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CONNECT THE WORLD
At Least 39 Dead in Shooting Attack in Instanbul; Trump Fans in Iraqi Kurdistan; North Korea Issues Nuclear New Year's Day Message. 10:00a- 10:30a ET
Aired January 1, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:14] ZAIN ASHER, HOST: Grief in Turkey as the new year starts with a vicious terror attack on revelers. We are live from Istanbul in just a
moment as starts with a vicious terror attack as the city copes with the latest carnage.
Also ahead, a queen laying low due to a common cold. Buckingham Palace says that Britain's monarch is still too ill to attend church. We'll have
the details from London ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is baby Trump. Trump Hassan Jamil (ph) to be precise, born in Iraqi Kurdistan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Tributes to Trump in very unlikely quarters. We hear from admirers of the future U.S. president in Iraq.
Hello, everyone. I'm Zain Asher. Happy New Year to all of you. Welcome to Connect the World.
Turkey's president says the shooter who stormed an Instanbul club was trying to cause chaos. He's urging the country to stay calm and a manhunt
is now under way. Police are reportedly shooting for a lone gunman. This video, this video you're looking at right here, actually shows the attacker
walking as he made his way inside. We now know that at least 39 people who were killed behind those closed doors inside that club and we know that
dozens more were wounded.
CNN's Ian Lee has more from Istanbul.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got shot in the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) leg, man. It's crazy. I don't know, I saw one person. They're shooting. I'm hiding.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than 3 dozen killed, many more wounded in a nightclub attack early Sunday. The assailant opened fire
during a New Year's celebration. The governor of Istanbul province saying the gunman entered the club and attacked innocent people, calling it a
cruel, cold blooded act. Turkey is still recovering from a recent wave of terrorist attacks that left many citizens weary.
DR. AYKAN ERDEMIR, FORMER TURKISH PM: This attack is, of course, a horrible development but not shocking to many Turks who chose to stay inside this
New Year's Eve.
LEE: Officials say the attacker shot and killed a police officer guarding the front gate. A security camera captured the moment the gunman dressed in
dark clothing dashed into the nightclub as bullets ricochet in the street. More than a dozen of the dead are foreign nationals. There have been no
claims of responsibility. The fate of the attacker also unclear.
Turkey faces numerous battles across different fronts. Not only has the Syrian conflict and refugee crisis spilled over, but they're battling ISIS
and Kurdish militants. Both staged attacks in Turkey, which is still reeling from a bloody and failed military coup in July.
Ian Lee, CNN, Istanbul.
ASHER: All right. I want to go straight, now, to Istanbul. Our Sara Sidner is near the scene.
So, Sara, you heard in Ian Lee's report that there have been obviously no claims of responsibility so far. But in terms of the investigation, I know
it's still in the early stages, but what more can you tell us?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's the same as it's been for hours. They are still looking for what they say is one attacker. They say they'll
not stop, of course, like any other government won't stop until they try to find this person. But we are hearing also from a witness who we talked to
an hour or so ago who had come back to the club trying to pick up something that she left inside the club. And she talked about what she heard, a
harrowing situation where she said it sounded like gunfire was going on for more than half an hour. And she said one thing she was absolutely certain
she heard was that the attacker screamed Allahu Akbar as he was shooting at people.
And so, she said she wasn't sure exactly whether there was more than one person, but she definitely saw the one attacker. She said it was a man, as
far as she could tell. And she saw people jumping, for example, into the sea trying to get away from it, because this club is right on the
So, the situation for a lot of people still very, very raw. We also noticed a very heavy police presence outside of that club and flowers lined
the streets as people paid their respects to the people who died here -- Zain.
ASHER: And Sara, just in terms of the victims, what more specifics do we know about those who perished?
SIDNER: We've just found out that at least two Tunisians are confirmed dead in this attack. There were 16 people who they were able to identify,
the authorities here, and they said that many of them are foreign nationals. So, we know that much.
But, of course, there are 39 people who are dead. They are still trying to identify some of those people and 60 plus more in the hospital dealing
with, in some cases, a critical situation.
So, we don't know if the death toll will go up, but there are acouple of people in very dire straits at this hour -- Zain.
[10:05:32] ASHER: And, Sara, when you think about the type of year that Turkey has had. I mean, there have been at least four terrorist attacks
just this month alone, December I should say -- last month, technically.
How has the security situation on the ground there changed given all the threats?
SIDNER: Well, it has certainly increased, even the club telling a local paper that they had increased security themselves. And I think a lot of
people around here almost in an unfortunate thing expect something bad to happen. But of course it was New Year's Eve, and there was a guard outside
of this particular establishment, that guard was shot by the attacker, and there's a lot of concern here that this is going to be a trend that
continues into 2017. This country had a very, very difficult 2016 with attack after attack after attack, including the killing of a Russian
So, you're in a place where people are more afraid that these things are going to continue to happen and it's awful that this happened the very
first day of 2017 -- Zain.
ASHER: A frightening start to the New Year. Sara Sidner, live for us there. Thank you so much, appreciate it.
Pope Francis says the plague of terrorism must be confronted. The pope actually veered from
his prepared New Year's address to condemn the nightclub attack in Istanbul that our Sara Sider was just updating you on. He offered his prayers to
the people of Turkey. And the pope also says that people must say no to hate and violence in order for there to be world peace.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth did not attend a New Year's church service with other members of the royal family as she's still recovering from a heavy
cold. Despite not feeling well enough to go to church, a royal source tells CNN that Queen Elizabeth is up and working. The 90-year-old
monarch's illness also kept her from attending the world's traditional Christmas
church service just last week.
CNN's Phil Black has more.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A nasty, persistent cold, but nothing to worry about: that's what we're being told about the queen's
health after she missed the traditional New Year's Day church service.
Other royals did attend including Prince Philip, her husband. He was also struck down by a cold around the same time, but he appears to have
bounced back while the queen is still recovering after almost two weeks indoors out of sight. Te same cold forced her to miss the Christmas Day
These absences are not insignificant, she is the head, the titular head, at least, of the Church of
England, something she takes very seriously. So, we can only assume she has been feeling terrible.
But her advisers at Buckingham Palace are going out of their way to tell journalists that
90-year-old monarch is doing OK and stressing that she is still in residence at the Sandringham estate. She hasn't been moved for medical or
any other reason. And they say she is up and about, and they stress she's working and still receiving the documents, the briefing papers that she has
to stay on top of as part of her official role as Britain's head of state.
Now, they're doing this to ensure there isn't any unnecessary speculation or perhaps exaggerated concern about the queen's health. They want
everyone to know that it's just an awful cold, but she is battling through it.
Phil Black, CNN, London.
ASHER: All right. Still to come on Connect the World, a New Year's message from
North Korea's leader is drawing pretty strong condemnation from Seoul.
We'll explain after this quick break. Don't go away.
[10:11:20] ASHER: Live from CNN headquarters in Atlanta. You're watching CNN and this is
Connect the World. I'm Zain Asher. Welcome back to all of you.
23 people have been killed in a boat fire near Indonesia's capital Jakarta. According to Reuters, police believe a power generator short-circuited. The
boat was carrying about 250 people to an island popular with tourists, most were rescued and the teams are still searching for about 17 people who are
We know that several people were injured in this event.
To North Korea now where its leader says the country is close to testing an intercontinental
ballistic missile. In a New Year's Day speech Kim Jong-un referred to his country as a nuclear and a military power. He says his country will
continue testing against potential threats from the United States. Here's our Saima Mohsin with more.
SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kim Jong-un chose his New Year's Day address to talk of an epoch making turn in bolstering
national defense capacity.
Now, he talked yet again of a hydrogen bomb test which we simply can't independently
verify and then he said this.
KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER (through translator): Research and development of the cutting edge tech weapons are actively progressing and
strengthening our defense capabilities, including last-stage preparation of tests for intercontinental ballistic rocket launch have been continuously
This will protect the destiny of the motherland.
MOHSIN: Now, nobody really knows, if at all, how close North Korea is to test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile, but we do know that in
February 2016, they launched a satellite into the sky, which many experts said could be a template for a long-range
missile test. And so there was concern about the capacity North Korea had.
And of course, conducting its fifth and largest nuclear test on September 9, 2016, which
resulted in yet more sanctions.
A few days ago, the highest level diplomatic defector from North to South Korea Thae Yong-ho told South Korean media that as long as Kim Jong-un is
still in power he will continue with his nuclear ambitions, he is determined to complete his nuclear weapons program by the
end of 2017 no matter how much money he is offered.
So, this would seemingly weave into this announcement that Kim Jong-un has made and Kim Jong-un also said in this 30-minute speech that his country
had soared as a nuclear and military power in the east and no formidable enemy dare encroach upon them.
Saima Mohsin, CNN, Seoul, South Korea.
ASHER: All right, live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Still to come here, the next president of the United States has some pretty big
fans in a very unlikely place. Find out where the Trump victory is impacting everything from restaurants to even babies' names.
But, first, I want to show you a closer look at the deadly attack on a nightclub in Istanbul. A Turkey (inaudible) will be joining me in just a
few moments for analysis of the threat facing his country and how the government plans to deal with them. That story after this quick break.
[10:16:44] ASHER: Live from CNN Center, you're watching CNN and this is Connect the World. I'm Zain Asher, welcome back all of you.
We wanted to turn now to our top story, that deadly attack on a want to return to our top story
that deadly attack on a nightclub in Istanbul.
Police, as I speak, are hunting for the gunman they say stormed a nightclub in this building, you see right here, just as people were toasting in the
New Year around 1:00 in the morning local time. We know that attack killed at least 39 people and wounded dozens of others. Investigators are saying
that some of the victims are foreign nationals. No group, as of yet, has taken
responsibility for this attack and police are reportedly searching for lone shooter.
Let's take a look at some of the other significant attacks on Turkey since that attempted coup
in July. On August 18, a series of bomb attacks targeting security forces in the east of the country killed 12 people and wounded some 300 others.
Just days later, a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a wedding party in Gaziantep killing at least 53 and injuring 100 others. On September 12,
50 people were injured when suspected Kurdish militants detonated a bomb in sthe southeastern city of Van (ph). And then on October 9, a bomb exploded
outside a police station in southeastern Turkey killing at least 18 people. And in November, a bomb targeted a police
station killing at least nine people and injuring over 100 others.
Joining me now to talk about all of this from Istanbul is Mustafa Akyol, columnist for the Al Monitor, a Middle East news site.
So, Mustafa, thank you so much for being with us. As you can see the list in terms of terrorist attacks in Turkey, the list is exhausting. In your
opinion, how does Turkey, how does the President Erdogan even begin to root out extremists in his society?
MUSTAFA AKYOL, AUTHOR: The list is exhausting, Zain, as you said. It is more exhausting if you live in Turkey and you feel that every week almost a
colossal terror attack happens. There are two different sources of this, totally unrelated, totally opposite, actually.
One terrorist group that targets Turkey is the PKK, which is a Marxist Kurdish nationalist group, which is secular, which has nationalist
ambitions, separatist ambitions. And the other one is ISIS, the notorious so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ph).
And the feeling that in Turkey right now is that the latest attack, last night's attack, is the work of ISIS because it fits their target: a soft
target, mainly secular people, westernized or western people, because PKK mostly targets security forces.
So, these are both groups ambitious in their own ways and they're attacking Turkey at the same time. They are sometimes attacking each other and I
think that is partly a spillover of the Syrian civil war inside Turkey.
And the government's response is, to, of course, condemn all these and to defiant -- (inaudible) defeat all of them, but also to perceive them and
describe them as a joint conspiracy against Turkey, which sometimes mind you doesn't help understanding the all the different motivations of these
And the societies, of course, shocked and very polarized. The governor supporters think that against this conspiracy the government is doing
everything right and they should support the government, whereas people in the opposition think that the government brought Turkey into this chaos
with its own mistakes (inaudible) policies in the Middle East, in particular.
[10:20:11] ASHER: So, Mustafa, you mentioned that -- I mean, a lot of people have said this, that the evidence -- the evidence, as far as we can
tell, obviously points to ISIS. But I want to make it clear to our viewers, we have had no claim of responsibility. Sometimes it does take a
few days before we get any kind of claim or responsibility, if at all, if we get one at all. Why is that?
AKYOL: Indeed. Interestingly, ISIS has not claimed most of its attacks inside Turkey. We think it's ISIS I mean, the evidence points to ISIS,
ASHER: Yes, just explain why that is. I mean, we have seen a number of attacks where the evidence has pointed to ISIS and, yet, no claim of
responsibility. Why wouldn't they claim responsibility?
AKYOL: I have theories about this. But I think the most plausible theory is that at the end of the day Turkey is a Muslim majority country, and
bombing Muslims here, whether they're secular or not, I mean, from the ISIS perspective, is still are a harder sell to ISIS and to its own base
compared to attacks in let's say Paris or Brussels.
So, on the one hand, ISIS hits Turkey and I think it's not an accident that this is happening at the same time when Turkish army is really striking
ISIS targets and making advances the group inside Syria, so it's very, very connected with that. But on the other hand, ISIS maybe cannot sell the
attacks to its base in total, because ultimately it is a Muslim country. So that is one theory people think when they question why ISIS is not
claiming attacks inside Turkey.
ASHER: So, given that, I mean, you mentioned that given Turkey is obviously playing a heavy hand when it comes to fighting ISIS in Syria and
the war in Syria, I mean, how does it begin to do that when it has to deal with turmoil within its own borders? How does it find ISIS outside of its
borders when it has got ISIS deeply rooted inside its own borders?
AKYOL: Well, the government says we have to fight ISIS beyond the borders because you see
they're hitting us at home. So, President Erdogan says we will now root out terrorists in their own
bases, which is Syria when you -- or Iraq when you look at from the ISIS perspective. Even the PKK is based in northern Syria. The Kurdish rebels
there are definitely the PKK, that's one reason why Turkey is having advances against the Kurdish groups, not in Iraq, which are Turkish allies,
but in Syria.
So, Turkey is in an all-out war against terror, like the U.S. was after 9/11, but of course having a war on terror doesn't guarantee that you are
actually preventing all attacks within your own country.
ASHER: It could even make lone wolf attacks even worse.
AKYOL: Some people think it's worse and some people think at least we can make peace with at least one of these enemies. It is probably impossible
to make peace with ISIS given its zealotry but there is a chance of having actually peace negotiations with the PKK, which actually the Erdogan
government tried just recently and it worked for a while, but, unfortunately, it collapsed.
So, yes, there are people, and including myself, who think that at least we can consider a political -- reconsider a political solution with the PKK,
which is, of course, a bloody terrorist organization which bombs cities, but it still is an organization maybe you can reason with compared to
ISIS and ISIS is probably not an organization that anybody can reason with.
ASHER: All right. Mustafa Akyol, thank you so much, and happy New Year to you. I know that it's a tragic one to start -- it's tragic way, rather, to
start the New Year, but I wish you the best for 2017. Thank you so much for being with us.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump reiterating his doubts Saturday that Russia was behind
cyber-meddling in the elections. Speaking to reporters before a New Year's Eve party at his Florida estate, Trump stressed he wants the intelligence
community to be sure Russia interfered because he said it's a pretty serious charge. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: And I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So, it could be somebody else. And
I also know things that other people don't know. And, so, they cannot be sure of this situation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you know that other people don't know?
TRUMP: You'll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Now, during the presidnetial race, Donald Trump had some comments directly towards Muslims, which may not make him an obvious hero to many Iraqis, but
in Iraq's Kurdistan region, the U.S. president-elect has a fan base. Here's our Ben Wedemen with more.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At three weeks old, little Trump isn't bothered by his pesky brother, Rasheed. Yes,
you heard right. This is baby Trump. Trump Hassan Jamiel (ph), to be precise, born in Kyrgyzstan. The father explains what's in a name.
"I called him Trump," he says, "because Trump is charismatic and has clear policies. That's why he won the election."
He heard Trump say he was a big fan of Kurdish forces calling for the fight against ISIS. In his honor, he named his recently opened fish restaurant in
the city of Dohuk after the Donald and even designed the catchy logo.
In Iraq's murky waters, Trump has inspired some here to hope he'll also make Kyrgyzstan great again.
[10:25:36] (on camera): This fish is your standard carp. It's the way it's cooked, it's called mezguf (ph) here in Iraq. It is big-league popular. And
this is a catch fit for a president.
(voice-over): There's no flip-flopping here. It takes just 45 minutes for the carp, a bottom feeder, to go from the tank to cutting board to grill to
plate. No time wasted.
"What I admire about Trump's personality," he says, "is that he's decisive, tough, and hopefully, with that toughness, he'll finish off ISIS."
This man shrugs off as mere campaign rhetoric Trump's pledge to cast a wide net banning all Muslims from entering the United States.
Even wants to open a branch of his restaurant near the White House, Maybe Trump will invite him in.
Here's one man ready to serve the incoming administration.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Dohuk, northern Iraq.
ASHER: And if you like that story, you can watch more of CNN's reporting from across the globe on our Connect the World's Facebook page, just head
to Facebook.com/CNNConnect and watch all of our reports and interviews and, of course, be sure to stop by and let us know what you think and you can
always get in touch with me, personally, on Twitter by tweeting me. There's my page there, tweeting me @zainasher.
The world is now in 2017. And our Parting Shot this hour, we're looking at a particularly chilly celebration of the New Year. And we leave you with
these images of a hearty group of Italians taking a chilly plunge into the New Year. The four gathered on bridge in the center of the city for the
annual tradition before diving 17 meters into the freezing waters. No thank you. Of their Tiber River. Each displaying their own style and
skill. The event has been held every New Year's Day since 1946.
all right, I'm Zain Asher, and that was Connect the World. Thank you so much for watching. Our show continues here with a special program on the
year that was in the Middle East in just a moment. From me here in Atlanta and my team 7,500 miles away in Abu Dhabi, a very happy New Year to all of
you. I wish you the best for 2017. Good-bye.