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Referendum Day in Turkey; U.S. Vice President Warns North Korea Against Testing U.S. Resolve. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired April 16, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:13] RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): Hopefully once the polls are closed and votes are counted, Turkey will
march toward the future by making the expected choice. I believe that my people have common sense and they will put the campaign that was carried
out so far and walk to the future with common sense.
KEMAL KILCCLAROGLU, CH PARTY LEADER (through translator): We led an extremely good campaign process. We embraced all our citizens. We did not
deny anyone. We are voting for the fate of Turkey today. All our citizens will attend the ballot boxes and the responsible way to cast their votes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBYN KRIEL, HOST: Hello and welcome to a special hour of Connect the World. I'm Robin Kriel in Atlanta. Becky Anderson is standing by in
Ankara, Turkey. But we are having problems reaching her. We will try to get her just as quickly as possible to follow the erupting story really in
Turkey. It is past 6:00 in the evening in Turkey and the sun is slowly starting to head off. It could come to rise over a new Turkey tomorrow.
We are just a few hours away from finding out if the millions of people who took part in today's historic vote chose to radically change the way the
country is run, yanking powers away from parliament and handing vast new ones to this man, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who cast his vote in
Now, who runs this country and the way they get to do it matters to all of us, because Turkey is a big, global player in a lot of ways.
Just before tonight's show, Becky Anderson went out to the streets of Ankara to see what
all that could mean.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the AK Party headquarters, the seat of power of the ruling party that was co-founded by
President Erdogan. You can see the big campaign banners. Now, up until now the president of the country couldn't officially be a member of a
party, but that will change if the vote is for yes in this referendum meaning that President Erdogan can rejoin the party that he once co-
You can see the media setting up and getting ready here as well because this will be where the AK Party will hold its rally if it were to win
A couple of blocks away and a less animated scene, perhaps that the headquarters of the CHP, the opposition party pushing no in this
This is one of the thousands of polling stations across the country, this one set up at a primary school in downtown Ankara. Let's go and find out
what's going on inside.
In Turkey you can only vote in the city that you are resident of, so you have to be registered and
your name needs to be on the voter's list. So bring their IDs and have their names checked before getting handed the piece of paper. Ivet (ph)
for yes, Hair (ph) for no.
You then go into the booths and stamp your preference before dropping it into the box.
And have a look at this, this is the presidential palace behind me which you can see from across town. An imposing building, and what goes on there
could forever change depending on the results of this referendum.
KRIEL: That's Becky Anderson from Ankara, the view in Ankara.
A few hundred meters away is whtat's by far and away this country's largest city, that is Istanbul in Turkey. About one out every five Turks live
there and part of that mix right now is CNN's Ian Lee.
Hi, Ian. Obviously you can't speculate on the results, but what have you been seeing today?
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Robyn. We've been making it to polling stations across the city, three. And we were able to talk to a
number of people. We saw a steady flow going in there and the one thing that everyone had in common was a strong opinion, whether it was yes or
whether it was no.
Those who said yes believe that a stronger president would provide a better economic opportunity, a stronger economy and also more security for this
country. Erdogan for them is seen as a father figure, but those who are saying no believe that this is a slippery slope to a more authoritarianism.
One woman I spoke with said that she believes that this is just years in the making. Another man said that this does not provide the multi-party,
the checks and balances that he would want to see in a government.
And so there are these strong opinions either way. But it does look like they're going out, they want their voices heard and whatever will happen we
will find out later this evening.
[11:05:04] KRIEL: Ian, given the military, and the attempted military coup in July of last year and the numerous terror attacks in Istanbul and
Ankara, what is security like today?
LEE: Security has been ramped up across the country for this referendum. Hundreds of thousands of security personnel were at polling stations all
over for this referendum. When we went to one polling station you could see them very visibly, three, four police officers there to make sure
everything went smoothly.
There were reports of some violence down in the southern part of the country at a polling station, not sure if that was related to the
referendum or if that was some other reason for that to happen. By and large, though, it seems like everything has gone fairly
Now, in the lead up to this referendum according to state media, dozens of people are suspected to be members of ISIS or were arrested. State media
saying they were planning to do something on the day of the referendum, Robyn.
KRIEL: And Ian, what does the referendum mean to the country? Particularly where you are in
LEE: That's a fundamental shift if this vote goes yes because you move, you shift the government from being a parliamentary system to a
presidential system where the president is the executive. They would get rid of the prime minister. More power would lie with the president when it
comes to the judiciary as well as the parliament, because he would be able to be a member of the party, thus, the head of the party and in Turkey's
parliamentary system it's a list system, so the head of the party chooses who is on that list.
So it would, some have said, that in this new system, if it does pass, the parliament would be more loyal to the president than the constituents, and
that's been one of the criticisms that we've been hearing.
KRIEL: All right. Thank you so much, Ian Lee, live in Istanbul for us.
We turn now to a new show of defiance by North Korea. The U.S. and South Korea say that Pyongyang tried to test another missile. It blew up almost
immediately. CNN's Will Ripley is one of the few western journalists inside North Korea reporting right now. He looks at what the government
could do next.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just hours after rolling its growing missile arsenal through Kim il-Sung Square, the U.S. and South
Korea says North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un tried to take things one step further.
U.S. pacific command detected an attempted missile launch at the crack of dawn Sunday. The U.S. says the missile failed within seconds.
It was fired from Simpo (ph) on North Korea's east coast, home of the nation's submarine base and the site of another failed missile launch last
week just ahead of the meeting at Mar-a-Lago between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The U.S. defense secretary releasing a brief statement saying the president and his military team are aware of North Korea's unsuccessful missile
launch. The president has no further comment.
The North Korean leader apparently undeterred by mounting international pressure unveiling two never-before-seen intercontinental ballistic
missiles at this military parade on Saturday.
Analysts say these missiles are most likely mock-ups, but they believe North Korea is working towards the real thing.
What should the world think when they see these ballistic missiles rolling by? Is North Korea a threat to the world?
"The Korean People's Army is fully ready to attack our enemies at any moment," he says, "if they try to attack us."
Despite escalating rhetoric and U.S. war ships and submarines headed for the Korean coast, the nation's Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un did not test a
nuclear weapon Saturday as many predicted.
"I think we've done something bigger than a nuclear test," this man says. "We've shown the world something much bigger."
Analysts say Kim Jong-un could push the button on North Korea's sixth nuclear test at any time. He's already launched more missiles than his
father and grandfather combined, and even missile failures help North Korean rocket scientists gain valuable intelligence.
Also on display for Day of the Sun celebrations, North Korea's conventional arsenal - tanks,
artillery, weapons pointed directly at tens of millions of people in South Korea. Even if North Korea
can't match the firepower of the U.S., experts say they have the potential to do a lot of damage and kill a lot of people.
What do you want President Trump to know about the North Korean people?
"I think President Trump should try to learn more about North Korea and its people," she
says. "We are never afraid of the American nuclear threat. We have our own nuclear weapons to counter those threats."
Weapons North Korea and its unpredictable leader put on full display promising they're not
afraid to use them if provoked.
Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang.
[11:10:15] KRIEL: Here's what the U.S. is saying about the missile test. While visiting Afghanistan, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster
maintained the administration's line that all options are on the table in dealing with Pyongyang, although they prefer a
And the U.S. vice president, who is in South Korea right now, called the test a provocation. Mike Pence says that America's commitment to Seoul is
stronger than ever.
CNN's Paula Hancocks is in the South Korean capital and she joins us now live with more on
the U.S. vice president's visit. Paula, thank you for your time. What else did the vice president
have to say during his address in church earlier?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Robyn, he did meet some of the troops here in South Korea, the U.S. troops. There are about 28,000-plus that are here at any given time, and he said that the
United States appreciates what they are doing given the threat that they are under, talking about the provocation that we saw this Sunday morning as
he called it from North Korea, that failed missile launch.
And we know he will also be meeting with some of the South Korean politicians on Monday. He'll be meeting with the acting President Hwang
Kyo-ahn, and also the national security adviser, but of course he is going to be meeting with officials here in South Korea that aren't actually
going to be in power within the a few weeks.
It's a very tricky time for the vice president to actually be in South Korea. There's no actual president -- it's just an acting president that
the former president Park Geun-hye was impeached and imprisoned over a corruption scandal and certainly it's difficult for many
of the U.S. officials who have come over here to say too much because, of course, they're meeting, as I say, the acting president is not going to be
in power in a few weeks.
But what the South Koreans want is they want the U.S. to confirm the alliance, to reconfirm that
they are standing side by side with South Korea. They want to make sure that they have that full commitment - Robyn.
KRIEL: Commitment more like the vice president visiting. You've been covering South Korea
for years now, Paula. You've seen this ramp up of tensions before. Warships being moved into the region, missiles being launched. What's
different this time?
HANCOCKS: Well, from the North Korean point of view, there's not a huge amount that's different. We have seen in recent years a huge amount of
testing, more certainly in 2016, more frantic testing than we have ever seen in North Korea's history. Kim Jong-un
certainly seems to be in a rush to perfect his nuclear missile capability. He's been very clear about that. He has said that this is his intention
and he's been saying that consistently for some years. I think what's different now, certainly, for many people in the region, is a new U.S.
president suspect is there going to be a different approach as the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson promised there would be when he was here a
matter of weeks ago and certainly we're seeing some uncertainty as to what exactly
the North Korean policy is going to be. As you said, as the National Security Adviser McMaster said that all options are on the table. There is
a more open discussion now about a potential preemptive strike on North Korea.
Now, whether or not this is a strategic ploy by the United States, it is not clear, but it does raise tensions. It does raise concerns that there
could be this unknown entity which really during the Obama administration was barely mentioned.
KRIEL: All right, thank you so much. Paula Hancocks, keeping an eye on the Korean peninsula for us today.
Well, still to come, Turkey's involvement in Syria and its support for any Raqqa offensive
will clearly be influenced by result of the historic referendum. We'll have more analysis on this later, and including the crucial role that
Turkey's diaspora could play in this vote.
[11:16:31] KRIEL: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. We've got Becky Anderson standing by live in the Turkish capital, Ankara.
But we do have some breaking news right now. We are seeing the first results from Turkey's historic
referendum. According to state news agency Anadolu. With nearly 49 percent of the votes counted, just under 58 percent are for yes to give the
president in Turkey new powers, just over 42 percent for no at the moment. Most of those counted are from mainly conservative parts of the country in
Well, turning now to Syria, the death toll in the bombing of a bus convoy has now reached 126
people, that's according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Saturday's blast targeted bus
evacuations, pro-government villages near Aleppo. They were being relocated as part of a swap with rebels.
Well, our Nick Paton Walsh has been following this story for us from Irbil, Iraq. Nick, thank you for your time.
Take us through exactly the events and this devastating death toll.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We should pause for a moment, Robyn, just to think about exactly how large that death toll has
suddenly grown to 126 according to activists monitoring it. It's pretty rare, frankly, that we
hear in one instance that over 100 people have lost their lives. In this case, it is regime-sympathizing civilians, nearly a hundred of them
civilians, a lot extra thought to be aid workers and rebels escorting that convoy.
And here's another fact that appears to be deeply chilling, that over 60 of those dead were actually children.
So, a staggering, horrifying toll on civilians here. Robyn, let (inaudible) explain how we got
to this convoy of buses, of civilians being evacuated, being struck by what appears to have been a car bomb.
These buses were on their way from regime-sympathizing towns in the north of Syria Fuaa and Kefraya. Now, these are held in areas, which are
predominantly rebel loyal, sort of towns that have been besieged by these rebels for a matter of months, if not years.
Now, people were being allowed out of these town in buses. 3,000 left as part of a 1,000 strong evacuation, as part of a swap in which at the same
time under UN sort of supervision or assistance.
In the south of the country rebel loyal towns would be allowed to let their civilians out to go into predominantly rebel loyal areas. The two towns in
the were Madia and Dabadani (ph).
Now, this is what was getting underway when this staggering car bomb struck and caused such carnage there.
As far as we understand, in principle those swaps are still carrying on, but obviously, you can imagine those on the buses are terrified at
reprisals, or perhaps similar attacks and of course this will be a lengthy process, one which may fundamentally in the end, if it continues - we have
seen a number of swaps like this lead to a slight re-drawing of the ethnic demographic map of Syria where basically you get more homogeneously pro-
rebel or pro-regime areas, predominantly more Sunni or more Shia respectively.
But this one singular incident, the images from which absolutely shocking, people torn apart as they sat in these buses thinking they were on a
journey to a better period in their life after experiencing months, if not years of deprivation of food, medical supplies, daily basics, people
killed, torn apart often in their seats in what was thought to be a hopeful journey - Robyn.
KRIEL: And dozens of children killed, Nick. A terrible story. What is the security like? How is this car bomb able to reach that convoy, or is
there security at all?
[11:20:05] WALSH: Unclear. They said there were rebels that were thought to have been escorting this. There's very little you can do, frankly,
unless you have high tech weaponry to stop a car bomb determinedly moving fast at your convoy of vehicles.
Now, we don't know exactly what sort of state of play for security was, regime, rebel-held areas. They say there was a rebel convoy going with
these buses, escorting them.
But remember also, too, late last year when buses tried to go to Fuaa and Katraya, they were in fact torched on the way. They were empty at that
stage, but that was thought to be sort of more extreme parts of rebel factions trying to make a point about slowing these evacuations down.
Remember, both sides are guilty of brutalities in this, of savagery. We often see much more the volume of what's inflicted against civilians in
rebel-held areas, but in this case a staggering toll against regime sympathizing civilians, Robyn.
KRIEL: Staggering, indeed. Thank you so much. Nick Paton Walsh live in Irbil, Iraq for us following that dreadful story of the car bomb in Syria
that killed a 100-plus people, 126 people.
Well, turning back now to North Korea, one of the top stories. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence
is in the region. Just take a listen to what he said earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Under President Trump's leadership our resolve has never been stronger. Our commitment to this historic alliance
with the courageous people of South Korea has never been stronger. And with your help, and with god's help, freedom will ever prevail on
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KRIEL: Well, that was the U.S. Vice President affirming the White House's commitment to security in South Korea. He spoke from Seoul on the heels of
reports that North Korean missile launch had failed.
Mike Pence is making his first official trip to Asia just as the White House appears to take a different tack when it come to the region. The
U.S. president was once laid the blame for economic woes on beijing, but after a face-to-face with China's leader and aggression from North Korea,
that may be in the rear view mirror.
Donald Trump fired off a tweet earlier, writing why would I call China a currency manipulator, when they are working with us on the North Korean
problem. We will see what happens.
Well, CNN's Matt Rivers reports on what maybe behind this pivot.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this latest missile test out of North Korea only serves to strengthen the notion that both
China and the United States continue to have a major problem on their hands when it comes to the Kim Jong-un regime. But over the last several weeks
we have seen signs of increasing cooperation between the United States and China. And when it comes to trying to work together to figure out a
solution to this ongoing crisis. And many people will point to the relationship between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald
Trump as the reason why.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China, which has been ripping
us off, the greatest abuser in the history of this country, China is responsible for nearly half of our entire trade deficit.
RIVERS: That was candidate Trump, but there's been a stark about face from President Trump
in just the last week on one of his favorite campaign targets: China.
Remember when he said he'd labeled China a currency manipulator on day one of his presidency? Didn't happen. And now he says they're not
manipulating the renminbi.
And then there's North Korea. Trump consistently blasted China for failing to stop Kim Jong-un's nuclear weapons program. Now this.
TRUMP: We have a very big problem in North Korea, and as I said, I really think that China is
going to try very hard and has already started.
RIVERS: So what changed?
TRUMP: I have really gotten to like and respect, as you know, President Xi. He's a terrific person. We've spent a lot of time together in
Florida, and he's a very special man.
RIVERS: The new detante appears to have started in the sunny confins of Mar-a-Lago at the crucial first in person between Trump and Chinese
President Xi Jinping on April 6.
Trump said talking with Xi helped change his mind on China's ability to handle North Korea. After listening for ten minutes, I realized it's not
so easy, the president told The Wall Street Journal.
Trump went on to praise China for banning North Korean coal imports, a move China actually made back in February.
TRUMP: The vast amount of coal that comes out of North Korea going to China, they've turned back the boats.
RIVERS: The apparent ability of Xi Jinping to connect with Donald Trump is unexpected, if not remarkable, given that both men appeared to be polar
opposites. One is the brash, attention-seeking New York media personality, the other a scripted, enigmatic leader who has never given a face-to-face
interview as president, someone who steadily rose through China's Communist Parties, consolidating power in a way not seen here since the days of
Speeches like this one at the World Economic Forum in Daos helped give Xi the air of an
international statesman, and China's economic prowess has forced many a world leader to pay homage.
Xi's global charm offensive seems to have at least temporarily worked on Donald Trump.
But there are signs it won't last. Trump's strike against Syria and threats of military action
against North Korea have alarmed China. Xi even called Trump this week asking for a peaceful solution to the crisis. And despite that coal import
ban, China's total trade volume with North Korea is actually up nearly 40 percent in 2017, figures sure not to sit well with the Trump
But a nuclear North Korea appears to have bridged the divide for now, two very different leaders with budding cooperation over a common threat.
But the ability of this newfound cooperation to continue, I think largely depends on how the United States, under the Trump administration, is going
to react to North Korea moving forward. I think you can depend on the Chinese to remain consistent in their position as they have for well over
ten years now, but if the Trump administration decides to launch some sort of military strike, that could put a serious dent in the ability of the
United States and the Chinese to continue to cooperate.
Back to you.
KRIEL: That's CNN's Matt Rivers.
Well, the latest world news headlines in just a few moments. Plus, will Turkey give its president sweeping new powers? We'll learn that in just a
[11:30:06] KRIEL: We do have some breaking news now out of Turkey where we're seeing the first results from Turkey's historic referendum.
According to the state news agency with more than half of the votes counted, 55 percent, that's just over 56 percent are yes to give the
president new powers with just over 43 percent for no.
The yes lead has been narrowing very quickly as more votes stream in.
Returning to the day's top stories, Turkey's voters have now decide their country's future. Ballots are being counted in the historic referendum.
We're expecting initial results in the coming hours. Millions of people voted not just in Turkey, but also abroad, and they face a stark choice on
the ballot whether to give this man, the country's president sweeping new powers.
The so-called power bill would replace the current system of parliamentary democracy with a
powerful executive presidency.
As we mentioned, Turkey's large diaspora across Europe got to cast their ballots, as well.. And journalist Chris Burns joins us live from Berlin
for that. But first, let's go to Istanbul where CNN's Ian Lee is standing by.
I know results are streaming in, Isan. What can you tell us about the atmosphere there and the lead-up to the referendum?
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Robyn, everything -- everyone right now is just waiting to see what is going to be the end
result to this referendum. People are watching around televisions, in their home, at cafes. This really is going to determine the future of
Now, as far as the lead-up to this referendum? Their election monitors have said while they expected today'ss vote to be free, they say it not
necessarily has been fair, that's because the yes vote has had by and far the vast majority of the television and media coverage. They also have
been getting government resources to get out that vote and to promote it.
When you look around here in Taksim Square where I am, you can see large posters saying
Evitz (ph), which means yes. And then for the no, the no campaign has complained of intimidation, violence and threats of violence. They say
that they haven't had really a fair shake to get their message out there to the people in the media and elsewhere to inform them of what really is at
So, really, two different sides of this as the Turks do decide the future of their country.
KRIEL: Chris, I want to bring you in, at the moment indicating a "yes" vote, but you are in the
"no" camp where at the moment in Berlin where people voted from abroad. How much influence, really, do Turks living outside of Turkey have on the
CHRIS BURNS, JOURNALIST: Well, Robyn, they're very, very interested in the outcome of this because they're very, very tied to what happens there.
They're here in Europe. There are millions of Turks here in Europe and millions of voters here. So very, very important for the result of this
election, of this referendum and also they're worried about what kind of relations will they be able to have free travel between Turkey
and Europe, that's a big question. That is kind of hanging in the balance depending on how relations go between the Europeans and the Turkish
government, which have been troubled lately even during this campaign.
You saw that there were some campaign events with Turkish government ministers that were
supposed to attend and they were canceled in a number of countries including Germany. Mr. Erdogan's coming back and saying they were using
Nazi tactics and the Europeans demanding apologies.
So, a lot of bitterness going through this campaign. And it is going to be very interesting to see what kind of reaction there is afterward from the
Europeans, from the Turkish government. Will they be able to do business together there. Europe is the biggest trading partner for Turkey, so that
is also very much important. And what we saw here the mood at the very
beginning before the results came out, there was a lot of partying and dancing and flags waving. And now as the first results came
through it's about 60-40 for yes, a very somber mood. But now we're seeing clapping as some of the "no" vote is coming back in some parts of Turkey.
So a lot of people still have hope. I talked to one who says, yes, we think we can get just barely win on this. And another saying, no, I'm
afraid it's not going to work. It's going to be yes - Robyn.
KRIEL: And quieter than it was. Chris, thank you.
I want to keep you both right there because CNN's Becky Anderson is live in Ankara with
the very latest. And we're going to go back to Ankara for her to take over - Becky.
BECKY ANDERSON, CO-HOST: Robyn, thank you.
With almost 60 percent now of votes counted here in Turkey, the yes camp leading with 56 percent to the noes just shy of 44 percent. This is not an
official result as of yet, of course.
Ahmed Kassim Khan is a political analyst and an associate professor here in Turkey who sees this vote as part of a much bigger picture where, quote,
"the gates of populism, which will be fed also by the current zietgeist around the world, could be wide open in Turkey."
Ahmed is with me here now.
Now, what did you mean by that?
AHMET KASSIM HAN, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, KADIR HAS UNIERSITY: Well, Becky, the polarization in Turkey is excessively protruding right now, making
itself felt very much not only in the political square, but also in the social square. And I think that to govern the country, a leader who is
heading, of course, like any political leader who is heading for a majority of those should play a populist strategy more than anything else. And that
is also being reflected in the polls that are being carried out right before this referendum.
According to a poll that is carried out by Istanbul research shows that the two clusters AKP voters versus CHP voters...
ANDERSON: The opposition party.
HAN: Yeah, the opposition party are on the diametrically opposite sides of X and Y axis. And the rest of the population rather than clustering in the
middle, which is the commonplace of catch-all politics is clustered beyond that and below the access,.
ANDERSON: Which means what, in a word?
HAN: Which means that if you want to pull the majority to your side, you have to play a game which somehow underlies more factors of polarization
ANDERSON: The yes vote ahead with almost 60 percent of votes counted in Turkey's referendum, that is as things stand at present. The votes still
being counted and being counted in some of the big cities, of course.
Sir, he casts his vote earlier today.
Miss Erdogan brought up the memory of the profoundly well respected founder of modern Turkey telling listeners, quote, this referendum is now ordinary
vote. We are realizing the dream of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to make Turkey a more civilized country.
Evoking the first memory of the first president of the Republic clearly playing well to the supporters. As one commentator put it, the message is
clear. Ataturk was the creator, Mr. Erdogan the protector.
Why do his critics, why does that rub his critics up the wrong way?
HAN: Well, because of course the opposition in Turkey is defining itself very clearly along secular lines. In Turkey's game of identity politics,
which plays well with what we have discussed earlier, has polled the seculars against the most pious conservative masses to whom Erdogan is say
very appealing figure.
That is what made him a winner in the consecutive elections and referendum during the past decade and a half in Turkey.
So when he's evoking Ataturk, the leader of the republic who has created the republic on very much secular lines, the seculars are seeing this as a
very practical and pragmatic political trick.
ANDERSON: Let's talk about the foreign fall, let's talk about what matters here, or why what matters here, is important to the rest of the world.
Let's get out of the weeds to a certain extent of the machinations of domestic politics. There are two or three area, which are critical to the viewers
watching around the world and let's start out with the relationship with Europe, which has deteriorated of late and not least with comments about
Naziism and fascism that came out from the leadership here with reference to the issues of campaigning for the diaspora across Europe.
Where is this relationship with Europe and will it get better or worse going forward?
HAN: Well, I hope it is going to get better, but no one can speak about good relations with Europe when it comes to Turkey's relations with Europe.
ANDERSON: Because this matters, of course. Because there has been a promise by Turkey to help work a solution to the massive refugee crisis.
HAN: Well, on that front, I that Turkey's keeping its promise and the deal is very much sin place. The rest that you have been referring to when it
comes to all those declaration about Naziism and this and that, these are much more related to this polarization tactics and identity politics in
By positioning himself against Europe as a leader of the Muslim world, Erdogan is playing well to his own constituency, and that is one of the
factors that makes him immensely popular in this country.
[11:40:33] ANDERSON: Let's remind our viewers, breaking news, that the yes vote ahead with almost 60 percent of votes counted in Turkey's referendum.
In fact, we have got some new numbers in, the Anadolu agency, 69 percent counted as we speak, 55 percent yes, 45 percent no. And for those of you who may just joined us, that number has
been decreasing for the yes camp as we've watched those numbers come in.
Just explain why that is, if you will.
HAN: Well, because the first figures that feed into such statistics come from rural areas where counting the votes and getting them into the system
are easier. The bigger cities, the complex neighborhoods are harder. Their results kick in later. And this shows in the more urbanized places
the yes camp is not doing as good as it's doing in the rural areas.
ANDERSON: We've been talking in the lead up to this campaign - and again, viewers, just to be absolutely clear, we do not have a result as of yet,
but that result will be with us in the next hour or so one assumes.
We were talking in the run-up to this vote about whether should Erdogan win this referendum, he would have a big enough mandate to feel like he's won
well enough well. My sources at the AK Party suggested that they need 54 percent, maybe 55 percent in order to get that mandate. What is your
sense? And what is the nuance here? Because should we get a no, for example, things aren't going to go quiet, things aren't going to get more
stable and secure any time soon, are they?
HAN: No, I mean, that is a very important point, actually. This is something that the rest of the world, but more than that, the Turkish
citizens should realize and tomorrow morning we'll be just waking up to the same country, living with the same people and we'll still have to deal with
the same problems.
My concerns from the start about this referendum more than anything else was about the question of whether or not the country would be an easier
place to govern after this referendum independent of the outcome. It could be a yes, it could be a no. It still hinges, and we'll see as you said,
most probably within an hour.
My sense is that the country is not going to be one that will be governed easily or relatively easily than, say, the 14th of April as a result of
the referendum. And that is something that should concern everyone. I beliee that it concerns the AK Party, it concerns the body politics by and
large that I know. And we will have to be really very, very careful in not breaking the social bonds that keep this
ANDERSON: We're do more on this, but I have to take a shorts break at this point. Do stay with me. Your analysis is fantastic.
We will, viewers, be back after this. More on this crucial, historic Turkish referendum after this. Stay with us.
[11:45:59] ANDERSON: Right. Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson live in Ankara in Turkey.
We are watching the results from today's historic referendum come in thick and fast.
Here are the very latest numbers for you. According to the state agency here, the state news
agency Anadolu, 72 percent of votes now counted, 55 percent, yes, in this referendum. 45 percent, no.
We're talking 55 percent yes for the changes to the constitution, 45 percent no. As things stand at present, this is not a definitive result,
As we mentioned, Turkey's large diaspora across Europe got to cast their ballots, too. Journalist Chris Burns joining us live from Berline for
Let me just, though, pop you up to Istanbul where our own Ian Lee is standing by - Ian.
LEE: Becky, people are awaiting here for the outcome, the official outcome of that, and we
went around polling stations all day talking to them. And the one thing, whether they were yes, whether they were no, they all had in common was
very strong opinions about this referendum and which way they wanted to go.
The people in the yes camp they said this would make for a stronger Turkey because it would give the president more power, they said. It's important
for the economy, too. And a lot of them said that their lives improved under President Erdogan and they want that to continue, but when you talk
to the people in the no camp, they say that they are afraid of the government losing its checks and balances. They say that they want a
strong parliament to really be the voice of the people.
One lady I spoke with said she cried all night last night because she said this is just a trend that she's been seeing over the past decade where the
country has been moving, as she says, to a more authoritarian government. But that being said, it really is going to come down to the ballot box
What do the Turks want? Do the Turks want a stronger president, or do Turks want a stronger parliament?
ANDERSON: Ian Lee is in Istanbul for you.
Chris is in Berlin. Chris, stand by. I want to remind our viewers that Turks living abroad, of course, could play a pivotal role in this
referendum. It is estimated more than 1.4 million Turkish citizens living in Europe voted, that includes nearly 700,000 votes in Germany, according
to local media, a turnout of almost 50 percent among ex-patriots, which I have
to say having looked at elections historically is very high for the diaspora. And 118,000 Turkish voters, or Turkish citizens voted in The
Netherlands, about 45 percent of the ex-pats there.
And these could prove significant in Turkey's domestic affairs. What's the view there, Chris?
BURNS: Yeah. Absolutely. That's what's hanging in the balance is those hundreds of thousands of votes that could actually swing it one way or
another if it gets close. And that's the anticipation here. A lot of people. It's been a seesaw here, an emotional
seesaw for these people. This is the no camp here with the CHP that is the center-left party that is -- embraces Kemal Ataturk and is for a more
secular government and is very much against what Mr. Erdogan wants to do.
When it first came out, the first results were 60-40, yes, and it was suddenly somber. The
party stopped dead in its tracks. And then it started picking up again. And as you see that each part, each district, say, of Istanbul starts
rising up with more no votes, it becomes a party again.
So, they're waiting with a lot of anticipation to see, and in fact, there was one of the heads of
the party that went up and said, look, don't lose hope. Hang in there. Let's watch for the results, because there's a lot that hangs in the
balance for Turks here that they would like to see closer relations with the European Union. They would like to see those negotiations continue
with the European Union eventually toward membership, but at least towards having, say, visa-free travel, which is very much being talked about right
now with the EU and that they hoped that they can secure at least that so that they can make their lives easier and because trade is so important for
Turkey. Europe is Turkey's biggest trading partner.
Chris Burns is in Germany for you.
Let me bring back my guest Amet Kassim Han, a political analyst and associate professor here in Turkey. And I am looking at the very latest
numbers that have just come in, viewers. We've got over 70 percent of the votes counted now. Looking at 72.3 percent specifically. Yes, remains in
the lead with 54.5 percent, no standing at around 45.5 percent. And that's reported by the official news agency here.
This is not a result. Clearly, the votes are still being counted and they are being counted in which areas? Who comes in last and how significant is
that? Because we are seeing this yes vote coming down, as you get into these big cities, of course.
HAN: As I said, the urban centers. Just a legal anecdote, in the latest municipal election, for example, one of the places that came in the last...
ANDERSON: Was counted the last, yeah.
HAN: Was counted last. And those results were tapped into the system the last was here in Chankria (ph) where the prime minister's office is located
and which is one the most central parts of this country. And of course, the center - or the heart of the capital.
So, as I said cost of the capital. So, as I said, the urban centers would be coming the last as well as of course some remote areas, but these votes
show that this trend of declining yes votes show that, as I said, urban centers are places that are much more inclined toward a no. And AKP or the
yes camp is not doing, or the yes camp is not being that well, as it does in rural places.
ANDERSON: The weather has really become inclement in the last couple of minutes. I know you're absolutely soaked. In fact, I don't know if you
can see it here, viewers, but it's really quite miserable. Despite that, the AK Party headquarters is only a stone's throw away from here. And we
were just remarking that we could hear, we could begin to hear, the sounds of horns honking and the potential for some celebrations, it seems, even
though, as Chris was pointing out in Berlin, he's at the opposition's headquarters there. And their mood is sort of up and down.
And as they saw this vote reducing for the yes campaign, they seem to be sort of becoming more jubilant there.
Final word, if you will from you this hour as the wind really does kick up, where are we now? Where will Turkey be tomorrow?
HAN: Well, Turkey will definitely in the same place that it is right now tomorrow as far as I am concerned (AUDIO GAP)
KRIEL: We do apologize. We are having technical difficulties coming from Ankara. That's where Becky Anderson is anchoring a special show of Connect
the World for us, focusing on the Turkish elections.
We are going to take a quick break and be right back.
[11:55:14] KRIEL: Well, you are watching Connect theWorld live from CNN's worldwide headquarters in Atlanta. I'm Robyn Kriel sitting in for Becky
Anderson at this hour. Welcome back.
Well, Pope Francis and Christians, Catholics around the world, are celebrating Easter Sunday. The pope once called for an end to the violence
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS (through translator): Especially in these days, may he sustain the efforts of all those actively engaged in bringing comfort and
relief to the civil population in Syria. Pray to a war that continues to sow horror and death.
And yesterday the latest despicable attack on refugees which caused a number of deaths and injuries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KRIEL: Well, for more on the pope's Easter Sunday mass, here's our Delia Gallagher from Rome.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Some 60,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square to celebrate Easter Mass with Pope Francis amid security
concerns. They had to go through several checkpoints as well as metal detectors in order to get into the square. The streets around the Vatican
were all shut to traffic.
But the morning went off without any problems and Pope Francis in his comments after the mass called upon world leaders to have the courage, he
said, to prevent conflict and to stop the arms trade.
He mentioned the explosions yesterday on the refugee convoy calling them despicable and he mentioned many other places around the world - in
Africa, in the Middle East, in South America, the Ukraine, places in conflict and suffering.
It is also the birthday of Pope Benedict XVI today. He turns 90 years old. And Pope Francis visited him on Wednesday to give him his best wishes.
The Vatican says Pope Benedict is doing well. He's not walking so easily, but he is mentally alert and he will be celebrating this afternoon with a
visit from his brother Gayor (ph) who is 93.
So, celebrations all of the way around here at the Vatican on Easter Sunday.
Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.
KRIEL: Once thought that there are more possible moves in chess than there are atoms in our universe, what may have been the shortest game ever
between two grand masters was settled in just three. Impress, sure, but sometimes in life just one move is enough.
And you'll surely remember this one by (inaudible) who came to be widely known as Salt Bae. This video where he flamboyantly sprinkles salt on to a
freshly made steak was shared by millions of people.
The chef brought this same pizzazz about earlier to voting of all things, sharing this image of
himself doing his signature move casting his ballot in Turkey's history, making a referendum.
I'm Robyn Kriel. And that was Connect the World. We'll have more after this break.