tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN June 11, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
demonstration, et cetera, obviously the police have to take a measure. i'll give you one example with concrete evidence. last week on the second day of the protests on june 1st, saturday, the prime minister ordered the police to leave the taksim area and the park. the police left on saturday and we thought this would calm things down. the same thing happened in ankara. everything was going fine until 8:00 in the evening. suddenly a group of people started to march on towards the prime minister's office. you have interviewed the prime minister if you remember a couple of months ago. and in ankara i was in the prime minister building, the same group and similar groups began to march toward the building of the prime ministry. can you imagine a situation
where a group of people which sticks and molotov cocktails, et cetera, marching toward the white house and they allowing these people to attack public property? >> on that note, mr. kalin -- >> let me just finish. >> we've got to stop. the show is over. thank you very much. we will continue to cover this. right now handing offer to my colleague jake tapper to continue this breaking news for our viewers around the world and here in the united states. this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. welcome to the viewers in the united states and around the world. many in turkey are watching us right now because they do not trust the media broadcast with their own country. it's just after 11:00 tonight in istanbul right now. we're looking at live pictures
from taksim square in istanbul, turkey. we are wondering if we're watching where this tips into chaos. police are firing water cannons and a seemingly endless supply of tear gas into the crowd. many, however, are still there. a short time ago istanbul's governor gave a press conference calling the protesters marginal groups and blaming them. the government will keep taking necessary measures until all protesters are gone. our senior international
correspondent arwa damon is on the ground. >> we are actually in the park. you would see people running and spraying this white liquid they have. i'm not sure what's in it but it smells like pepper minute and it really helps that sting that, bern. right behind me you're seeing how people behind me have begun to organize themselves. they've roped off that area. in the back is one of those makeshift field clinics where they take people after severe inhalation of tear gas. earlier we went back there and were trying to film, and the volunteers got prettiagy agitat asking us to move away because they were concerned that the turkish government might come after them if they knew their identities. if you remember, too, jake, this
park is where it all began. it was all about conserving the small little green space, the last green space many people will tell you exists in istanbul. we're hearing volleys of tear gas still going on. but it escalated into these widespread demonstrations against what those who oppose the government are saying. people demonstrating against the fact that they feel as if this conservative islamist government is trying to impose its own morals on what until knew has been a psych lar society. turkey for decades has been priding itself on really separating itself from politics and religion. people are dug in for the long haul. they've been chanting it's not going to end.
it's been a fairly intense night. we were in the square during that mass demonstration when the violence broke out and began in what appeared to be an altercation between a small group of demonstrators and the riot police. and literally within seconds, jake, there was tear gas, water cannons and the situation escalated to a point where it was completely out of control. >> arwa, we've all seen the image of that woman in red from a few days back, the image of somebody who has not been doing anything violent. how serious have the injuries been to the protesters and also possibly to the riot police? have you seen anything in terms of serious injuries? >> in terms of what we've actually seen, a lot of it has
been due to severe inhalation of the tear gas. we have been hearing about during the day one of the demonstrators was telling us they had several people seriously injured. it's also important, though, to differentiate between the demonstrators that are here in gezi park that will tell you they are completely peaceful and those throwing the rocks and the molotov cocktails at the riot police themselves. what was interesting is that earlier in the day we actually witnessed some of the gezi park demonstrators trying to calm down the situation, which is what they were calling the stone throwers and the riot police. they, too, do not want to see the situation get even more violent than it already is. they will tell you this has gone beyond being about the park itself. this is about now demands by those who did not vote for prime minister erdogan, do not,
wanting to see the government step back from some of. measures it has put into place and everyone infuriated by the decisions the government has made about how it is going to handle these demonstrations. the prime minister said these were terrorists and extremists doing this. if we look around right now, these are ordinary people. these are middle class turks from all walks of life who are telling that they just want their voices to be heard. they say they are peaceful. what's going to make this incredibly difficult is because it has escalated to such an point, how does it come to an end? we are hearing there were supposed to be negotiations taking place tomorrow. we spoke to some of those individuals involved in the negotiations. they said that they've received no official invitation and that given the circumstances that took place today, any sort of negotiation at this stage would
really just be a farce. so it's very difficult to see how turkey is going to extract itself from this ongoing crisis, jake. >> arwa damon, we'll come back to you later in the short. our nick patton wall, has also been reporting. nick, what are you seeing from your vantage point right now? >> i have a gas mass nk my hand. gas has waufted in. we are drawing too much attention because of or position here. another volley of tear gas being launched. there were a few hours where the police were fighting us, pushing
protesters back and then they would surge back in toward the center of the square. as it stands now, that volley you heard is from one group of riot police pushing themselves down to gezi park to where arwa damon was. i have just seen an excavateor. part of the construction equipment in this area, that's on fire as well. the police now retreating to that main monument. the key thing, the mayor of istanbul saying this would continue until they regain control. at this point they seem to be heading toward protesters and sparring tear gas at this many, perhaps hoping they'll go home. we've seen no sign of that being imminent. in other capitals when they try to move crowds away ethey have a
normally organized plan -- a fairly large explosion there, a stun grenade -- and it encourages peaceful protesters to go home. i've been watching 15 hours more or less of standoff, and a massive volley of tear gas about three hours ago. you have to ask yourself how does this end, what is the administration's end to calm istanbul and do they want pictures like this playing out for another 15 hours? >> if you're just tuning in, you're watching live pictures from taksim square in downtown istanbul where protesters and police have been clashing for hours. our own nick paton walsh is in taksim park, as well as arwa damon.
when we come back, we'll go back live to istanbul for the latest. [ male announcer ] everyone has the ability to do something amazing. ♪ some just do it, on a more regular basis. ♪ ♪ in dealerships everywhere. in theaters, june 14th. in ♪ hooking up the country whelping business run ♪ ♪ build! we're investing big to keep our country in the lead. ♪ load! we keep moving to deliver what you need. and that means growth, lots of cargo going all around the globe. cars and parts, fuel and steel, peas and rice, hey that's nice! ♪ norfolk southern what's your function? ♪ ♪ helping this big country move ahead as one ♪ ♪ norfolk southern how's that function? ♪
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welcome back to "the lead." we're following the eruption of violence in istanbul. let's go live to cnn's international reporter. let's go to prime minister erdogan. he was elected in 2002 as a reformer. he put a lot of energy behind reforms and improved the turkish economy, he was seen as more open and tolerant, he has improved the likelihood for membership in the european union. what then happened to turn so
many members of the public against him? >> what happens is after a long term, people start to get a little tired and they think our leader is getting a little too big for his boots, a little arrogant, authoritarian, doesn't listen to us. there is has been a severe shrinking of political space and a massive arrest of journalists. this is one of the countries that has the highest number of journalists in jail. beyond that, he was obviously taken by surprise by these protests that started as a peaceful protest in gezi park, really an environmental protest. people didn't want to see a new development, a structure, being put up in what was one of the few green spaces in istanbul. i know the city well. taksim is a thriving part of this city. there a lot of pedestrian areas and a lot of commercial
activity, too, but there is gezi park, which is a green area. people didn't want to lose it. importantly i spoke tonight to the prime minister's chief adviser, ibrahim kalin, just before talking to you, and he said the protesters will be allowed to stay in gezi park. he insists police do not have the right to go into gezi park. however, they do want to clean out taksim square. i'll tell you what one of the leaders there told me, that this is not like zuccotti park in new york with, occupy wall street started, this is a commercial thoroughfare, a part of the major works of istanbul. the question is and the prime minister's adviser said he will meet with the so-called peaceful protesters tomorrow. will they be able to separate what they see as legitimate
protesters from illegitimate protesters and will that make a difference? >> we've seen president obama and the white house not say much about prime minister erdogan. they've pleaded for restraint, as is their want, but they haven't really talked about concerns they have of what the police are doing. as you know, the united states considers turkey a very important ally when it comes to syria, when it comes to iraq, when it comes to iran. talk about the difficult position president obama finds himself in. >> well, it does clearly present a dilemma for president obama and the other western european leaders. turkey is a very strong nato ally. it's been a reliable ally of the west for decades now. and particularly, personally, prime minister erdogan i remember at the beginning of president obama's administration, turkey was one of the first stops he made. the sort of chatter was that
erdogan was one of his only sort of friends in the political arena. and just before this all started, the president hosted the prime minister at the white house and talked about their close alliance and particularly obviously the situation in syria, they have relied a lot on turkey not in terms of helping the war there, the opposition, but in terms of helping with all these refugees who have come out and turkey is a huge sort of recipient of all these refugees. in a word you're right. they're in a dilemma because turkey is also a democracy. and this prime minister has sidelined over the years in power, he has sidelined the very powerful turkish military from what they used to have, which is a free reign in turkish politics. some are criticizing the fact he's trumping up treason charges and putting a lot of these generals on trial. he has removed the military from the political spheres.
that's considered a good thing in terms of democracy. he's done a lot of reforms even in the police arena. he's also done a lot of judicial reforms and spurred turkey's economy. but with that has come the sense that he's been around a long time and he's not listening to his people anymore and he has unfettered ability to, let's say, build a new world's biggest airport, put up some kind of structure in gezi park, taksim square, build a massive mosque. all these things that many leaders do, a lot of infrastructure are being looked at sort of askance by some of turkey's young business and secular elite right now. jake? >> thank you so much, christiane amanpour, as we listen to tear gas, bullets perhaps. becky, you're in london right now but you just last week were
in istanbul wb these live pictures are coming from, you were talking to these protesters. what are they protesting? what are they upset about? >> let me give you two thoughts as i look at these pictures. i hope i'm not right in saying this but i may be, is that things were quiet during the day, a very festive mood by many, the tens of thousands in that square. but by night things got a little eerie and it worries me that things could get a lot worse this evening if the protesters don't disperse. the government is right to have pointed out there are two groups of protesters. they say one is a legitimate group of protesters who demand
they stop the government taking these spaces, gezi park. i saw the other group the government referred to and many in the square would admit this that there are many thousands of people who have hijacked what was a peaceful protest until about 11 days ago and there are a number of people in the square who you might call agitators. i'm saying this because i saw it with my own eyes. the government is calling that group of people vandals, they call them a word that the regular protesters have taken on. so there is a distinct difference between those who were originally peacefully protesting the demolishing of a green area in the middle of istanbul. that may sound a bit silly and naive but it's important given that istanbul is growing. the concrete is over what used to be many green spaces. it's important there isn't this creep by the government without
any consultation. but there is another group of protesters who may be agitating what's going on. i think the second thing to point out tonight is it is really important that erdogan speak himself to the protesters tomorrow. i spoke to people who said they feel humiliated, they feel insulted and claustrophobic in the country now. they want to be spoken to by the prime minister, not his deputy or the president or others speaking on his behalf. he must speak to the people and that is scheduled for tomorrow. if that doesn't happy, it would worry me what would happen next. >> cnn international anchor becky anderson, thank you very much. we'll have more on what this means for the u.s. and how will president obama respond? that's coming up next. sparkly water and pure white sand
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. welcome back to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. we're bringing you live coverage of what's going on in istanbul, turkey, taksim square, tear gas, fires, molotov cocktails filling the air in the heart of the city. nick paton walsh is in the area of taksim square. police seem to be firing rounds of tear gas into the crowds. what else are you seeing from your vantage point? >> reporter: i'm talking through a gas mask.
tear gas is being blown into our live position. we've seen a group of police who have moved toward some of the side alleys. there have been a number of protesters edging towards them and their position using corrugated iron as shields, moving towards them potentially to throw something. this is the first time the police have edged down this direction. it seems down one of the side alleys adjacent to our bureau. to the left of where i'm standing, an enormous amount of tear gas. an excavation path. and i believe there were protesters rallying on the other side of the balcony adjacent of that particular excavator. this is seeing some sort of lull
but it may be a regrouping of sorts. we haven't seen the massive protesters that have normally been below this bureau returning since the last volley of tear gas. to the left there are some small group of people heading toward police lines now. you may see them walking into shot briefly. but to the left side of gezi park is mainly where the protesters are rallying. i can see some from the vantage point here. wherever you seem to think things are finding a lull, you get the substantial volley and then the crowd blows across central square here. >> nick, i'm going to interrupt you for one second. arwa damon is in gezi park and her battery is running out. i want to go there before we
lose her. we've heard a representative of the prime minister park. they are apparently still firing tear gas into the area, right? >> reporter: we heard a similar pledge saying they would not actually enter the park. when took place when the large demonstration in taksim square turned violent is riot police for a few hours fired tear gas into the park itself, although they did not physically enter. but they were right on the edges of the park, firing tear gas into it and it caused this massive stampede towards the back section of the park, which is where we are right now. and it was incredibly intense. it was thick. the tear gas canisters were landing in the park itself. amongst the various tents that you see here. so for those demonstrators that
are in the park who very much define themselves being peaceful demonstrators, who just want their voices to be heard say that this is the government actually going against the promise that it made, even though the riot police may not have physically entered the park itself, we are hearing there are supposed to be meetings taking place tomorrow between the government and representatives of the demonstrators. earlier in the day we spoke to some of them. they did not seem as if that was really going to happen. it's difficult to imagine that given everything that has transpired today how those negotiations are actually going to take place. because the more violent these demonstrations become, the more polarized both sides end up being. and you can really tell that the demonstrators here are dug in for the long haul. there are tents all over the place, people organizing themselves. there's a medical sense in the back there. you can see it's been roped off.
and then on the other side of me is a main road that leads up to taksim square. that's one of the areas where the standoff is happening between the riot police and earlier in the night we were seeing demonstrators there throwing rocks at them as well. but people here do believe that the situation is going to get worse before it even begins to get better. >> well, i hope they're wrong. arwa damon, thank you so much. stay safe. we will continue to monitor events on the ground through nick paton walsh and arwa when she gets her camera recharged. we're looking at live pictures of police firing tear gas into the crowd of protesters. they say not peaceful protesters. they say violent protesters have hijacked what was a peaceful protest. we have guests joining me here
in the studio live. we're going to continue to watch the pictures going on. one of the things so interesting about these protests is they've been horrible for a turkish economy that has really had a lot to crow about in the last decade, even if protesters take issue with how prime minister erdogan has governed, his reign has been good for the economy of turkey, the per capita national gross domestic product income has grown and since this began, the istanbul market dropped 11%. how much of this is because people are worried about the market? >> actually, it fell more than that, close to 18, 19%. this government came into power in 2002 after massive financial
crisis, which basically undercut the previous government. the kind of images that we're seeing are bound to scare off investors and turkey is a great country of great potential. this country has done very well. the kind of situation what we now have where the government is perceived to be at war with rioters right in the middle of istanbul cannot be good for the kind of investment future that turkey had in mind. >> where does prime minister erdogan go from here? these protests are, as was just said, horrible for the image of turkey. >> i think there are several factors at work here which he's got to worry about. one of them is the protests. he's going to try to stop them in the near term but underlying them are political divisions within the country. christiane was talking about it
earlier. he's been in power for a while and it's likely to continue to fragment as time goes by. if these do shake people's confidence in the economy, that's likely to drive more protests. in libya and tunisia, the arab spring had its birth in job and economic crises. in sosh turkey the spillover from the syria conflict is pushi pushing refugees into the region and right now you look at syria and say this crisis could go on for years and years. if it goes on for years and confidence in the south grows lower, if erdogan continues to get pressured for his support of the rebels in syria, you could see a gradual decline, growing pressure on him and events like the one we're seeing here more
frequent going forward. >> we're going to take a quick break and keep you both here to explain what we're watching in istanbul when we come back from our breaking news coverage of violent protests and clashes with police in istanbul, turkey. t with express deals, you can save big and find a hotel with free breakfast without bidding. don't you just love those little cereal boxes? priceline savings without the bidding. made a retirement plan, they considered all her assets, even those held elsewhere, giving her the confidence to pursue all her goals. when you want a financial advisor who sees the whole picture, turn to us. wells fargo advisors.
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plus, you could save hundreds when you switch, up to $423. call... today. liberty mutual insurance -- responsibility. what's your policy? welcome back to "the lead." you're looking at live pictures at taksim square in istanbul, turkey. people on the ground say they fear it's going to get worse before it gets better. i want to get to our nick paton walsh, who has been reporting in and out of a gas mask for us, as police continue to fire tear gas. nick, i know that the light is low where you are because you don't want to alert anyone around there as to where you are and where you're broadcasting
from. tell us what you're seeing. >> reporter: behind me down this left-hand side that runs behind gezi park, protesters have erected a barricade there. there is an excavator, part of the construction equipment here on fire. we've just heard quite a lot of shouting i think coming from that particular area. there seems to be a lot of police activity. they are masked on the square behind me, four or five i can see, and that's occasionally punctuated with tear gas rounds being fired. there seems to be some police over there firing in the general direction of the protests. that occasionally wafts into our live position here. we're looking to see how the police strategy unfolds to take
control of the area. they will continue operations until there are small groups of protesters i can see down some of these side streets. but predominantly they're dissipated here, there are masks behind those barricades. there is this uncertainty about whether gezi park is safe. suggestions it is but we've also seen police at an earlier point today move straight in there. we saw distinctive white helmets behind the tree line. we're pretty clear tear gas either intentionally or unintentionally ended up in gezi park, too. so fears for those who want to persist in the protests. the concern is what is the end game here? erdogan has clearly authorized a substantial operation here. you have to ask yourself here with pictures like this, minute by minute, damaging turkey's
previous breakaway economy, what are they going to do to put control back in this vital part of the city? >> all right, we'll come back to you in a little bit here in the studio. >> with me is bulent aliriza and david rothkopf. bulent, if i'm president obama and i'm watching this unfold after this multi-year attempt to form a very strong alliance with prime minister erdogan, 2009 president obama went to turkey, i was on that trip as a member of the white house press corps, what is going through his mind? how are u.s.-turkish relations now? >> it is difficult for the white
house. one is president obama hosted prime minister erdogan exactly four weeks ago. he had a meeting with him in the morning and a private dinner with him. in between they have a joint press conference. having been that close to prime minister erdogan, it's difficult for president obama to decide exactly houw he's going to deal with the situation. secondly, turkey is being portrayed as a model for the arab countries. at this point you cannot argue turkey is a model for everybody. no doubt president obama and his advisers are thinking about this now. >> bulent, how did the meeting go between prime minister erdogan and president obama? what was the most contentious issue they discussed? >> syria. prime erdogan came hoping to convince president obama to get
engaged in the syria issue, to the ouster of assad and prime minister left basically empty handed on the prime issue on their agenda. >> i think it was worse than that. obama and erdogan starred out close. he p-- this doesn't help. when erdogan was here, the obama team actually chided them for their support of the extreme elements in syria, and there's a growing rift between the u.s. and the turks and countries like qatar, who are seeking a somewhat more extremist outcome or at least supporting more extremist forces in syria. obama looks at the relationship,
problems with the press, with the economy. problems with syria. it's not the picture that existed a couple months ago. >> we need to take a quick break but we'll be right back with this coverage of the wild night in istanbul, turkey. vo: traveling you definitely end up meeting a lot more people but a friend under water is something completely different. i met a turtle friend today so, you don't get that very often.
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the scene. as you and i discussed earlier, the prime minister's office said they would not send police into gezi park but they are sending police to the edge and firing into the scene. what are you seeing? >> reporter: that's correct. we have move from where we were speaking to you last to across the street where right now i can see the tear gas filling the squ sky. this is one of the front lines that has developed around taksim square and gezi park itself. it's quite an interesting dynamic because there is this spirit of solidarity and people move around with these bottles
that mel like peppermint. there's something else that's been interesting, too, a lot of people coming up to us and saying we're actually apolitical, this is the first time we've come out and had this strong of an opinion about our government. we don't normally get involved in politics. a lot of them are young professionals, i.t. professionals, engineers. they work by day and they come here by night. as we've been saying over and over, this isn't about the conservation of a park anymore. this has erupted into something much, much, much bigger than that. i don't know if you can hear these chants in the background, but that is taking place along the fringe of the park as people who are perched up on the park look down the road below where
some of those that nick have been able to see from the vantage point they've been reporting from, they are really trying to move and push their way upwards. this is a multi-layered demonstration we're seeing taking police here. you have the gezi park demonstrators, the tree huggers as they call themselves. the ones who are here, they wanted to conserve the park, they tried to stay away from the confrontation with the riot police but they've ended up drawn into it because they were sprayed by the tear gas. and then you have other people fueled by anger. >> arwa damon, we seem to be having some technical problems with your phone right now. we're going to take a very quick break and try to fix that and come back with our coverage of this historic and horrifying
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and bulent aliriza. what choices does prime minister erdogan find himself in right now? >> the current situation is untenable. he's used force to drive protesters out of the square and park. either he uses more force and pushes everybody out of not just the square but also out of the park but all the implications of that, including additional fatalities and people will draw the and al -- analogy of taksim square and he loses face. the prime minister is a gifted man. he has many gifts, otherwise he
would not have been able to rule turkey for ten years, win three elections but he does not have the gift of compromise, seemingly does not have that gift. without that we're in for tumultuous days. >> you say additional fatalities. people watching may not know there have been four fatalities. who were the four? >> there were three demonstrators and a policeman involved in a skirmish with demonstrators. but if the police were to use additional force, there are certain to be additional fatalities. >> david, we're told your microphone is not working. we're going to get a microphone on you. your last thought right now? >> in the short term the odds are with erdogan. the protesters are divided. there's a group of more placid,
peaceful type and a group of leftists. they don't have clear leadership among them or politically. the economic forces, the big money, is going to be behind erdogan and he holds all the reins of power. but in the long term the trends that are here may actually cut against him over time. >> david rothkopf and bulent aliriza, that's all the time we have. wolf blitzer will have much more on "the situation room." thanks for watching. you have the potential to do more in business.
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...and we inspected his brakes for free. -free is good. -free is very good. [ male announcer ] now get 50% off brake pads and shoes at meineke. breaking news, tear gas sends thousands of protesters fleeing. we have full coverage. cnn's arwa damon and nick paton walsh are right in the thick of it all. they are on the scene. we have expert analysis from cnn's christiane amanpour and fareed zakaria. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."