democracy. that shows he is a president that could not get to the capital or a broadcaster. >> it looks like the military took over some of the state networks. they're making statements on turkish state television. >> troops were seen outside of headquarters and going inside.
and as part of their statement they said in effect that they are in control of the government and the message. and they have shut down airports and ports, and erdogan was on the coast, so to get back to the capital. >> an turkish state broadcaster had an announcer come on and say peace in the nation council is taking over. the political administration that lost all legitimacy has been forced to withdrawal that from the announcer reading from a prepared statement also declaring the imposition of marshall law with a curfew in effect. we just learned the president's national security team has been meeting briefing the president on this unfolding situation. the president will continue to
receive regular updates. and we're also just getting word that a check of turkish airline flights show all flights out of istanbul have been canceled or marked indefinitely delayed. we have severed all links. >> yes, you're still able to see, i have seen some social media postings from inside. they could be using vpns or other ways to get around the restrictions. again as part of their curfew of marshall law, they're cutting down turkey's contact with the outside world. you can imagine that meeting in the security councilouncil, we had an attack in paris, turkey at the forefront of this fight. on the front lines in syria, with them. this is an enormous event not just for turkey but certainly
for the u.s. >> we know, tom, that turkey has been plagued with terrorist incidents killing a lot of people. there is deep concern right now for the overall security situation in turkey. this is not necessarily something that a nato ally wants to see, a military coup. >> no, but it may benefit us. if the government is moving to be too moderate and fnot protecting the people, the military saying enough is enough. with could benefit us in the long return. >> there is not many military to military cooperation, but on the intelligence level very close communications. >> yes, we had two fbi offices in turkey. very close relationship with intelligence and law enforcement authorities there and i don't see that changing to be honest.
>> paul, what is your sense? >> it is too early to call who will come out on top at this point. at times the news coming in, clearly these are very big times in turkey. >> and the war against isis and what happens inside of turkey as far as that war in iraq and syria is concerned, i know there has been a lot of criticism of president erdogan, the military has a different attitude, right? >> it depends on what part of the military you're talking
about, but certainly whatever events may shake out in turkey it might have a deep impact on the fight against isis. there have been some criticism of turkish authorities to western capitals who have been blind to the threat for a long time. there has been evidence of that changing more recently, but this can have profound impact on not only the war on isis, but the entire position with regard to the syrian civil yard, assad and so on. deeply significant moments. >> very significant. the turkish military declares marshall law in turkey right now. a military coup under way. we'll have more on this breaking story. also we're getting new information on that terror attack in nice. stay with us, we'll be right back. is on honors members save up to 25% on brands like hampton, doubletree, hilton garden inn, and waldorf astoria
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we're pack with our correspondents and efforts as we continue to cover the multiple breaking stories right now unfolding including a military coup under way in turkey and the ongoing investigation of the french terror attack that left 84 people dead. phillip crother, what is the latest you're getting on how much involvement others may have had in this terrorist attack. >> seemingly none at all at this point. what we know about the one
culprit right now. the man shot by police, he was known by police, but essentially he is being portrayed as a petty criminal. he was giving a suspended jail term in march. he would not have been in nice out on the streets during the time of the attack. but there are also members of the government talking about crazy kal i'd lack. he says there is a link to cad kal islam. i think that is the strongest that we're hearing so far, but no mention of people who might have worked with this 31-year-old frenchman. he seems to have been a loner, that is certainly the conclusion -- >> no evidence yet from social media that he was reading the isis material or al qaeda
material online? >> no, no orgs said they are responsible for him, nothing from the islamic state group. they are looking at what kind of group he may have been talking to. the one person they know about is the ex-wife. they don't know what she might have known about this clearly planned attack because this truck was rented three days before the attack. this man probably knew what he was about to do. it was not a spontaneous attack. >> paul, you're there in nice. i spoke earlier today with a french ambassador to the united states. who made a point of saying this individual is not a frenchman, he is a dtunisian. he never became a french citizen. what else are you learning about
this terrorist? well, wolf, what we are learning that is fascinating and important new details from his father who has been speaking, the father of the attacker who has been speaking to journalists in tunisia, and he revealed that his son suffered from multiple nervous break downs, and when he suffered from them, he would throw things around in a very violent fashion and it is building a picture of someone that may have had some mental health issues. he appears to be very volatile. in january of this year he was in a violent altercation. he threw a wooden pallet at a driver and he was given a six month prison sentence.
so he had some challenges when it came to his mental health. we have seen that before where there is also a radicalization component as well. sometimes that can make the journey from radical thought to radical action quicker. we have seen it before, wolf, but the french interior minister saying so far the investigation has not uncovered any evidence of jihadism. this is not a guy like we have seen for some everything possible to swear loyalty. we are not seeing that yet in this case. >> all right. we'll see how this unfolds. everybody standby. we are following breaking news out of nice. a military coup underway right now. we'll have much more right after this.
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you had more on the decision by trump to finally go forward with pence. >> yes. we are hearing it was really down to chris christie and indiana governor, mike pence. this very much was a choice between who trump wanted in his heart, his loyal and old friend, christie or who he thought he needed, squeaky clean conservative mike pence. deciding between the two was excruciating. >> you either have that or you don't. >> picking mike pence he was following political advice and being practical, not following his gut. that is why about midnight thursday night after he offered the indiana governor the running mate role trump was on the phone with senior advisers asking if it is still possible to change his mind. he was told no.
a trump's spokesman said there is zero truth to it. it played out in public. >> i haven't made my final, final decision. >> at that point trump had already offered the job to pence. in fact pence was sitting in a new york city hotel room and an aid got a frantic call because trump was saying he hasn't yet decided. pence stayed calm and said he was confident trump would keep his word. the governor was in the process of giving up his own reelection bid to join trump's presidential bid. indiana law required him to get off the ballot by noon friday. trump's last-minute second guessing came not because he was out of his comfort zone but that his team was trying to box him
in. squeaky clean midwestern governor with a dozen years in congress. instead of new jersey governor chris christie. he became an influential behind the scenes adviser on all things politics, campaign managing. most of team trump thought pence was the best pick and made a move to push him in that direction. like after trump couldn't leave indiana as planned wednesday morning trump's children accompanied their father together at the indiana governor's residence and even flew jeff sessions out to indiana to help trump make his final decision, complicating matters for trump who he talked to about attorney general instead of vice president. he argued to the billionaire he
would be trump's best running mate. because of the deadly attack in france trump postponed his friday v.p. announcement which bought him some time. by 10:50 a.m. trump sent a tweet making it official. mike pence it is. >> we love indiana. we love our country. my family and i couldn't be more honored to have the opportunity to run with and serve with the next president of the united states. >> a trump campaign aid made this pick because he is excited about governor pence and any other is just silly. i heard from several choices trump and pence did get along quite well july 4th weekend. trump called pence solid as a rock. regardless, this is the first major presidential elect decision. not an easy one. >> we have a lot more coming up. excellent reporting. thank you very much.
coming up, more on breaking news, troops are now on the streets of a key nato ally. the military says it has taken over the government imposed law following a coup. my receiptsf and keeping track of them in quickbooks. now i'm on top of my expenses, and my bees. best 68,000 employees ever. that's how we own it. then smash it into a tree. your insurance company raises your rates. maybe you should've done more research on them. for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. just one of the many features that comes standard with our base policy. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
the truck attack in nice is being investigated as an ak or terror -- act of terror. we have chilling details of how it unfolded and more on dead and missing americans. seconds thoughts, sources telling trump he asked aids if he would recend his choice. we have exclusive new reporting. we want we have a situation room. we are following multiple breaking news stories including a military coup that's unfolding right now in turkey. it is one of washington's most important allies.
they are claiming to be in control of this hour. they are reporting soldiers are inside the offices of the state broadcaster. there was an announcement saying and i'm quoting now peace in the nation council is now in charge of the country. also breaking, new information about the truck attack that killed 84 people. we now know at least ten children are among the dead including a texas boy who was killed along with his father, t. the driver killed by police was born in tunisia and move today france ten years ago. they are trying to determine if he had ties to terror groups. sources telling cnn trump asked about resending his running mate hours after pence accepted that offer. trump was feeling pressured and boxed in by his own campaign
which is deanying any second guessing. james is a key member of the foreign relations committees. mayor also standing by. let's begin with a coup unfolding. jim is working the story for us. >> that's right. there is no question now that there's a coup underway. let's go over developments just in the last hour. as you say, it includes a curfew shutting down airports and ports telling people to stay indoors. it includes soldiers going into media outlets controlling the media outlets. you have still, though, the
president of turkey making a defiant stand. he went on television in an unconventional way. a reporter holding up a phone as the president made this statement to the public via facetime on a phone. him saying in that statement encouraging the people of turkey to go to the streets to give them, the coup plotters your answer, encouraging a popular uprising. he said he vowed to go to a square in ankara, the capitol of turkey. you also have a statement from the turkish prime minister. he said the government of turkey is still in his words, in power. he goes onto say they will not attempts to undermind their
democra democracy. they say that the reason they try to justify this coup right now, they say due to corruption or due to undemocratic moves by the president. they also brought up recent terror attacks saying they are acting to bring stability and safety to the company. i have spoken to people in the white house and in the militariment they amilitary. the president has been briefed. we know john kerry has been briefed. he said recently that he hopes there will be continuity and stability. >> we are showing our viewers live pictures. a lot of people are out on the streets right now. it is well after midnight right now. we just received a statement from the u.s. embassy informing all u.s. citizens. bridges are now closed.
the turkish government says they are attempting an uprising. security forces taking action to try to contain it. some buildings are under blockade. they say contact family and friends and let them know you are safe. we have seen reports social media is blocked. you can contact by e-mail or sms. we encourage people do not go to the u.s. embassy at this time. monitor local press, avoid areas of conflict. it sounds very ominous right through. >> and the pictures we are seeing there now, it is possible they are heeding the call of the president of turkey to go out in the streets and in effect take the country back to the military. i just think as we watch this how incredible we cannot under estimate how incredible this is.
turkey is a nato ally, a key ally of the u.s. in the fight against isis there. it was only a couple of weeks ago we were talking about this terror attack. we know that isis has a tremendous presence in turkey. when we think it gives opportunity for groups like that to strike. as you hear the warnings from the u.s. embassy you have to keep that in mind that the only threat is not the military or the coup, the threats are terrorist groups that might take advantage of the situation. >> and people in turkey are hearing explosions right now and sees jets fly over at low altitude. let me go to barbara. it is a nato ally in the fight against isis. what are military officials saying to you? they are obviously monitoring
this very closely. >> i think the fact that they are monitoring and they still see what is going on is underscoring how critical it is that we are seeing maybe even a potential counter coup with a nato ally. i think we have to be very clear. these pictures we see of turkish military forces may not be entirely clear whether they are pro coup forces. this is a critical problem. it does not have a clear picture at this hour and this said isis is watching all of this. there are perhaps tens of thousands in turkey including americans on summer hol daiday. getting stability will be even number one. now, there are also thousands of u.s. troops in southern turkey at the air base. this is where they fly air
combat missions into syria, into iraq and strike isis. this is a turkish base. who is in criminal of that turkish base tonight? we do not know. the problem for the u.s. military tonight is this, if there is a coup in turkey u.s. military policy is you don't do business in a country where a coup has taken place by force. under policy the u.s. military should pack up and go. the isis challenge is such a high priority the administration will have to decide if it overlooks frankly that there's been a coup and decides to stay. over the long term, which may be the next few days, key decisions will be made. will troops have to be brought in to reenforce the u.s. embassy? will this develop? right now it's not anti american. will there be an anti
american -- >> yeah, we are showing viewers live pictures. it is past midnight in turkey. people are gathering on streets and they are moving around. this is an image happening all over the place in turkey right now. i have been watching one of our correspondents. you spent a lot of time in turkey. we know there have been tensions between the turkish president but it's exploding right now. and now we are hearing explosions and gunfire. let's listen in for a moment.
>> what you have potentially is two armed forces that could be in a position of clashing. you have some elements of the military th military of this coup that are out in the streets. this is believed to be much more. from the eyewitness accounts you have these two groups that are in some places facing off in squares outside of istanbul and
a big question about who is in charge right now and potential for clashes between those armed forces. in addition you have the turkish president. we have eyewitness accounts of them. they are approaching tanks and trying to stop them or trying to combat them. it is a very polarizing figure. he has succeeded in getting 50% of the vote time and time again in his more than ten years in power. he has supporters but there are also people that hate him and that have seen the military as a possible counter balance to his efforts to grab more and more power in the turkish state. we do have to look at the history here. turkey had four military coups in a period of about half a century. over the last decade erdogan
proved. the chief of staff attended the wedding of erdogan's daughter. so whoever is behind this coup attempt would not be behind that. i spoke with a new naval officer. he said i'm on vacation right now in turkey. i'm on the coast by the beach. we are watching this happen on tv. the navy officer saying i don't know who is behind this coup. it goes to show how confusing and fluid the situation is right now. >> these are live pictures from turkey. it is 1:13 a.m. saturday morning already. we have the director of turkish studies with us. you're extremely well plugged
into what's going on in turkey. what's the latest you're hearing? >> it is still a fluent situation because you don't have a statement from the chief of staff saying this is or this is not a coup. military rolled out tanks into big cities. the government and the president of the country called ton people to resist the coup if there's a coup attempt. >> look at these pictures. you can see the images on your screen right here. you can look at the soldiers. armored vehicles on the streets. this is in istanbul. it's the largest city in turkey. the capital and soldiers are there. they are clearly making a major move. >> and you're now seeing -- you're not seeing the public resist the take over but you're seeing demonstrations. the worst thing is this would spiral into violence if the people take up arms or police which is under government
control should resist the military and if there are splits within the military i think that will be the worst also from u.s. perspective because a very important ally would then be descending into chaos. right now turkey is crucial to the u.s. efforts to take that important corridor in syria, to smuggle weapons into europe. so at this moment of crucial cooperation it could be bad if it turned into a bloody civil war. i hope it does not turn out to be the case. i hope calm presides in stur tu. >> once again, this is in istanbul at the airport which all flights have been suspended. there is gunfire clearly going on in many parts of turkey right now. go ahead.
>> so there are flags in the hands of the demonstrators. ill could mean they love the military. it could mean they love the government. it is really difficult to read the messages. i think it is clear that in a country so deeply polarized maxed out at 49.5%. half of the country adores him but the other half of the country despises him. this is a very dangerous development. if this is indeed a coup, if the military does not take control it could turn into a chaotic situation. >> we are getting live pictures courtesy of reuters. this is 1:16 a.m. saturday morning, this coup underway. >> right. so the military issued a curfew. you're seeing crowds back on the
streets. it means his call has made an impact. it means supporters of erdogan have taken to the streets. the question is do they turn to violence or peaceful resistance? how does the military respond? it has never fired at its own people when it car rid oried ou coups. there was no bloodshed during the coups. if it is indeed it would suggest a previous pattern if it is indeed a coup. we could wake up to a turkey that is stable or wake up to a turkey that is incredibly chaotic. it has already been targeted by terrorist attacks by the kurdish and i hope that does not happen. >> and within the past hour you
heard president erdogan tell the people to go out into the streets. we are seeing people exactly that. idaho is joining us. he is of the foreign relations committee. i know you have been briefed. what are you hearing about this coup in turkey? >> well, first of all this is very disconcerning. this is a really important ally of ours and a critical place in the world. this thing came out of the blue. i mean this is a real surprise to all of us. we have known for the last six to eight months there has been turbulence within the country. an explosion like this was really unexpected. right now what it appears is the government is going to use the national police to try to calm what is very clearly a military coup that is going on.
how widespread it is in the military, we are not certain right now. in the past coups it went throughout the military. so probably the best judgment right now is it is a full blown military coup. we'll have to wait and see how that plays out. also it will be interesting to see how the turkish people react to this. you'll see at the tip of the sword here the nation nalg police versus the national military. has has been pointed out in the program, we have a lot of interests in turkey. there is a lot of american citizens in turkey right now, certainly at the air base. we have been using the air base and it has been critical in the fight against isis. turkey has been under the gun from three different directions. they get it from the kurds and from the syrian loyalists.
ever since erdogan has been in control that the george washington of modern turkey said was what turkey was supposed to be. it is a secular democratic company. indeed he charged the company with being the guardian of company with being a secular in the democratic company. erdogan has drifted from that. he has been our ally. we need to keep this country as an ally. we need to deal with what happens here. i noted earlier that you had a discussion about what happens iif it is successful. it is a policy of the united states that we deal with the
legitimate elected government and not the coup-type governments. that policy will have to be reviewed if this is successful because of this fight against isis is so important and turkey is so important. >> you can see people have really gone out in the streets and they are angry right now. you can see these crowds that have gathered. you heard gunfire. you heard explosions. we heard jets flying overhead. what is disturbing is if in fact it develops between almosts of the national police. it could be bloody indeed. >> it will be bloody if it comes to that. i am anxious to find out where erdogan is and what his security is.
he is a pivotal person in the country. it will be important to see how security. >> we just made a statement. he had to do it via facetime. he couldn't even look into a camera. he was on vacation and trying to deal with this. the coup plotters decided to do this a good time friday night, the muslim holy day of friday after sun down they would be able to launch this coup while erdogan was on vacation, if you will. i'm sure you have been in touch with u.s. intelligence officials. there is a lot of interest that the united states has right now. it looks like that whole region, if you take a look at the terror attacks going on in turkey, in france, in belgium, is this
senator the new normal that we are all going to have to live with? >> well, you hope not but it has sure be drifting in that direction. you can't help wake up every morning. we have been overloaded. certainly now this is going to overshadow what happened in nice, which was a horrific incident. so you hope it's not the new norm but every day it continues on. there has got to be a better strategy for dealing with this. right now what's being done certain shrinking the califate in syria and ie rran.
although you have been shrinking the land they have been holding in iraq and syria it is bulging out in other places. it is bulging out in places like france that is difficult to deal with. >> these are live pictures courtesy of reuters. >> we are getting reports of explosions in ankara and in other parts but they are very spotty. but the gunfire appears to be in precinct. >> all right. stay with us. we are watching this military coup unfold. it is underway in turkey right now, a key u.s. ally. we'll take a quick break. much more on the breaking news right after this.
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they are out in the streets in istanbul. will is gunfire. we have heard it extensively. explosions and jets flying low overhead. he wants people to get out in the streets. the military declaring martial law. nick, what are you hearing? what's your understanding of the latest developments? >> reporter: well, by calling people out on the streets that clearly gives the military a challenge, how do you treat the people on the streets? it will backfire if they use
force against the ones called out to challenge the authority. the backdrop to all of this of course, the scene was set in part just a couple of months ago. erdogan is ousting his prime minister -- essentially ousting his prime minister. he wanted to move more powers towards the presidency. the prime minister ensz shlssen forced to step down. if we go back down to set the scene you had erdogan's party early 2015, they saw their votes slip. they no longer had the majority in the country. what happened then? one of the parties that did well that eroded erdogan's party was a secular kurdish party.
what happened that summer? erdogan went to war with th ththe the kurs. there were reelections in the country -- >> let me interrupt you. these are live pictures. people crawling on the streets right now. gunfire and there are people who have just been injured. it looks like they have been shot on the streets of istanbul right now. these are live images we are getting in. these are very disturbing images we are getting right now. you're watching this with us as well. you can see people lying on the streets. apparently they have been shot. they are carrying people who are injured away. can you believe this is happening ton streets of istanbul? >> i cannot. the country with no tradition of the military firing at its own people or vice versa is for the
first time seeing conflict ton streets. it is a military so it's universal. everybody is in it. it definitely shows a polarized society. i think part of it is president erdogan's society. it created a polarized society so that those who love him and those who hate it are now take it to the streets. there is no clean way for turkey to immerge from this. either erdogan will crush this with support or it will be oh pressive tomorrow to suppress any decent whatever remains of it or the military will crush it. >> and look at these tanks that are moving in here. these are pretty heavy tanks that are going in. it looks like the military has
decided whatever the cost they are going to take power and they are going to remove president ir erdogan from power. >> they are certainly prepared to use military force. there is gunfire directed at the presidential palace. we are three hours into the coup attempt and the silence from the u.s. and nato ally of turkey and other nato allies, no statement other than they are monitoring the situation from u.s. leaders or other nato leaders in support of the democratically elected government. the silence is remarkable here. it is difficult to assess what is happening but that silence is something that i'm sure is very loud and consequential to erdogan and others, that they are not hearing the statement of support. >> and you can see the people on the streets. they are protesting.
you can see the flag of turkey flying. these people that you see on the streets, they are in huge numbers, perhaps responding to president erdogan who said get out in the streets. it is now past 1:30 a.m. in turkey. >> and i'm seeing from my friends the muslims making calls for people to rise up. there is a real risk that it could take religious dimension. it would be mobilized as a result of that call. >> and nick robertson, we have seen people injured and wounded on the streets. lots of gunfire. we have heard explosions, low-flying fighter jets and now tanks moving into istanbul. this is a real military coup, something that is discussed often but rarely scene
especially in a nato ally. this is very disturbing. these are disturbing developments. >> it will be watched so closely throughout the region. let's sort of look at the wider picture a little bit. what's happening on the ground is very dangerous. it is very destructive. it is incredibly devicive at the moment. passions are getting raised. look at the picture here. moscow annexed in the black sea so that moscow could have access to and use the black sea fleet to come out to the mediterranean. it comes out through the bosphorus. it is becoming dangerous and precarious. you have a situation potentially where russia can potentially see that the black sea fleet is going to get stuck in the black sea or at least get put in
danger when they go to support troops in syria. if something were to happen to one of the russian vessels passing through the bosphorus, very narrow and very very dangerous. if something were to happen to a russian naval vessel it would be deeply troubling for moscow and it could put moscow at arms with nato allied turkey and with the rest of nato, the united states included. the international perspective away from what's happening on the streets, which is escalating more. there are worries that will grow with the militarization around the bosphorus. it is key for the russian navy to move it in and out of the mediterranean. remember, they annexed a whole country to be tiebl use that
black sea fleet. >> you know, 24 hours ago we were reporting on the terror in france that wound up killing 84 people and so many more injured. now we are seeing a coup unfolding not that far away in turkey, a key nato ally. terrorism, a military coup and a lot of people are wondering, is this going to be the new normal? >> this is a major city in europe. istanbul is in europe. we are seeing tremendous instability. it strikes me as we watch the pictures of people in the streets that they are in effect defying the military coup leaders. the coup leaders some hour ago or so announced on national television they are imposing a curfew and telling people to stay in their homes. we are seeing in their pictures here that many thousands of
people are deanying that call ad listening to the appeal from pistol erdogan who called for supporters to go out in the streets. >> and they are out in the streets. a lot of people out in the streets. i spent a lot of time in turkey. if someone would have said to you yesterday to day before there will be a military coup in turkey thousands of people will be on the streets. tanks will be there. gunfire will be heard. jets will be flying overhead what would you have said? >> i believe that erdogan, the president had effectively tamed the military years ago when prosecutors threw hundreds of admirals for alleged coup plots and was able to appoint commanders of the military that were perceived to be much more loyal to them. the military appeared to have
been in the past traditionally that have carried out four coups in 50 years. in the last decade it was largely subservient. there are big questions here, wolfe. it is believed to be one ocht biggest in the nato military alliance is conscript troops. every turkish male has to go and serve in the military. and you'll see these parades when people go do their service is seen as very patriotic. they drive around town where their flags. if the military is doing that and the military is representative of the turkish population clearly not all of the soldiers are going to support this against a president and a government that they
presumably, 50% of them, have voted for. so there are real challenges here. we have heard of gunfire on the bosphorus bridge and we have heard of gunfire in istanbul square to disburse progovernment there. one of the big concerns here is that the police have commanders, hundreds and thousands of them that have been placed directly by underdogan and his political party. they are going to be seen much more loyal to the government which is effectively in hiding. we don't know where erdogan is or the prime minister is. they are not disclosing their location to protect themselves. this is the predawn hours in
turkey. >> you worked in istanbul and lived there. look at these pictures. look at that bus on that bridge there in istanbul. well, we have lost some of it but it looks -- you know, give us a little personal reflection. you know that area well. >> reporter: that's right. recently a third bridge was corre constructed. it bisects the capital. it cuts it in half and as nick robertson was pointing out it is a key lifeline for moving key oil tankers from the mediterranean sea up to the black sea and black. that is very important. that was one of the key pieces of infrastructure, the bosphorus bridge, both of the operating ones that was initially seized by the coup operators here, the military here. what's clear here is that a
segment of turkish society has followed the appeals made by the president and by other turkish officials and they have come out to the streets and they challenged the military and challenged the faction that is out in the streets trying to impose this curfew. the curfew is not been adhered to. it look like what we have seen on the bosphorus bridge there between the military and erdogan supporters. what will be incredible is if the military in fact opens fire on any of these demonstrators. it would take turkey into uncharted waters right now. we don't know how much of the military is following along with this. i spoke with one career navy officer who doesn't know what is going on in turkey and doesn't know what is behind the coup. he says he and his fellow officers are watching this unfold on tv, as are so many
other turks are as they are trying to determine what they will wake up to on saturday morning. >> and i heard concern there could be clashes between elements of the military and elements of the national police force. is that something that you consider to be realistic? >> reporter: it is definitely possible because erdogan purged the police force in recent years and has been putting in commanders seen to be as loi loyalists. the police are used day after day to block and break down any public decent in the streets, protests against erdogan, for example. we have seen that in past years with liberal use of water cannons and tear gas and other nonlethal forms of force to basically stop people from
protesting against erdogan. now you have a military that is come out or a fraction of it at least saying it has overthrown the elected government and it could trigger confrontations in some places and from eyewitness accounts you do have in some squares police on one side and military on the other and clearly confusion between these two armed and uniformed groups from the turkish security forces. you have erdogan who commands loyal followers. he has been the most successful politician in the last 15 years in turkey who has won election after election and shown to have had a loyal loyal following of at least close to 50% of population. when he issued his very strange call via facetime. when he issued the appeal within
minutes there were reports of crowds coming out at istanbul's international airport and also in the main square in the capital ankara. it appears on this first bosphorus bridge we have seen shots fired. we don't flow by which security force within the last hour presumably to disburse some of the crowds of pro and anti government spofupporters that i come out. >> i want you to standby. we are continuing to show huge crowds that have gathered. it is 1:45 saturday morning. a military coup is underway. martial law is imposed. we'll continue our breaking news coverage right after this. [burke] at farmers, we've seen almost everything,
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thank you very much for joining us. what is the latest information you can share with our viewers here in the united states and around the world? >> hello. let me tell you one thing, what we know as a fact the attempt to overthrow the democratically elected government has been organized by a group acting outside of the chain of command. hello? >> yes. go ahead. >> yes. the statements that have been made on behalf of the armed forces, we know as a fact it was not authorized by the military headquarters. so as of now we have confirmed that the group who are trying to overthrow the democratically elected government is a faction in the army in an attempt to present an action. it is a faction in the army
trying to overthrow the government and right now in istanbul and ankara, we do have some difficulty, but overall pro-democracy forces are getting control and we hope that in 24 hours we will be able to retake control in every part of turkey. as of now in some places, there are some in the consulate, but the fakdz in the arfaction in t has been unable to gain control. >> mr. hasimi, where is president erdogan right now? >> president erdogan is in istanbul and he went on air and asked people to stand in solidarity with the government and asked people to resist the military coup d'etat. likewise, the prime minister and also the president and they made
a call asking people, urging people to stand in solidarity against the military intelligence to stand with the democratically elected government. >> has the president of turkey, mr. hasimi, lost control at least for now? >> no. there is a group -- there is a group, a faction in the army trying to overthrow the government, but overall, the majority of the army as we have seen the statements made by army generals one by one in the last half an hour, and the army is standing with the democracy and they are supporting the democratically elected government and it is a small faction in the army trying to overthrow the government. >> we are showing our viewers some pictures right now, mr.
hasimi, let me interrupt for a moment. these are pictures from state television in turkey. you see military personnel there now on the scene. they seem to be taking overstate television in turkey. is that your understanding? >> the faction has managed to gain control of some places and trt is one of them, the state channel is one of them and we have seen them and the president and prime minister and other officials went on air on all other channels, and they've been unable to get the control of the media and they've been unable to get control of the private channels. >> do you know, mr. hasimi -- whether or not -- mr. hasimi, do you know if there have been
casualties and have people been injure order have people been killed in this coup? >> amongst the group who were trying to get the control of the military headquarters in ankara, we've had some casualty, but we do not have concrete information as of now, but we know in ankara there have been some casualties among the military personnel who are trying to attack the legitimate headquarters. >> so there have been casualties killed and wounded. is that your understanding? i do not have confirmed info as of now, but we are sure right now is that pro-democracy forces are getting control and hopefully in 24 hours we will have full control.
finally, mr. hasimi, you are a adviser to the -- >> to the prime minister. >> you are senior adviser to the prime minister. what's your message to the united states and other nato allies who are watching this with extreme nervousness, extreme anxiety. >> democracy of turkey, democracy in turkey matters for the whole region and matters for global stability. given the fact that the world is going through, protectioning turkish democracy is the most important thing to protect stability. we urge our allies that they stand in solidarity with turkish people and turkish democracy. that is the crucial message that could be given to a small group in the army and also the public that the military intervention
and coup d'etat as turkish people, as of now, i can see thousands of people marching toward the center of ankara and i see some of the pictures in istanbul on tv. people are resistant, and given support to those people and given support to pro-democracy forces in turkey, we urge the world leaders to stand in solidarity with them. >> and finally, mr. hasimi, what's your -- there's a lot of concern that the president erdogan, he ought to make a statement to the people of turkey and he couldn't do it through a tv station and he had to do it on a mobile phone. that's pretty awkward. what does that say to you? >> it's a matter of urgency, actually, it's a security issue. it was a matter of urgency and we have the attack had begun at
10:00 p.m. and the prime minister, the president had to make a statement as soon as possible and it was the only thing available at that time, but what we know for sure is that right now luckily, the democratic forces are getting control and we have just a couple of minutes ago, actually, high-ranking generals have made a statement in turkey and have said that they will do everything to prevent this military -- this illegitimate military intervention calling that attempt, calling that overthrow attempt as an action organized by between the states is in turkey, within turkey. that was by one of the generals. >> thank you very much, jamal hasimi. finally, do you feel safe right
now? >> do i feel what? >> do you feel safe? are you worried about your own security? >> yes. yes. yes. yes. yes. we are safe and hopefully we will be able to -- we will be able to protect our democracy. we deserve that. the world deserves that, and we will do everything to prevent that and the people who tried to organize that attempt will pay the price. they will pay the price. >> jamal hasimi is the senior adviser to the turkish prime minister. thank you very much. we will stay in close touch with you. >> thank you. thank you very much. >> it sounds pretty worrisome. this is a very sense moment. >> it is, indeed. it is a turning point. about an hour ago turkish president erdogan called from his vacation spot for the people to come to the streets and they have listened to his call and it looks like the unfolding coup is being pushed back by the public.
so what could have been a coup attempt against the democratically-elected government is by the turkish people. >> we'll see how this unfolds and this is approaching 2:00 a.m. in istanbul, turkey. you are looking at live pictures and our breaking news continues with erin burnett "out front." this is cnn breaking news. good evening. i'm erin burnett. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. tonight "out front," breaking news, major breaking stories, a military coup under way in turkey tonight and an attack that has killed 84 people. 2:00 in the morning in istanbul beginning hours ago in a stunning move. the turkish military announcing it has taken over the country and imposed martial law. at this moment, gun fire on the streets of istanbul. the witness saying tourists are blocked in hotels by soldiers and in defnc