tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN July 15, 2016 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
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 defiance of martial law
some turks leaving their homes and taking to the streets and some even jumping on tanks. police have been responding in kind with tear gas. we can tell you for sure and reports perhaps of more violence, shooting, all flights at istanbul airport suspended and social media sites shut down and american citizens urged to shelter in place and told not to go to the u.s. embassy and consulates at this time. citizens from other countries told to stay inside. coming as the whereabouts of erdogan unknown. he resorted to an iphone and go to the streets and give them their answer. meantime military units are on the move, the key nato ally and the second largest in nato. the u.s. embassy reporting low-flying jets have been flying over the streets of istanbul and the capital city of ankara as we are following breaking news from france and we want to go live there at the moment and i want to go to the breaking news in turkey with jim sciutto.
this is a stunning development and a crucial ally for the united states in the war on terror. what do we know right now? >> erin, you almost want to shake your head. completely unexpected. this is a city in europe, one of the most major cities in europe. it is, as you say, a major u.s. ally, a nato ally literally on the front lines on the war against isis. what we know right now is that elements within the military, at leastel ems declared martial law and declared a curfew and they closed ports and airports and then you have the democratically elected president erdogan calling on people to go to the streets to defy that curfew. if it appears that many people have indeed heeded that call. in the midst of this there are reports of gun fire at crowds and at the presidential palace in istanbul and also government buildings in the capital ankara with real violence and we just had a senior adviser to the prime minister on cnn who said there were casualties. he didn't know how many, but he
said there were casualties. meanwhile from the u.s., radio silence. we've not heard comment from the white house other than to say they are monitoring the situation. keep in mind, you might expect a statement of support from the democratically elected government of an ally. they have not. this is a fluid situation there, but that is something that we are waiting for, as well, from the white house, from the state department and from intelligence agencies, as well. they're all telling us they are watching this situation closely, but awaiting further comment. erin? >> jim, you will stay with us. of course, the president there in turkey, a controversial leader, an autocrat. obviously, turkey has been in many ways helpful to isis. let's just listen to what we're seeing here from the footage we can see. whether someone's helping or not -- someone's helping, it's unclear or fighting there on the street, but you can hear the gun shots. let's just listen here for a
moment as we show you the live streets of istanbul. [ gunshots ] we're looking at these live pictures and it is a stunning moment we're watching. barbara, you're talking to sources in the united states and they're watching closely. jim pointed out that formally there has been silence. what are you hearing? >> also from the pentagon tonight, erin, we are watching this and we are now several hours into it and it is fair to say they do not know exactly what's happening inside turkey here in washington.
they don't know when they look at these pictures who the people are, who is fighting who? which military force that you see on the streets may exactly be pro-government or pro-coup. it's a huge problem for the united states tonight because here is the issue, turkey is one of the major u.s. allies in the war against isis. at a turkish air base in the south called incirlik there are 1500 military personnel and they conduct air strikes even today, even as we speak against isis targets across the border in syria. if the military, the turkish military is not in full control or the coup forces are not in full control who is controlling incirlik? the problem for the u.s. is this, if there is a coup, u.s. military policy is -- you don't work with governments where there is a coup by force. you have to pack and go, but the fight against isis is of such strategic importance everyone will be watching carefully if
the u.s. really sticks to that. it may be that the u.s. decides the fight against isis overtakes u.s. policy about not dealing with countries that are in the middle of a coup and simply staying and conducting operations against isis. tonight, it's just one of the big questions we just don't know the answer to. the u.s. provides billions of dollars in u.s.-made weapons to turkey and if those weapons are turned on the people in the streets it will provide another complication. the u.s. will have to decide whether it wants to cut off arms sales as well. erin? >> all right. barbara. these headlines as we're getting them and to emphasize to everyone as you're looking to these pictures. when you don't know who is fighting whom and who is on what side it adds to the confusion. the few ones we're getting from inside turkey are coming from broadcasters and state-run braid casters. so you take that for what you will, but they're saying a turkish fighter jet has shot down a military helicopter that
was used by members of the coup. the state-run anadolu agency was saying 17 were killed in a special forces unit and there was fighting going on right now between the coup and those fighting against the coup. these again, the headlines that are coming right now and do you just want to emphasize also that president obama now -- it is coming up that he had a chance to speak with secretary of state john kerry who has been on the ground in europe and in moscow and they are saying that turkey should support the elected turkish government which is, of course, direct support for president erdogan. as we're looking at these picture, let me bring in my panel who can perhaps interpret the scene in istanbul. the chairman of the house intelligence committee, retired special agent with me along with peter bergen, and the former commanding general for europe. let me start with you, general
hart li hartling, 26 nato bases across turkey, you see what happened today, the stunning development. what goes through your head? >> it doesn't surprise me, erin, to be honest with you. one of my last official visits in turkey was in 2012 and i had dinner with a bunch of turkish generals and they were upset about the court-martialing of several hundred generals and admirals and they had many disagreements with mr. erdogan. it is, as you have already said, the second largest army in nato. there are more u.s. bases than just the one at incirlik that barbara starr pointed out. there is, in fact, the southern air force base is in izmir and we have one of the nato headquarters in turkey. so this is somewhat critical, but there's been a lot of both external and internal pressure to the turkish government and the turkish military, truthfully, has been given the charter by ataturk back when he formed modern-day turkey to make
sure they took charge of democracy within the country. >> right. >> most of the military does not believe that mr. erdogan is leaning toward democracy. he is, in fact, leaning in other directions and that's what led to this coup. surprising in terms of the timing and they are certainly under pressure on their borders and internally and truthfully, i think a lot of military intelligence analysts have seen this coming for a while. >> mike rogers, what is your view of this? it is unclear right now where president erdogan is. he had to resort to going on an iphone to tell people to go out in the streets and fight back against the coup, to go against the martial law that was imposed tonight. that's pretty stunning in and of itself. >> it is. and here's something to remember, the -- excuse me, prior to erdogan, the military interceded in pushing out islamist influence in the government about four times. >> right. >> it's in the constitution in turkey that the military is responsible for keeping islamic
influence out of the government of turkey and i think that's lost in this whole debate and so what happened in 2011 erdogan decided to start jailing officers because he was moving clearly toward a more islamic state and he started jailing senior military officers and at one point they had 275, about half of their admirals and about one in five generals total were in custody by the government, and that was very disruptive and what happened is in april of this year an appeals court overthrew those conviction of those 275 people. so you can see that tension has been building for a while. erdogan has taken over two state -- excuse me, two newspaper out'lls, one of which went up for auction and he put his son in channelling of it and the other he put federal trustees. erdogan has been going down a dangerous path and to me it was a matter of time before the
generals could get enough core support to do what they believe is constitutional and that's what's going to be the tricky part. they're arguing and i saw their statement that they are upholding the constitution of turkey, and that's what i think is going to be a really interesting few days to see how this shakes out. >> peter bergen, what is your take on where this is going? again, i will now say that our affiliate cnn turk is reporting a turkish f-16 shot down a military helicopter that they say the helicopter was being used by the -- part of the army that was attempting this coup. that's the latest that we have. that was just shot down, but where does this go, peter? >> no one know, including the people involved and this is what happens when you have a revolutionary or coup-like situation. this will pose a very interesting quandary for american policymakers if the military does succeed and reminds me very much of the situation in egypt in 2013 when a democratically elected muslim government was overthrown by a military coup, and the united
states at least should have cut off aid to egypt and a major recipient and it didn't, because at the end of the day the military government and their policies on isis and other groups aligned pretty closely with american interests and so if, indeed, the military does succeed here, theoretically, we should cut off relations with turkey as one of the top ten recipients of u.s. military hardware, but my guess is that we would just sort of say, well, you know, there are interests outweigh the general principle that we won't deal with people who come to power by overthrowing a democratically elected government. we might find a democratically elected government take control. that may account for the silence out of the white house and the pentagon right now. >> it gives president obama an out when he supports the democratically elected government of turkey as to how you define that. bob baer is with me.
i know you've actually been speaking to turkish military, some turkish military leaders. what are they telling you right now? >> well, this came as a surprise to them. in fact, i was talking a month ago to them and they said there's going to be no coup. the military was broken after this fake coup attempt that erdogan arrested people a few years ago and a few of them got out of jail and they're saying they do not think this is going to work. it sounds to me like a colonel's coup. they do not have the support in the ranks nor among the turkish people to unseat erdogan, but this came as a surprise to them. so you can imagine it came as a surprise to the white house, and they don't -- they just don't know where it's going to go, but they are predicting violence. >> general hartling. >> a lot more. >> general hartling, a lot more vilence? >> i certainly think there will be violence. in the four coups in the past we have not seen the turkish
military fire on their own civilians and somewhat different circumstances now, but i'm not sure it's a colonel's coup. you don't get the kind of coordination that we've seen thus far in terms of taking over media elements and getting to the streets and rolling units the way we see them roll based on just a few individuals. this seems to be a pretty big deal. there's about half a million people in the turkish army or in the military, rather that includes all forces, but they also have about 170,000 jean dhar marie and they're military forces and they report to the government and they're police forces. there will be confusion early on. you are hearing shots fired and that's to be expected, but what we're seeing so far is a lot of milling around and it seems with the flying of the flags that there's a lot of support for changes within the government and we all know mr. erdogan only has about 48 to 49% approval rating and getting worse. >> so i just want to show everyone as we're flipping
through these pictures. i don't know how much control we have over our cameras. one of the scenes that you have been seeing here is actually inside the airport. this is an airport which two weeks ago the entire world knows was the subject of a terrible attack that they said was isis when they went in and started firing on the airport. the airport, people are marching through. you can hear them chanting. those are the scenes going on in the airport right now which is completely shut down as is facebook, youtube and other social media sites and twitter in turkey right now, peter bergen. >> yeah. i mean, this is an extraordinary day, and what does this mean for the fight against isis, it's an interesting question and turkey has stepped up in the last year and a half allowing incirlik air force base to be used for operations against isis by american planes by cutting down the flow of foreign fighters that come through this airport, that used to come through this airport in great numbers and isis itself is saying hey,
turkey has really had a change of heart within the last year, year and a half in terms of cracking down on the foreign fighter flow. so with those policies remain in place with the new government? interesting question. >> i want to now, we have a cnn photojournalist who actually is in ataturk international airport right now, jeff call. i don't know if you can hear me, but please, just tell us what are you actually seeing? more than a thousand people peacefully and jubilantly stormed the airport and they were carrying flags and chanting and everyone is on the tarmac right now. there was no violence and no issues and people are coming on the tarmac en masse. all i can see it's been a surprise and where it's going
and turkish flags are flying high. >> all right. jeff, i know it's been very hard to understand him and let me just say what he said just said. there are about a thousand people in the air wort waving flags and chanting and they've been waving flags on the tarmac. if we can get him back we will. it's very hard to get anything from turkey because the social media sites have been completely shut down. as he said, people are flooding the tarmac. the airport is completely shut down and what you can see right now some of the pictures that we are getting that are coming in from turkey. when you see all these flags, mike, being waved around, what does that say to you about who is out on the streets? because the context that we have here is that when you see people stepping up on tanks right now, that's the scene that reminds me of being in cairo, actually. but when the military said
martial law. erdogan said then go outside. do we assume people are supportive of erdogan or no? >> i wouldn't make that assumption so early. >> you don't know who is there. i would imagine you are getting a combination of both. there is this notion that erdogan and this pushing of an islamist state is really counter cultural to where they've been in the last 70 years. so there is a lot of people out there that are fairly anxious about where the country was going so i don't know. it sure looks to me like the military had a lot of communication about this, as well. you see armor units not rushing to the defense of erdogan, but deploying to places to keep some peace and other places around istanbul according to reports. it tells me, i agree, this is probably more than a colonel's coup. i imagine you didn't get the general officers and you have a whole cadre of officers who have been abused by this government
who i think will be pretty sympathetic by this, and i think they have the loyalty of the -- of a good chunk of the military, so that's why i would be really careful about finding out who is out there. does erdogan have supporters who will be out chanting? you bet. does he have opponents who will be out chanting? absolutely and that's what's going to make this so confusing. it would have been great to get your guy at the airport, what they were chanting. it was pro-erdogan? >> we are trying to get in contact with him to get that. >> he is a freelance journalist. what we're seeing is a military vehicle moving through a crowd slowly. there was a military vehicle that people in the crowd were throwing bottles at, it looked like and punching and there were military officers inside that vehicle. they didn't look afraid, but certainly the situation looks incredibly tense and like it could go dramatically one way or
the other pretty quickly. what are you seeing, andrew, where you are? you are in the capital where this all began. >> they're not having it their own way. he appeared on television on an iphone. the announcer held it up and he used that opportunity to summon civil disobedience. people should come out into the streets and people should come out and occupy the airports and that's clearly what some people have done. and that's the military and the people staging this military coup are prepared to fire on civilians and this coup is clearly going to be -- and very clearly -- and not prepared to
do then and this situation, this tension is going to remain for some time and this is going to increase. >> jeff is back with me from the airport. i want to try again, jeff to establish communications with you. the crucial question, what are you hearing them chant? jeff, i don't know if you can hear me. what are you hearing them chant at the airport? >> reporter: hello. yeah. it looks like we're still struggling to get that contact, even if our producer can get that information from him we will share it with you. obviously, what we're seeing, peter, on the streets here, though, from the images that we're getting from the specific slices that we're seeing of istanbul is you're getting more and more people on the street. we said there were some people who seemed to be attacking a
military vehicle and now we're seeing people cheering for a different military vehicle as it's driving through, patting the soldiers on the backs and very supportive of them. two very different scenes playing out in the last couple of moments here live on our screens. >> and erdogan has earned a lot of enmity because the way he's treated journalists and media in turkey. you know, he's a democratically elected leader and he's behaved in a very autocratic manner particularly when it comes to the media and journalists and the fact that the army has had support is not surprising. >> mike, what its what's your interpretation of what we're seeing? these are two different shots and one an incredibly supportive crowd of soldiers and one very angry crowd. >> the problem is again, you will have some military forces that look like some of those, were they police and their
version of the federal police forces. so they don't know if they've declared they are with erdogan or not and that's the confusing part about these scenes and i would hate to draw a conclusion without really understanding who these folks are and what they're talking about. if they're pro-erdogan then these folks, the military guys in the vehicles have probably declared that they're there to support erdogan. >> right. >> if not, it gives you a whole different feeling that these folks out on the street are anti-govern am, but it's very hard to tell given the shots and even the people flying the turkish flag, does that mean insly they're pro-erdogan or pro coup? you don't know. >> it's a fair point, general hartling. >> it is a very fair point and i was watching the faces of the soldiers in that crowd and you could tell those are some of the younger soldiers. you're talking about -- the turkish military is a very professional force, for the most part, but they have a yearly
recruitment effort. so you will have some of the younger forces that might be designated to reinforce the erdogan protection where some of the older forces and some of the special forces might be on the side of the coupmakers. not sure yet and that's the confusion of all of this, but the sad thing is they're both wearing the same uniforms. so we're seeing flags being flown in both directions and again, i would like to reinforce what congressman rogers said is the ataturk doctrine is that the military protects the democracy. so it has to deal with who is in charge of the military at the time and how is the democracy continuing on? >> jim sciutto is back with us now. jim, obviously president obama and john kerry who has been on the road for the past few days including in moscow have now had a chance to speak. >> that's right. this was the substance of their message and the white house releasing the statement that the president and secretary agree that all parties in turkey should support the
democratically elected government of turkey. so there you have the unequivocal statement from the u.s. supporting the current sitting president of turkey over the coup plotters in a very public statement. shortly after that secretary of state john kerry released a statement saying that he had spoken to the turkish foreign minister emphasizing that same message and the absolute support for turkey's democratically elected government. so you have the u.s. saying in public without equivocation that they support the public and not the coup plotters. >> bob baer? >> the problem is erdogan was trying to destroy democracy. it is pretty clear. we are in a difficult position. the army is the protector of democracy. it's been said over and over here, and you know, what we're seeing is part of the army reacting to erdogan going after since 2003, putting all these
officers in jail, senior officers forced our officers who had nothing to do with the coup and this was a fake coup. sledgehammer. so you're seeing the reaction from the military. they were very upset about this, and again, i say my contacts are telling me they're unsure that this is going to actually work. so when i say a colonel's coup, it wasn't the chief of staff that just took over the government. that could very well be wrong. again, first reports are generally wrong, but this is what i'm hearing out of ankara. >> general hartling, when we talk about president erdogan here, as i mentioned a very controversial leader as all of you have been pointing out in terms of the support of isis and coming out against isis and also an autocratic leader who was building in all sorts of codes and a billion-dollar palace and how does that play into this?
>> the fact that he has been pushing down journalists and the right of free speech and he's been back and forth in russia in term was how he's supporting them and he has not closed the borders to the extent that nato would like him to do and there's been conflict with israel and back and forth with israel. as well as he has on his southern border, syria, iraq and iran as well as all of the kurdish factors. other than that, he doesn't have much to do. he's trying to please all people all the time and he is somewhat of an autocratic ruler. in fact, a great autocratic ruler, and again, when you talk to the military leaders that, in fact,ic had the honor to speak with, they are extremely professional and want to continue in terms of the culture of the turkish people and there is that conflict there and the military has seen, mr. erdogan go further and further to the right and away from democratic values. so i think all of that has contributed to the coup and at
the same time he's doing that there is the perception that he has not been protecting the turkish people not only from isis, but also from the pkk and the kurdish influence as well as dealing with other multinational forces. >> general hartling, let me ask you as we're looking at this to explain the basics of nato. you talk about the second largest armed forces in all of nato. 26 bases across turkey and crucial ones to the united states and the fight in northern syria and we talked about incirlik and also within nato. what happens then? obviously an attack on one is an attack on all. this is an internal coup and can president erdogan can somehow use that to get more specific support from the united states? >> mr. erdogan has a temped to do that in the past not only with isis, but with the pkk and there's been multiple discussions about the commission of article 5 as turkey has continued to be under attack by those crossing its borders and by what they see as a terrorist
force. so he has gone to the nato conference in brussels on multiple occasions and suggested other nato members helped him with internal strive. this is an internal problem he has. will he ask nato for help? he might, but if he does, that's going to be a hard push because nato is not concerned with internal conflicts and it's more of a defense against external threats and this calls into question an unstable turkey is a threat to all. we have new video coming in from ankara that i want to show from the capital of turkey and we'll get it up in a second and i had mentioned a moment ago that an f-16 reportedly shot down a helicopter and that is ostensibly what we believe you are hearing here. that f-16 jet shooting down a helicopter. [ screaming ] and the turkish state brad are
broadcaster was a had the used by members of the military who were part of the coup. christiane amanpour is also with us on the phone. >> christian, where do yoi see this going here over the next few hours? >> reporter: well, it is incredibly delicate at this moment right now with president erdogan having taken to facetime to make a live call for his people to come out on to the streets and clearly, the pictures that you're showing on cnn and around the world are showing that many, many people are coming out on to the streets and waving turkish flags, going into the airports and on to the tarmac and many other places, as well. look,ier i ieerin, president er and before that prime minister erdogan presided over the longest period of history in turkey with no coup, but before him from 1960 through to 1971, through the 1980s down to the '90s and in fact up until 1997 there have been a series of
rolling military coups in turkey. of course, the united states worked with turkey all through many of those instances as nato partners, but this is something that's been going on in turkey for many, many years and what defined president erdogan in the beginning of the 2000s is he started to implement a much more democratic turkey and he put the military through all intents and purposes back into their barracks and took them out of the political arena. now that was very, very welcome by many people in turkey and not welcome at all by many people at the top of the military and there has always been a very, very deep division between the highly secular military and certainly president erdogan's islamic government and his -- what they believe is way too much in the direction of islamist rule.
erdogan himself, as you know and you've been reporting and i've interviewed him many, many times as well as the prime minister and others has taken on a much more authoritarian role in the past several years. he became president and he tried to change the constitution as he cracked down on the press and the judiciary? on many, many other aks and active now with the pkk and the huge challenges that isis has presented. 14 major terrorist attacks in turkey over the last year or so. so that's the context in what you're seeing all of this. >> the congressman joins me now as well as we're watching these live pictures out of istanbul. house arms services committee and former s.e.a.l. team six commander, you've had a chance to deal with the turkish military and what was your reaction when you first heard there was a coup in turkey tonight? >> the turkish military is also a place of stability and there
have been coups in the past, but that's a professional force and what we're witnessing is within the military there's confusion, within the population of turkey, and the president himself and his popularity has diminished and he's become more authoritarian and moving more of an islamic state and in many ways change the constitution and the military itself has been with the people and to see pictures of a population going against the military, that is strikingly unusual. >> the pictures that we're seeing here to the left of our screen, i don't know -- just general hartling, if you can see, i want to ask you what we're seeing here. it looks like you're seeing some sort of a police force. i know you have police as well as military and those are different things and others in bulletproof vests and it looks like there's escorting going on. it's unclear. what do you think we might be seeing? >> again, erin, we may be seeing some of the younger soldiers, but certainly a strange set of
circumstances when you have members of the armory or the police escorting men in uniform. again, it just shows the confusion and what's going on. it may be dependent on where you are in the different cities and in the different locations who provides support to whom? so as this unwinds you're seeing tanks bursting through barricades and running toll gates and at the same time you've seen trucks either -- trucks with military either supported or had bottles thrown at them. so it's a very confusing situation. until you literally hear and know what's going on on the scene you can't describe who is winning and who is losing. bob baer, of course, the times have changed. we may have social media and so well connected and when we have a coup as you see it happen in the middle of the night. >> always in the middle of the
night. cease the communications and there are manuals written about coups and this sounds like one to me. we take the key positions, and i've lived through a lot of coups across the middle east and they've always come as a surprise and they're tightly held within the military and who comes out on top? it's very fluid and it's always a surprise and it's from syria to iraq to the rest of it, it always comes as a surprise because these people obviously do not communicate because they're worried about intelligence service and military intelligence specifically. so if we are confused, the turks are confused and certain parts of the military and this came as a surprise to and that's why it wasn't a neat coup and that's why they didn't arrest erdogan at the beginning because that's what you want to do, of course s grab him and put him in a jail and then you can continue on with the coup. for tonight and probably for a long time we'll have to wait for the outcome of this and
seriously, nobody knows at all right now. >> congressman zinc ney this entire situation, with the situation in syria, you have some governments who will be supportive of this coup across the middle east and there's no doubt tomorrow as the turkish people wake up turkey will be very, very different than it was today. where it goes no one really know, but turkey is absolutely critical to our efforts with isis, with iran, with stability in the region and turkey now is in flux. i think we had to be very, very cautious to make sure that the united states provides leadership, provides certainty that we will support a democracy, we will support a stability in the region and be very cautious to make sure we don't repeat the mistakes we did in egypt. >> general hartling, as bob baer is talking about the planning that may have gone into this and
how closely held it may have been and it stuns people that you can have a military of this size be that silent about something like this and obviously the question is how many people really knew and how significant this coup truly is. >> what's your feel of the planning and the military forethought? >> that's a great question, erin, and what bob said i wanted to reinforce. these things don't just happen. when you're rolling tanks and trucks and thousands of soldiers out of a gate it takes a lot of planning and a lot of coordination and a lot of communication. to do that under the cover of secrecy where it becomes this much of a surprise not only to the people of turkey, but the people of the world as well as some of the military officers that several of your analysts have already covered and said this was a surprise to them. that takes a lot of effort. as bob says they always happened in the middle of the night. you usually try to grab the president or the prime minister at the first chance you can get. mr. erdogan was away on
vacation, so that negated that and perhaps that drove some of the coup planning, but it's very, very difficult to not only man and then arm and then equip and then supply logistics to not just trucks and soldiers marching, but when you're talking about rolling tanks, that's a major effort and when you have an army of close to half a million, i don't know how many have deployed in this fight, but when you have that many getting ready to conduct a coup it takes a lot of coordination and communication and it's tough to keep it a secret. >> christiane, what happens to erdogan right now in we know he was on vacation. we do not know where. he was desperate enough to have to resort to using his iphone to communicate with the turkish people and people around the world, but his whereabouts are obviously crucial right now. >> well, it is crucial, and what happens to erdogan is crucial and the fact that he was able to broadcast that via cnn turk and it was very, very important and
it seems to have had some effect and he's bringing supporters out into the streets as we're seeing right now. as we've been discussing, in general when you try to launch a coup, the very first thing you do is arrest, you know, the president who you're trying to launch a coup against and if they haven't done that that indicates a certain lack of organization and it indicates a certain division within the military or whoever these coup makers are, and again, we're doing a lot of speculating here because nobody quite knows what is going on beyond the fact that there's uncertainty in the treats and there's been military action and we're not sure what it all means and erdogan has said that he wants to come back to ankara and he's going to try to face it down. whether he can or will, we shall see. i mean, look, it reminds me to an extent of what happened thin
egypt in 2013 when the military went against muhammad morsi, and the military decided that it wanted a more islamic presidency and they refused to have what they did to call the coup and they removed the democratically elected president because they were worried about the direction of the country. he remains in jail. the first thing they did was capture him and the whole hierarchy and many remain in jail and it's not all of them. i remember in 1991, mikhail gorbachev of the soviet union, at that time. he was on vacation, as well and the generals pointed a coup and he came back to moscow and one thing came to another and they faced that one down. >> it's true what happened to president erdogan and whether he's in any position at all to
gather his forces and to be able to have this down and it's been in politics, and since he was elected as prime minister in 2002. >> i want to go now to matasa, an american who is there right now in istanbul on the asian side of the bosphorus. what are you seeing, please, tell us. >> i'll tell you right now. the environment here has been completely electric. i came visiting and i was trying to make it back to the european side where my hotel was and we couldn't make it because the bridges were blocked. we were told to turn around and there was an attempted coup and the streets were rather quiet and as president erdogan came out with his statement telling everyone to come to the streets it just, crowd upon crowd came out and we saw people in dump trucks, dumpsters coming out and
we saw people on tour busses coming out waving the flags and rallying to their call to their democratically elected president. i have never seen anything like this in my life and a six-lane highway in front of me by the water filled with people. it was amazing and it all happened when he came out and asked people to come to the streets and you can see that people really love him. they're responding to him and there was a military coup and the people responding against that coup. >> what you are seeing, moutasem it is clear from where you are that the people who have come out are supportive of erdogan? >> absolutely. the streets were empty and there were a few people going around honking before his call and after his call it was a non-stop traffic jam of cars, people, families waving flags, responding to their call of the democratically elected president of this country. they love that man. they showed it in the streets, so i -- >> have you seen, moutasem, have
you seen any violence at all between soldiers and people protesting? what is the interactions you've seen specifically between the people, the civilians and the military? >> on this side i have not seen a single police officer or a single military vehicle. all i saw was the public responding to the call of the democratically elected president. it was empty prior to his response and even when the coup happened people weren't coming out in the streets cheering the coup. as soon as he came out to the facetime call asking people to fill the streets and they filled the streets and they responded. >> mou it, asem what have you heard in terms of specific chants that you've heard? >> i've heard them giving the typical, god is great, god is great and it's a typical thing we do as muslims. it's not a cry to war whatsoever. it's just a cry to bring people's hearts together and that's exactly what they were doing.
i saw absolutely no violence. everyone was peaceful, honking their horns and the air was absolutely electric and they were responding to the call of the democratically elected president against his coup. >> i understand where you stand vis-a-vis president erdogan. it's 2:43 a.m. where you are, what do you see? >> the streets are empty. the feeling is erdogan and the government has been able to take over control and the coup has been subsided and the streets are literally empty and i'm seeing a few cars and everyone has gone home and a little bit of honking and that's about it. i can see a few people now walking back toward their home, but for a few miles this whole street was packed with people. >> moutasem, i appreciate it. an american on the asian side of the bosphorus was notaible to come back as he was trying to come back to the european side
to his hotel. he talked about a six-lane highway full of people. in his view those people were all supportive of erdogan. i think clear from the conversation that he was, as well and the people he saw were very supportive of the president and turkey of president erdogan. what's your reaction when you hear what moutasem had to say? mike rogers. >> well, this scene here is a little bit different. that doesn't look like euphoria to me. you have armed military individuals firing rounds in the air. you can see a little bit of tension building between the crowd and the military there. he's trying to keep them back and we don't know for what purpose. one other thing you have to remember. the heads of their intelligence services and their military and their core of military officers that probably feel slighted are not in istanbul and they're probably up in ankara and we've had very little reporting from ankara itself, so you just --
and even given these scenes, i think it's too early to make an assessment if this coup is winning or not. i'm seeing this scene with the military exchange here is a little bit -- that concerns you because you don't know, why are they pushing back on the crowd? we don't know the answer to that, but they are clearly trying to keep some sense of order in keeping that crowd in check. >> so let's just listen in for just a moment because this is unfolding, live, everyone, as we're speaking. 2:46 a.m., this crowd is in istanbul. you saw the military there shooting into the air. an altercation right now going on between the military and protesters going on right here. let's watch for a moment. [ speaking foreign language ]
>> not into the crowd. you can see the feedback and you are watching this play out live. general, what -- you hear obviously the eyewitness that we saw was from another location and obviously he was very pro-erdogan with a completely story than what you're seeing here play out live. now shots again on the streets of istanbul. >> yeah. this is tense. i'll tell you, those soldiers, and i'm watching the infantry men in front of the tank and the tank commander and the weapons pointed in the air and they come ever closer and you can see just a few minutes ago when you saw one individual that looked like he was coordinating and engaging with the crowd and then the crowd followed him back toward
the tank. this is not a good situation for the soldiers. as we like to say the pucker factor is very high right now with all those men in uniform, but they seem to have control and they seem to be talking at least, engaging with the crowd as opposed to either shooting at them and trying to convince them to turn around. it is a very interesting situation. again, erin, this is one location, probably of thousands that are going on all over turkey and this is istanbul. and and unlike an car a is it the same kind of tension there that's in istanbul or izmir or any other major turkish city? >> bob baer, what's your view of what we just saw a moment ago in those obviously 30 seconds ago, live pictures of the shots in the air and the confrontation between the military and the protesters there?
it's a divided country, erdogan, they describe him as a muslim brothers and not a particularly strong one and he's popular among the poor turks. he's a populist leader and the military just doesn't like him and that's why the last decade he's gone after the military every time he could to defang it. this is really going to played out the old secular turkey and the new turkey which is becoming more muslim all the time. what's going to happen is erdogan gets through this, he's going to crush the army. it's not going to be the same. he'll have no choice and he truly will become a completely authoritarian leader of that country. >> congressman zincy, what happens here from the united states side in the next few hours as you deal with finding out with where president erdogan is and whether he'll be going
back to turkey and what level of support the united states will provide. it's one thing to say the united states supports the democratically elected president of turkey and it's another thing for them to do something to show that support, physically, directly. >> i think our goal is stability and tomorrow turkey will wake up with three options. one is the coup will be successful in which the government will be dealt with or the government will be successful as was pointed out and then the military will be dealt with and that will be bloody and lastly, they'll go to a standstill. they'll go where a needed party with overwhelm another and our goal is it's a turkish issue. it will spill over, unfortunately, to syria, to iraq and to iran and to the region because of how important turkey is to the stability of the entire region. tomorrow will be a different day in the region. in the u.s., our position should always be on values and on constitution and on democracy
and stability, but who has control is confused and will be confuses for the next couple of days. >> i want to share what's coming out in this rapidly developing situation. the coup is over and that the coup is defeated. the press officer to that organization is telling that to our turkish affiliate cnn turk. obviously, you're still seeing confrontations on the streets. it is unclear what to make of this, but they are saying it is over and it is defeated and general hartling, at this point, could that be possible? >> if it is, it's interesting. again, how do you connect with the people who are leading this if it is occurring in multiple places? there is a lot of forces, it appears that there are a lot of forces on the ground and it may be over in some places and there may be calm returning in some places, but there are already reports of other things occurring in turkey and again,
as some of your analysts -- whatever does occur tomorrow morning when we wake up, it will be interesting to see how mr. erdogan comes out. he'll be very much stronger or deposed. >> all right. this is all going to play out in the next few hours as our live coverage continues. we will take a brief break and when we come back, the terror attack in france and the significant new details tonight about the attacker. we'll be right back "out front." ah the freedom to watch your directv
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breaking news on the terror attack in france. we're learning much more about the man who killed 84 people including ten children in the city of nice and the man behind the carnage identified as mommed lahouaiej bouhlel, a father of three. intelligence officials in france say that was not a name they're aware of each though they're tracking individuals in france. no group has claimed responsiblity for the attack. clarissa ward is live and i know you are learning a lot more about this man. >> reporter: that's right, erin. essentially authorities here are getting a really muddled picture. there's been no claim of responsibility from any terrorist group and so far no clear indication that he had any terrorist or extremist leanings. in fact, french media reporting that a lot of his friends and family said he had no interest in religion. he was more interested in
bodybuilding and more well known to people in his neighborhood for his erratic behavior, allegations of spousal abuse, but no indications, really, that he even attended a mosque let alone was engaging in terrorist or extremist activities. so there's a lot of confusion as to whether this may have been the act of a disturbed individual, but authorities are still trying to put together the pieces of how this attack happened. take a look. >> mayhem and carnage as a large truck careens through crowds of tourists and residents for over a mile, sending hundreds running for their lives. tonight, the driver has been identified as 31-year-old mohamed lahouaiej bouhlel, born in tunisia. he was known to authorities for petty crimes and wasn't on the radar of counter terrorism investigators. >> translator: he was entirely unknown by intelligence services
and had never been the subject of any file or indication of radicalization. >> reporter: authorities are combing through the suspect's house where he lived alone and a neighbor described him as odd. he wouldn't say hello and only nod his head. the attacker's ex-wife was taken into custody and is being questioned by police. together, they had three children. investigators are trying to figure out if the assailant acted alone or had help and there have been no claims of responsibility for the attack by any group so far. the horrific scene unfolded at 10:30 p.m. thursday night. thousands were gathered to watch fireworks celebrating french independence day. as the fireworks were ending and revelers began walking back along the promenade, the attacker first opened fire on the crowd from inside the rented 18-ton refrigerator truck. >> he then proceeded to accelerate, indiscriminately plowing through the crowds for over a mile, swerving left and right to hit as many people as
possible including dozens of children. >> translator: there were people crying, people covered with blood. it is so sad. >> reporter: when police tried to stop him, the attacker opened fire. >> translator: police chased the truck for nearly a thousand feet. the police officer was able to neutralize the person. >> reporter: when the truck finally came to a stop riddled with bullet holes the attacker was dead, slumped on the pass edger seat. inside the cab of the truck, police found a system automatic handgun and a fake grenade. also the attacker's i.d. card and cell phone. among the dead, two americans sean copeland and his son brodie of texas. tonight president obama is condemning the attack. >> we pledge to stand with our french friends as we defend our nation against this scourge of terrorism and violence. and this is a threat to all of us.
. >> reporter: this is the third major attack in france in just over a year and a half and there is a definite sense when you talk to people that they're starting to question the ability of this government to maintain a secure situation here, erin? >> clarissa, thank you so much, live from nice and our breaking news coverage of turkey and france continues now with "a.c. 360." >> good evening. if you've been watching cnn for the last several hours our breaking story, a military coup under way in turkey and one of america's closest nato allies and it is hard at this hour to get a clear read on exactly what is happening on the ground. clearly, there are thousands on the streets and some of them called outdoors by the president after military forces attempting the coup declared martial law and for people to remain indoors. a curfew was put into effect, but as you see people are in the streets. moments ago we w