15/07/2016 Newsnight


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


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


Fighter jets have been filmed over Ankara.


Could this be a military coup against President Erdogan?


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


police and security units remain loyal to President Erdogan and there


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


tragedy as 84 people are mown down French authorites say


that the suspect, despite having a criminal history,


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


to hear reports of unexpected and unexplained military


action in Turkey. Fighter jets were filmed


flying low over the city of Ankara and the sound


of gunfire was reported. Shortly afterwards, the two main


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


with no explanation. The Turkish Prime Minister,


Ahmet Yildrim, stated that an attempted military uprising


was underway, adding that it President Erdogan says those


attempting to mount a coup will pay a heavy price.


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


the Director of the Centre for Turkish Studies,


and our correspondent in Istanbul is Katie Adams.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


moment. The situation still very unclear with two sides having


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


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


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


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


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


Bosphorus bridges were closed, these key thoroughfares across that


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


holding positions and stopping people from crossing. Tanks and


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


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


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


some elements of military intelligence. And some pictures were


shown of helicopters firing apparently at military intelligence


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Minister Yildrim and President Erdogan, resisting and being treated


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


of talk on the streets of Turkey amongst political commentators that


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


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


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


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


extremely good working relationships with the military personnel. Again


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


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


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


case of info tracing into military and police and intelligence through


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


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


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


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


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


close circle. Which means increasingly autocratic? Autocratic,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


For the third time in 18 months, France reels


Social media is awash with increasingly desperate


relatives seeking news of missing family members and,


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


President Hollande has described it as a terrorist attack,


adding that the whole of France was under an Islamist


And while no group has claimed responsibility for the atrocity,


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


We begin tonight's report with some eye witness accounts


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


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


Families, friends and strangers enjoying the warmth of the July


evening and the community of a national holiday.


From the corner of my eye I saw this truck speeding


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


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


So just what I thought that, he just lost control


of the truck, and it was an accident.


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


And I was filming the shooting and then they


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


I saw his head getting out of the window


I think they thought maybe the truck has a bomb or


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


So at that moment I started to run with


Basically just people, bodies everywhere, people trying to


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


For two kilometres it was just a mess.


Yeah, it was a terrifying scene, terrifying scene.


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


died. We can see live pictures of it now.


Earlier I spoke over Skype to Alain Richard,


France's former Defence Minister and a Socialist Senator,


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


know, for the French public and the tourists too,


the visitors too, these fireworks and games and public


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


moment? I am all the more cautious to answer


this question but my personal analysis is that dividing French


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


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


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


large Muslim community in this country of up to 6 million


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


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


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


should be unanimous and not divide the French people.


Joining me now from Nice is Marc Etienne Lansade,


the Front Nationale Mayor of Cogolin - a town just along


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


suggests that Islamic State want to see French Muslims discriminated


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


I understand your answer although the question really was about the


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


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


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


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


efforts this evening. So, who was Mohamed


Lahouaiej Bouhlel? And will his background provide any


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


crowd of people And joins me now. I gather the


father... Tonight the city grieves


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


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


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


a Tunisian national who lived in the heart


of the city he devastated. His lorry was rented,


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


night, he turned onto Nice's Promenade des Anglais


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


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


the Westminster Hotel, Finally it came to stop outside


a casino at a junction. One and a quarter miles


of devastation. Searches today at Mohamed


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


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


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


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


keep going and stare. Religious people don't drink


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


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


and the man behind it. TRANSLATION: Mohamed Lahouaiej


was known to the police and justice services for threats,


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


to the intelligence services, both He was not the subject


of a single file or ever Police will be hoping that


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


on the floor, presumably from where they kicked the door


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


will reveal the motive behind At the moment the authorities


believe the attacks have all the hallmarks of being


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


did the attacker act alone? Could there be an accomplice


still on the run? And could more have been


done to prevent it? The truck used in the attack


was removed from the Promenade France is becoming used to horrific


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


targeting a smaller city, and the number of families


with children who were affected. Tonight, across Nice,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Conflicting reports about President Erdogan's physical whereabouts, some


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


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


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


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


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


possible casualties but we know there have been incidents where


firearms have been used and buildings attacks attacked. There is


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


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


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


under arrest apparently, the head of military intelligence was also


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


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


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


European Union minister has instructed them to do so --


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


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


the Deputy Editor of the FT, and Richard Barratt,


the former director You were both poor used to discuss


the situation in France but I suspect your expertise extends to


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


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


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


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


because one of the main supposed achievements of President Erdogan


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


president. We will move into your counterterrorism expertise


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


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


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


division between the business classes, the middle classes and the


inhabitants who are perhaps more inclined to fundamentalist


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


military helicopters have opened fire on the state broadcaster, I


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


last night, and as a counterterrorism specialist, is


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


limited but the possibilities of other people like this man coming


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that combine together. Some people say that the very aggressive


secularism in France is symbolically that it works to turn Isis


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


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


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


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


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


same time is the lone wolf phenomenon which is even more


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


thanks indeed. Time now for possibly welcome change


of tone. Carla Lane redefined roles for women


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


such as The Liver Birds,


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