tv MSNBC Live MSNBC July 15, 2016 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
with a great tragedy in nice in france after last night's terrorist attack, with all the tumult over domestic politics here in the united states, it was in the middle of the afternoon on a friday afternoon here in new york, we got word of an apparent military coup in turkey. turkey, a nato member nation, as you just heard the explanation, the description from david ignatius, couldn't be in a more critically important spot at a more critically important time for the world, and here, this is what we're looking at now.
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welcome back to our continuing coverage of what appears to be an apparent coup attempt in turkey. by the way, want to apologize for our technical difficulties earlier. but hey, the breaks on a big news day. we are following things very closely in turkey. let's do a quick reset. the turkish military says it is quote, fully seized control of running the country but in what only can be described as an unusual address to the turkish people, president erdogan, who ended up doing an interview with
a private broadcaster, the public stations, the publicly government controlled owned television has been shut down. but a private broadcaster, cnn turkey, erdogan did a facetime interview and essentially called on the people to take to the streets, go to airports, do what you can. we have video of military, what appears to be military jets flying low. we have seen patrols. any time we have gotten video in ankara of military members apparently patrolling the streets. let me go to matt bradley in our london bureau. what more can you tell us? >> this whole situation is evolving very quickly. we are getting some reports there's been an explosion in ankara, the turkish capital. we are hearing that on social media and from various other sources but we need to be very cautious about moving along with that. however, that is some of the initial reports coming out.
it's unclear yet whether there is a response to the turkish president erdogan's calls for his public, for his supporters to come out and fight against this coup. we can call it an attempted coup, we can call it a coup, but it's unclear yet exactly which side has prevailed. again, as you were saying earlier, the way in which president erdogan addressed the public, it's hard to overstate just how surprising this is going to be for the 80 million people of turkey. they are used to this man, this larger than life looming figure who's dominated turkish politics for more than the past decades. they are used to him commanding and controlling so many aspects of their society, including the ruling party, the akp. he's survived successive attempts to have his rule challenged and he's also withstood massive protests. if you remember where troops are now deployed in istanbul. so this very humble, somewhat humiliating attempt to address
the public is really something that is a major reversal of fortune for a man who is used to being entirely in control of everything around him. chuck? >> we should point out that apparently the internet has been essentially shut down in turkey so it's not even clear if erdogan's essentially facetime or skype interview with cnn in turkey really has made it to the turkish people. let me bring in nick burns, former u.s. ambassador to nato. ambassador burns, this is a nato nation, a coup in a nato nation. take us in the situation room right now. what is this conversation that's taking place? >> well, turkey is one of the five or six most important countries to the united states in terms of its juxtaposition of the middle east and to russia, been a member of nato for over 60 years. what happens there is of real
interest to the united states. as you know, we have a close military relationship. a close relationship against the islamic state, and the last thing that washington will want to see is a period of dislocation and chaos in turkey. it's just unclear given the pace of events what is happening, whether these coup leaders have the advantage, whether president erdogan might remain in power, and washington is helpless as the rest of us are and will be until thissi inthing sorts itse out. >> how blindsided were american officials and american intelligence officials? there's a lot of effort that is made by the president, by secretary of state, to have as close of a personal relationship as they can with erdogan. i know they haven't been very happy with some of the decisions he's made, some of the erosion of democracy that has taken place under his rule, the sudden switch from making the prime minister powerful, then he became president and moved the powers over to the presidency.
he's done some things that have made american leaders a little uncomfortable. but let me ask you this. is the relationship with the military as tight as america's relationship is with the egyptian military, where it sort of also put american interests in a split situation, where you have democracy on one side and a close relationship with the military on the other? >> reporter: well, the united states has traditionally had a very close relationship between our military, the u.s. military leadership and the turkish military. but as you know, over the last five to six years, there's been a very tense relationship between the turkish military elements of it and the erdogan government. the turkish military has traditionally over many decades seen itself as the guardian of a secular islamic turkey, more in the mold of the founder of modern turkey way back after the first world war. many members of that military have been jailed by president
erdogan and prime minister erdogan before that. so there is a lot of tension. that could possibly be, but this is pure speculation, one of the reasons why an element in the turkish armed forces might want to launch a coup. but there are other reasons as well. at this point, i wouldn't at all blame the united states government for having been taken by surprise. the entire world's been taken by surprise by this. if anything, i think president obama has tried very hard to have a good relationship with president erdogan. he's been a difficult partner given his anti-democratic initiatives of the last six months or so, and turkey's been a difficult partner on syria as well. >> look, it's an important strategic obviously location for nato physically. how many nato assets are in turkey? how concerned should we be about them right now? >> reporter: well, the united states obviously is well known
publicly has been operating out of turkish air bases against the islamic state. turkey is -- was one of the largest and most powerful and important militaries in the nato alliance. we have a symbiotic relationship, nato countries, many of us with the turkish armed forces. the united states has other interests besides that. turkey is a bridge to the arab world and the middle east countries. turkey is part of the southern flank and the black sea at a time when president putin has been a real problem for the nato alliance in that part of the world. so you can't underestimate how important this country is to the united states and again, i think president obama has done very well in trying to position the united states as a good partner to turkey. >> if erdogan, there's reports that erdogan was seeking asylum potentially in germany. walk us through that. if he leaves the country, is there any way, can you imagine him somehow coming back to power? >> reporter: it's just
impossible to answer that question. what we do know, we are all following this on twitter and through the news media, it's impossible to know how many senior leaders in the turkish military have turned against them. we may have a situation developing where different factions of the military are going to fight each other for control of the situation. that would be truly damaging, obviously, for the -- for turkish civilians, for the life of turkey's democracy, for stability there. this could turn out to be an extremely difficult situation. but we simply don't know enough. i don't know enough to answer that question. >> and i guess at what point does america have to -- i mean, stability is everything, obviously, at some point. how long do you let this go on before you decide you know, we're going to have to take sides. when do you hit that point? and maybe it's too hard to speculate, but walk us through that process where at the end of
the day, the united states for security reasons is going to have to choose sides if this is ongoing, correct? >> reporter: well, i think the first step that any administration would take is to have good analysis. what's happening inside the country, who is likely to prevail, what are american interests, what's the right thing for the united states to do in terms of our democratic vall values, in terms of our security interests. at this stage all we can expect of our government is they will try to -- their very best to make a good fair analysis of what's happening, where our interests lie and what we should be doing. it's too early i think to look for significant statements out of the u.s. government because they will have to figure out those questions first. >> ambassador burns, i hope you stick around. we will bring in another guest. steve clemens is on the phone, washington editor at large for "the atlantic." you travel the world a lot, you spend a lot of time traveling in
and out of turkey. you know the situation very well. how stunned are you? >> i'm not stunned. i agree with everything nick burns just laid out. but the reasons that i'm not stunned is that the tension between the military and erdogan has been building for some time. his behavior has become more autocratic, more hugging of deep religious authenticity inside turkey which has been very uncomfortable for these generals, and remember a few years ago, he jailed nearly the entire commanding class of the turkish military and then put up not only his own people but elevated a second tier. what we are seeing unfold is fascinating. he's been skeptical and cautious about the military not trusting of them for some time. it's interesting that the nato summit in warsaw just occurred and this is taking place afterward.
when you have a combination of the fact, i tell you, on the u.s. side, while i agree with nick burns and the notion that you're not going to see major u.s. statements, erdogan has been an increasingly complicated and uncomfortable partner for the united states. there has been deep irritation about how slow he moved in partnering with us on anti-isis activities, how he used things like calling for a no-fly zone as an excuse to do nothing. i was with vice president biden in turkey at the end of january and i think the vice president tried to push a number of things including really brokering the recent turkish rapprochement with israel about energy and whatnot. there had been some progress. but across the board, there has been a lot of frustration with this man. at that time, when we were there, prime minister davotoglu who was the head of government before he stepped down was someone who was actually trying to work with the united states on a whole raft of issues but a
senior official said his problem is erdogan. so to some degree, these tensions, major protests in the streets against erdogan over the last two years, major discomfort with the military and then rising tensions both inside turkey and then there's a view inside turkey that the recent terror attacks that have struck the airport, have struck around some of the tourist sites, have in part been the fact that erdogan in the eyes of many turned a blind eye to a lot of the isis trafficking that was going on through that country. so there's a sense of disorder and it's not as surprising as i think some might argue that the steps that are unfolding now have unfolded. >> ambassador burns, i want to get you to -- it did seem as if, how much of erdogan's turn toward a more islamist philosophy with his government or however you want to describe it, how much of it was
influenced by what he saw during the arab spring and almost was making the political calculation to protect himself on his islamic flank, if you will? ambassador burns, are you still there? did we lose him? >> yes, i am. can you hear me? >> yes. go ahead, ambassador. >> president erdogan's interests in promoting a deeper islamization in society of turkish politics predates the arab revolution. it started well over a decade ago when his party came into power. in essence, he was in the leadership of that movement. i think the bigger problems are some of the ones that steve referred to. he has been increasingly anti-democratic. he has jailed a great number of journalists. he has impeded the freedom of the press, including shutting down major newspapers. he's jailed a lot of generals in
the past. so there's a deep distrust between many in the turkish generals staff and president erdogan. it's been brewing for a very long time. in that sense, this is not a surprising development. but it's an unsettling development for the united states. i'm just trying to imagine what it's like to be in the white house or state department or defense department today, because despite all of those problems, and despite the real frustrations in the u.s./turkish relationship over the last couple of years, this is an extraordinarily important country to the united states. we don't know where this is going. but if it descends into a clash between two military factions, one supporting president erdogan and one opposed, then that really bodes ill for the turkish people, for the loss of -- potential loss of life, for instability of this great country and if turkey is in effect paralyzed, that's a real deficit for the united states. i don't think the united states government -- i think the united states government is trying to figure out what's happening.
they'll have to adjust based on events. but there are real ramifications for our own national security on russia, on syria, on iraq and in the broader middle east. that's how important turkey is to the united states. >> steve, how much is perhaps these military coup leaders thinking well, you know what, the western allies of turkey will have no choice but to support us if we take control because for all of the reasons we have all been laying out about the international strategic importance of turkey, how much are perhaps military coup leaders counting on that? >> -- location, location. they are one of the most significant strategically placed assets for u.s. foreign policy in the region, not only in terms of their hosting military components of ours that are bombing isis. they border of course syria,
they have, as they always have, they have a foot in europe and a foot in the middle east and they play a vital role in balancing a lot of things. i think that just as we saw in egypt, where you had a kind of, you know, thuggish military leadership come over and take over in a coup there and we have found our way back to providing military aid and support, i think they will probably find some of this way back. but when you look at it, erdogan, i just said that erdogan is an uncomfortable, increasingly uncomfortable partner. i think as nick burns just said, we feel like we know most of the turkish commanding class. if they are divided, i agree completely with nick. if they solve that problem and they coalesce, i think you are going to see a post-erdogan rapprochement with whatever succeeds him if it goes well. now, a military-run government is not a holiday for the turks. there are many people on twitter
who fear what that means, that in history the turkish military has not been a blessing for the turkish people. but despite sort of taking back government at wobbly times or at times of real pain and whatnot. but i think part of the issue, i saw this happen in march. erdogan was in washington and i saw him when he was here for the nuclear security summit. what was interesting in that dance between erdogan and the white house is he wasn't supposed to come. prime minister davotoglu was supposed to come, go into the oval office and meet the white house and erdogan preempted him. this rivalry within turkey, even within the same governing body, has been a complexity for us but also a complexity for turkish military. i suspect that they are betting that if they can get their system coalesced around some sort of leadership, that they
will promise to decrease the complexity for the united states and the west to continue to be a reliable nato ally, to click into place with our concerns about isis and various politics along the border of syria and play with us better. i think that is what they will hold out and frankly, i think at the end of the day the united states is likely to work with whomever runs that country because it's too strategically significant. >> former ambassador to nato nick burns. and steve clemens, editor at large for "the atlantic" it's hard to find two better people to help with this conversation than you two. thank you both. we may bug you to stick around. we'll be right back. corecard. (to dog)give it to me. give it. oh, sure! we give it to everyone for free. oh, well that's nice. (to dog) go get it! you can go get it yourself online and see your fico credit score right there. great! (to dog) that's a good boy. thanks? oh, and you can even see how your current card compares to others out there.
now one a day has the first multivitamin with probiotics to support the 70% of your immune system that's found in your digestive tract. new one a day with probiotics. your multi with more. we are back covering this mess that we are looking at. this is the bridge in turkey that we had photos of. apologies, we had an electronic failure at our headquarters here at 30 rock in new york. we have relocated to a different studio. thanks to chuck todd and our washington-based studio for picking up the slack. we'll be going back to them. and these are grainy. you can see for yourself web pictures, very tough to know
what it is we are seeing here other than potentially an ambulance or a police car. a whole lot of people whose plans to cross the bridge have been thwarted. a lot of people running around. in the prior segment you saw turkish flags and protesters without the luxury of realtime, simultaneous translation. you could look at this and say this is what erdogan asked the people to do, go into the streets and resist the coup. you could look at this and say these are people happy that a coup has led to a change in power in turkey. so we are efforting exactly what's being said and the truth as far as it's knowable on the
ground. berlent alarizza is director of the turkey project at the center for strategic and international studies on the phone from ankara. what can you tell us about what is going on there? >> well, clearly a coup attempt is going on. there was a declaration out of the chief of staff's office not in the name of the chief of staff, who apparently has been detained, by a group of officers who wants to gain control of that office. they also issued a statement as i said. they got the statement to be read on state tv and they are clearly in control of major portions of both the capital, ankara, as well as istanbul. and clearly, anybody who controls ankara and istanbul controls the country. the president was on holiday. i think it's an important point to make.
the timing of the coup must have been coordinated with reference to him being out of the capital and being out of his temple where he spends a great deal of his time. as of now, it's now almost 1:30 in the morning, it's unclear how things will evolve. the president himself has issued a statement saying, calling on the people to resist, saying this was an illegal attempt to subvert the will of the people and that the people had to, you know, protect their democratic system. that's been echoed by his prime minister and many members of the government but frankly, we are in the middle of a coup attempt and it's unclear how things will work themselves out. >> we're watching video at the
bridge. i just watched a moment where everybody scattered, somebody abandoned a motorcycle as if shots had been fired. people just hit the deck. i need your help, if you're watching live coverage. we just saw a huge gathering in an open plaza in istanbul. there, this picture now we are broadcasting. we need help deciphering, is this celebratory gathering? how are the people taking it in these large open spaces? >> it looks like the people who have gone into the street are the ones who heeded erdogan's call to oppose the coup. but there hasn't been the kind of resistance -- it's more passive opposition than active opposition, if i can distinguish between the two.
it's certainly not celebratory. i think most people are -- there are a lot of people on the street but most people are at home watching the tv just like you are back in new york. those who are attempting the coup have declared martial law. i'm looking at one of the main boulevards of ankara, the capital, and there aren't too many cars on the streets. so again, it's a coup attempt. the army seems to be in control. there is some degree of opposition with people coming out into the street, but not in the kind of numbers that would overwhelm those holding the guns and manning the tanks. >> most muzzles have been straight up or down, not pointed at people. we're watching a kind of crazy scene at what appears to be a monument in istanbul where the
soldiers at first resisted, now they're letting protesters come in with a turkey flag. we have seen other scenes with people standing in front of soldiers, not chanting angrily at the soldiers, happy faces, smiles. it is so hard to decipher. >> right. with reference to what you were saying, there are reports that people have been wounded. initially in a shootout at the headquarters of the turkish military, where the chief of staff was apparently detained. clearly there was an incident there. then there were other reports of shots being fired. now, the police, which is loyal to the government, is present on the streets but seem to be keeping their distance from the military and there have been no reports of any serious confrontations between the police forces or the military. even though there are reports that the military is divided,
i'm watching the turkish news coverage quite closely. there have been no reports that any loyal military have moved against those making the coup. >> how do you think the people will greet an effort to move on from erdogan? >> well, it's a question that in most countries, one would say of course -- and that the democratic system has been interrupted. remember, this is a country where the democratic process has been interrupted in the past 50, 60 years as one of your reporters said. if it is successful, it's not clear that it will be, this will be the fifth in six decades. almost one a decade. so this is a country which
unfortunately is used to, a, the military playing a major role in the running of things. after all, it was created, the country was created as a modern republic after the collapse of the ottoman empire. it was run by the military for many, many years before democracy came. this would not be, of course it would be unwelcome but it would not be a surprise to turks in the way that it would be to other people. so you know, it's of course regrettable that this has happened but this was a country that was divided. tensions were building within the country. there were major terrorist attacks by not only isis but also by pkk, the kurdish separatists who have engaged in terrorism for many years, and of course, there were wars going on
in syria and iraq, and turkey itself was being affected by this, not least by the refugees from both syria and iraq. so people have been raising questions about the government's foreign policy in syria, about the engagement with the opposition to assad. but you know, ideally, of course, it should be reflected at the ballot box. [ inaudible ] of dealing with issues within the country. >> is there someone either in the military or who would be supported by the military, ds a name come to mind instantly that -- who would be the next leader of turkey? >> unclear. unclear. this is very similar, as a
turkey specialist in washington, who has been watching turkey for a long time, is familiar with the history, i think the similarity with 1960 is striking because it wasn't clear when the coup was made in 1960 who made it for some time. it's not clear exactly who within the military establishment is driving this. it's somebody below chief of staff who has been detained but it's unclear who within the military establishment might be involved. it looks like the gendarme, who have been taking the fight against the pkk in the southeast may be involved. the bridges you showed were apparently gendarmerie.
the air force has flown at a low level above ankara. i have seen them myself. obviously parts of the air force if monot the entire air force i involved in some strength. the ground force is the backbone of the turkish military, does not seem to be involved. neither is the navy, which is the cinderella of the four parts of the turkish military. like everybody else inside the country and outside, we are waiting to see who exactly it was who actually pulled the trigger. metaphoric metaphorically and literally. >> this is really something to watch this unfold. even more harrowing for us to really not be able to decipher some of these pictures we're seeing. thank you so much for your help and for explaining to us some of what we have been seeing and hopefully we will get into a
situation here where we do have some sort of simultaneous translation. we are still, i'm happy to say we are still joined by ambassador nick burns, a veteran of the foreign service. nick, thank you. during that hubbub with chuck todd we had to move to the coup equivalent of a small studio in 30 rockefeller plaza where we had working electronics and audio after an outage here. i'm going to ask you to repeat a little bit some of what you said to chuck, because it bears repeating. how important turkey is, how important turkey is to the united states. i got kind of a kick out of people saying that washington was taken by surprise by the news. that kind of is part of the definition of a coup. >> well, that's exactly right, brian. what we were talking about
before with chuck is this. it's the obvious point. the united states needs reliable friends and partners at this time in the middle east. as this tsunami of violence and terrorism washes over the middle east, as we see the islamic state, such a problem, and we see challenges to civil order in so many arab countries. we were depending on turkey to be a partner because turkey has tremendous influence in the sunni world. we depend upon turkey to be really the southern bulwark against the policies of president putin. turkey is an anchor of the southern part of nato. i cannot think of a more consequential country perhaps outside of germany in europe for the united states, and to see this country now consumed by a coup attempt where the president is being challenged, president erdogan, and this is the fifth coup attempt as has just been
mentioned. to see this happen and to see the prospect perhaps where military turns against military, if turkey's going to be unstable and violent over the next couple of days or weeks or months, if that's what happens, this is going to be a real problem for the united states. so i think the best thing that the obama administration can do, and i'm sure they're trying their best, understand what's happening, try to see where this situation heads over the next 12 to 24 hours, and then the united states will have to decide what's best for our country in terms of the continuing relationship with whoever emerges as the civil and military power in turkey itself. but this is a consequential development for the united states government and for our interests in the middle east and europe. >> while you're talking, one of the first kind of troubling images we have seen. this appears to be a bus in the background. in the foreground, an armored personnel carrier.
perhaps there was a plan to use the bus as a barricade to ensure the bridge was closed. it appears the bus has come up against a problem and you know, it is very difficult to describe exactly what it is we're looking at. nick, to your point, i think overnight there and for the next 12 to 24 hours, it's going to be real difficult for folks in the west to figure out just what's going on here. certainly the big question, who's in charge, who do we deal with. >> right. that i think for the coming hours, that's going to be a real challenge for the united states. i'm sure that our embassy is doing its best to put feelers out to everybody involved in this and to counsel, obviously, a lack of violence but this country is deeply divided. president erdogan's party is a big political party and
movement. he has support throughout the country, particularly in rural areas. he has support for bringing a greater concentration of islam in the government and the life of the turkish people but he also has opponents. there are kurdish groups, civil groups and terrorist groups opposed to president erdogan and there's a secular element in turkish society in places like istanbul and ankara, and elements of the military who believe turkey should be ataturk's vision of turkey, a secular islamic society. all of this has been roiling turkish politics for the last decade. that's why in a sense tonight is not a surprise. but it's still shocking to see because one doesn't know how this is going to turn out, whether it will be exceedingly violent or not, but it's a deeply divided country and some of those images reflect those divisions. >> like this tank rolling down the equivalent of an interstate highway with another tank in
front of it. incredible stuff. again, i wish we had translation of what we're hearing from the tv presenters. the closest we can come is our man in the newsroom, cal perry, who has been doing his usual sweep of social and other media. what do you have? >> the speed at which this happened, and you have been talking about the definition of a coup and i understand that it fits into the definition of a coup, but the speed at which this happened shows a great deal of planning. the media in turkey was shut down systematiccally. the network which was born out of al-jazeera english was shut down both in istanbul and irbil. we are seeing reaction to president erdogan's comments
which came via facetime. he facetimed into one of the networks operating in turkey and asked people to take to the streets. the confusion about not only the military and whether or not you are going to see elements of the military perhaps facing off against each other is only more confused now by these pictures which are people who have taken to the streets. unclear if they have taken to the streets in support of erdogan or in support of the military. as best we can tell, there hasn't been any major violence yet, although the airport in ankara is under some kind of lockdown and we saw those pictures of tanks rolling down the street of istanbul. the situation in ankara is going to be very key to this entire thing because the military doesn't need to control turkey. it needs to control the administrative functions of turkey. those are in ankara. so that's going to be something key to watch. just like in the u.s., washington, d.c. is in many ways the administrative seat of
power. that is ankara which is seen in many ways as a secondary city to istanbul, which is the city that everybody knows. that's the thing to watch now, how the military is moving in ankara, how people are moving in istanbul. the online situation is a complete mess. the turkish military, keep in mind this is now the military, immediately shutting down social media but people know how to get on vpn, that's the run-around, that's how you get around these systems, and they are getting online. so we are able to get some pictures via periscope, via facebook live, same systems we use here, to get a glimpse of what's happening but everybody is on their phones. some people are sheltering in place. other people are taking to the street. as have yyou have been saying, definition of a coup. >> we are also joined, and this could tell us more about what we need to know here, jared mulson is in istanbul. jared is "time" magazine's middle east bureau chief.
please help us out with these pictures we are watching come in from turkish television. we are trying to figure out and there could be a difference regionally, why the people are coming out -- >> this is jared. >> -- and what they are coming out, who they are coming out in support of. >> yes. i'm going to warn you, these calls are dropping all the time. the networks are overloaded. i got to warn you. it might be easier to skype. otherwise my guess it will drop again in another two or three minutes. >> let's try to get what we can. >> is that right. okay. i don't know. >> we are live with you right now. let's try to communicate while we still can. >> i'm still here. >> the question is, who's coming out in the streets, who or what, do they appear to be in support
of? well, his prediction was right. we have apparently lost the call and maybe we can establish skype connection. back to laura haim we go, white house correspondent for the french television network, canal plus. she had been helping us out with our coverage of the terrorist attack in nice, france. she has conveniently pivoted along with us and has helped gather what she can on the coup in turkey. laura, what can you add? >> i can tell you that it is unfolding live on social media at this moment, and you hear a lot of things through people who are trying to report on twitter, facebook and also periscope what's happening. there's a journalist, we knew
her well, she's from a very important tv station in turkey, and apparently, she said on twitter that she was just asked to leave work by about 40 or 50 armed soldiers that took her phone and she was just about to send this message. you have also a lot of people who are trying to say we are fighting at this moment. there are report on gunshots on the bridge in istanbul. and when was also extremely interesting, as you pointed it out, was to listen and to translate the statement made by president erdogan at 11:52 local time on facetime. erdogan called on the turkish people to take to the streets. we did a translation and he was saying i am commander in chief in this country.
those who attempted coup will pay the highest price. let them come with their tanks. power to the people. that was facetime on president erdogan. >> i'm looking at what was our earlier live picture of the airport entrance, and look at the masses of people on the move. they appear to be heading into the airport and again, without translation or analysis, it is so difficult to tell, are these people heading to the airport hoping for a flight out, hoping in vain because we know flights have been suspended. we can go to aviation web sites and see all the icons for the available commercial aircraft. they are not moving. they haven't moved since initial word of this coup. are these people who are simply part of this extraordinary
outdoor gathering on a hot night coming up on 2:00 a.m. in istanbul, turkey? it is -- it just defies any effort to label it because we can't be sure. is erdogan getting his wish that people head outside, support him, turn back the forces of the coup, or are these turks who are supportive of the coup quite literally wrapping themselves in the turkish flag, heading outside because social media's been shut down because they want to be part of this, because they want to see and feel what's going on. and because traffic has been stopped. looks like you have a motorbike, you can get around but other than that, it is very very difficult. this is a view of the bridge. again, the pictures are halting in their low definition and you
can see them kind of digitize and reset. we are at the mercy of the feeds coming in to us on turkish television. this is the monument again. supportive of the coup, protesting the coup. supportive of erdogan. we just can't know. to the graphic at the bottom of the screen, shots fired, yes. that's been confirmed. explosions in ankara, we have had no first-hand knowledge of that. but news wires are reporting that. state department is now reporting not only have there been shots fired, there have been explosions in ankara. stand corrected. again, this boisterous scene at the monument, you can hear in the background the chants of thousands of people. we just can see them in this particular shot. there is a very excited television presenter narrating
the scene. the pictures look celebratory but again, absent motivation, we can't say. this is scenes of traffic, scenes of foot traffic heading out over the bridge. these are some earth-shattering developments tonight in the nation of turkey. nato member state. this is not a small place, a a r far-off or inconsequential land. this could not be at a more important spot in the world for the united states. matt bradley in our london bureau, matt, i know you cover the world for the "wall street journal" for years before joining nbc news. what have you been able to gather from the london bureau? >> well, the latest we have is from the associated press. it's a very troubling development. the associated press is now
reporting that soldiers have opened fire on protesters or civilians in general trying to cross one of the two major bridges over the bosphorus. we don't know which bridge from the report we are seeing over associated press but i think you can agree that no matter where your politics lies on this particular circumstance, this is a very troubling development, as this situation continues to unravel. another point that i was reading over social media, one that's worth pointing out, is that none of the major political parties have actually come out and said that they're in favor of this coup. in fact, most of them have stepped up and said they are condemning this coup attempt. so it doesn't seem as though the military necessarily acted to secure any political support from any of the politicians, the civilian politicians, in power. it also just goes to show that president erdogan, the counter vailing political forces against him and against the military, anyone who takes control after
the military will not only be facing what erdogan was asking for, which is an upswell of anger by the people against these military coup plotters, but also against the prevailing forces in power, in political power, the ones who are in parliament. they will have a challenge to try to assuage anger among those quarters, even those who are opposed to erdogan. >> matt, i think perhaps maybe you couldn't see the pictures as you were reading the report about shots fired at demonstrators on the bridge, we were seeing these demonstrators in what looked perfectly much like human behavior when shots are fired. people taking cover at the exact simultaneous moment. now we are seeing people with wounds of some sort, with their arms slung over other folks, getting taken out to assistance, a cab driving at a high rate of speed away from the crowd. so again, this does not mean a
violent military coup. this could mean that soldiers in charge of the bridge said stay back or we'll shoot, we are going to stop pedestrian and vehicular traffic here, stay back or we'll shoot, and somebody rushed the soldiers and it looks like a couple people perhaps got shot or otherwise injured. there is -- >> another thing, brian. >> yeah. >> sorry, another thing is it looks as though there's a very interesting development as you're kind of seeing on the screen. i think that i'm starting to see vividly in social media and some early reports that are coming out, the police seem to be somewhat aligned with erdogan. they seem to be sort of opposed to what's going on here. they are the ones who are sort of representing some of the civilian support for erdogan. we are starting to see some images, i saw images on social media and twitter, of police officers trying to detain actual members of the military.
this was something that when i was covering egypt and i know everybody keeps bringing up egypt, but it's something that when i was there, during the original revolution and military coup that followed several years later, you started to see that dynamic where the police on the ground were somewhat opposed to the military. in some cases, that erupted into blows or even shots fired. >> that's right. in some of the moving images that came in, i want to say it was 45 minutes ago, we finally saw video of what i have been reading about here incoming on social media and the news wires all night. that is standoffs between police and regular military, and in a nation like turkey, you heard our analyst talk about the gendarmerie, the french term that depending on the country, can bridge the two. it is a unit of the military. matt bradley in our london
bureau. again, these are tumultuous scenes on the right, the entrance to the airport. all we see are just teeming groups of thousands of people on the move on foot. in the upper left-hand corner is local time in turkey, seven hours ahead of east coast. it's coming up on 2:00 a.m. of course, not every night are turks awakened to either the sound of low-flying jets, low-flying helicopters, gunfire. now the state department confirms the sound of explosions in ankara. that does not mean this has been a violent coup per se. we just don't know enough to characterize this. we know erdogan has on vacation at the black sea. obviously part of the timing of this. we know he has appeared on facetime on one of the turkish networks and he is urging people to rise up. but we're about to enter a period of several hours where
answers may not come easily and it may be hard to know exactly what direction we're headed in turkey. all we know is there's been a military coup there tonight. our coverage continues as we head on into the evening. americans are buying more and more of everything online. and so many businesses rely on the united states postal service to get it there. because when you ship with us, your business becomes our business. that's why we make more ecommerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country. the united states postal service. priority: you
good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. on the eve of two american political conventions, dual explosions on the world stage tonight. a military coup under way as i speak in turkey. we will be following that. that follows the killing of 84 people in last night's terrorist attack in france. two nato countries, two u.s. allies, both under assault. all this on the day that presumptive republican presidential nominee donald trump confirms his selection of vice presidential running mate, indiana governor mike pence. what will this international turmoil do to our presidential election here in this country? what choice would encourage the american people to make and