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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI

Russian Warplane Shot Down by Turkey; Belgium on Edge. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired November 24, 2015 - 15:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:00:14]

HALA GORANI, HOST: Tonight, shot out of the sky.

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GORANI: A Russian war plane is brought down by Turkey. An act President Vladimir Putin calls a stab in the back. We'll have the very latest for

you.

Plus, a country on edge. Belgium's Foreign Minister tells me about the top targets that have security services worried.

And this hour, Francois Hollande goes to Washington looking to shore up support to the fight against ISIS.

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GORANI: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We are live in Paris once again and this is a special edition of the World Right Now.

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GORANI: We're following some developing news here in France. The French media outlet (inaudible) is reporting that gunmen have taken hostage in a

residence after a robbery that went wrong in a northern French city.

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GORANI: AFP is reporting a special police unit has been dispatched to the town of Roubaix, that's near the border with Belgium. Authorities say

there's no immediate indication of any link to the Paris attacks but you can imagine this country is on edge. And there, you have it, some security

forces being sent to the area. We will continue to follow the developing story and bring you any relevant information.

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GORANI: Now we begin this evening with the dramatic escalation in one of the world's most volatile regions. Turkey says it shot down a Russian war

plane near the Turkish/Syrian border. It says it encroached on its air space. Russian media says one of the two pilots was killed in the air by

fire from the ground after he ejected. The incident led to claims and counter claims and a ramping up of rhetoric for leaders around the world.

For more on the dramatic escalation, here is Matthew Chance.

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MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORREPONDENT: This is the moment Turkey and Russia clashed in the skies over the conflict in Syria.

The Russian war plane plunging to earth in a fireball, shot down by Turkish interceptors after what Turkey says were repeated violations of its air

space.

Two Russian pilots ejected. You can see their parachutes open. But listen to the reception they received from the Syrian rebels. Russia had been

bombing on the ground. Off camera, some rebel voices can be heard pleading to keep them alive but they are drowned out by the shouts of "god is great"

and the gun fire.

It was at a meeting with the Jordanian King that Russia's president delivered his cutting response. Today's loss for us was like a stab in the

back, he said. Delivered by the accomplices of terrorists. It will have serious consequences for Russia's relations with Turkey he added.

Already, the Kremlin is vowing to press ahead with the Syrian air strikes that have brought it into such dangerous proximity with a NATO country.

Military officials pledging to develop a complex of measures to respond to any future contact. But it's the diplomatic price for this, that Turkey

will now have to pay.

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GORANI: Now Matthew Chance joins me now live from Moscow with the very latest. And there was a rescue operation to try to extract one of the

pilots that didn't go well at all, Matthew. Tell us more.

CHANCE: Yes, that's right, this information is just coming through to us now. We have got video of which was filmed on the ground presumably by

rebels of a couple of Russian helicopters, MI8s scouring the countryside near where the airmen came down in their parachutes, obviously trying to

pick them up and rescue them.

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CHANCE: One of the helicopters or both of them came under fire. The Russian Defense Ministry says that one of the choppers was forced down and was

essentially one person on board, -- a marine who was on board as part of the operation was killed.

And so it's been yet another painful loss for the Russians on this day in their Syrian conflict, Hala.

GORANI: And so what does this mean for the wider conflict here? How will Russia respond?

CHANCE: Well it's a good question.

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CHANCE: You get the sense that Russia is now trying to sort of work out, what would be the best way forward? I mean what are its best options. I

mean already we've seen those angry remarks from Vladimir Putin. The Russian Foreign Minister as well has called off his trip diplomatically to

Turkey, which was supposed to take place tomorrow, he's called that off. The Russian military say that there will be no further military conflicts

with Turkey.

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[15:05:03]

CHANCE: They have said that all future bombing raids in Syria will be accompanied with a fighter escort and they've moved a missile cruiser off

the coast of Syria equipped with S-300 surface to air missiles or their naval equivalent which they say they will use to destroy anyone or anything

that threatens Russian interests on the ground.

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CHANCE: And so there will be a response that is a response already. But you get the sense that that response is evolving as the Russians try to come to

sort of come to terms with their anger at what's happened.

GORANI: All right, Matthew Chance, our senior international correspondent, live in Moscow.

We are awaiting Mark Toner, who is the State Department spokesperson in Washington, any moment now. But we still have our Matthew here as we wait

for Mark Toner to make it to the camera with more U.S. reaction on the downing of that Russian plane.

Now, we know Turkey, of course, is a member of NATO and in Russia, what is being said perhaps about what might be a wider NATO response or reaction to

what happened in the air over Syria Matthew?

CHANCE: Yes, well I mean obviously, relations between Russia and NATO have been very strained over recent years, particularly over Ukraine. And this

hasn't done much, it hasn't done anything to alleviate those strains.

I think that you know there's been a lot of concern, though, about the extent to which this is a NATO operation or is it just Turkey going out on

its own. I think there'll be a lot of concern expressed behind closed doors at NATO headquarters where there is currently an emergency session

underway.

About you know whether Russia or about whether Turkey over stepped the line or not. Certainly Russia's position on all of this has been to

categorically reject this allegation made by Turkey that its plane violated its air space.

The Russians are saying, and this is information that has just come to us actually, the Russians saying that not only did they not violate Turkish

airspace but in fact their radar pictures and their data shows that it was the Turkish fighter jets that violated Syrian air space in what they say

was a flagrant violation of international law.

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CHANCE: So the Russians categorically rejecting this suggestion that they violated Turkish airspace although we've yet to see what data they're

referring to as part of their denial, Hala.

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GORANI: All right, Matthew Chance, our senior international correspondent. Thanks very much. As I was mentioning, the U.S.State Department spokesman,

Mark Toner, is in Washington, D.C., he is about to join us in just a few seconds time.

But before we get to him, the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to the incident a few hours ago, we just got the view from Moscow

with Matthew.

He said that the plane was in fact warned numerous times before it was shot down.

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GORANI: Now earlier Turkey published flight data information that it says proves that the Russian plane crossed into its airspace. And Turkey's

Prime Minister says the country has a duty to act because it is now saying that it's that Russian plane that violated its border borders. Listen.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT: (As translated) We have never been a country which had designed against other country. Everyone should know

that Turkey has the right to respond if its air space is violated despite repeated warning.

GORANI: And that is the Turkish Prime Minister today.

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GORANI: President Obama backed America's NATO ally Turkey saying it had a right to defend its air space. He also says what happened leads to an

ongoing problem with Russia's military.

Joining us now is the U.S. State Department's Deputy spokesman, Mr. Toner, he's live in Washington.

So, Mr. Toner, first of all thanks for being with us. Do you believe Turkey in fact was justified in shooting that plane out of sky over Syria?

MARK TONER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT DEPUTY SPOKESMAN: Well first of all you know in any kind of situation like this, a couple of thoughts.

One is, we need to gather all the facts, obviously there was just a meeting, a (knack) at NATO of all the allies where Turkey spoke about the

incident and gave all the details that it had.

You know I think we still need to determine what exactly happened. But as President Obama made clear earlier today when he spoke alongside President

Hollande, who is here for a visit, you know we support Turkey's right to self-defense, to defend its own territory.

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TONER: And that includes their air space. He also spoke and it's important to stress this, he also spoke of how complex the situation is there when

you have Russia carrying out air strikes, air strikes that are often against moderate Syrian opposition alongside the border of a NATO member.

It's a very complex situation, we've talked about this many times before. This is not the first incident where we've had Turkey's air space be

violated. So you know it is an ongoing matter of concern.

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TONER: What's important again is that both sides, Turkey and Russia, need to talk to each other and they need to de-escalate.

[15:10:12]

GORANI: Well it's certainly becoming crowded in the skies over Syria as well. U.S. warplanes are conducting operations, Russian warplanes, Turkish

warplanes, Gulf planes as well in some cases. But would the U.S. consider an incursion, a repeated incursion in Turkish airspace by Russian jets as

an act of aggression? Turkey is a NATO member. Would it be considered an act of aggression?

TONER: Well again, you know any time you've got a violation of someone's air space, you know, I don't want to get into definitions of whether that's

an act of aggression or not. But it is for Turkey a violation of its air space, a violation of its territory.

Again, the series - the events that Turkey laid down is that it gave warnings to these jets, to these fighters, before it fired on them. You

know, we're still learning the details of this incident.

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TONER: What's important and what we've also set up with Russia is this deconfliction mechanism. But once, as you talked about just now, the

complexity of the air space there is difficult to overestimate. It is very, very complex. You've got Russia carrying out air strikes that are primarily

against modern Syrian opposition in support of Assad's regime.

At the same time you've got a coalition carrying out airstrikes against ISIL. President Obama was also very clear earlier today when he spoke to

the fact that a great way to simplify this is for Russia to agree to carry out its air strikes against ISIL and to become a member of the coalition

that is trying to counter ISIL on the ground in northern Syria.

GORANI: Well I want to ask you about that because of course President Francois Hollande after these horrific Paris attacks is going on a

worldwide tour. First he met with the U.K. Prime Minister, he's meeting with President Obama today.

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GORANI: He's meeting with Vladimir Putin on Thursday. Now his aim is obviously to get all these countries together to fight ISIS. He's trying to

get this coalition together. Do you think this is doable? I mean do you think the U.S. and Russia could actually be strategically on the same side

here?

TONER: Sure. It's a good question and a fair question. You know we've been very clear all along. First of all, there is a coalition. It is a 65-member

coalition that's been in place for a year now that is actually focused solely on countering ISIL, degrading and destroying ISIL.

Russia has decided to, in support of Assad regime, carry out its own air strikes. It alleges those are for or against ISIL but what we've seen thus

far they're primarily to shore up the Assad regime and to counter the moderate Syrian opposition on the ground.

What we've been very clear about is we can certainly see a constructive role for Russia to play. Russia needs to make the decision whether it

wants to be a part of that.

GORANI: All right. But you talk about a broad coalition, but it's really the crushing majority of strikes are from U.S. warplanes, not from the

other partners. Do you think that - I mean where do we go from here in terms of this anti-ISIS coalition?

TONER: Sure.

GORANI: Where do we go from here based on - based also as well on the incident that took place in the skies over Syria.

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GORANI: What are your concerns for further incidents like this?

TONER: Sure. A couple of quick thoughts. One is we need a resolution to the ongoing political conflict or civil war that's tearing up Syria. Because

frankly, that takes everyone's focus off of ISIL.

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TONER: And also we need to end that suffering as well. That's one piece of the equation. So if we have a three-pronged strategy, it is to resolve the

political means and a political process and to lead to a political transition away from Bashar al Assad. That's underway already. There is

actually a process in place and Russia is on board with that. There are still obstacles there but we feel we can overcome them and move forward.

That's absolutely urgent and essential to reach a conclusion, a political resolution so that everyone can turn their focus on what is really the most

frightening enemy there, which is ISIL. So there is a strategy. We need to resolve the political -- the civil war that's happening between Assad and

the Syrian people and we've got to then focus all our attentions on destroying and degrading ISIL.

GORANI: All right, thanks very much, Mark Toner at the State Department. Thanks for joining us this evening on CNN.

TONER: Thank you.

GORANI: After a quick break, I'll speak to Belgium's Foreign Minister about the country's anti-terror arrests.

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GORANI: and also he reveals for the first time potential targets that intelligence suggests are under threat from a Paris style attack.

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GORANI: Belgium's Foreign Minister says authorities in his country believe shopping malls are being targeted by terrorists planning a Paris like

attack. That's what Didier Reynders he told me when I spoke to him earlier.

I began by asking him about the emergency NATO meeting in Brussels over that downed Russian jet. Take a listen.

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DIDIER REYNDERS, BELGIUM'S FOREIGN MINISTER: First of all, we try to see the facts and figures and to have a correct analyze about the situation

there. And then to be in touch and to be in contact with Russia.

GORANI: And if Russia in fact did fly into Turkish airspace would NATO consider this a Russian aggression?

REYNDERS: First of all we will see the facts and figures and we will take contact with Russia before to say something about a possible reaction.

You need to know that it's very difficult for the moment to work in the region, in Iraq, in Syria, and so we don't want to add an additional

problem. We try to first of all to receive all the information from Turkey, and then to try to be in touch with Russia.

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REYNDERS: And we will see at this moment what could be, what should be the reaction.

GORANI: All right, Minister, let me ask you a little bit about what's happening in Belgium itself. A fourth arrest in your country. Are all these

people arrested before connected to the Paris attacks?

REYNDERS: We have a lot of people under arrest in line with the investigation in France about terrorist attacks in Paris since some days.

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REYNDERS: It's not just in the last hour. Since Sunday we have a lot of investigations in Belgium, and it was possible to put into - into arrest a

lot of people. But now we are going further and we are going further on two tracks.

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REYNDERS: First, investigations to try to find those guys and maybe to sort of find the guys preparing the new terrorist attacks in Belgium, because we

have some information about that. And on the other side, the second is to track is to protect the population.

GORANI: Is it your belief that these arrests in Belgium over the last several days were connected to the Paris attacks, all four individuals?

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[15:20:00]

REYNDERS: It's the same kind of gas whether there is a connection or not, it is difficult to know. But we have in such a group a lot of people coming

back from Syria from Iraq, having relations with people coming back from Syria and Iraq. We have seen that with Abaaoud killed in Paris but it was

still in the investigations in the beginning of this year in the eastern part of Belgium, in Vervier. And in Brussels you will remember we have

dismantled a real terrorist group.

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REYNDER: And It was at that moment with the reference to such a guy living at that time in Syria.

GORANI: But I mean if you're reopening the metro and the schools et cetera, do you believe that the imminent threat that you were concerned with has,

in fact, passed?

REYNDER: No, but we are knowing that there are specific targets, the mall, the shopping mall and different commercial activities. But the schools, to

be concrete, are not if we have correct information the real target.

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REYNDER: But we need to protect those locations. And so the first decision was to put more people, more military people and police people in the

streets. And you have seen that in Brussels and the rest of the country. And now, we are trying to prepare correct protection for the subway and for

the schools. And due to that, it will be possible to reopen tomorrow.

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REYNDER: Because we need to go back to a so-called normal life but with more and more protection for the population.

GORANI: So your information regarding a possible imminent threat in Brussels is centered around shopping malls, is that correct?

REYNDERS: Yes, correct. It is the same line in the tourist attacks in Paris. With a lot of guys, how it's possible to know.

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REYNDERS: We don't know the number but we are knowing that it will be possible maybe to organize such an attack with heavy weapons and with

suicide bombings like we have seen for the first time on the open territory in Paris in the last events.

And so due to such an information coming from different sources, it was needed to take some measures to protect the population and first of all in

Brussels, because it was in line with Brussels.

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REYNDERS: But at the same moment, we need to go further in the investigation and we need to go further to try to block such a terrorist

group in Belgium or in a neighbor country.

GORANI: So regarding the specific information, the precise information as you called it regarding an imminent threat, are there any other areas of

concern in Belgium?

REYNDERS: First of all, those are areas in Brussels. But of course we are knowing that it is still very important to protect some events. Because we

have seen the situation in Paris with the football match, with a concert in a concert hall. So we try to have a real presence of the police forces and

the military forces around those major events in the Brussels region but maybe in other places in the country.

So of course it's quite important to try to protect all those locations where they are, many people at the same moment.

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GORANI: Didier Reynders, the Belgium Foreign Minister speaking to me a little bit earlier saying that the precise information the authorities had

pointed to a potential threat against shopping malls. And also saying that the military is going to have to be protecting certain areas where there

are large gatherings of people. And confirming that tomorrow schools will start reopening as well as the subway system in Brussels.

Coming up, the French President heads to the White House.

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GORANI: He is making his case for a global coalition against ISIS. But Turkey's downing of a Russian plane is adding some major new complications

to his diplomatic quest. We'll be right back.

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[15:25:46]

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FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, FRENCH PRESIDENT: (As translated) The event took place is a serious one and we can only regret it. Turkey is currently providing

all of the information to NATO so we can find out what truly happened and whether Turkey's airspace indeed was entered into. But we must prevent an

escalation.

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GORANI: Francois Hollande is in Washington saying let's try to de-escalate this reacting to Turkey's downing of a Russian fighter plane it said

encroached on its air space.

Mr. Hollande spoke at a news conference with his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, earlier in Washington.

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GORANI: Now Mr. Hollande is seeking greater cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in a broader global coalition to fight ISIS. It is a tall order

to be sure.

Now this is Hollande's first stop on a whirlwind diplomacy tour. After Washington he goes to Germany, he meets with Angela Merkel, the Chancellor.

He'll meet Thursday in Moscow with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who has shown his displeasure today at what Turkey did to one of its fighter

jets.

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GORANI: As far as the U.S. side of the equation, President Obama said that cooperation and support would continue but again these new tensions between

Turkey and Russia add a new layer of complication.

Joining me now with the view from Washington is CNN senior political reporter, Stephen Collinson.

Let's talk a little bit now about how this downing of this Russian jet is complicating situations. And Francois Hollande's efforts to bring the U.S.

and Russia closer together in their fight against ISIS.

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Right Hala, yes, as you said, this incident this morning really overshadowed this news conference.

The whole point of this trip by Francois Hollande was to secure more U.S. support for his effort to build this broad diplomatic coalition.

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COLLINSON: The President -- the first question that President Obama got in this news conference was about this shooting down of the Turkish jet. He

said that this incident shouldn't escalate tensions in the region but that Turkey had you know the right to defend itself. But he placed the blame

fairly squarely in Russia's court for this incident. He said that Russia had been flying too close to the Turkish border in Syria.

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COLLINSON: And he also blamed Russia for bombing rebels in Syria that were supported by Turkey. So it's clear from the U.S. stance at least, that

while details of this shooting incident are still coming in it's clear that the U.S. is blaming Russia.

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GORANI: OK, so it doesn't sound at all like the U.S. and Russia are getting any closer together. This is the hope of Francois Hollande. But it looks

like they're even possibly further apart after this incident.

COLLINSON: That's right. It was very interesting in the news conference how President Obama and Francois Hollande put out a united message that if

Russia is going to play a more constructive role from their point of view in this coalition that President Putin has to turn his fire away from

moderate rebels in Syria, in attacks in support of President Assad and squarely on ISIS.

President Obama said that was the only way there could be any broader cooperation between the United States and Russia in this - in this

coalition and this campaign. And it's especially significant that the two presidents gave this concertive, combined message as you said, because

President Hollande now is going to be in Moscow on Thursday and he'll deliver this message directly to President Putin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: All right. An angry President Putin. We heard from him today. He called the Turkish action a stab in the back. We'll be following that

story. Steven Collinson in Washington, thank you very much.

Still to come, NATO is also calling for calm after Turkey downed that jet.

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GORANI: We'll speak with an expert in Turkish affairs about possible fallout.

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[15:33.08]

GORANI: Welcome back, a look at our top stories.

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin says Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane is "a stab in the back and will have serious consequences for

Russian/Turkish relations.

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GORANI: The bomber crashed in Syria after violating Turkish airspace according to Turkey.

And an American official tells CNN that it calculates that the Russian

jet was in Turkish airspace for 30 seconds or less.

Investigators are now searching for another suspect in the Paris attacks and they've issued an international warrant for his arrest.

Belgian officials say - you see his picture there by the way, Mohamed Abrini was driving the car that dropped off one of the suicide bombers who

targeted the football stadium.

And Tunisia has declared a state of emergency of its own following an explosion on a bus in the capital, Tunis.

The death toll from the blast has now climbed to 15 according to an official. The bus was carrying members of the President's guard, there has

been no immediate claim of responsibility.

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GORANI: And we're back. Let's return now to Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane, an incident that Vladimir Putin says will have serious

consequences. I spoke recently to both the Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now this was of

course before to be clear the downing of that plane. But have a listen to what they said well before this incident about Russia's role in the Syrian

war.

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GORANI: Why do you think Russia has entered this war now? What do you make of the timing?

FERIDUN SINIRLIOGLU, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER: That question should be asked to them, of course. I don't want to answer that question on their

behalf. But for us, this was a mistake. And we've told them so. I mean we've told them that what they are doing is a big mistake. They are

becoming part of a civil war which is not to their interests, which is not to the interest of Syria, which is not to the interest of their agent.

[15:35:15]

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT: We would expect our friendly countries and friendly neighbors to do more. Russia being one of them.

Russia is actually bombing the moderate oppositions. We have the (inaudible) Turks which are victims of the bombardments in Syria. And these

are the issues we have reminded Putin of. And these were the issues we were expecting some sort of heightened level of sensitivity. But that

sensitively, it is still not to be found.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: And that was the Turkish President just a few days ago saying Russia is actually bombing some of these Turkmen fighters that are

combating ISIS. And they have a big problem with that, Turkey.

Let's get some perspective now on the potential fallout from the shooting down of that Russian fighter jet.

We are joined by Soner Cagaptay, author of the Rise of Turkey. He's Director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington institute and

this evening, he is in Istanbul.

Soner, thanks for talking with us. First of all, let's talk a little bit about the downing of this jet. --

SONER CAGAPTAY, DIRECTOR TURKISH RESEARCH PROGRAM: Always a pleasure to join you.

GORANI: Now if it - all right, let's talk about this a bit. If it is, indeed, the case as a U.S. Official is saying, that this Russian jet

encroached on Turkish air space for 30 seconds or less, why do you think turkey went ahead and shot it out of the sky knowing how much of an

escalation this would create.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAGAPTAY: Well this is not the first time Turkey -- Russia has violated Turkish air space, Since Russia deployed troops to Syria, it has been

regularly violating Turkish air space.

Previously Turkey had shot down a Russian unmanned aerial vehicle UAV. But now they've took it to the next level and they actually shot down a fighter

plane. So why now? Why today?

There are two reasons. One is this just happens to be the day when the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff of the U.S. (inaudible) is in Ankara

for meetings so I think this is Ankara's way of telling Washington, you know I have an alliance, I have partners and striking Russia here today a

high level of American Officer in Washington - from Ankara is in Washington, that's poignant.

But the more important part of it is that there is also some domestic politics here. Assad has been bombing the area of northern Syria populated

by Turkmens and these are also areas of anti-rebel forces. And I think the government has been feeling pressure because these Turkmens who are close

to Turks in the same way the Highland Scotts are related to Scotts, are Turkish ethnic kin. And (audio inaudible)

under pressure to put across in Syria, so they probably decided to shoot down the Russian plane to tell the Russians, stop bombing the Turkmen, stop

doing what you are doing.

GORANI: OK, and that's something, by the way, that the Turkish President told me about. He has a problem with Russia bombing these Turkmen

positions. These are fighters that are on - that are essentially fighting against ISIS as well as against the regime.

But how - OK, now this has happened - I mean there is a real possibility that this will escalate further. Do you think that possibility of a major

escalation between Russia and Turkey exists right now.

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CAGAPTAY: It may not escalate now because the United States has I think is trying to defuse the situation. The NATO alliance might come up in support

of Turkey but I think Washington is trying to place itself as an interlocker between Russia and Ankara saying this is between Turkey and

Russia, so it's trying to keep itself out.

While of course also coming to Turkey's aid to say that Turkey has the right to defend itself.

So it may not escalate this time. But what is really certain is that we'll see similar episodes of Turkish/Russian conflicts because Turkey and Russia

are locked in a proxy war in northern Syria where they (inaudible) opposing sides, and those sides are fighting each other. Not only are they in a

proxy war, Russia is not deployed in northern Syria so it was a matter of time before something like this happened.

And I think even if we survived this episode without escalation, similar episodes will happen in the near future. So the two sides have to come

together and figure out what they can do. And there is not much they can do at the moment because their positions are irreconcilable. Turkey is

supporting the rebels, Russia wants the Assad regime to survive and they won't come together for the foreseeable future.

GORANI: All right, Soner Cagaptay, live in Istanbul, we always appreciate your time, thanks for joining us this evening with your analysis.

A quick break on CNN. We'll be right back. We're live in Paris

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[15:42:47]

GORANI: As Brussels remains at the highest terror alert level, the suburb of Molenbeek is now the focus of a big international investigation.

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GORANI: Several of the men involved in the Paris attacks has ties to that area. One Belgian mother whose son has become a radical Islamist fighting

in Syria spoke to CNN's Nima Elbagir.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, MOTHER OF ISIS FIGHTER: It's a nightmare. As a mother, you feel, did I not give him enough love? Maybe I didn't give him enough

love.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We promised this Belgian mother not to show her face or broadcast her voice. Her son is an ISIS

fighter. He's threatened to kill her if she speaks publicly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Truly it's terrible, I feel so guilty.

ELBAGIR: And she's not alone. Hundreds of young Belgians are now fighting in Syria alongside her son. Market days at the Molenbeek town square. A

sign behind glass reads, together against hate. The Paris attack brothers Ibrahim and Salah Abdeslam grew up on together on these streets with the

architect of the French capital's horror, Abdelhamid Abbaoud.

AHMED EL KHANNOUSS, MOLENBEEK DEPUTY MAYOR: These were guys who I met on a regular basis here in my neighborhood. I can tell you that there were no

signs in the clothing, their way of talking and even less their behavior of radicalization. That is the most intriguing, we have no ways of

anticipating any kind of behavior like this and this worries us even more. We have no ways of anticipating any kind of behavior like this. This

worries us even more. I think this would make us think about the capacity that ISIS has.

ELBAGIR: Molenbeek is now almost synonymous with the horrors of that night in Paris. But this is a national nightmare. Belgium per capita contributes

the highest number of foreign fighters to ISIS. Their communities, their mosques are struggling to fight back.

[15:45:05]

In your experience, where does the radicalization happen?

(MOAD EL BOUKHARI), VIVOORDE MOSQUE: I think you have on the streets, on the internet you have also some (inaudible) society failed actually such as

tackling racism and discrimination.

They say because we have an excuse, that we should give them an argument to stand up against the society. Yes there is discrimination that doesn't

excuse - is not an excuse to do stupid things.

KHANNOUSS: (As translated) There is a first contact with the person who is trying to convince them. Then, they get in contact with someone who is

thousands of kilometers away then the local network kicks in, book tickets and pay for the flights.

ELBAGIR: All under the nose of Belgian authorities. High security alerts, government raids, a nation faced with tough questions and the enormity of

the task ahead.

BOUKHARI: Talking about radicalization, I think it's a very big word. What does it mean does it mean we have to put someone in a wash and then after

minutes he's coming out and he is cleaned.

ELBAGIR: That much is clear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (As translated) And I also think about the victims. They are innocent, murdered. It is horrible. He is not my son anymore.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, Brussels.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have too really be vigilant with respect to the Muslim population. We have great people in the

Muslim population but something's happening. Something's happening. I always say, they are not coming out of Sweden that want to kill us.

They're not coming from Norway, they're not coming from Denmark. They're not coming - they're coming from a certain part with a certain philosophy.

There's some bad, bad, bad stuff out there.

[15:50:22]

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Donald Trump prides himself on speaking his mind and his supporters like his candid talk. It is what they - it's what they say they like about

him. But critics say the Republican Presidential front-runner has descended into hate speech. Our next guest calls Trumps remarks frightening.

Daily Beast contributor, Dean Obeidallah is Muslim and he says he now fears for his family's well-being.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: In a recent article he said You see to Trump, we are not your fellow Americans who are teachers, doctors, taxi drivers, members of

congress, et cetera. No, He has dehumanized us into a faithless group he calls these people."

And Trump has unilaterally determined that these people, Muslim Americans, are not worthy of the same rights as other Americans.

Dean Obeidallah, joins me now from New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: So you say you fear, in fact, for your personal safety, Dean?

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, DAILY BEAST CONTRIBUTOR: Not for me. I mean, I'm not worried about myself. You know I was a lawyer. I can defend myself, knowing

the rights.

I'm really fearful of young Muslims growing up in this country where they are viewed as less than American because of their faith. And the language

of Donald Trump leads to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBEIDALLAH: I mean don't forget this is -- what he said on Saturday was alarming, getting the crowd to cheer. These people, we have to survey them,

but days before that he was open to the idea of a database where Muslim Americans would have to register. He did not object to an idea of having

Muslim's carry special I.D. Cards.

The idea of treating us differently or less than American because of our faith to me is shocking. It's bone chilling. I've never heard a leading

politician in a major party say this.

I've heard right wing bigots, I've heard white supremacists say this kind of stuff about Muslims, but never someone like Donald Trump, and it's a

wakeup call for our community and all people who are good people who want to stand up for a community that's in need. We need their help.

GORANI: But, Dean, I've heard from some Muslim Americans who say even after 9/11 it wasn't this bad. That you heard the story of those two Palestinian

Americans that were almost thrown off a plane for speaking Arabic. In other instances a mosque was attacked in Texas et cetera. And they're saying it's

worse now than it was after 9/11. So in your estimation, why is the perception for Muslim-Americans, why is it the worst it has ever been right

now?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OBEIDALLAH: Well right after 9/11, I think there was more curiosity about Muslims. People didn't know much about us. I think over the years, in the

14 years unfortunately, that void of information has been filled in by people like Al Qaeda and ISIS and also the professional anti-Muslim bigots,

and certain irresponsible politicians on the right.

And the fact that we are a small community in America, maybe 1% or 2% most American's don't know a Muslim. Only 25% say they know a Muslim. The

reality is we are being defined by people outside of community.

A new poll just came out a few days ago, 35% of Americans think ISIS represents Islam. That they're actually doing what Islam is about. That's a

striking scary alarming number.

So it is the most challenging time and Donald Trump's words make it even more difficult frankly

GORANI: Yes. Let me ask you without of course supporting it because you wouldn't and most people wouldn't, do you understand that in some cases

people will (inaudible) you know just Muslims with terrorists, that their fear they are under threat, et cetera, from -- do you get it on some level

or not at all?

OBEIDALLAH: No well I've said it all the time, I say it on T.V., I say it in my articles. If I didn't know a Muslim personally and all I saw on

television was ISIS and Al Qaeda and I didn't see any counter-narratives because we don't see a counter-narrative in the U.S. media, I would not

think warmly about Muslims. I too would have concerns.

So our community, we are trying to get out there more. We have to do even more work to be more creative to get media coverage. People often say, we

don't hear Muslims announcing terrorism. We are literally begging to come on shows on CNN, (inaudible) all the networks and make it clear ISIS

doesn't represent us, we despise them more than non-Muslims because they're killing in the name of our faith. They're defining people in accordance

with their agenda.

So, we have to get out there a little bit more and we need the help of the media frankly to give us a platform.

GORANI: Well we have a few seconds but I want to tell our viewers about this hashtag called #muslimi.d.. A Muslim man who is a marine tweeted his

I.D. at Donald Trump and say here's my I.D., you know where's yours et cetera.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Do you think this type of thing works?

OBEIDALLAH: I think it helps on a level, it raises awareness on social media. I saw a lot of out pouring of people outside the Muslim community.

Even my article for the Daily Beast, a Rabbi wrote a beautiful article for the Huffington Post that I included. There are many people of different

faith communities and atheists saying we will register as Muslims to undermine Donald Trump. Now that's a silver lining.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:55:04]

GORANI: All right, Dean Obeidallah, thanks very much joining us from New York with more on this particular story there in the United States.

I'm Hala Gorani, we're live in Paris. Thanks for being with us for this special edition of the program. A quick break and then it is Quest Means

Business.

END