tv On the Record With Greta Van Susteren FOX News July 15, 2016 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
people taking to the streets as you see there live. plus this weekend takeover the trump convention. a special one hour ahead of the rnc. thanks for inviting us into your home tonight, fair, balanced and unafraid. i'm in for bill o'reilly. >> this is a fox news alert. a coup underway in turk y the military is trying to throw president erdogan out. at this moment it's unclear who is in control. tanks are in the street. president erdogan has told the people to take toot streets. facebook, twitter, youtube have all been shut counsel. passenger flights all headed toward turkey all turning around as the istanbul airport is shuttered. it is closed. unfolding and dangerous situation. live team coverage continues right now from its istanbul where grn correspondent laura wells is standing by. what provoked this. >> there is so much that's gone into this. >> rumored for years those
who opposed the president erdogan that something like this might happen. turkey has a history of military coups. and now we are looking at one. although one general tonight said that this is only part of the military. another general has asked all of the soldiers to go back to their paces. although it's rumored that the military chief of staff has been taken hostage in the military office there now some of erdogan supporters have taken to the streets as he has asked being on private networks through phone interviews. mainly going to mosques in major cities. they are using the sound systems there to call upon the supporters to gather. and some of them have even gone on to the bridges, which were closed earlier tonight by the military, the two main bridges in istanbul, and there are reports that social are firing on his supporters.
so, this is getting hairy very quickly. there is some shock for people that don't remember the successful 1908 coup when there was martial law. there was a new constitution drafted and turkey became a closed economy. there is just no telling where this is going now certainly it's a very difficult situation no one knows where president erdogan is. he had been rumored before the coup started he was marmouth. i have a family member there. they are saying no ships are allowed in and out. the navy has around the bay there. he is rumored to be staying with a businessman on the coast. and that all of the roads are closed in and out of that town so we're seeing the prime minister, again only on phone interviews. we don't know where his location is and we don't know where it's going at
this time. continuing into the tonight. >> what's being reported now turkish fighter jet has shot down a helicopter used by the military. this is really escalating. we are reading reports that there are tanks on the streets. that people have taken to the streets. it's bizarre that presidentered done erdogan. he calls in to cnn network and face times because everything has been shut down. have you got the internet essentially shut down and airports closed. where are you in istanbul? don't tell me your exact location. you can look out the window and see anything unusual? >> right now i am outside really since the coup was announced istanbul turned into ghost towns because the soldiers also took over state media and they said that they had instituted a curfew. no one really wants to face tanks and soldiers who have called a curfew. remember, that turkey has the second largest army in nato.
this is a very large, very powerful army. now erdogan supporters are gathering. so, if this isn't managed well either way, you know, we could be seeing citizen on citizen strife. >> well, you know what's so even -- just give a little background to the viewers is that erdogan, correct me if i am wrong, laura is very religious. and pushing the country in a more conservative islamic direction. not a secular direction. he is a nato ally nomination. military one of the reasons for the coup is that they don't like this drifting away from a secular government. is that a very simplistic way to say what's going on right now? >> i would say it's accurate. you are giving basically what is happening here and why so many, about 50% of the population is upset with president erdogan. it goes beyond his islamist
tendencies, his use of religion for political gains and popularity. they also don't like the fact that he is trying to turn it from a parliamentary system into a presidential one. that has been on -- at the forefront of his agenda recently. he doesn't want a presidential system like the united states, he said. he wants one more like, say, putin. he didn't mention russia's system. he would never accept what obama accepts with congress and the balance of powers there. he certainly has brought part of the judiciary under his thumb. certainly some of the private sector some are estimating 08% of thed me is under government's control not literal control. he is a highly controversial, divisive character. and the fact that a week ago he announced that the syrian refugees would get citizenship that's 3 million and across the political spectrum that was highly controversial and most
people reacted negatively. >> of course as a nato ally, we use a base there to help in our war against isis. and you have got the situation where turkey borders syria and iraq. and there has been some thinking by assad in syria that erdogan was allowing foreign fighters to get into the country to fight against him. so, this is disruptive to the whole region, plus, it's disruptive to us because here's a guy who is trying to get away from a constitutional, secular government to a more islamic government and is he a nato ally. again he has been rit sized for being islamic. some of the foreign fighters in syria came from turkey. certainly the government did turn a blind eye. there is no doubt about it they wanted assad to fall. they believed this was the best way to do it. since then turkey has been taking it very seriously. also, 3 million syrian refugees from mostly from
syria, i should say. some are from iraq, afghanistan and other places. that is a real difficulty. even though he was not popular and very highly criticized by most eu leaders. now that we have the eu migrant deal i don't think they are going to risk 3 million more refugees coming into their borders. also, united states just as you said, at first, turkey was very reticent to allow the united states to use their air bases to fight isis especially in syria. they did allow that starting last summer. that is something the united states liked. and now germany is doing that as well. again, are they going to risk it? doesn't seem very likely. >> here is some very important news. as we are trying to figure out what position the united states is going to take is that president obama and secretary kerry have spoken.
and they have said that all parties should support an elected government. so that obviously is important news coming out of our white house. and there is also news being reported by state run television or state run media in turkey that 17 police officers have been killed in some sort of helicopter attack. we will get more information on that. but this is certainly very grim situation in turkey. laura, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> and joining us former u.s. spokesperson to the united nations rick grenell. rick, you know a lot about turkey. and this situation is a very, i don't know, i don't know what to say about it. the president and secretary of state want the parties to support the elected officials. your thoughts? >> well, i think that's actually the right public statement. president obama and secretary kerry need to be able to say those things. this is a nato ally. this is a country that has elected erdogan. you go back and look at the
history of erdogan. no one should be surprised that it's a secularists inside the military have decide to do take over. and to at least launch a coup. the concern that i have right now is that the coup doesn't look like it worked. so, if you go back to the last time this happened in 1997, the coup didn't work either but the prime minister was force to do resign within several months after that because he was weakened. i think what's going to happen, greta is one of two things. either if this coup, you know, cheaperly didn't work and local police loyal to erdogan are going to take to the streets and scare, i think. turkish people into following the rules and we will see from erdogan and his team an aggressive outreach to try to take back power in any way that he can. and the question is going to be is it going to become even worse in terms of freedoms and democracy
inside turkey because erdogan is grabbing power or are the people going to say enough is enough and we're probably going to have citizen-on-citizen violence. it could be bloody. i'm fearful that this turkish ally of ours, which truly they are a great nato ally of ours is going to start experiencing some very in-depth violence and problems and take several months, if not longer to figure out who is going to be in charge. >> well, you know, you say outreach i don't know if i would use the term outreach because this is a president who has more journalists in prison than i think any other nation. refers to women who don't have children as half human. he has quite an interesting pack ground to put it lightly. is he a nato ally. but, is he a good friend of the united states, rick? beyond all this, is he really our friend? >> he hasn't been great. the one thing if you look at
syria, he has said assad should go. he has been focused on assad. he has been trying to get the u.s. to focus on getting rid of assad. that's the u.s. policy. he hasn't done a done in terms of going after isis. but, no, i think the answer to your question is he hasn't been a great friend of ours. so, that's why i say the public face of president obama and everyone should be he is legitimately elected. we stand for, you know that. but, i think we can do a lot. we can work with the military. the secularists inside the military have been our friend. we know they are from democracy. we know they have seen istanbul bombing. they were very uncomfortable with the leadership of erdogan getting too close to the islamist. this is why we had the palming. the nice attack was just the icing on the cake for the military leaders, the secularists who said if we don't do something to right this ship back in turkey
steer us away from the islamists. we are going to see more violence like the istanbul bombing and nice. this is a move from the military it doesn't look like it was successful partly because over the last several years erdogan has replaced secular generals with his own islamist types. so the military itself has been changing. the leadership of the military has been changing. and that's a concern because now that they tried this coup, it doesn't look like it has worked. we will wait and see. if it hasn't worked, i think we are going to see blood shed over the next several months for our ally turkey. >> and i should point out it looks like on the screen, the viewers can make just as much as a judgment on this as i can. it looks like civilians fighting against people in a tank. obviously, they are -- there is fighting going on. you know, rick, as i watch. >> we will be able to see military versus police. >> rick, it's interesting.
as i watch this, and watch -- i don't know if there is going to be a change in power or not or whether president erdogan is going to power. you have to contrast it we just had a change of power in britain and how different was the change of power in britain with cammeron stepping down to may. some nations in south sudan civil war where the president is fighting with the vice president. now you have this a military coup and erdogan who has not necessarily been our best friend but is he elected so we are publicly supporting him. if he doesn't regain control, you know, what's next? we have seen these countries where these horrible leaders we don't like get overthrown or get changed and what comes along is worse for us, rick. >> >> yeah. i see that i don't have that fear in turkey because they do have an incredible history, the military has an incredible history of guarding against the islamist. what is happening in turkey
is the reaction to say the elected official erdogan is getting too close to the islamists. so people are rising up, military types are rising up and saying we don't want this future for us. that's why my concern is with erdogan. is he going to try to curb them and may go even more toward the islamist. if he is removed, i think the military would make sure that the next leader was somebody more in line with the soak could you larrists. >> the problem, rick, as you and i discuss in such a clinical fashion, you know, about this the islamists and the secularists, what we look at of the pictures though is a very enraged situation where you have got people fighting. have you got tanks on the street. have you got airports shut down. you have facebook. youtube. i mean, it doesn't seem like a clinical, intellectual discussion when you look on the street it looks like a big problem. it looks like a huge danger.
>> well, that's exactly right. i think it's a good point because when you look at the military and who they are loyal to it is different than the local police. the jurisdictional fights of who is controlling whom and all of the citizenry taking different sides, we definitely have a major problem that's developing and for all of us who have so many friends inside turkey, tourism is obviously going to be greatly affected this is a problem for the united states that n. that as a member of nato turkey is not only a great ally but on somebody we have relied on middle east policy for. we have a problem with turkey because their islamist leanings away from their traditional middle east policy. for instance, the flotilla, when president erdogan sent the flotilla to gaza it raised the traditional allies like the united
states and israel. and they had a diplomatic, you know, cease basically with the israelis. that has been fixed only recently we have had a long history of erdogan not doing the policy. if you look at syria, greta, the turks have fought with everybody. they fought with the russians, they have been not on the same page with the americans. literally picks sides with every side of the conflict. >> we don't know who is in charge of the country. we don't know where president erdogan is the military and police are at each other's throats. people are on the streets there are tanks there the airport is shut down. there is no -- there is no youtube. state media has been shut down. at least some of it. and we have got a situation
where, you know i don't know where this leads at this point. >> i was going to say i talked to a friend inside istanbul tonight right before i got on air here i asked them do you have any information of what's going on? he said we really don't. we have heard a formal statement. he thought at first there was some sort of terrorist attack in toxsim square. when we see the fighting on both sides, there is a reaction from individuals inside turkey with very limited information. and so that's one of the problems when you have the power like erdogan to be able to shut down media because you control the media, that's extremely problematic. that's not something that we in the nato. and i have to say, i have to go back to we have seen this coming for a long time in terms of erdogan's move
towards the islamists. we have been very uncomfortable with this. but we haven't spoken out enough. i think that the u.s. policy. the u.s. muscular foreign policy needs to be much better to push our allies when something takes place right in the beginning when we first saw him shutting down the media arresting journalists, we should have had a much more forceful reaction than what we have had. >> rick, thank you for joining us. now to what u.s. intelligence is hearing at this hour. fox news chief intelligence correspondent catherine herridge joins us. i wants to repeat that apparently president obama and secretary kerry have spoken and their position is all parties should support an elected government which, of course, is erdogan good news is here bedrock relationships members of the intelligence community and members of the military. the military is the one launching the coup in turkey. and then also at a diplomatic level these are
relationships which are sustained over administration. so they have better channels of communication. so what i anticipate now is that those channels, they are attempting to open. the other thing that has really developed in the last five years by the intelligence community is the use of social media and ago grey gating what they're able to literally suck up in that vacuum to try and take the temperature of what's really going on because there are two different levels here. there is what we are seeing on television. there is what the government is saying through state controlled media. and then there is the same sort of strategy. you have assad who doesn't like erdogan. he thinks erdogan has helped get foreign fighters in there to fight him. you have that situation. the kurds who are separatists inside turkey who have been battling with him forever. it seems to me and you look at what's going on in the
streets there, it seems to me a very unstable situation. and we may have these great relationships but we have these great relationships with people who are in a very unstable environment. at least tonight. i mean, look at the streets. >> right. when you look at this whole region now, now versus five years ago, what you see is that the borders that we have known or grown up with these have really disappeared and dissolved. the administration's stated strategy is to keep iraq whole, but what's understood private privately is that iraq is gone and there are these three separate entities within that country. whether you have that level of stability. it has that spill overeffect like a balloon. you put pressure on one end and then it comes out on the other. so what we are seeing here it might not be quite the right phrase but it's the domino effect of this disintegrations of iraq. >> which is really terrible. it started in iraq with the sunnies and the shiites. >> these arguments though with the turks and kurds.
>> that has been going on for decades. then all the the sudden we had the origin of the caliphate in syria. and we had the -- with the civil war in syria and turkey was pretty much at least somewhat stable. we had a lot of connections and friendships and base. and running our war against isis out of the base in turkey and we had a reasonably good relationship with erdogan. >> turkey is very strategically important for the united states because of that base. if i could just bring the conversation back to probably what's happening now, which is that social media has allowed the intelligence community to have a window into the sentiment among the people in a way that was never possible before. and there is a way now to really aggregate over an area over designated period of time to see what is really going on on the streets as opposed to this sort of very limited window that you get from the government statements. >> except there is one issue. tonight it's shut down. social media where they get that big window is that youtube, facebook, twitter have been shut down tonight.
our window is shut down at least tonight. >> it's more limited because there are other options as well. >> is the intelligence community the least bit unnerved or distressed by what's going on? >> i don't want to give people bad information because i can't say i have had a good assessment of how people are feeling in this particular case, but you don't have to be a rocket scientist or the director of a major intelligence agency to see that this level of instability in the region right now is not good. it doesn't matter how you. >> it's spreading. i mean, if you just pick up a map and look at this, this is now -- i mean, it's always been a little bit of a powder keg. turkey, especially with the fight with the kurds going back forever. the kurdish separatists. but this is now -- this region is not shrinking. turkey has traditionally been seen as a secular anchor in the middle east. >> not right now. >> not right now. i mean, maybe the military wants to make it that secular anchor but you have erdogan who doesn't. he has vanished and at least i shouldn't say he has
vanished but nobody knows where is he tonight and to communicate with his people is he using face time to cnn turk, the network. >> it reminds me of sort of the lady 80's, early 90's when we saw that was indicated effect of the tumbling of communist regimes and old enough to have remembered that to have covered it. and this is a very precarious period. i say this in a broadway because what we have seen in the last five years is that the technology and the way it connects us, it also has had almost acted like an accelerant in terms of the pace of change, what used to take 18 months now can happen in 18 weeks or 18 days. >> you know, it's sort of interesting is that our position. the president's position is that we support an elected official. and yet, he is not our first choice. we prefer sort of the military secularist. and this is a nato ally. we are in a very precarious position. i think. i mean, i don't.
>> not just us. >> not just us, i mean, certainly, you know, other parts of the world as well. western europe certainly because they certainly have their eyes on this tonight because it effect them. >> it effects everyone in the region. and, again, in the speed at which this happened, the reporter at the top of the show said that this had a big buildup to get to this point. but this sort of tipping point here that we are seeing in turkey has such a big impact. especially at a point where we are certainly engaged to launch a major offensive to retake mosul and to support the iraqis in doing that. this may well really disrupt that or at least stall it out in the short-term. >> or maybe by tomorrow it will be over. this halfback sort of -- you know, just a flash point. but we are all watching this very carefully. catherine, thank you. >> you are welcome. >> what does this military coup in turkey mean for us and war against isis in syria and iraq. aaron is a journalist
constantly back and forth from turkey she joins us tonight from new york. erin, you are not home tonight in turkey what do you think looking across the world at what's going on? >> yeah, you know. like a couple of other people have said on the show before. this has been a big buildup. i'm not surprised at all. i'm watching it. i'm wondering how long this is going to last i'm seeing reports on social media and i believe on reuters saying that the leader of the coup has surrendered himself to security forces what we are concerned about how widespread is the sentiment in the military. launched why low level soldiers and a lot of other pars of the military are not necessarily on board. i have a feeling this might fizzle out within a few days but i'm not sure. again, i think we all have to watch it really closely. >> is there a spark? is there something that set this off today? >> no. i think it was just perfect timing. it was like a perfect storm. erdogan is not in the
country. is he said to be on vacation or with his family somewhere. he didn't go into hiding. he had previously been out of the country. and i think, you know, this had been building up for the past seven or eight, even nine months in terms of protesting in the streets. and infighting between politicians and the government. and i think it was just the perfect storm, essentially. >> do me a favor and compare and contrast living there when i read things about how the journal is sort of locked up and i read that erdogan wants greater power and authority and is trying to chip away at the continent so they can get more power. you know, i don't have a sense of what like to live there and live here. tell me. >> it's interesting. all of the middle east correspondents were once reporting in cairo and then that toppled and no one could report there. and then we all moved to istanbul and some in beirut. istanbul is becoming a hub of journalism crackdown and the military and government entering tv stations and shutting it down. and, you know, a lot of journalists can't each get
visas anymore if you are not a print publication, you cannot get a journalist visa if you work for any of the publications difficult to report there have to essentially report under cover. which means you can't really report on anything that goes against the government. so it's extremely difficult to be reporting from istanbul. >> if erdogan retains power, what happens? and if he doesn't, the military takes over, what happens? in your prediction? >> if the military takes over, the war against isis in iraq is going to just fall apart is my opinion. we have to remember that turkey is set geographically in a very interesting position. especially because it's a transit hub for energy. it really effects countries from russia all the way to the u.s. and so i think that there is going to be a lot of issues in terms of iraqi taking more ground. that's going to effect the oil flow from that part of iraq and then, you know, out to the western part of the world. so, i think that the oil industry is going to see a
big disruption this week. >> that's if the military takes control? >> that's if the military takes control. >> why? explain to me why that would be. i mean, i have been in northern iraq where the kurdish population, northern iraq is fighting with baghdad over oil. explain why this would -- why the military takes over in turkey that it disrupts the energy coming out of iraq into other parts of western europe. >> well, essentially there is not much oversight in the oil industry in iraq and kurdistan to begin with. a big black market that runs into southeastern turkey and so basically we would be locking any sort of what is government regulation in that part of southeastern turkey in northern iraq. that would break down. and, of course, any sort of uneasiness in the oil industry is going to make prices go up and down. i think just sort of the anxiety over this attempted coup is going to reverberate in that part of the world. >> how about isis? i mean, tell me how this is
going to impact the u.s. war on isis, either way whether erdogan takes power or the military? >> the u.s. has to make tough decisions going forward. turkey was a major part of the war against isis in syria. and in iraq. just because it's of its geographic location. we had to sort of coordinate military campaigns with them to go in and out of their airspace. now we are left with the question who do we talk to even to fly into the country and make sure that, you know, we can go into their airspace and launch attacks from the air going into iraq. i think they have to make tough decisions about what statement the u.s. is going to come out and say we are going to support erdogan and support coup. if they go ahead with supporting the coup, they have to pick who are we going to negotiate with in the turkish government and how are you going to logistically continue up our effort to fight iraq in syria which has been going pretty well over the last few weeks or even months. i think we will probably see
a dip in the number of air strikes being launched in iraq and syria. unfortunately, i think that the fight in syria is requesting going to fall off the map even though there is a siege in the north. big concern is isis in iraq. >> erin, thank you. and former u.s. ambassador to the united nations john bolton joins us. as you look at these pictures and see what's going on in turkey, your thoughts? >> well, i think we really don't have any good idea what the disposition of the turkish military is. we know the coup originated with some in the military. the senior officers, many who have been put in place in the past several years by erdogan obviously are part of the problem from the perspective of those carrying out the coup. so, there is no doubt this is not run from the very top of the military, but it's kind of a last ditch effort by those who still adhered to the vision of -- to have
a secular constitution, secular society. the constitution itself gives the military the duty of maintaining the secular state which erdogan has been doing everything he could overturn. i think it remains very much up in the air. i don't think these television pictures tell us very much. you are hearing competing press statements. i think the future of turkey obviously at stake. if the coup succeeds then i think erdogan's effort to perhaps recreate the otto man caliphate, to perhaps be the dom that the power again in the middle east and and move turkey in islamic direction. if he had gone per vales you will see acceleration that he has been making.
>> 'puts united states in outcome ward position. we support governments not coups. given the choice that united states would prefer it with move toward less toward islamic government and towards a more secular one. >> well, i think the president's statement just a few minutes ago seems to indicate is he backing erdogan the same way for a big long time they backed mohammed morsi in egypt. not a question of elected governments versus military governments at least in the case of turkey. question of the constitution which erdogan has been doing his best to subverdict. not only that he has been trying to get his supporters, islamists in the top jobs of the military. he has been systematically packing the judiciary to that evening as well that's why i think this is a last stand by the seq. could you lashists still in the army. that may bode poorly for their chance of success. on the other hand, as i say,
at least on a public level, i don't think we have any estimate how often of the military backs the coup and how much of the military and the police oppose the coup. >> should would he be worried? does this impact us here in the united states? as americans are watching us in the country and looking at these pictures and trying to figure out who is doing, what how does it impact americans? >> well, if turkey goes in the direction that erdogan wants, more toward islamist state that increasing radicalization just contributes to the growing chaos across the region if the military wins it's still going to be difficult. erdogan once said when he was mayor of istanbul and i think this is in the minds of a lot of turkish citizens, civilians and military. erdogan once said democracy is like a streetcar you ride it to the stop you wanted and then you get off. it may sound ironic but the defender of not only the secular state but the
possibility much democracy into the future here could well be the military against this kind of authoritarian internal coupe by somebody like erdogan. >> erdogan is someone we know. is someone we have worked with for a while. >> well, i must say, i don't agree with that. >> i don't agree with that he was ahead of the party in 2003 when the united states sought permission from the government of turkey. >> he said no. >> to bring in the fourth division, fourth infantry division across the turkish border into iraq we couldn't get the votes. erdogan said oh well, you know, did i my best and so on and so forth. i have always believe he sabotaged our efforts back then i have nothing. i have no charity in my heart if he goes down. if he goes down i'm not shedding any tears. i don't think he has been a friend to the united states.
i didn't people to say is he a friend. it's someone we know that way. whether he has been cooperative or not it's a known entity. if the military is successful in this coup, who does emerge as the one in charge? what's the certainty there for us? >> i don't think we know. we know vladimir putin and ping well, too. i mean, that to me is not evidence in support of their remaining in power, necessarily i think there could be confusion if the military prevails. likely is people at the lower general grade level who are doing this because they are the last ones that haven't been purged. so, therefore, the question of the loyalty of all of the various military units around the country remains to be determined. and at this point, you know, the journalists are most mostly sitting in istanbul in an carla and i don't think have any real way of knowing what the sentiment
of the troops is throughout the country. what do you think german chancellor angela merkel is thinking tonight as she looks at this. >> she has made a mess of this whole refugee situation in europe. i have a lot of respect for merkel but this has been a debacle. i think the erdogan government facilitated the movement of those hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of refuse fees out of syria and elsewhere in the middle east if anything i think the restoration of a secular government here is more likely to stem the refugee flow. i think the military is more likely to say we have got to get control of this situation. >> it's being reported right now that the -- hat least being reported in turkey that the coup attempt has been repelled that sounds like erdogan has regained control. >> it is certainly possible. as i say at this point we have got a lot of competing press releases and we will
see what happens as the evening goes on. just very difficult to tell from a distance. >> there also were some flashes and explosions but i don't know what that was. we saw pictures of that. i don't know what they are. i just noticed them in the background as we look at these pictures. what about in terms of i asked you about german chancellor angela merkel. impact on western europe is what? i mean as we watch and try to figure out what's going on whether erdogan has taken complete power back or not. but give me your thoughts on the impact on western europe. >> i think turkey was never likely to succeed in its application for membership in the eu. this will probably seal its fate for those who would use the coup as an excuse. but, honestly if erdogan has succeeded here as that report indicates, i think you are going to see very, very extensive repression. i think the military will be purged once and for all. i think the courts will be purged, and i think there is going to be a real authoritarian crack down. this is the moment, if the
coup has failed as i said several times earlier, i think it was a last ditch effort. and if it's failed, then i think there is no checks and balances left against erdogan really turning turkey in a very islamist direction and a very authoritarian direction under his presidency. >> we're learning also that air traffic in -- out of europe is saying that they are expecting or hoping that the international departures at the istanbul airport will beginning soon again. so that also may be a sign that the coup is over. you know, i read about erdogan and his takeover of what once was a thriving media as i look at this tonight. my guess is, my thoughts like yours, ambassador, is if he has won, he is really going to crack down on these people who rose up against him. >> i don't think there is any doubt about it as i say that's not to repeat this but seems to me such an
insight into erdogan's thinking when he said democracies like a streetcar you ride it to the stop you want and then you get off. i think you have got to stop. i think he is going to get off if he has in fact prevailed here. >> i asked you about western europe and about angela merkel. what's putin's thinking tonight as he watched this? >> i think this has been a complicated relationship and he believed that erdogan moving in this islamist direction was really more likely to pose a threat to russia. and in a way having the military in power would -- they would find -- it would be easier to find a modus operandi with respect to some of the i. i think putin, who has a very aggressive instinct will see the current instability in turkey as an opportunity for him to expand russian influence. so, if it's a circumstance where the struggle for
control with the government is not over right now but continues for days or weeks, i think this from putin's point of view is a way to try to stabilize the assad regime in syria, which would be its number one priority. do what they can to finish off the syrian opposition because the turks will be otherwise occupied. and there are a lot of possibilities here for putin and the black sea. i expect russia will be very, very assertive and aggressive as long as this uncertainty prevails. >> you know, the pictures that we are looking at, we believe is istanbul airport it seems like people are, you know, pouring in or going into it. i can't make much of it. but certainly a lot of people in the airport. almost looks like o'hare airport on a friday night. awful lot of people there. >> and it's the middle of the night there too. remember that. >> and that's right. but they have got martial law declared, too. erdogan, if he has
maintained control, what happens to our war on isis? it just proceeds as is? i mean, is he not going to change up any agreements with those bases with us or his lack of or any cooperation he does give us? i think it's too soon to tell. erdogan brought on opposition he thought assad would fall and the syrian opposition would sweep in fairly quickly. but, in fact, the chaos that has descended on syria really gave isis the opportunity they needed. the turkish aggression, assertiveness against assad has pack fired on him in a sense. and i think erdogan and the military both for that matter are worried about the spread of kurdish control in northern syria and in parts of turkey where linked up with kurdistan and iraq, this really poses a morality threat to the territorial
integrity of turkey as we know it and that's something that erdogan has been -- that's another blow back from his opposition to assad that i don't think he counted on. >> i don't know if you read the lower third of the screen, but state media is reporting that a bomb has hit the turkish parliament that can't be food news it may be and this is just my speculation, is that the kurdish separatist, who have been battling erdogan for so long and others before him, maybe this is a time for them to make a greater move. >> exactly right. in the spreading chaos here. this is an opening for the kurds as well there are a lot of scores to be settled around turkish politics. i just think we need to know more here. where is erdogan, for example, he was apparently out of the country. has he made it back in? he was trying to get into ankra he. he wats trying to get in istanbul. it's tough to be in your
country if you can't land in it still fundamentally we need to know what the disposition of the military forces is if the military can hold together, there may yet be a chance for the coup to succeed. it's just at this point we have fragments of information hard to make a judgment. >> all we know martial law erdogan at least, we don't know where he is, that he has appeared on tv using face time to z.cnn turk very curious what is going on. pictures are distressing. ambassador bolton, thank you for jing us. >> glad to do it. thanks for having me. benjamin hall joins me from nice. as you look at what is going on in turkey, your thoughts? >> yeah, greta, look, before i spent a lot of time in turkey and iraq and syria and the countries around us. you cannot exaggerate the sponsors that the country
has in the region. if you look at what erdogan has done over the last five years. he has brought turkey back quampletedz it has worked geption many of the policies that perhaps the u.s. and the west would have wanted. turkey was touted as the next super power in the region. it was supposed to be the growing economy. the great economy. but because erdogan wanted so desperately to rewrite the constitution because he wanted so desperately to gain ever more power, he ended up battling within his own country, that's why we have seen him fight not only the kurds but also everyone on his own border, so, when we talk about isis, we see erdogan and turkey having moved against assad, many people suggesting that perhaps he worked in favor of isis and some of those extremist movements. so this coup is really a response to the way that erdogan has moved in the last five or six years. many people in the west will see this as a positive move. erdogan potentially could be seen as the person who had
destablized many in the region and that border with syria is all important. what's happening right now is ground breaking. >> benjamin, i don't know if you can see this, but we have pictures on the screen, large group of people walking down a highway. we can hear them screaming walking. there was a tank in the picture. let's listen for a second and watch this. [gunfire] [shouting] [gunfire] [continued gunfire]
[shouting] [chanting (. [. [gunfire] [speaking foreign language] benjamin, i think you can see they were shooting into the air. obviously terrifying. shooting into the air on those shots. it's very late or early morning hours in turkey it's almost 3:00 a.m. they have martial law there. we have had reports that erdogan had taken back control but we can't confirm
anything at this point. the state media is shut down. and we can't get anything from twitter or facebook. all we have are these images coming out of there. of course, we have more images of journalists weren't under siege so much in that country. ben i benjamin, what are your thoughts? >> well, if you look back at the history of turkey, i mean the military has had a very strong influence going back decades. in fact, erdogan's grip on power was the first change from that. so actually seeing the military back like this isn't necessarily a big surprise. if you look at how coups normally play out, the first that i think that would happen is that you would take control of the media, you would take control of major infrastructure. they did that earlier by taking control of the bridges. they put the tanks on the street. we also know that the state run agency had start to do put out some pro-military information about a couple hours ago. that was an indication they
had got ahold of some of the media so we are seeing all the signs that this is a typical coup following the path of it too early to know what is happening. i wouldn't guess one way or the other. >> let me stop you for a second. >> on the streets of turk. >> benjamin, let me stop you for eakd is we have the live pictures up again so we can listen and see what's going on. [horns beeping] >> we have lost those pictures again, benjamin. we keep losing them in and out. you were saying and i cut you off. i'm sorry. >> no, just the way that coups normally play out. it's a battle of control of a few major infrastructure, media, governmental buildings. the people of turkey have been told by erdogan to get on to the streets to support him. the pictures you are seeing are snowing a mixed response. very tough to know what to do. do you follow the president?
do you risk going against his word? the people will be very afraid because he has cracked down on that country very hard over the last few years they will be trying to see who best to go with the military or erdogan. i have to say that what we are seeing now and speaking of someone who has followed turkey and that region very closely for a very long time, this is fascinating and has so many ramifications and so many implications. u.s. policy, middle eastern policy and everything else. like you, i'm watching this firsthand and i must say that this is absolutelyting. we don't know where erdogan is right now. he has been skyping. he will be hiding behind guards. he needs military to keep control of that country. hard to see how can he keep going. >> who is on his side? if the military is not on his side, he has the police on his side? i mean, who is supporting him? >> well, that is it. he has spent quite a lot of the last few years building up his own source of
security apparatus as one does when they try to take control of countries like this in the way he has done. i couldn't tell you exactly the strength of them. but, yet, he have his own security apparatus. the military, the generals have always been vying for power against him. this is a coup pure and simple. in its purest form. fascinating to watch. >> turkey wanted to get into the eu. it hasn't been admitted to the eu. what are your thoughts about that tonight? >> that's very unlikely to happen. that's been touted, the europeans, brussels touted that which might happen down the line. frankly with 70 million people in turkey with the internal divisions that it has with the kurds, 18 million kurds in that country and the divisions the way that erdogan has cracked down that was never likely to happen. the idea that turkey would join the eu is not going to happen any time soon. that's a long way off. also offering visa free travel which is what they asked for in helping to deal with the immigration crisis is not going to happen big
issue there. >> how much has the refugee crisis been weighing on erdogan? >> well, he has used the immigration crisis as a tool. he has said to europe, i will help both crack down on my southern border controlling isis the flow of people into syria. but also i will control the refugee, the millions of refugees coming into europe. and in exchange. he had asked that the european union many things. they gave him 3 billion pounds billion you're worries. we want visa free travel for our people. he has used it as a tool to get what he wants from the european union. in some ways that back fired because they were not happy with the way he dealt with that he used the crisis to his benefit. >> it's fascinating to watch what's going on right now. we know they have martial law. we know it's the middle of the night. there have been large blasts that have been heard. we hear that erdogan has regained control. we have no proof of that either way. we don't even know where he
is. people have taken to the streets. in fact erdogan asked the people to take to the streets to fight back against the military. you have the fact that military is so strategically positioned for us in our fight against isis. border with syria. have you got the situation where assad and syria doesn't like erdogan, thinking that he, in many ways helped underline him by letting foreign fighters flow into syria to fight him. you have such unstable region, area rich in oil when you look at iraq and kurdish area of iraq and how turkey is sort of the -- is a transit point for energy. i mean, it is so incredibly important. we just all sit and watch sort of as voyeurs. meanwhile i should say that president president obama and secretary kerry have spoken and they said that we, meaning the world, should support an elected government. which would be to support erdogan who is conservative and islamist and he -- and
the people have written up against him are in the military are the secular ones. so it's strange just watching, isn't it, benjamin? >> it's actually often sort of misleading. when you look at turkey from the western to recognize you see istanbul. you see a very westward leaning country. but, the vast majority of turkey is rural. and that's where erdogan gets his power. those are the islamists. those are the people that he has reached out to. so when we talk about istanbul, we talk about westward leaning countries on the border of asia and europe. that's what we see but actually the vast majority tens of millions of people who do support erdogan. that's who is he trying to money bliz right now, the people outside of the all important. you mentioned assad and his role there and how he has played, you foe, the various countries around him. erdogan has tried very hard and he has failed and just
in the last month. that's maybe why this coup has come about. in the last month he has reversed a lot of hits policies. he has reached out to israel, to russia, to iran even some way he has reached out to assad saying that the -- >> -- why? >> change the country around him has failed he actually has said recently okay we want to be friends our neighbors. maybe that's why the military is saying you have accepted blame. you have accepted the mistakes of your foreign policy. >> and we have been looking what we think is inside the parliament building shattered glass. underline every word with think because we are not sure exactly what we are seeing. you said reached out to israel, assad and putin in recent time in recent weeks and months. why did he do that? >> because if you look five or six years ago, turkey was touted as the growing power in the region. their economy was growing stronger than anyone else. the military is the second
largest military in nato. they were the power that everyone was talking about. because of the policy decisions that he made, they ended up in a corner. they were on the wrong side of the syrian conflict. they were on the wrong side or at least the way they dealt with it. had no allies and backed themselves into the corner. they realized that they went from being the power house of the ream to a country that was definitely trying to keep up. it had lost out. that's why he reversed his decisions and that was a sign of weakness. countries have a strong military a sign of weakness is, you know, is -- they are asking just for an event like this to happen? you can see on the screen turkish prime minister saying the situation largely under control. we actually can't confirm any of that at all. all we know is the situation in turkey tonight has been nothing short but chaotic. an attempted coup. we don't know if it was successful coup. erdogan is supposedly back
in control but we can't confirm that the militarizing up against erdogan, large blasts. we had a large blast that's just been heard in istanbul. what's hard to reconcile is we hear reports it's under control. then we see large blasts heard in istanbul. a nation rocked by lots of problems over the years. there has been the separatist, the kurdish separatist fighting with erdogan and his predecessor for a long time and there has been a hot of terrorism in this country and, of course, turningy is so strategically important to the world with syria and the fight against isis and iraq. and, of course, it's an energy hub. a lot of transit to western europe of energy. so, turkey is immensely important to us. erdogan, an islamic, conservative, but elected, which is why president obama and secretary john kerry have said that we should support an elected government. he may not be the favorite,
but he is the elected one. and, of course, the military is the secular part of this. the other side. and people have objected to order gone because he has grown more conservative. cracked down on the media seized control of the media in recent time. he has been quite insulting to women looking right now. this is interesting. nobody knows where he is this is an example. is he talking to cnn turk one network using face time as he is trying to talk to his people. he was telling his supporters, tonight, to take to the streets. to rise up against the military. and you have seen the pictures of people on the streets. i mean, you have seen that picture of people shooting in the air on a tank on a street shootinged into the air. there is a tank going down the street. that's a site you are going to see in turkey tonight. it's hard to really know what's going on. there is martial law imposed yet, at the same time
erdogan is saying get out in the streets and support me. sings he has come into power he has told everyone to take -- situation says turkish prime minister says that the situation is largely under control. that looks -- actually does look a little bit calmer. laura wells joins us. what are your thoughts on this? >> off of the opposition parties have spoken out against the coup. they don't want to go back in time in democracy. also something that they would be saying whoever is behind this coup, if it doesn't work, they will be facing treason charges, they could have multiple life sentences, aggravated life sentence. but there has been a huge explosion in istanbul. there has been gunfire in istanbul building. reports that the parliament building in ankra has been
struck by the air force. and also conflict between different citizens so, we don't know if it's truly over or if it will continue and take to the streets. >> you know, it's extraordinary looking at this. i feel like we're in total mystery watching. this and with so much uncertainty and, you know, it looks a little bit like it's calmed down when the sunrises swoop up tomorrow. he will punish those against him, won't he? >> absolutely. president erdogan is a survivor. probably one of the most successful and popular politicians also highly controversial since the founder of the republic. so he has a fairly large somewhere between 40 and 50% in the elections in the last year. time will tell. is he incredibly divisive and not all of his policies are popular. >> with that thank you for
joining us. and see you monday fight note and we will continue to watch. stay with fox news to watch the latest in turkey thank you for joining us. ♪ ♪ good evening, i'm bret baier in for bill o'reilly. reporting from cleveland tonight. thanks for watching this special edition of the factor, terror and politics. bill o'reilly will join us on the phone in just a moment to talk about the latest political developments and the nice terror attack. but we begin with breaking news. a military coup attempt in turkey. president erdogan of turkey is out of the country. said to be on vacation. he claims his government is now pushing back while the military there has announced it has taken control there are reports from multiple officials in the government