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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Europe's Leaders Meet After U.K. Votes To Leave EU; Juncker To Farage: "Why Are You Here?"; Farage: E.U. A "Political Union Without Consent"; U.S. Stocks Rebound After Global Selloff; CNN Turk: Multiple Explosions At Istanbul Airport. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired June 28, 2016 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:11] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome, everyone. Tonight, we are live outside parliament for a special program. However if
you're having trouble hearing me or if you can hear some of the singing behind me, it's because a large anti-Brexit protest has broken out here.
You can hear them singing "Hey E.U.," in the style of "Hey Jude." We'll keep an eye on them throughout the hour ahead, but as you can see, there is
a ring of police forming around the protesters, signs criticizing the leaders who campaigned for Brexit in this country, Nigel Farage, Boris
Johnson. Banners reading "divided we fall" and pro-E.U. banners as well.
Also this hour, we will look at the major stories developing on this day. Who will blink first before the Brexit? The U.K. wants to negotiate. The
E.U. says OK, then make the first move.
Also speaking of top Brexiteers, Nigel Farage, wags his finger at fellow MPs. CNN asks him in Brussels if that was a wise move.
Plus Scotland is keeping all of its options open. I'll speak to Scot who made an impassioned speech to his European parts today.
Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. Live outside parliament in London once again where a large anti-Brexit demonstration has formed. This is THE
WORLD RIGHT NOW.
We begin this hour with a look at the top developments. European leaders including David Cameron, this country's prime minister, are currently
sitting down to dinner. They are meeting for the first time since the U.K. voted to leave the E.U.
UKIP's leader, Nigel Farage, got boo'd in the European parliament after he predicted other countries would seek to leave as well. Labor leader,
Jeremy Corbyn, is holding firm. He says he will not step down despite losing a confidence vote. So political chaos and turmoil all around.
European leaders are firmly, though, on the same page. They're saying no Brexit talks until the U.K. pulls the trigger on Article 50, as I continue
to struggle to make myself heard.
That of course is the measure that would begin the country's departure from the European Union. Now listen to what Angela Merkel and Donald Tusk said
before today's meeting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLO (through translator): What is important to me is that we only enter into negotiations when Great Britain has declared
its intent to leave. So this is not possible before the request under Article 50 has happened.
DONALD TUSK, EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT: This is the only legal way we have. Everyone should be aware of this fact, which means that we all have
to be patient because there is such a need. Europe is ready to start the divorce process today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. Europe is ready to start the divorce process even today. Donald Tusk is the president of the European Council. Merkel and
Tusk made those remarks ahead of an extraordinary day in Brussels.
It was also an extraordinary day here in London where leaders from across the European Union waded into uncharted political waters. The question
facing them, how do you navigate the U.K.'s exit from the E.U.? How is it actually going to work practically?
CNN's Nic Robertson sent us this report from Brussels.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It was never going to be an easy day, David Cameron facing Europe's leaders, his country having
just kicked sand in their face.
DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I'll be explaining that Britain will be leaving the European, but I want that process to be as constructive
as possible and I hope the outcome can be as constructive as possible.
ROBERTSON: Reality is a messy divorce awaits, and not on terms likely favorable to the U.K.
MATTEO RENZI, ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER: It's impossible to belong to community only with the good things and not with the bad things.
ROBERTSON: Leaders impatient for the divorce papers, Article 50, to be served by the British.
XAVIER BUTTEL, PRIME MINISTER OF LUXEMBURG: It's not complicated. It's all together or not together. It's not one step in, one step out.
ROBERTSON: But one Brit more than ready for the separation.
NIGEL FARAGE, LEADER, UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY: I know that virtually none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives.
ROBERTSON: Brexiteer in chief, Nigel Farage having a last unconstructive throw of the sand.
FARAGE: Why don't we just be pragmatic, sensible, grown-up, realistic, and let's cut between us a sensible tariff-free deal.
[15:05:11]ROBERTSON: And he got a ready right wing echo. Marine Le Pen, France's far right nationalist, telling the European parliament Brexit a
signal for European democracy, umping fears for pro-E.U. leaders, there could be more divorces ahead.
JEANINE HENNIS-PLASSCHAERT, DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTER: It should be a wake-up call to us all. Whether we like it or not, the sentiments of a large part
of the British voters are shared in many other E.U. member states.
ROBERTSON (on camera): For right now, there are still 28 flags, 28 flagstaffs here. But for how long? One for sure seems at the time set to
come down. We just don't know quite when. Nic Robertson, CNN, Brussels, Belgium.
GORANI: Well, it's not every day we can report there were fireworks in the European parliament but today we actually can. You heard in that report
from the UKIP's leader, Nigel Farage, feeling bold and brash, accusing MPs of never really having done a proper job in their lives.
Not everyone appreciated his tone. Watch this from the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN CLAUDE JUNCKER, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Just the last applauding here and to some extent, I'm really surprised that you are here.
You are fighting for the exit. The British people voted in favor of exit. Why are you here?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Intense moments there, Jean Claude Juncker, telling the MEPs from UKIP, those anti-E.U. MEPs, why are you still here? This is the last time
you are going to applaud.
By the way, I need to update you in case you're just joining us, there is quite a sizable demonstration happening beside me here at Westminster,
anti-Brexit, pro-E.U. demonstrators shouting "shame on you," and holding up banners.
And you can see it there, it's extended in front of parliament here. It was a much smaller crowd just a few minutes ago. You're seeing the E.U.
flag, for instance, you're seeing posters showing the faces of Nigel Farage, of Boris Johnson, those politicians that campaigned very hard for
They're screaming and yelling "shame on you." They're singing songs, a modified version of "Hey Jude," instead of "Hey Jude," though, the words
are "Hey E.U."
But around them, though, a ring of police officers has formed to try to contain the crowd and prevent it from spilling out farther into Abingdon
Green opposite the Houses of Parliament.
Another day of major developments. Let's bring in CNN's Richard Quest to break things down. He's live in Brussels at this hour.
We're seeing here behind me these anti anti-Brexit demonstrators, holding up posters, showing Nigel Farage, and screaming out "shame on you" for
having put us in this difficult situation. You spoke to Nigel Farage today, what did he have to say?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN MONEY EDITOR-AT-LARGE: I've just seen Mr. Farage here in one of the bars, sitting having a glass of beer. Remember, he's a
member of the European parliament so it's slightly unusual for him to be in this building, I mean, he's perfectly allowed to be which is the council
building of heads of states and heads of government.
The fact is that he is the one who has led the charge against the so-called European elites, as he sees them. And Hala, whilst you are in Parliament
Square with the protesters, behind me now I'm told that David Cameron up there in the dining rooms.
He is now briefing the other 27 members over dinner about Brexit, his decision to resign, and the timetable as he sees it for Article 50. It's
all over a very pleasant evening meal. However, Nigel Farage certainly has been stirring the pot.
On this question of when the British government should activate Article 50, give formal notice of the intent to leave, and start the two-year clock, I
asked Nigel Farage when he thought it should happen.
QUEST: This hardly endears you to the very people who will have to give consent to an agreement in two years' time if you are rude to them.
FARAGE: They called me all the names under the sun. I just teased them about the fact that they are a bunch, basically bureaucrats who never had a
[15:10:04]QUEST: You don't like them?
FARAGE: They don't like me. It's mutual.
QUEST: And you haven't liked them for how many years?
FARAGE: Almost 17 that I've been here. What they've tried to build a political union without consent. I've been in there to fight against it.
Finally a member state of the union has said we wish to secede. They didn't like it much.
QUEST: You keep talking about the political elite. You keep talking about the establishment. Sir, you're part of it. You've been here for 17 years.
FARAGE: Yes, but I came into it from business. I used to trade in -- I had a proper job once.
QUEST: So how on earth do you have the effrontery to criticize Wall Street, the banks, you criticize big business, when you were part of those
FARAGE: But the markets aren't just operated by big business. Goods markets have small to medium-sized competitors trading in them too. Look,
the actions of Goldman Sachs in cahoots with this European Commission, getting Greece into the Euro and everything else, we need change.
QUEST: Nigel Farage giving a spirited defense. He did say he thought that Article 50 should be activated within the next couple of weeks, Hala. And
nothing is going to happen tonight. No decisions are going to be taken.
But I think what will happen is that the E.U. leaders will want to be reasonably sympathetic to David Cameron, a man who they personally liked
and who -- I mean, he may have launched a disastrous referendum, but fundamentally he's regarded as a good politician and a good man here.
GORANI: All right, we'll see if that relationship changes when the new prime minister is named the head of the Conservative Party. It could be
Boris Johnson. We'll see then.
Now as we've been mentioning, it's been another tumultuous day here in the United Kingdom. Even before the protests behind me broke out, people have
been chanting "We are European," very unhappy with the results of the Brexit referendum.
Now even before any of that happened, Jeremy Corbyn said he will not resign as leader of the Labour Party despite a vote of no confidence against him
by his own MPs, 172 lawmakers said they do not have confidence in Jeremy Corbyn, 40 voted in support of him only. The result is nonbinding, but it
does add pressure on him to step down.
Let's go to our studio in London and speak to Diana Magnay. So he says he will not stand down, but how can he lead his party when such a crushing
majority of the lawmakers in the Houses of Common don't want him there?
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, it shows you how divided the Labour Party is, really, between those in Westminster, the parliamentary
MPs, and the body of people in the country, the members of the Labour Party and the voters of the Labour Party.
And Jeremy Corbyn is saying that he has a Democratic mandate elected by around 60 percent of the Labour members, and therefore he is not going to
step down just because he doesn't have the support of the parliamentary MPs.
But it really does look like a battle of wills. What you're seeing in Westminster is these Labour politicians who feel that Jeremy Corbyn's very
lackluster campaigning in this referendum campaign.
He was on the "remain" side, but really he didn't put much conviction behind it, and I think they blame him for not carrying more of the country
And they feel that should it come to a snap election in the autumn, which is quite possible, Hala, Jeremy Corbyn is not the man to win a labor prime
ministership. He's not going to go without a fight, he says.
He's putting up much more of a fight now than he actually did during the campaign. The trouble is in Westminster there isn't really a very clear
candidate to take over from him and certainly not one who can necessarily unite this very divided party -- on the right side of the party, the more
centrist side of the Labour Party, the MPs and Westminster.
And then a more left wing, old diehard Labour heartlands who don't believe that Westminster really represents them. So you have incredible turmoil
politically at the moment, not just in the Tory leadership, also in the Labour leadership -- Hala.
GORANI: All right, Diana Magnay, as you mentioned, both parties in complete disarray. Behind me, people very unhappy with the results of
Thursday's referendum, saying they are European, and saying to those politicians that led them out of the E.U., "shame on you."
Still to come, markets seem to have stabilized, but have we seen the last of the Brexit-related losses? We are live in New York. We'll be right
GORANI: U.S. stocks have now rebounded a bit after a major selloff wiped a record $3 trillion from global markets on Friday and Monday following the
Brexit vote. Cristina Alesci joins me live now from New York. Just one moment.
I understand we have breaking news out of Istanbul to tell you about here. CNN is reporting that gunshots and an explosion have been heard at
Istanbul's Ataturk Airport. We understand there are multiple injuries. We do not have any further details at this time.
Gunfire and explosions reported according to CNN Turk at the Ataturk International Airport of Istanbul. We will bring you more on this
developing story as information becomes available. This comes on the heels of several attacks in Istanbul and other parts of Turkey that ISIS has
claimed responsibility for.
But in some cases of course they were also Kurdish groups as well. So we will keep you updated on that. Cristina Alesci joins me now live from New
York with the latest on how markets are faring today. Back to that. So we do have a rebound today, is it a return of a sense of confidence or bargain
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a little bit of a breather right now because what's going on is that a lot of smart
investors, many of the ones that I've talked to were really caught off- guard by the vote in favor of Brexit.
As a result of that, they're taking a breather right now and reassessing what this could look like in the shorter term. The immediate reaction was
a long term mindset, what does this mean for the European Union, this is totally unexpected.
Now what investors are doing is they're trying to sort of figure out what this means for U.S. companies, at least that's what we're seeing in the
U.S. marketplace, what does the U.K. exit mean for U.S. companies in the shorter term over the next year or two?
[15:15:00]Also investors are looking to central banks. And they have confidence that in the U.K. were to slip into a recession that the central
banks around the world would step in and kind of buffer the results of that kind of recession.
So for example here in the U.S., investors are betting that the Federal Reserve will now cut interest rates instead of increasing them, which they
were betting on a fed rate increase and not a decrease. So we have also confidence in central banks seeping into the equation here.
GORANI: What about volatility? Because this type of uncertainty, sorry, I keep checking over my shoulder, there's a dozen police officers that
streamed past me as they try to contain the protests at the House of Commons here. What about the volatility, though, because all of this
uncertainty can only lead to ups and downs when there is no real clarity going forward?
ALESCI: That's right. And every time the U.K. and what's going on in the U.K. makes headlines again here in the U.S. surfaces, and whether or not,
you know, they may walk back Brexit just a little bit or renegotiate the terms of the U.K.'s deals with the European Union, all of that will back
impact the market.
Every time we see this resurfacing in the headlines, we'll get some kind of market reaction, because, again, what investors are trying to figure out
is, OK, what does this look like? Does the U.K. have to renegotiate trade deals? Will the pound continue to drop?
All these are factors that will play into investors' decisions. They'll also keep a very close eye on commodity prices because if commodity prices
over the long term continue to fall, that doesn't bode well for economic growth, right?
What this all boils down to is whether the economies around the world, both in the E.U. and here in America, whether or not those economies that have
been really the bedrock of global economic growth continue to grow, right?
We have emerging markets come in and come out of economic growth cycles. But the rest of the world really looks to the European Union and the U.S.
and steady growth from those two regions. And once that's disrupted, that grows everything into question.
GORANI: All right, Cristina Alesci, thanks very much in New York.
I want to update our viewers on that breaking news I told you about a few minutes ago, CNN Turk is reporting several explosions have been heard at
Istanbul's Ataturk airport and also the Interior Ministry is confirming that there have been two explosions and multiple injuries at Istanbul's
Ataturk Airport. We do not have any further details at this time.
But two explosions is what the Interior Ministry is telling us. It appears as though this is now taking shape. This is confirmed, this news, of yet
another attack in Turkey, this one at the airport in Istanbul. We will bring you more details as they become available.
Here at Westminster, passions are running high. We are told, by the way, by an official at the House of Lords, that the police is allowing this
anti-Brexit protest to go ahead. They're simply forming a ring of police around the demonstrators who have been chanting pro-E.U., anti-politician
They're particularly unhappy with Boris Johnson, I won't repeat exactly the term they used. But here you have it, a large demonstration outside
Westminster. That source at the House of Lords who spoke to us said the police hopes that at some point this demonstration will naturally disperse.
They're not doing anything to move people along fearing it will make it worse. Now, as he mentioned, these passions running high as Britain
grapples with the "leave" results in the referendum.
Listen to party of my interview with Tony Blair's former spokesperson, Alistair Campbell, who got very, very passionate earlier today.
ALISTAIR CAMPBELL, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR TONY BLAIR: We've had a referendum in one of the most ill-informed, lying debates that I can ever recall
anywhere in the world. (Inaudible) the last few days. This has been a joke. This referendum is certainly --
GORANI: Are you afraid that now this country will break up? That Scotland will choose to secede?
GORANI: And this is the end really of Great Britain or the United Kingdom?
CAMPBELL: I'm afraid of lots of things. I'm afraid and appalled at the horrible racism that has been unleashed. Every single day I bump into
people saying things have been happening to them, taxi drivers who because they're not white and they're not British, even though lots of them are,
are getting abuse.
There's some horrible stuff on the internet, Manchester yesterday, this black guy on a bus just being abused and taunted.
[15:25:06]Last night on Channel 4, England singing if you ain't Muslims, clap your hands. That has been unleashed by this referendum. Yes, I
complain horrible right wing newspapers that we have in this country.
GORANI: "The Sun?" or --
CAMPBELL: They've been pumping this stuff for months and years. But in the end it only worked because mainstream politicians gave voice to it.
Boris Johnson and Michael Gove (ph) in particular. They should be ashamed. They should utterly ashamed. They should be out there now condemning it
because it is people who supported them who are now doing this.
GORANI: Well, one of those two men might be your next prime minister.
CAMPBELL: Well, if it is the I for one will be utterly ashamed to be British and I will go and live in Scotland where at least you've got decent
people, a pretty strong leader at the helm, and a proper debate going on, unlike the nonsense going on here now with a joke government and a joke
Labour party leadership.
GORANI: All right, there you have it, Alistair Campbell not mincing words. By the way, he is not far from our position here and some of these anti-
Brexit protesters when they saw him emerge, started cheering. You can see Alistair Campbell, the former aide to Prime Minister Tony Blair, extremely
upset at the results, saying that if Boris Johnson becomes prime minister, he'll simply move to Scotland. We'll see if he follows through on that if
that scenario pans out.
Let's bring you more on our breaking news on CNN, as I mentioned earlier, CNN Turk is reporting that several explosions have been heard at Istanbul's
Ataturk Airport. We're hearing from the Interior Ministry as well.
Diana Magnay has been looking into this story in London. Diana, what are we hearing from officials in Turkey about this?
MAGNAY: Well, we know from the Turkish Interior Ministry that there were two explosions confirmed, Hala, and gunfire at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul.
This obviously did not happen long ago. Reuters is quoting a Turkish official as saying that there are multiple injuries. Ataturk is Istanbul's
main international airport. We don't know which terminal it was.
But as I say, just to repeat what we have so far from the Interior Ministry is that there were two explosions and gunfire. Reuters reporting multiple
injuries. We will be keeping you across this, there's a lot coming through on Twitter, but we can't really add more than that at the moment from
But obviously a situation unfolding as we speak at Ataturk Airport in Turkey. Of course, this comes on the heels of several large scale terror
attacks in both Istanbul and in the Turkish capital Ankara, which the government has blamed on the PKK, the separatist party.
We obviously have no idea of the context yet of these explosions at Ataturk. But just to repeat for our viewers who have just joined us, the
Turkish Interior Ministry confirming two explosions and gunfire at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul. We'll be bringing you more when we have
it -- Hala.
GORANI: Right. And certainly for our viewers familiar with Ataturk Airport, this is the main airport in Istanbul. I'm sure many of you have
been there, you've been there, Diana, as well. We're seeing the first pictures coming to us with ambulances rushing past.
This is a fire truck, what looks like a police vehicle, as well rushing to the scene. When we're hearing about multiple injuries and a couple of
explosions, initially we had heard about gunfire. Is this something officials are confirming?
MAGNAY: We have official confirmation both of explosions and gunfire, yes. So what that is, it would suggest that there are bombs and that there are
people on hand with guns. I can't really add to it, but it's clearly from those pictures a very serious situation. And as I said, Reuters reporting
multiple injuries, attributing that to a Turkish official. You see an ambulance racing to the main airport in Istanbul -- Hala.
GORANI: Tell us a little bit about previous attacks in Turkey. There have been some dramatic attacks against civilian targets in Istanbul and in
other parts of Turkey in the last few months.
MAGNAY: Absolutely. In the last few months that the Turkish separatist PKK party has been picking up its campaign, really, against the government
since last summer, there have been a series of attacks, the largest of which was in Ankara, the capital of Ankara a couple of months back.
And this has caused the Turkish government really to ramp up their attacks against the PKK.
[15:30:02] This war that had effectively lying dormant for really quite a few years was revived again with Turkish air strikes against PKK targets,
around the border areas with Syria and the PKK certainly rambling up attacks on civilian targets in Ankara, in Istanbul also.
We of course don't know who is responsible for this latest series of attacks at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport. But we will be working very hard to
get updates from Turkish official sources as and when we can -- Hala.
GORANI: And our terrorism analyst, Peter Bergen, our national security expert, is with us now. Peter, I'm looking at some of these pictures
circulating from inside the airport, we're seeing images of emergency vehicles rush to go the scene, eerily reminiscent of aftermath pictures of
the attack on Brussels airport.
It appears as though clearly, according to officials, at least two explosions. What will be the first sort of thing, the first question --
the first few questions that authorities will be asking here?
Peter Bergen, can you hear me? I'm not sure we have Peter Bergen. I'll try one last time. Peter Bergen? All right. We'll try to dial Peter
So Diana, just back to you now, because again, as I was trying to explain, I'm looking at some of the first pictures from inside. And certainly it is
clear based on the official confirmation, explosions did take place inside the airport, and the first questions authorities will be asking is who is
MAGNAY: Absolutely. And the government certainly has ramped up its campaign against separatist groups, the PKK, who they say were responsible
for explosions earlier this year, one in March in Ankara, where some 30 people were killed. We obviously don't know who is responsible for this.
There's every possibility that it could be the PKK or that it could be ISIS or other terror groups. But clearly we're dealing with a very, very
serious incident here, coordinated explosions at Istanbul's Ataturk airport.
We don't know whether this was at the international terminal, which terminal it was. This is a very major hub. You do have travel warnings in
place about travel to Turkey as a result of these various attacks over the past few months -- Hala.
MAGNAY: All right, Diana. Let me try Peter Bergen again, our national security analyst, if you can hear me. Of course, Turkey has had issues
with PKK attacks, the Kurdish separatists, and also attacks by ISIS. Right now the biggest urgency will be to quickly identify the assailants in this
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST (via telephone): Yes, Hala, often as you know, there is sort of ambiguity about whether it's ISIS or
Kurdish separatists. We see large number of terrorist attacks in Turkey carried by both. I will say that ISIS has targeted the Brussels airport
And of course, also the Metro Jet airliner that left the Sinai airport in October, killing 224 people. The largest attack on commercial aviation
since 9/11. Certainly major hubs of commercial aviation is something ISIS has had an interest in.
As you know, we're in the holy month of Ramadan. ISIS has called for attacks during this month. But that said, Kurdish separatists have
continued to carry out major terrorist attacks in Turkey. Those are the two most likely culprits here and often there isn't a very definitive
answer to this question until several days after the event.
GORANI: Sure. But an attack on an airport, we don't know, by the way, if this was hand grenades, if this was a suicide attack. We're not exactly
sure if the assailants got away. We do know, however that there were two explosions. What do you make of the target itself?
BERGEN: Well, I think that, you know, I mean, obviously civil, commercial aviation is sort of the holy grail of Jihadi terrorist groups, typically.
And ISIS has certainly carried out successful attacks in Egypt, and then of course also in Brussels.
[15:35:02]ISIS has the ability to attack in Turkey pretty much at will. We've seen major terrorist attacks. Another important thing to emphasize,
Hala, ISIS is very unhappy about the Turks right now giving access to other countries to use Turkish soil to conduct attacks on ISIS positions, for
instance American flights.
And also because Turkey has really started to crack down on the foreign fighters coming into Turkey, going to Syria. ISIS's own propaganda in the
last year or so has been emphasizing that the Turkish government and intelligence has damped down the number of foreign fighters coming from
around the Muslim world through Turkey.
ISIS has a particular grudge against Turkey that it's developed over the last year or so. With that said, the Kurds, of course, have been fighting
a domestic insurgency against the Turkish government now for many decades. Both of these groups have a strong motivation.
GORANI: Peter Bergen, thanks very much.
We're here at Westminster where there's a big demonstration behind me. I'm going to hand over our coverage of these attacks at Istanbul airports to my
colleagues at CNN USA.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: -- intense I have to say and it's not clear quite exactly where these explosions, if
indeed they were bomb blasts, still very early information at this particular stage, where precisely they went off. Some of the social media
pictures we're seeing seem to suggest damage that permeated far enough inside the actual waiting area itself where people would normally check in.
But this comes at an extraordinarily dangerous time in Turkey's history, a very high profile target, as I say, if it was indeed a terrorist attack.
As Ivan was mentioning, there are two potential candidates here.
I have to say the Kurds, who are one of the two, tend normally to focus more on military or police targets. That hasn't always been the case, they
have hit civilian targets quite callously in the past months.
But besides from that too, we are on a day which is of strategic significance for ISIS under intense pressure like they've never seen
before, territory, according to U.S. officials, now taken from them.
This is the second anniversary of the declaration of their so-called caliphate. So a day of symbolism for them. We have no idea what has
really happened in all honesty at Ataturk Airport the moment apart from multiple injuries from two explosions and reports as well of potentially of
gunfire following that too.
But a very chilling moment I think for the many people who travel through Istanbul, despite Turkey's complex past few years, still a huge
cosmopolitan, vibrant city, many Syrians there, many international parts of the community there as well.
And Ataturk Airport absolutely the hub of that. I have to say when I heard this myself, you know, a real chill went through, you realizing the sheer
of volume of people who go through an airport like that -- Pamela.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: So many people, I mean, as we heard, it's the third biggest airport in Europe. But David Rohde, I want to bring you, CNN
global affairs analyst, just to get your view and the significance of an airport like this that was supposed to be so secure being hit. We don't
know the specifics. We don't know if terrorism was behind this. But what is your take so far, David?
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: It is a very high profile target and a very well protected one. This is a setback for the Turkish
government that this has happened. You know, that there are warnings about this type of attack for years from the Kurds but particularly from ISIS.
And the big fear in Turkey has been that, you know, it could be Islamic state, that they have so many fighters that are part of their territory.
And it seems almost like Islamic State has held back from carrying out attacks.
They've been slowly increasing. So if this is ISIS, it's sort of a new chapter in Turkey and more of a direct challenge to President Erdogan and
the Turkish state.
BROWN: Again, as we wait to hear the facts, I just asked Bob Baer this question too, as we watched this in the United States, why should people
here in the U.S. be paying attention to what is unfolding at the Istanbul airport right now, David?
ROHDE: Well, as you mentioned, it's the third largest airport in Europe, Turkey is a NATO ally. There's been disagreements between the Obama
administration and the current Turkish government. But Turkey has long been seen as one of the most moderate Islamic nations in the Islamic world
and a real growing, vibrant economy.
There's been ups and downs in the relationship, tensions between Israel and Turkey. This is a very modern city, one of the most modern in the world.
Turkey has a huge middle class. If the conflict in Syria is now -- we don't know who did this, we have no idea of the numbers of injuries.
I don't want to exaggerate what's happened. But if Turkey becomes more unstable, that's a sort of much more dramatic shift in the war in Syria and
the spread of ISIS. And we really have not seen, again, this kind of attack in Turkey at such a high profile target so far. But again, let's
wait and see what comes with the details.
[15:40:10]BROWN: Yes, we are waiting for that. Just to clarify, you said this would mark a more dramatic shift. In what way, David, just to make
sure what you're saying there?
ROHDE: Again, I apologize, it is so early, but if this is the Islamic State, there has been a sense they have not gone that aggressively at the
Turkish government and at Turkish security forces, that they've used Turkey as a base to operate through.
That fighters that have moved back into Europe have been able to transit Turkey, and they've decided not to confront Turkey because they need to
sort of operate there without a real effort by Turkey to crush their activities.
If this signals a change in strategy by ISIS to attack, you know, one of the most high profile targets in the country, Istanbul's international
airport. That would be a major change. We don't know what this is. If it does represent that change, that's a very serious issue.
BROWN: All right, Nick Paton Walsh has some developments for us -- Nick.
WALSH: Nothing particularly major, I have to be honest, but we are seeing a tweet from the Turkish state news agency saying that a large number of
police and medical staff have gone to the scene of that particular area. We don't know at this stage anything about what level the multiple injuries
are at, but the volume, it seems, of personnel being dispatched would be an indication that something grave has occurred here.
I would point out what David is saying too, we are at such an early stage, pointing at culprits goes beyond the stage of speculation. But ISIS is at
a very key point here, one of their main towns they use as a transit hub from areas they control inside Northern Syria into Southern Turkey.
Whereas he points out, they have been comparatively calm in terms of taking on the Turkish government to increasingly put pressure upon them. One of
the main transit points is a town (inaudible) and that has been under intense pressure from Kurdish forces working with some support too.
That impression has increased. It's vital for ISIS because it is their main route out of Northern Syria into Southern Turkey that they use.
Pretty much actually their only real route left to the outside world, many argue. It's under greater pressure.
And I think possibly, if we end up seeing a situation where ISIS are blamed for this or claim responsibility, people may look at that increased
pressure as perhaps the turning point where they decide to target Turkish facilities directly. But it is far too early at this stage.
At this moment, all we know of is two explosions, many injured, and according to the Turkish state news agency, a large number of police and
medical staff on the way to the scene, semi-official news agency, I should say.
A very tragic moment, though, for the region to see something like this caught in explosion to this degree. The social media pictures emerging do
seem to show substantial damage inside the terminal. We simply don't know exactly where these blasts were, who caused them, what the nature of them
This level security at that airport might make you think they would have been initiated before people got inside the main check-in area, because of
the number of x-rays you have to go through in order to get in, very stringently enforced, because of the volume of scrutiny and pressure Turkey
is currently under right now when it comes to terrorism.
BROWN: We're seeing some of that personnel from the ambulances coming into the airport. I want to bring in Andrew Finchel, freelance journalist
inside Istanbul. Set the stage for us, Andrew, what are you learning?
ANDREW FINCHEL, FREELANCE JOURNALIST (via telephone): There appear to have been two major explosions at Istanbul's main airport, one inside the
Terminal 1. Outside the terminal, we know that there have been people injured. There are ambulances ferrying the injured to hospitals.
The taxis are outside, instead of taking tourists to their hotels, they're taking wounded people to the hospital. We believe at least one or two
people have died in this explosion. We don't know the numbers exactly yet. We also know there was gunfire and so we might expect even more casualties.
BROWN: And I imagine, Andrew, as a freelance journalist in Istanbul, you have gone through this airport many times. What is the significance of
this airport, which many consider one of the safe places to be in the city, for it to be hit? What is the significance of that?
FINCHEL: It's one of the busiest airports in the world. The national carrier that ferries people from -- it's become an international hub taking
people from all over the world to all over the world. Many people don't even get out of the terminal. It's a very, very business place.
It's been less busy of late because there have been incidents like this in the city previously, and that has put off many casual tourists from coming
to Istanbul and Turkey. Turkey is having a very bad season.
[15:45:04]But this is a very big airport, a secure airport. You have to go through external checks to get into the airport. Once inside the airport,
you have to go through additional checks to enter the plane. So it's not an airport which takes safety or security lightly.
But indeed it may have turned out, there is an initial report suggesting that the perpetrators were spotted and may have set off their explosions
BROWN: And I want to bring in Ivan Watson again, if you would stand by, Andrew, just to get some context on the timing of this and what that might
mean, Ivan, as we try to learn more about who was behind this.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hard to tell right now. It is the Muslim holy month of Ramadan right now. Don't know if that
would figure in somehow. But you also have to look at the uptick of violence of bombings that had been hitting Istanbul alone just within the
You had in June 7th, 12 people killed when there was a bombing hitting a police bus in Istanbul just a couple of miles from the airport, where this
latest violence seems to have taken place. In March, you had a suicide bombing on one of the busiest pedestrian thoroughfares in the city, which
appear to have targeted foreign tourists there.
In January you had another suicide bombing in one of the busiest tourist districts, the old city in Istanbul. There has been an increase of
violence taking place in Istanbul alone. And some of it has been attributed to is, which is just across the border from Turkey, its long
border with Syria.
Turkey has been rounding up suspected members of ISIS for more than a year now and has been participating in attacks against ISIS in Syria. And then
simultaneously you have the fact that the war between Turkey and its largest ethnic minority, the Kurds, who make up some 20 percent of the
population, that that 30-year war has dramatically intensified over the course of the last year.
The Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK has traditionally targeted the security forces, police, army, whoever is behind whatever took place at Istanbul
airport, and again the initial images that we're seeing on social media, it does look like something quite serious that has happened there, in a well-
protected and incredibly frequently traveled international gateway to Turkey's largest city.
Whatever has happened there it will once again puncture both the tourism industry that Turkey relies on a great deal for its economy, and the
position that the government has taken in which it is fighting a war on two fronts against two well-armed and very well mobilized and motivated
essentially terrorist organizations.
BROWN: We have just confirmed, Ivan, that this attack was at the international terminal. What can you tell us about security there?
WATSON: OK. For people who are trying to enter the airport compound, there is an initial kind of checkpoint that you have to travel through by
vehicle, which is manned by police officers holding basically sub-automatic rifles. They do a cursory check.
At the entrance to the international terminal where taxis are depositing travelers and so on, at every entrance people have to go through a range of
metal detectors manned by police officers holding basically sub-automatic rifles so they do a kind of cursory check.
Now at the entrance to the international terminal where taxis are depositing travelers and so on, at every entrance, people have to go
through a ring of metal detectors that are manned both police officers as well as by kind of private security guards as well.
So you have to take off your belt, your watch, pull your laptop out and put your suitcases through metal detectors. I have probably traveled hundreds
of times through this airport, and I have never heard of an incident quite on the scale of what we're seeing here in the first images emerging from
Istanbul Ataturk Airport.
It is incredibly busy. Turkish Airlines, the state airline, has grown substantially over the course of the past decade, extending across Africa
to South America. It is a very busy airline in its own right.
And the government in Turkey has been building, controversially, a third airport in Istanbul because of what is described as overcrowding in
If you're even trying to transit through this airport, the lines back up for a half hour or more, just to go through security to go to another part
of the airport.
[15:50:01]Turkey is dealing with very serious security threats right now, because it borders Syria, and Syria is such a mess. And millions of
refugees from Syria have been living in Turkey now for years. And the conflicts in Syria have been erupting in Turkey with ISIS carrying out
murders of Syrian activists who don't like ISIS in Turkish cities.
And of course, the war against the Kurdish group, the Kurdistan Workers Party, which is listed by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, that war
has also dramatically increased. We've seen a number of PKK-linked bombings taking place in Istanbul alone over the course of the last year --
BROWN: I want to bring in Rafi Ron. He joins us now. He used to actually run the airport security in Tel-Aviv. Rafi, you know this particular
airport well, tell us about the departure area where this attack took place.
RAFI RON, FORMER DIRECTOR OF SECURITY, BEN-GURION AIRPORT (via telephone): Unlike most airports that we have here in North America or in Western
Europe, the airport in Istanbul is protected by a checkpoint at the entrance to the terminal, where the security personnel ask you to put your
bags onto a large screening table.
It looks like an industrial process. It turns out, as we've seen today, if the information we have is correct, then the explosion occurred inside, is
that despite those measures, somebody was able to deliver a device into the terminal.
Once you are inside the terminal, it looks very much like any other terminal that we know. But a very important comment has to be made here,
is that the Istanbul airport is a hub airport that connects a lot of time flights from all over the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe.
Even as far as the U.S. so you get huge traffic, passengers and non- passengers, at the airport, in the terminal. The terminal is relatively very crowded during peak hours and the security conditions there are really
difficult to control.
BROWN: OK. I want to bring in David Rohde now. As we see this play out, certainly Turkey's proximity to Syria raises the risk of terrorist attacks,
but something similar happened in Belgium not long ago. What's stopping this from happening in an airport in the United States where there are
areas that are not as protected?
ROHDE: Well, it's a very different situation in Turkey. I think Ivan mentioned earlier that there are a million or more refugees from Syria
inside Turkey there's very little control of that border. So, you know, it's a much more different situation.
I don't see this as exemplifying a larger threat in the United States. It's more an issue for Turkey and Ivan and Nick said this. I think for the
government of President Erdogan, he's chosen to sort of confront ISIS at the same time it is confronting this long-running Kurdish insurgency that's
(inaudible) level of violence that hasn't been seen for many years in Turkey.
This is an issue in the United States in terms of it being a NATO ally. It's an issue in terms of the strength and instability of Erdogan's
government has he bit off more than he can chew, which of these two groups carried out this attack, and will there be more attacks.
The tactic is of concern because it's a large number of ambulances, I'm just watching the video like everyone else. If they were able to get in
where there was a large line of people that would be similar to the Brussels attack.
Again, I think that airports in the United States and just the control of the people that are entering the United States is much, much stronger than
what exists in Turkey today.
BROWN: All right, Ivan Watson, I want to bring you back in because you have some news for us, is that right?
WATSON: That's right. Our team on the ground in Istanbul, our producer has been speaking with a Turkish official who has described what he says
happened, that police in the airport fired shots at suspects, at the x-ray, the metal detectors at the entrance to the international departures hall.
And the two suspects, according to an unnamed Turkish official speaking to our producer here on the ground in Istanbul, blew themselves up, detonated,
effectively, suicide bombs there. This would have taken place shortly after 10:00 local time, 10:00 p.m. in Istanbul, in Turkey.
[15:55:09]So again, a Turkish official telling CNN that it appears that police fired at two suspects who then detonated two separate explosive
devices outside the first perimeter, the first perimeter of security to the entrance of the international arrivals hall at Istanbul's Ataturk
International Airport. That's the latest from the ground in Istanbul. And we'll bring you up to date with more as we get it -- Pamela.
BROWN: Very troubling to hear that. Rafi, hearing that two people blew themselves up there and then there was some exchange of gunfire, what is
your analysis on that?
RON: Well, I think it indicates that the Turkish security plan actually worked this time, and probably saved a lot of lives. Because if the
information is accurate and that explosion occurred at the checkpoint at the door of the terminal, that's probably the place where fewer casualties
may result in comparison to an attack inside the terminal, which is usually much more crowded.
And also have the effect of a close volume suffering from an explosion. So I would say that the -- if this has forced the terrorists to blow
themselves up on the outside, that's a -- that shows that to some extent it worked.
But once again, as we are learning from the coming news, there is still a large number of casualties. We still have to wait until we get more
information about that.
BROWN: OK. We're actually just getting some detailed information from the Turkish justice minister who says ten people have died in this attack at
the Istanbul airport, at least ten people have died. Other injuries as well we know about, as we learned that two people blew themselves up right
in the departure area.
There were security guards who exchanged gunfire with the two people. Rafi, you heard David Rhodes say the U.S. and its airports doesn't face the
same threat of someone coming in and launching a similar attack or the same kind of risk as perhaps Turkey does. What is your take on it? What risk
does it U.S. have in this particular matter?
RON: I accept the conclusion that the threat in America is nowhere. But at the same time, we have to understand the vulnerability to such attacks
in our airports is also higher. The Istanbul airport, as everybody knows, there's been much better protection.
In spite of that, we had this type of attack. In light of what happened in Orlando, just take that scenario and shift it to the airport. And that's
where I agree with the conclusion that we can feel safe.
BROWN: All right, David Rohde, I want to give you the final word, learning there are two people who blew themselves up right in the departure area of
Istanbul airport, the third largest airport in Europe, David.
ROHDE: Again, it all depends who did it. If it is the Islamic State, it's a dangerous development. We should wait for more details. What Ivan
described matches what we heard from our sources at Reuters, that there was gunfire before the explosion. So, you know, ten being dead is a tragedy.
It appears it could have been worse, at least it might have been stopped sooner than it happened. Again, if it is ISIS, and this is the beginning
of some sort of campaign in Turkey, that's a very worrying development.
BROWN: Certainly. Thank you so much, Martin, for bringing us the latest and your analysis on this. Again, an attack at the Istanbul airport, ten
people killed at least, according to the Turkish justice minister. Special coverage continues now with my colleague Jake Tapper in Washington.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. We have breaking news in our World Lead today, and it is
bad news. Sirens blaring, confusion, complete chaos as a terrorist attack rocks Istanbul's Ataturk Airport today.