15/07/2016 Newsnight


15/07/2016

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with James O'Brien.


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As we go on air tonight reports from Turkey that the military

:00:00.:00:00.

are on the street and bridges over the Bosphorus have been closed.

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Fighter jets have been filmed over Ankara.

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Could this be a military coup against President Erdogan?

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It seems element of the military are indeed trying to seize power. Some

:00:23.:00:30.

police and security units remain loyal to President Erdogan and there

:00:31.:00:31.

are reports of clashes between them. And in France another appalling

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tragedy as 84 people are mown down French authorites say

:00:35.:00:37.

that the suspect, despite having a criminal history,

:00:38.:00:53.

say he had no known links About ninety minutes ago we began

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to hear reports of unexpected and unexplained military

:00:57.:01:12.

action in Turkey. Fighter jets were filmed

:01:13.:01:14.

flying low over the city of Ankara and the sound

:01:15.:01:16.

of gunfire was reported. Shortly afterwards, the two main

:01:17.:01:23.

bridges in the capital, Istanbul, were closed by security forces

:01:24.:01:26.

with no explanation. The Turkish Prime Minister,

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Ahmet Yildrim, stated that an attempted military uprising

:01:29.:01:30.

was underway, adding that it President Erdogan says those

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attempting to mount a coup will pay a heavy price.

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I'm here with Newsnight's Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban, Ibrahim Dougas,

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the Director of the Centre for Turkish Studies,

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and our correspondent in Istanbul is Katie Adams.

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What is the latest? This has all been taking place in the last hour

:01:57.:02:07.

and events are still pretty muddy. What we first heard was that bridges

:02:08.:02:09.

in Istanbul were closed off with soldiers on both sides. Now PM

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yielder has said this is a partial takeover, it's not really a coup,

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but we had a statement from the military saying this is a takeover

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and they've done it to restore democratic order, maintain human

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rights, and they will be maintaining international agreements. On the

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part of the military they say this is very much a complete takeover.

:02:39.:02:44.

We've just had President Erdogan on an iPhone, he's not in Ankara or

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Istanbul, he's been on local television talking about the fact

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they will not tolerate these threats. Calling on people to come

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out in protest. Just on an iPhone, that's all we've heard at the

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moment. The situation still very unclear with two sides having

:03:01.:03:04.

different stories. It certainly does look like the military are on the

:03:05.:03:07.

streets and you can hear it in the skies, to stop.

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A little context, some background. Lets piece together what has

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happened and night and we can see some pictures hopefully as we talk

:03:21.:03:24.

through this. The first real sign something was up was when the

:03:25.:03:28.

Bosphorus bridges were closed, these key thoroughfares across that

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waterway in Istanbul. Troops were seen. In fact we can see them here

:03:34.:03:37.

holding positions and stopping people from crossing. Tanks and

:03:38.:03:41.

other armoured vehicles then went into the centre of Istanbul and to

:03:42.:03:47.

key buildings, key headquarters in Ankara, the capital. A little bit

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later on it became apparent that some police were resisting, and also

:03:52.:03:56.

some elements of military intelligence. And some pictures were

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shown of helicopters firing apparently at military intelligence

:04:02.:04:04.

headquarters. I think what you can tell from all this is that this is a

:04:05.:04:10.

large-scale military operation, supported by broad elements of the

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Armed Forces. We know they've arrested the army chief, we know

:04:13.:04:18.

they've attacked the military intelligence chief's office, so the

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bosses are not behind this, it is the colonels and brigadiers, the

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people who typically enact clues. But it's very widespread. And the

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fact president Erdogan has come up through a shaky face time connection

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suggests who has got the upper hand at the moment. But he made -- he may

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manage to rally loyalist forces. Which raises the prospect of not

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simply a coup d'etat but a Civil War in the making stub and there are

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reports that there have been other incidents to night of the police,

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who are thought to be are certainly elements of them, loyal to Prime

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Minister Yildrim and President Erdogan, resisting and being treated

:05:06.:05:09.

roughly by the military. There has already been a certain amount of

:05:10.:05:13.

force used. The military are now claiming on certain Turkish state

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media that they are in control. We are yet to see a real face or faces

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to this clue. I'm hearing the state broadcaster has been taken over by

:05:25.:05:28.

the military. Ebrahim, you are the director of the Centre of the

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Turkish studies, and a closer watch of the region than most of us, how

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supplies are you by tonight's events? There has been quite a bit

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of talk on the streets of Turkey amongst political commentators that

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to come up with a change in Turkey, the only way would be military to

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come into power so quite a few people will not be surprised much.

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But many in Turkey will be very much surprised because President Erdogan

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is known to be grasping all the power in Turkey, and he had

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extremely good working relationships with the military personnel. Again

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as Mark put it it is very much the top brass, top commanders, chief of

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staff, head of intelligence, head of police forces. They've all been very

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loyal and close to President Erdogan. But there has always been a

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case of info tracing into military and police and intelligence through

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forces, loyalists within the country. Some on the government side

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are claiming that this is not going to end up with a military coup, but

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it will end up with those loyal. And what are they revolting about? What

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is their grievance? Whatever they put on the statement is about the

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direction the country has been taken to buy President Erdogan and his

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close circle. Which means increasingly autocratic? Autocratic,

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human rights is no longer strong, and it's all ways been a problem in

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Turkey. But things have changed between 2004 and 2008, it has become

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very autocratic, very difficult in terms of relations with its own

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population and its neighbours. It's all been a very negative change for

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the people in the country. One other point we should consider here, it

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could be followers of this cleric, this Islamic ferret and that seems

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to be the assumption of the people around President Erdogan, but it

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could also be people loyal to the Ataturk vision of a secular Turkey.

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They feel they have got to step in to save Turkey's secular values. If

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I had to put money on one or the other, I would go with that one.

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Military secularism. I want to take a moment to savour Foreign Office

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has advised any British people in Turkey should stay away from public

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places. They are saying that British people in Turkey should stay out of

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public places. What happens next? It's difficult to judge right now, I

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would say, because President Erdogan has taken the country from a very

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bad position to a good position, then to a worse situation now. His

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alleged sport to dodge Islamist terrorists in the region, he has

:08:37.:08:45.

cracked down on Kurdish forces. The re-emergence of clashes between

:08:46.:08:47.

Kurdish fighters and the Turkish military. They have all brought the

:08:48.:08:52.

country to a standstill in no way. The economy began to do really bad.

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This could be a coalition of many other forces who are unhappy with

:09:02.:09:05.

the direction of the country. Many thanks to you both.

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For the third time in 18 months, France reels

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Social media is awash with increasingly desperate

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relatives seeking news of missing family members and,

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unlike in the two previous attacks, many children are known to be among

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President Hollande has described it as a terrorist attack,

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adding that the whole of France was under an Islamist

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And while no group has claimed responsibility for the atrocity,

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perpetrated by a lone man with no known history of radicalisation, few

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We begin tonight's report with some eye witness accounts

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It is not just in the dreadful scenes of carnage that the horror of

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this attack lies, but in the pictures taken moments before.

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Families, friends and strangers enjoying the warmth of the July

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evening and the community of a national holiday.

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From the corner of my eye I saw this truck speeding

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towards us and we literally had maybe one or two seconds to get out

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of the way and I just managed to push both me and my wife on the

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So just what I thought that, he just lost control

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of the truck, and it was an accident.

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I just took out my cellphone and I turned on my video.

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And I was filming the shooting and then they

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killed him and they came close to make sure that he's killed.

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I saw his head getting out of the window

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I think they thought maybe the truck has a bomb or

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something or maybe he is a suicide guy and he could explode himself.

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So at that moment I started to run with

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Basically just people, bodies everywhere, people trying to

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Just too much going on for the police to handle it.

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For two kilometres it was just a mess.

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Yeah, it was a terrifying scene, terrifying scene.

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Tonight there is a vigil going on in Nice to remember the many who have

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died. We can see live pictures of it now.

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Earlier I spoke over Skype to Alain Richard,

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France's former Defence Minister and a Socialist Senator,

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We have been considering cancelling or suppressing some events, but you

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know, for the French public and the tourists too,

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the visitors too, these fireworks and games and public

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events for the national Bastille Day, it would be a trauma to

:14:05.:14:09.

So the risk was taken, and that kind of method of

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It had been envisaged but it wasn't really a priority in

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Why do you think France has fallen victim to a tax of this nature on

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such a scale and with a frequency we do not see anywhere else in Europe?

:14:37.:14:44.

In a way, IS is certainly targeting France specifically for different

:14:45.:14:51.

political or ideological reasons. But then we have clearly at least

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two kinds of attacks. The attacks of Paris last November were planned,

:15:00.:15:06.

were really prepared from the centre of IS. And the people who executed

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the attacks were under the orders of IS. Whereas the criminal who

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attacked last night was an individual. Of course we don't know

:15:22.:15:29.

yet, but it's very, very likely that it would appear that he was

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following the appeal of IS. But he was not under their hierarchy. In

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the context of your own lifetime, how divided is your country at the

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moment? I am all the more cautious to answer

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this question but my personal analysis is that dividing French

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society, and especially between Muslims and the other French people,

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is certainly strategy of IS. If they target France more intense than

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other democratic countries, my bet is that they do so because we have a

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large Muslim community in this country of up to 6 million

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inhabitants, and they would consider a victory, a success, if this

:16:29.:16:36.

community was opposed by the rest of society. So of course it is a

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challenge for us that the reaction and counterattack and rule of law

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should be unanimous and not divide the French people.

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Joining me now from Nice is Marc Etienne Lansade,

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the Front Nationale Mayor of Cogolin - a town just along

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How do you as a civic leader responds to an apparent terror

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attack so close to home? I'm sorry, the sound is awful. Let me ask

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again, how do you react to last night's events so close to your own

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region? You know, it is really mixed feelings, firstly it is sadness and

:17:29.:17:33.

compassion. Hearing this is very shocking, but it is also anger and

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questions. I know that this moment is a special moment where you have

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to respect death, and be far away from controversy, but it doesn't

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destroy the questions and why it happens again. It is the third time

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in France, and our government was explaining that we are in war but

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who is leading the war? What is done? What are the means to make

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this war? When you see that one person is making that, what will be

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the future? You just heard, I hope, the former defence minister suggest

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that Islamic State want to see more division in France and particularly

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would like to see French Muslims discriminated against more. Do you

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agree with him? I'm sorry but the sound is really too bad for

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answering you. Can you please? I'm sorry. The former defence minister

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suggests that Islamic State want to see French Muslims discriminated

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against more. Do you agree with his analysis? This is not a question

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that I'm asking. My question is are we going to stop these things. I'm

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sorry but I don't think it is really decent to talk about this because

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this is not the main question. The main question is what are we going

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to do to stop... What we have in England, I think it is the Muslim

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Brotherhood, that he is tolerated? We have mosques that are still open,

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we don't do anything to stop this and for sure all of the museums are

:19:40.:19:44.

not avoiding those things. How can you think something like this for

:19:45.:19:50.

sure, but the problem is what we do to fight against this, like they

:19:51.:19:59.

want to destroy our freedom, our values, on this special day for us.

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I understand your answer although the question really was about the

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response is politically in France to people perhaps not responsible. Do

:20:13.:20:21.

you think French Muslims feel less safe now, because not only are they

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at risk of being bricked into terror attacks, but also at risk of being

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blamed for them in some quarters? Many thanks for your time and best

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efforts this evening. So, who was Mohamed

:20:41.:20:45.

Lahouaiej Bouhlel? And will his background provide any

:20:46.:20:48.

clues about what led him to drive a rented truck into a 30,000-strong

:20:49.:20:51.

crowd of people And joins me now. I gather the

:20:52.:20:53.

father... Tonight the city grieves

:20:54.:21:13.

in the aftermath of what appears to be the third major attack

:21:14.:21:16.

on France in 18 months. This is the man believed to be

:21:17.:21:19.

behind it, 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel,

:21:20.:21:21.

a Tunisian national who lived in the heart

:21:22.:21:23.

of the city he devastated. His lorry was rented,

:21:24.:21:27.

due to be returned on Wednesday. But around 11pm French time last

:21:28.:21:29.

night, he turned onto Nice's Promenade des Anglais

:21:30.:21:32.

and soon started to drive at people A number of people are reported

:21:33.:21:34.

to have died when he got By the time the truck reached

:21:35.:21:39.

the Westminster Hotel, Finally it came to stop outside

:21:40.:21:43.

a casino at a junction. One and a quarter miles

:21:44.:21:53.

of devastation. Searches today at Mohamed

:21:54.:21:55.

Lahouaiej Bouhlel's flat, We spoke to neighbours about the man

:21:56.:21:56.

who last night killed at least 84. TRANSLATION: He had a perverted look

:21:57.:22:06.

which was scary, he wasn't friendly. We would say hello to him

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and he wouldn't answer, He would move down,

:22:10.:22:12.

keep going and stare. Religious people don't drink

:22:13.:22:20.

alcohol, at least not normally. At a press conference this

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afternoon, France's prosecutor gave new details about the attack

:22:25.:22:26.

and the man behind it. TRANSLATION: Mohamed Lahouaiej

:22:27.:22:31.

was known to the police and justice services for threats,

:22:32.:22:34.

violence, and breaking and entering However, he's completely unknown

:22:35.:22:36.

to the intelligence services, both He was not the subject

:22:37.:22:43.

of a single file or ever Police will be hoping that

:22:44.:22:47.

their searches of this small flat... You can still see the debris

:22:48.:22:55.

on the floor, presumably from where they kicked the door

:22:56.:22:57.

in from the flat early this morning. They will be hoping the searches

:22:58.:23:01.

will reveal the motive behind At the moment the authorities

:23:02.:23:04.

believe the attacks have all the hallmarks of being

:23:05.:23:08.

jihadi-inspired but don't have Other key questions remain too -

:23:09.:23:10.

did the attacker act alone? Could there be an accomplice

:23:11.:23:16.

still on the run? And could more have been

:23:17.:23:19.

done to prevent it? The truck used in the attack

:23:20.:23:24.

was removed from the Promenade France is becoming used to horrific

:23:25.:23:27.

violence, but something feels The use of a truck as a weapon,

:23:28.:23:32.

targeting a smaller city, and the number of families

:23:33.:23:36.

with children who were affected. Tonight, across Nice,

:23:37.:23:39.

people came together to honour Over the next few days, we will

:23:40.:23:41.

learn more about why they died. We are going back now to the events

:23:42.:23:57.

in Turkey this evening. We're going back to the events

:23:58.:24:06.

in Turkey this evening now to see if we can piece together more

:24:07.:24:09.

about what's going on amid reports A Turkish military statement says

:24:10.:24:21.

that the military has seized power, citing rising autocratic rule and an

:24:22.:24:25.

increase in terrorism. These are the live shots from the bridge over the

:24:26.:24:34.

Bosphorus. I'm joined by our diplomatic editor, for a story which

:24:35.:24:41.

has developed since we last saw you 20 minutes ago. There is evidence of

:24:42.:24:46.

a broadly supported military coup, they have taken key places, Istanbul

:24:47.:24:52.

airport, a television station, but we have also seen an extraordinary

:24:53.:24:56.

images of President Erdogan appearing on a phone held up by TV

:24:57.:25:02.

presenter speaking, essentially saying, I am in charge. It would be

:25:03.:25:07.

comic but he has ordered supporters onto the streets to contest this

:25:08.:25:14.

military coup, and therein lies the potential for large-scale bloodshed.

:25:15.:25:17.

If he's able to go to some part of the country that isn't under the

:25:18.:25:23.

control of this new military jaunt, then he could raise loyalist forces.

:25:24.:25:29.

Conflicting reports about President Erdogan's physical whereabouts, some

:25:30.:25:33.

saying he's got on a plane, others saying his safe but in Turkey. When

:25:34.:25:39.

you mention the prospect of bloodshed, this will depend upon how

:25:40.:25:45.

many loyalists President Erdogan can mobilise and how quickly. And there

:25:46.:25:49.

have already been clashes in the cities with police loyal to the

:25:50.:25:53.

government and some of the military. We don't really know anything about

:25:54.:25:58.

possible casualties but we know there have been incidents where

:25:59.:26:00.

firearms have been used and buildings attacks attacked. There is

:26:01.:26:12.

already a strong possibility blood has been spilt. Any indication of

:26:13.:26:17.

who is at the top of the pyramid, essentially the leader? Fascinating

:26:18.:26:26.

thing, in the 1960s it was all kernels. We know the army chief is

:26:27.:26:32.

under arrest apparently, the head of military intelligence was also

:26:33.:26:36.

seized. These people are loyal to President Erdogan apparently, so it

:26:37.:26:43.

must be a level or two down. We have to wait and see if a face or a group

:26:44.:26:48.

of faces emerges to claim responsibility. I'm hearing Turkey's

:26:49.:27:00.

European Union minister has instructed them to do so --

:27:01.:27:09.

disobeyed orders. We have live shots of tanks on the streets, suggesting

:27:10.:27:11.

this engagement is far from over. With me now, Roula Khalef,

:27:12.:27:15.

the Deputy Editor of the FT, and Richard Barratt,

:27:16.:27:17.

the former director You were both poor used to discuss

:27:18.:27:29.

the situation in France but I suspect your expertise extends to

:27:30.:27:36.

Turkey. I know you were a foreign editor before, so give us an idea

:27:37.:27:43.

how surprised they are by events tonight. I think it is an

:27:44.:27:48.

extraordinary event. 20 years ago, you wouldn't have been surprised by

:27:49.:27:55.

a coup in Turkey but now you expect that Turkey has moved on, not least

:27:56.:28:01.

because one of the main supposed achievements of President Erdogan

:28:02.:28:05.

has been to neutralise the army so I think this is pretty extraordinary.

:28:06.:28:09.

We have to wait, the information is still very confusing. We have to see

:28:10.:28:16.

if there is a counter coup that is mounted for instance. Clearly, the

:28:17.:28:22.

chief of the Army is an ally of President Erdogan. The extent to

:28:23.:28:27.

which the rest of the army supports this is still not clear. Is that

:28:28.:28:33.

what you mean when you said he had mobilise the military, that he had

:28:34.:28:40.

friends in high places? This has been a very determined campaign by

:28:41.:28:45.

President Erdogan, from more than a decade ago, to move against the army

:28:46.:28:50.

and concentrate power in his office first as Prime Minister and now as

:28:51.:28:57.

president. We will move into your counterterrorism expertise

:28:58.:29:00.

imminently, but as a security professional for many years, Turkey

:29:01.:29:09.

has had a history of fractiousness, but not a recent history

:29:10.:29:13.

necessarily. It is a fairly fractious society, there is quite a

:29:14.:29:17.

division between the business classes, the middle classes and the

:29:18.:29:25.

inhabitants who are perhaps more inclined to fundamentalist

:29:26.:29:28.

interpretation of Islam than the more urban areas, but whatever way

:29:29.:29:32.

you look at it this last 24 hours have been a tremendous day for the

:29:33.:29:38.

so-called Islamic State. The attack in France, even if it wasn't a

:29:39.:29:42.

terrorist attack, and it has still not been claimed by anybody, has

:29:43.:29:47.

again raised everybody's fears that these attacks will become more

:29:48.:29:52.

frequent and harder to stop. And of course Turkey had become, recently

:29:53.:29:58.

anyway, one of the key enemies of the Islamic State and very much a

:29:59.:30:03.

target. Whatever happens in Turkey now, it will be very chaotic. The

:30:04.:30:10.

military helicopters have opened fire on the state broadcaster, I

:30:11.:30:15.

have heard from unconfirmed reports. You mentioned the attack in France

:30:16.:30:20.

last night, and as a counterterrorism specialist, is

:30:21.:30:26.

there anything a city or a country can do to guard better against that

:30:27.:30:30.

particular type of assault? Of course that is what everybody will

:30:31.:30:34.

be thinking about but there is a limit to what you can do, clearly

:30:35.:30:38.

with the weaponisation of everyday life like using a truck to kill

:30:39.:30:47.

people in such an attack, how do you protect its against that? You can

:30:48.:30:52.

have a ring of steel around an event but then it pushes the target

:30:53.:30:56.

further away and it is equally soft where it is. I think that

:30:57.:31:01.

essentially people are going to have to get used to the fact that these

:31:02.:31:05.

sorts of things will go on, just as they have in the past and they will

:31:06.:31:10.

in the future. Maybe this is an exceptional scale and that can be

:31:11.:31:13.

limited but the possibilities of other people like this man coming

:31:14.:31:17.

out of the woodwork and doing things like that is very real. Why France,

:31:18.:31:25.

so specifically and so frequently now? I think there are several

:31:26.:31:30.

reasons. One is France has a very large Muslim community, the largest

:31:31.:31:35.

Muslim community in Europe. France also is very close to being a -- the

:31:36.:31:52.

night -- Nigreb. France hosts sent the largest number of Europeans to

:31:53.:31:57.

fight jihad with Isis and has also been one of the most outspoken and

:31:58.:32:01.

active in the fight against Isis so I think there are various reasons

:32:02.:32:06.

that combine together. Some people say that the very aggressive

:32:07.:32:10.

secularism in France is symbolically that it works to turn Isis

:32:11.:32:18.

supporters or people who are simply inspired by Isis, against the

:32:19.:32:21.

government and against others in France. You have to remember that

:32:22.:32:26.

here we are talking about two parallel things that are happening.

:32:27.:32:32.

There are attacks, and Isis wants to lash out more because it is under

:32:33.:32:36.

pressure now, but the second phenomenon that is happening at the

:32:37.:32:40.

same time is the lone wolf phenomenon which is even more

:32:41.:32:45.

dangerous. These are people that can be radicalised very quickly. Many

:32:46.:32:46.

thanks indeed. Time now for possibly welcome change

:32:47.:32:59.

of tone. Carla Lane redefined roles for women

:33:00.:33:05.

on television in the '70s and '80s with comedies

:33:06.:33:08.

such as The Liver Birds,

:33:09.:33:11.

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