Return to Transcripts main page
Dozens Killed in Istanbul Airport Attack; Northern Ireland Voted to Remain in E.U.; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired June 29, 2016 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: a day of mourning in Turkey after a suicide bombing at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, killing at
least 41 people. The country's prime minister blames ISIS.
So how can their terror be stopped?
Also ahead: a disastrous outcome, the deputy first minister of Northern Ireland on Brexit and why he is calling for a united Ireland.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN MCGUINNESS, IRISH DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER: I think there is a considerable amount of anger across the community in the north of Ireland
at the decision that had been made mostly by people in England to effectively drag us out of the European Union.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Turkey is in mourning again after three suicide bombers with guns attacked Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, the busiest one in the country; 41 people are
dead and hundreds more are injured.
Surveillance cameras captured disturbing video like this one, showing the terrifying moment when one bomber blew himself up. Turkish officials say
signs point to ISIS and U.S. President Barack Obama reacted by vowing to defeat the extremist group.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's an indication of how little these vicious organizations have to offer, that, beyond killing
innocents, they are continually losing ground, unable to govern those areas that they have taken over, that they are going to be defeated in Syria;
they're going to be defeated in Iraq. They are going to be on the run, wherever they hide. And we will not rest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But they're still a force. And we're going now to our Nima Elbagir at Ataturk Airport.
Nima, can I just first start by asking you, you were there for the Brussels attack, too. And there are a lot of similarities in terms of the target,
in terms of how the terrorists got to the airport.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, a chilling similarity that is the exact same M.O. You had gunmen wearing suicide vests, targeting a
vulnerable area of congregation just before the security parameter began.
So they start a little bit further back from us but they managed to shoot their way after detonating that first explosive through the sliding doors,
where you can see -- this is where the security line begins. This is where the security check-in begins. So very similarly to the way that those --
also three attackers in Brussels forced their way in; one of them was even wearing a coat which sparked the suspicions of authorities.
And you'll remember the infamous man in the white coat from the CCTV pictures.
Then, when they went in, again, a very sophisticated attack. They used the mayhem created by that first detonation to move further and deeper into the
airport, where there were more vulnerable congregations of people.
And just the stories we've been hearing, Christiane, they bring back so many of those awful, awful memories. One woman described the havoc that
was wrought by the falling shattered ceiling tiles and having to slip and slide on blood-soaked tiles. Again, exactly what we heard in Brussels.
What we're hearing from intelligence officials is that mirroring, they believe, is intentional and that's why -- that's one of the main reasons
they think that this bears all the hallmarks of ISIS.
AMANPOUR: And Nima and, yet, you have been watching them clear up. The airport is working again.
It's quite different in sort of the aftermath, right?
ELBAGIR: Yes. This was a very quick cleanup. And this is a very different airport. It is much more secure than Brussels. And the security
parameter is much further out. So this was a lot more difficult and yet a lot more successful than what they managed to do in Brussels.
But you have seen people stream behind me. This doesn't just feel like a normal day in the life of an airport. This feels like a very busy, very
normal airport. And the sad reality is, Istanbul has reeled from so many terror attacks in the last few months that they have unfortunately become
expert almost in patching back those ragged edges of --
ELBAGIR: -- normality. And it is also politically intentional. Erdogan, President Erdogan, after every attack, wants to show the Turkish public and
the wider world, OK, this happened; but we are not on our knees, we're getting our lives together, we are fighting back.
And fighting back here in Turkey today means normality -- Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Do you have any idea how they managed to get through in a taxi?
Apparently the guy was arrested and questioned, the taxi driver. But there is a lot of security.
Any clues as to how they managed to get through?
ELBAGIR: Well, this was the weaker end of the parameter.
And these are the questions that are now being asked, how wide does that security parameter in airports have to start?
Because you drive through and, at the initial checkpoint, cars are only stopped if they trigger intense suspicion. And this car, these
individuals, clearly didn't, sadly, unfortunately.
It's only when you get past the dropoff point which is where they detonated the first explosive, then you finally come to a solid security parameter.
They did their homework, Christiane. Everyone I've spoken to calls this an incredibly sophisticated attack.
AMANPOUR: Well, it seems so. And a huge loss of life.
Nima, thank you from Ataturk Airport there in Istanbul.
And of course, it was the 14th attack in recent months in Turkey. And they've had a huge spate of terrorist attacks.
What does it say about security?
How will the Turkish state react?
Joining me now from Istanbul is Akin Unver. He's the assistant professor of international relations at Kadir Has University.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Unver, welcome to the program.
First and foremost, the security, that's a problem. People there with guns. They came in in a taxi and they managed to get through at a time
when we know that these terrorists are threatening airports.
AKIN UNVER, KADIR HAS UNIVERSITY: Yes, exactly. And I think this is quite problematic in terms of Ataturk Airport being one of the most secure
airports in the world.
First, you have an initial pre-check-in security measure screening. Then you have another one after the check-in. And sometimes with flights to the
United States or United Kingdom you have a third layer of security, another screening before boarding.
And in a lot of times, this actually frustrates a lot of people and people actually say that this is too much security.
Now to the best of my knowledge, the only airport in the world which has a fourth layer of security is Ben-Gurion airport, which essentially monitors
cars. There is a pre-entry into the airport screening.
Other than that, if this kind of an attack took place in Europe, for example, I'm afraid the casualties would have been much higher.
AMANPOUR: Ben-Gurion, of course, is the airport in Tel Aviv in Israel.
You say you think the casualties would have been much higher had it been elsewhere and you've tweeted, though, about this one.
"Victims, almost all Muslims. Given this was a planned attack, attackers didn't even go for Western Europeans."
Tell me what you got from that.
UNVER: Basically, in order to carry out this attack you have to monitor everything quite carefully.
And a lot of analysts are actually, sadly, stating that a lot of ISIS members, you know, foreign fighters who flew in from abroad, they actually
know Ataturk Airport quite well because they have been there a lot of times.
So the attack suggests that this was actually planned, studied for quite a while. They knew which way they had to go in from, they knew which way to
run, essentially. They knew what kind of security existed at which part of the airport.
And this basically suggests that they knew what kind of a sociology, what kind of a group they were attacking against. And --
So why go for them, then?
Why go for that group rather than tourists and Westerners?
UNVER: That's a very good question. Any answer to that would be highly speculative at that point.
UNVER: But when you look at the list of the deceased, there is only one Ukrainian. Otherwise, all of the dead people are all Muslims.
AMANPOUR: So how is the Turkish state going to react, do you think?
Because two things, the prime minister has blamed ISIS, even though there has not been a claim of responsibility as far as we know yet.
And also the prime minister gave a press conference not long ago, in which he said, regardless of who it was, ISIS or PKK, there shouldn't be any
discrimination because there is no such thing as a good or bad terrorist.
Where do you think the --
AMANPOUR: -- government is coming down on who is to blame and how will they react?
UNVER: I think they're first studying attack types. There is a particular attack type specific to the PKK and another attack type specific to the
ISIS. Both groups use suicide bombers in different ways. And basically, the use of machine guns, killing people and detonating oneself when you
basically have no other choice, looks more ISIS than the PKK at this point.
But the prime minister himself told that we need about two days to properly confirm.
Essentially the literature on terrorism study actually says that terrorist organizations don't really claim attacks if there is substantial civilian
casualties because civilian casualty is a very sensitive issue.
And when there is a substantial civilian casualty then there is higher tendency to not claim those attacks.
So at this point, this is the only, you know, measure that we have. And based on what kind of investigation that there is going to go in the next
two days and if there is ISIS, then we can expect more and more concrete Turkish response against ISIS.
AMANPOUR: Well, interesting. First of all, the CIA in the last couple of seconds has come in and said it bears all the hallmarks of ISIS. Really
interesting that you say ISIS people really know this airport because that airport is the gateway from the West and elsewhere into Syria.
Turkey has been reluctant to join the fight against ISIS because it wants to go after Assad as well.
So what happens?
Does anything change now in terms of the Turkish response?
UNVER: I do think that there is going to be a change because one of the reasons why previous prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu was forced to end his
tenure was because of the foreign policy identity that was associated with him.
Now apparently Turkey wants to open a new chapter in its foreign policy and fundamentally change things.
This may mean that Turkey would drop its insistence on regime change in Syria and, instead, focus on more pressing issues domestically, such as a
very large number of ISIS cells or what to do with the Kurds in the southeast.
So I think there is a change in focus right now, away from foreign policy adventures and more into maintaining security and order within.
AMANPOUR: Akin Unver, thank you very much. And you raise that point at a time when President Erdogan is reestablishing relationships with President
Putin. And obviously he has his own views about the way things are in Syria.
Mr. Unver, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
And coming up, the U.K.'s continuing crisis: first Scotland, now Northern Ireland. It voted firmly to stay in the E.U.
So will it become another part of the United Kingdom to want a separation?
I speak to Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness about an Ireland with one foot in and one foot out of the European Union. That's after a break.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
As the renowned Anglo-Irish poet, W.B. Yeats, once --
AMANPOUR: -- famously wrote, "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world."
They are words from 100 years ago but they're words which are taking on a whole new meaning following the United Kingdom's decision to leave the
E.U., a move which could see both fall apart.
In Northern Ireland and Scotland, the majority of people voted to remain inside the E.U. And today the Scottish national leader, Nicola Sturgeon,
went to Brussels to try to find a way of staying in.
Northern Ireland's deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, wants the same. He is calling for a referendum on Northern Ireland leaving the U.K.
to reunite with Ireland and stay in the E.U., as he told me in this exclusive interview.
AMANPOUR: Martin McGuinness, welcome to the program.
MCGUINNESS: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: So Northern Ireland voted to stay in the E.U. And you and other ministers have been having discussions today at Stormont about the future,
now that this Brexit has happened. Tell me about your discussions.
And where is it going to lead for Northern Ireland?
MCGUINNESS: Our position in Sinn Fein is that the people of the north of Ireland voted by 56 percent to 44 percent to remain in Europe.
We believe that that's the democratically expressed wish of Unionists, Nationalists and Republicans to remain in Europe.
And we are very concerned at the decision that has been made, mostly in England, driven by a mentality of Little Englanders and the extreme right-
wing of the Conservative Party to effectively attempt to drag us out of Europe against our wishes.
AMANPOUR: So where is that going to lead?
Because you correctly say that 56 percent of Northern Ireland voted to stay in.
We have heard -- or rather we have seen on Twitter today -- that one of the Unionist MPs, Ian Paisley Jr., has been, he says, signing people's passport
applications for the Republic of Ireland.
You know, it's like politics have been turned on their head.
Do you believe that you would have cross-community, you know, cross-politic support for a majority to vote in a referendum?
MCGUINNESS: Well, it was quite clear from the vote that took place in the north of Ireland that the majority of people voted to remain in Europe.
And they were people from cross-community, people from the pro-British community and from the pro-Irish community.
And we now find ourselves in the very difficult situation, where this disastrous result in England, which was very ill-thought-out from the get-
go in terms of the holding of the referendum, under pressure from racists within UKIP and the extreme right wing of the Tory Party, has effectively
brought about very profound implications for us in the north and for Scotland, who, like us, have voted overwhelmingly to remain in Europe.
The consequences of this for us are very, very wide-ranging, both in terms of our politics, in terms of social interaction and also in terms of our
economy and the ability to attract foreign direct investment, without even mentioning the huge barriers that may be introduced, not least in terms of
the economic situation and trading between north and south and between the island of Ireland and Europe but also in terms of what is now I think a
very strong belief that we could see, much to the considerable anger of many people on the island of Ireland, a hard border of checkpoints right
across from County Loth to County Donegal.
And that coupled with the prospect of a new British government, further to the right even of David Cameron, which are also intent on removing things
like the Human Rights Act, that leaves us all in a very, very difficult position.
Our position in Sinn Fein is that we see our future in Europe and we believe that there is a responsibility on the British government and on the
powers that be within Europe to respect the democratically expressed wishes of the people of the north of Ireland.
AMANPOUR: The secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers, who herself was a Leaver -- I mean, she wanted Britain out of the E.U. --
she has said that, too bad. I mean, this is a referendum. This was the United Kingdom and there is no constitutional or any other, you know,
legalities upon which to actually do anything about it.
Plus, if you were to want a referendum or a vote to join the Republic of Ireland, I think she says that it would be up to her to grant that
permission, that authority.
MCGUINNESS: Well, there is a provision within the Good Friday Agreement --
MCGUINNESS: -- for what is described as a border pull. We in Sinn Fein, we are a United Ireland party. We want to see the reunification of
And I think our case for a poll to decide on whether or not we remain part of what they call the United Kingdom or going to a united Ireland, I think
our argument has been strengthened by the outcome of the vote in the course of the last week, where clearly a majority of people in the north want to
remain in Europe and want to retain and even strengthen our links with the rest of Ireland.
AMANPOUR: What about the actual challenge to the peace process itself?
In other words, could there be, do you fear, any outbreak of -- I mean, not open hostilities or -- I don't know.
What do you expect in that regard?
MCGUINNESS: Well, I believe that the peace process is very strong. And the people of Ireland have overwhelmingly supported this peace process over
the course of the last two decades.
And of course we, in the political process, have a duty and a responsibility to stand together against those tiny elements that are out
there, that are still committed to try to drag us back to the past.
I don't believe that they have the capability to do that. But I do think that some of these groups will attempt to seize on whatever negative
developments could come from an exit from Europe.
For example, you mentioned the -- and I mentioned the issue of whether or not there would be checkpoints between north and south, not just in terms
of to check customs, trading across borders, but also to check for the -- what was a major issue, was on the debate in England, the whole issue of
AMANPOUR: The queen of England was in Northern Ireland. You met her. There is lovely pictures of you shaking hands and lots of reports of some
pithy comments. You asked her how she was.
And she -- how did she reply?
MCGUINNESS: Well, she said that she was still alive --
MCGUINNESS: -- which has brought considerable amusement to many people, given that she is 90 years of age and, I have to say, a very healthy and
very sharp 90-year old, someone who clearly has all of her faculties and who was quite good-humored in front of the cameras in relation to that
But she is someone who I believe has made an important contribution to peace and to reconciliation. And I value very much the contribution that
she has made.
AMANPOUR: Mr. McGuinness, some people like to say that she was maybe doing like an indirect dig, given that she was on the list of targets during The
Do you think that?
MCGUINNESS: No, I don't think that for one minute. I think that -- I have met Queen Elizabeth now on quite a number of occasions and I think we have
a very, very good, respectful relationship.
She had many reasons not to meet me in the first instance. I had many reasons also not to meet with her.
But I think, against a backdrop of the work of peace and the work of reconciliation, the fact that both of us are prepared to, I think, set an
example to many people throughout the island of Ireland and, indeed, throughout the world, I think that sends a very powerful message.
No, I don't think for one minute she was in any way attempting that. That's not the sort of person that she is.
AMANPOUR: Well, did she tell you how she felt about the Brexit vote?
Did you discuss that?
MCGUINNESS: We discussed many things but there is a protocol that you don't disclose conversations with Queen Elizabeth. I wouldn't want to,
under any circumstances, break that protocol.
AMANPOUR: I was trying my best to get it out of you.
Martin McGuinness, thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight.
MCGUINNESS: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: And when we come back, imagine a country embracing tolerance against pockets of post-Brexit ugliness. Britain's exit has people rushing
to the barricades. That's next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world reclaiming its voice of tolerance.
As post-Brexit chaos consumes Britain, perhaps one little silver lining can be taken from the country's renewed democratic vigor.
Just last night, thousands of young people flocked to Trafalgar Square and Westminster to demonstrate in favor of the E.U., showing enthusiasm for a
united Europe that was sorely missing from their turnout on voting day.
Because while 18- to 24-year olds may have voted overwhelmingly for Remain, 75 percent of them, only 36 percent of the youngest voters actually turned
up to vote. And it was a decision that, of course, would shape their future.
Now that the sobering reality is sinking in, it's creating a political reawakening -- and not just for the young.
In response to rise in post-Brexit hate crimes and racial abuse, a recommitment to some tolerance. Yesterday, we told you of the roses being
handed out to migrants in Bristol.
Now a new campaign is gathering some momentum, thousands pledging to wear safety pins and show solidarity with migrants from the E.U. and beyond.
So those who worry about the beginning of the end of the United Kingdom can take comfort perhaps that it's perhaps the beginning of the end of apathy
That's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and
Twitter. Thanks for watching and good night from London.