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Attempted Military Coup in Turkey; Unclear Who Has Control; Turkey's President Addressing Supporters; Terrorist Identified as a 35-Year-Old Tunisia Native; Terror Attack in France Kills 84, Wounds 200. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired July 15, 2016 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:18] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN "Breaking News."
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. An attempted coup in Turkey. The military claiming it has seized power from Turkey's president and imposed Martial Law. But the president says the coup has failed. It is unclear who actually is in control of the country at this hour.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Overnight, tanks rolling through Istanbul. Thousands of people taking to the streets amid explosions and gunfire. Turkey's president speaking to the nation calling the coup attempt treason.
I want to begin with Andrew Finkel. Andrew is a freelance journalist who is in Istanbul. He joins us now by phone with the very latest information.
Andrew, you are there. What is happening now that the sun has come up?
ANDREW FINKEL, FREELANCE JOURNALIST (via telephone): Well, yes. It starts like after a really extraordinary evening, night in Turkey. It appears that the coup attempt has failed, where the evening began with soldiers on the streets of major Turkish cities and tanks on the bridges. Low-flying jets over the capitol of the parliament being bombed.
The government issued a counter appeal. Mr. Erdogan, the Turkish president, whom we are used to seeing surrounded and also the regalia, this time appeared on television with someone holding up an iPhone and Face Time, and he basically call for people to take to the streets, to take to the airports, to not to let to have the coup makers have their own way and that appeal appears to have been successful.
People were out on the streets. The military did not -- the coup makers did not fire on the people. And now it appears that the situation is -- if not entirely under control, sort of under control.
LEMON: We had the deputy prime minister on who said that they had deployed aircraft to take out some of the rouge aircraft over Ankara that had been firing on the parliament. Until we get word on that, we will continue to go on the assumption that they are -- that it is not in control until we find out if they, as a matter of, have been able to contain or shoot down that rogue aircraft.
Andrew, I need to tell you that we are looking at live pictures coming in now. This is from Istanbul. You can see that there is traffic backed up there. Moments ago, we had someone on who said that they heard an explosion. And people are still out in the streets. Some people sitting down in the middle of the interstate.
Are you concerned about what happens next as the sun continues to rise there?
FINKEL: Well, yes, I think we're all concerned not just about today, but about the weeks ahead. This has clearly been a very damaging scar in Turkish society.
The people who you are describing are people who went to the airport to greet Mr. Erdogan, to encourage him, and now they're trying to make their way home. The skies have been reverberating with the sound of low-flying jets, sonic booms, shaking the building, what may be jet noises which made the explosions incurred of in the distance.
It's a very disconcerting atmosphere here. But, yes, we are concerned that how is the government is clearly going to assuming that it has manages to regain power successfully, is clearly going to carry out a purge of its opponents and how widely it will cast its net, we'll have to wait and see.
LEMON: Andrew Finkel, we appreciate you giving us your expertise and your eyewitness knowledge as well. Andrew Finkel is a freelance journalist in Istanbul. And he's been joining us here all evening on CNN.
Andrew, thank you.
LEMON: I want to bring in now CNN correspondent Jim Sciutto and Ivan Watson. They are both there as well.
Ivan is our senior international correspondent and Jim is our chief national security correspondent.
Both of them have a wealth of knowledge on this particular situation and situations like this.
Jim, to you first. What does the U.S. government think the current situation is in Turkey this morning?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Let me tell you, Don, U.S. officials have been very cautious throughout. Early on, they were cautious to identify this as a coup. In fact, they used the term uprising and then they took some time, three, four hours into it before making a more public statement when you had both the president and Secretary of State John Kerry issuing unequivocal backing for the democratically-elected government of Turkey and in fact opposing the coup and saying people should support their democratically-elected leaders. [23:05:00] Since then, they are now equally cautious pronouncing this over, or making any sort of assessment as to whether the treat is done.
They have been watching this closely. They have been getting incomplete information just as we've been getting incomplete information. And that's even while I'm told, they've stayed in contact as best they can with their Turkish counterparts, both with the military and at the political level.
But I think the U.S. confusion in terms of assessing it, probably shared somewhat by their Turkish counterparts as they were trying to judge what was happening where and when.
So, at this point, just as although you're hearing Turkish officials at this point pronouncing it over, U.S. officials are not expressing that with any sort of certainty.
LEMON: Jim, as we understand, President Erdogan has addressed the nation twice tonight, once on social media, once on television. Talk to us about what he said.
SCIUTTO: First, and you make a great point, because that first time he addressed the nation, it was by cell phone. I mean, it was a...
SCIUTTO: ...Turkish broadcaster -- exactly. Holding up a cell phone and the president FaceTiming his first address to the nation. The first time he was seen since the coup started was on that tiny little screen there.
Later, he managed to get himself to Istanbul. At this time, he was on vacation on the Turkish Coast. He got himself to Istanbul and gave a more formal press conference, showing himself physically, not in the Turkish capital but in its largest city there and with very strong words.
You heard him saying the coup was over. And that those who turn their guns on the people of Turkey, on the state of Turkey will be punished very harshly.
This is a man trying to express and show control at this point. And keep in mind, Don, leading up to this, he has as much as the coup is an assault on the Turkish democracy, keep in mind, this is a leader who has been accused of very undemocratic moves in his country. Imprisoning journalist, closing down media operations, restricting access to social media and going after the judiciary and removing officials that he saw that were not faithful to him.
So that narrative continues. And assuming this coup is over, and his side has been victorious, of course, people in Turkey are going to be bracing themselves perhaps for an even more aggressive leadership from Erdogan.
LEMON: All right, to Ivan Watson now. Ivan, rebel soldiers entered CNN Turk studio, CNN sister network and we watch live earlier as the anchor desks went empty.
What's your reaction to this? Was it too late? They really wanted a successful attempt.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was an incredible scene where the editor-in-chief says that these coup soldiers landed with a helicopter and then basically forced journalists from our sister network off the air at gun point.
And then we saw these very surreal images of the studio being emptied and the live broadcast continuing for the better part of an hour afterwards with just an empty studio, until eventually the CNN Turk broadcasters came back in again and started broadcasting again.
A moment of bravery for the Turkish media, which by all accounts has been under immense pressure from the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has jailed many journalists, who has actually shutdown other TV stations in the past.
There had been a couple other remarkable moments on television here where the anchorwoman of the state TRT Television Network was forced to read, she says, a coup statement on the air at the beginning of this turbulent chain of events.
And then several hours later, she explained that she'd been forced at gun point by soldiers to do this and then rescinded those claims. So the media has played a really remarkable role in this.
Another point to bring out, there's been a lot of criticism of Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he is trying to dominate Turkey, turning it into one-man rule.
Remarkably, in this time of deadly violence, you've seen leaders of opposition parties that are in the parliament, who are very critical of Recep Tayyip Erdogan coming out and condemning the attempted coup, and essentially defending the elected government between them and other members of civil society.
And the media that might be a source of pride for Turks during what has been a very disturbing and frightening and deadly night, Don.
LEMON: So, Ivan, you know the attack on the Ataturk Airport was on June 28th. We were here, live, talking about it, not long ago, and now this.
What does this mean for the region and specifically for the fight against terror?
WATSON: I think it's another very frightening factor. I mean, before this happened, Turkey, which is at this pivotal geo-strategic location. It's next to Iraq, it's next to Syria, it's next to Europe.
[23:10:05] There are oil and energy pipelines going through it. It's major transit route as well for everything, from refugees and migrants. Turkey was already facing immense challenges, Don. It was fighting both ISIS, which had bombed Istanbul alone, at least three times this year.
Most recently, just about under three weeks ago, a triple suicide bombing at Istanbul Airport. It's also fighting Kurdish separatist, PKK fighters. It's struggling to deal with huge refugee population from Syria with militants that have established networks in Turkey as well.
And now you have a major and deadly power struggle taking place between elements of the military and the elected government. The police forced to try to keep some sense of law and order without knowing who to really follow at this point in the midst of this.
We saw scenes of absolute chaos at Istanbul's International Airport, which was just bombed a little less than three weeks ago.
WATSON: The military briefly appeared to try to take control of it, and then crowds of Erdogan's supporters swept in past the metal detectors and just marched around an airport that had just been bombed a little bit less than three weeks ago. So just imagine what is going on elsewhere in the country right now.
LEMON: Yes. One wonders what's going to happen next.
Jim Sciutto, I have to ask you a question. This caught, obviously, the people who, you know, had knowledge of the Erdogan government and Turkey. Caught them off guard.
What about the White House here in the United States. Catching them off guard. How was their response been?
SCIUTTO: I think it's fair to say they were caught off guard. There was no warning on this end. Of course, they've been aware of internal opposition to Erdogan in Turkey. They've also have known and seen his own public expressions about this danger.
There was a case earlier this year when I believed Erdogan was meant to go to Muhammad Ali's memorial service, and then flew back early to Turkey at the time, concerns about internal oppositions. There had been rumblings of this. But no one was expecting a full on or partial military coup attempt tonight. And that partly explains why there was enormous amount, I wouldn't say delay, but there is hesitation in saying anything in public about this until they had a clear impression of what was going on.
So it was about three, four hours into the coup before you had the president and John Kerry in lock step declaring their support for the democratically-elected government of Turkey.
And I think, you're going to have hesitation on this end now in the coming hours, however long it takes to declare this over. And, perhaps, to make a public statement about who the U.S. believes was actually behind this coup. LEMON: Jim Sciutto, Ivan Watson, thank you very much.
Up next, more on our breaking news coverage of the coup attempt in Turkey.
[23:16:30] LEMON: Breaking news. We just want to show you these live pictures. These are coming to us from periscope. It is Istanbul.
As you can see the sun rising there. People still out on the street after an attempted coup in Turkey. Unclear, as it says on your screen, who is in control right now. Although the Erdogan government is saying they are.
CNN has obtained video that shows that Turkish military inside the TRT world headquarters studio, it is in Ankara, TRT is Turkey's state-run media. It was taken off the air for a while, as well CNN Turk.
And for a while, rebel troops in Turkey took control of TRT, the state broadcaster.
Joining me now is Carlos Van Meek, TRT's news director.
Thank you, Carlos. How are you doing?
CARLOS VAN MEEK, NEWS DIRECTOR OF TRT, TURKISH STATE BROADCASTER: We're doing OK. Thanks.
LEMON: Was it a violent takeover? Was anybody hurt?
VAN MEEK: Nobody was hurt. You know, a violent take over, I guess that's relative when soldiers walk into your newsroom with guns. It's not a peaceful takeover. However, we did manage to get everybody out of building. Everybody seems to be OK. They pulled our signal down, and we remain down, although my Turkish counterparts in Ankara seem to have gotten their signal back up. But my English language channel hasn't managed to do so.
But it was quite a scary moment. I had my staff, their phones were confiscated. So it was very hard to get in touch with people after the incident took place. Clearly, a lot of people were shaken out.
So you don't know -- who is in control of your airwaves right now? Is that clear? Do you know?
VAN MEEK: We're off the air. Off the air. Yes.
LEMON: OK. And so -- and no one is in the broadcast center now. You're off the air? Do you know --
VAN MEEK: That is correct. We're based in Istanbul. TRT is a national broadcaster. It's got 50 different channels. I belong to the English language international broadcaster and we remain off the air. There is nobody in that building.
LEMON: OK, so in the middle of this attempted coup, the forces went in, they wanted to go into that particular broadcaster. They wanted to get you off the air because?
VAN MEEK: Well, we're the state broadcaster, public broadcaster. I should note, they also took my Turkish counterparts off the air. Since we're the public broadcaster, there's a perception that clearly they speak on behalf of the government, their mouthpiece, et cetera.
I can't speak for my Turkish colleagues. They've been around for 50 years. They've done a really good job doing what they do. I can only tell you on behalf of the English broadcaster that I represent, we just play it straight. And we get criticism from all sides just for doing that. So, clearly, whoever controls the message can control the narrative. And so, I guess, by taking us off the air, they felt they had an opportunity to control that message while they went through this coup attempt. And, clearly, that has not worked out in their favor.
LEMON: Are you able to hear from your journalists there?
VAN MEEK: I have. I've spoken to several of my journalists. They're laying low right now.
LEMON: What are the sources telling them? Are they relaying anything to you about what their sources are saying about the coup? Do you have any information for us thus far?
VAN MEEK: Well, it appears to be a -- it's not an entire military coup. I believe I was listening to one of your guests earlier, who made a point of that. If it would have been the entire military, I believe they could have toppled the government. It's quite a powerful military in Turkey and well-established and a cornerstone of the country really.
[23:20:00] It seems to have been a small group that were behind this coup, which may speak to why they were not successful so far. And why it appears that things have abated a bit. So it's almost as if the military is at war with itself, not just with the government, because I don't think you've seen any senior generals in the military coming out against the government.
In fact, it's been quite unifying in that sense that many senior officials in the military have come out supporting the government. So this seems to be a small faction within the military that made the attempt.
LEMON: Carlos, how well do you know Istanbul?
VAN MEEK: I know it fairly well.
LEMON: Are you able to see, Eric? Can you see this pictures that are coming in now.
VAN MEEK: I can see those. LEMON: These are live -- this is live coming in from periscope.
VAN MEEK: OK.
LEMON: And it appears to be, it looks like and I could be wrong, it looks like (INAUDIBLE), it could be the median.
But then it's also an approach or an exit to a bridge there. What do you know about this?
VAN MEEK: Well, it's kind of tough to make out. I'm looking and it's kind of moving around just a little bit, Don, I'm afraid. It's tough to make out to be honest with you.
Look, those bridges were at one stage, they were completely blocked off by tanks.
LEMON: There it is right there.
VAN MEEK: And it seems as if tanks have been replaced by people in cars. There were reports there was some soldiers remaining there, but not with heavy weaponry, mostly soldiers with rifles.
It's really hard to make out what's happening right now. I do know that it got quieter in Istanbul overnight. And that the real trouble was taking place in Ankara.
But, again, it's still developing. And I'm not entirely sure if it's quieted down in the last few hours.
LEMON: Stand by, Carlos. Don't go anywhere. We're talking to Carlos Van Meek. He is the director of news, our TRT World News, which is a state-run broadcasting there.
But I do have to tell you, I have some sad and immediate news to report here. This is -- CNN has confirmed that 42 people are dead in Ankara, in the Ankara attacks, according to the prosecutor's office there. 42 people have been killed in attacks across the Turkish capital of Ankara. Again, according to Turkish media citing the attorney general's office in Ankara.
NTV, which is a private television channel reports that most of the victims were police officers killed in an exchange of gun fire with a helicopter near the parliament complex in the capital.
And, of course, in our last hour, we had on Turkey's deputy prime minister Mehmet Simsek who confirmed to us that rogue aircraft were over Ankara and firing on the parliament building and that they had deployed aircraft to take that rogue aircraft down.
And, again, 42 people dead in Ankara, in attacks there. Again, I'm joined now by Carlos Van Meek, the director of news.
Carlos, what can you tell us? Are you familiar with this NTV and what's going on? VAN MEEK: Yes, we heard those reports as well. That seems to be consistent with what we've been hearing as well. It seems as if the fighting in Ankara was much more fierce and the folks there were a bit more determined in their approach.
Clearly, Ankara is at the sit of power here, or in Turkey at least. It's the capital. So there was a play on the capital itself, which was a bit more aggressive than it was in Istanbul. And, clearly, there were 42 people who died as a result and we may see that number rise. But I was hearing those reports as well so it did play out that way.
LEMON: All right, excuse me, Carlos Van Meek, director of News for TRT World, state-run television in Turkey. Thank you very much. We appreciate that.
His studios were shut down, still shut down now and they are no longer broadcasting.
Again, breaking news is that 42 people are dead. 42 people are dead. As you see there at the bottom of your screen. They have been killed in the attacks across the Turkish capital of Ankara. And it was believed it was from a rogue aircraft fire. Most of those dead according to the attorney general's office in Ankara and NTV, a private television channel.
Most of the victims were police officers killed in an exchange of gunfire with a helicopter near the parliament complex in the capital.
As we discussed that and get that breaking news on now, I want to bring in Fusun Volimuth. She lives in Istanbul and joins us now by phone.
Fusun, thank you very much. Talk to us about your experience. I understand that you're from Germany and you've lived in Istanbul for five to six years, not far from Taksim Square?
FUSUN VOLIMUTH, ISTANBUL RESIDENT (VIA TELEPHONE): Exactly. Exactly. Hello? Yes, exactly. Yes, well, what can I tell you? It was a very interesting night in terms of not knowing what was going on, just hearing gunshot, helicopters, and -- I don't have a television, the Internet. I couldn't reach any message because the Internet was blocked shortly. There was no transmission.
And then we have a chain of friends that we contact each other in case of emergencies and through this chain basically helping each other realizing what was going on.
[23:25:00] And, yes, we could hear gun shoots, explosions, jets and I could see military vehicles driving through the streets and restless night.
LEMON: Again, you said -- again we're joined now by Fusun Volimuth.
And, Fusun, you said, when it started, you saw military vehicles driving down the street. You heard gunshots, jets, bombings. The Internet was gone. So you had no idea what was going on. It was a terrifying nightmare especially not knowing. But you said if you had not been at home, you probably would not be able to get home.
VOLIMUTH: Yes, exactly. I don't know if the jets were bombing or what the explosions were. I couldn't see that from home. But we shortly were informed (INAUDIBLE), that we should stay at home and not leave the house, and that martial law is applicable.
So, basically, you know, the people were at home. Our friends, we stayed at home. We didn't go out, not knowing what was really going on.
LEMON: So, Fusun, are you still hearing explosions. And do you hear gun fire as well, or has it calmed down?
VOLIMUTH: It has calmed down for the past half an hour. Occasionally, I can hear gun shots. I saw in about 20 minutes ago, a military vehicle driving, but it seems very calm now compared to just an hour ago.
LEMON: Did you hear the call for, you know, from President Erdogan to go to the streets?
VOLIMUTH: Yes, I received an SMS, sent by the government obviously, where the name under it Recep Tayyip Erdogan to go to the streets and fight for democracy.
And, also, at about 1:30, something like that, we suddenly heard the Imam from the nearest calling for prayer, which was an odd time because he's not supposed to call before (INAUDIBLE). And then after 10 minutes, you will hear the call for prayers like three minutes and afterwards he urged us to go to the streets and to fight for democracy.
LEMON: Fusun Volimuth, thank you very much.
VOLIMUTH: But --
LEMON: Yes, I understand that you didn't go because you were afraid. And that is certainly understandable.
Thank you very much, Fusun. We appreciate that.
LEMON: Again, I want to report the breaking news here. 42 people have been killed in attacks across the Turkish capital of Ankara. That's according to Turkish media, citing the attorney general's office in Ankara.
NTV which is a private television channel is reporting that most of the victims were police officers killed in exchange of gunfire with a helicopter near the parliament complex in the capital.
I want to bring in now to discuss that and much more.
CNN's Bob Baer -- Bob Baer, excuse me, a former CIA operative. Also, Lt. Col. Rick Francona, former U.S. military attache in Syria. Joshua Walker, a former senior state department adviser to Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state and Major General Spider Marks.
Major General Marks, when you hear about these 42 people, we heard from Turkey's deputy prime minister that rogue aircraft were over Ankara and firing on the parliament, and they were going to send out their own aircraft to try to take this aircraft down.
When you hear about these 42 people dead, talk to us about that.
GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, well, the first thing that comes to mind is the first reports are generally always wrong and then the second thing is within all of that is an immense amount of confusion.
It doesn't really matter what is their intentions were. Who's the, quote, "big guy" or the "bad guy." What's really important is that there's going to be some distraction.
First of all, you have aircraft. A rogue aircraft, if you will, is now firing an incredibly powerful system is now firing rather indiscriminately into a crowd, which means the wounds will be severe. Those that are killed. The numbers will probably increase. And then as a result of an engagement, an air engagement is you're going to have a fire ball and you're going to have some real damage on the ground as a result of that.
So there will be intended targets that will be killed and there will be collateral damage. It really just gets to the raw nature of what we're seeing unfolding and the fact that all of us who have experiences in military operations and intelligence operations, nothing is really going to unfold in a way that you think might be predictable.
There truly are -- there are permeations that you simply cannot predict. This is one of them.
[23:30:00] LEMON: These are live pictures of the president addressing a large crowd in Istanbul
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: We wanted to get you to listen to that. Obviously, it's not in English. But to get a sense of what was going on. When you look at the crowd and the demeanor of the crowd, Joshua, he appears to have tremendous support.
JOSHUA WALKER, FORMER SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT ADVISER TO SECRETARY CLINTON: Exactly right. We've already talked about the fact that more than half of Turkey supports this man. If you look out in that crowd, it's all men, number one. You look at the ministers in the cabinet, officials that are around him, his son-in-law to his left. The energy minister.
He is talking, and I can only hear barely parts of what he is saying right now. But he's talking about last night and what this represents. He's really doubling down in the rhetoric. Keeps this coming out.
He's not somebody who is trying to be conciliatory. He's basically saying this is treason and the booing that you're hearing is probably directed at the coup attempt. You know, whoever did this is going to pay dearly.
We're already heard about the loss of life in the police side. I would imagine that they are going to cross very heavily all the officer. They've already rounded up over 130. It looks like thus far.
LEMON: We're talking to our panel of experts as Turkey's president addresses supporters in what appears to be, from this angle, a large crowd in Istanbul. Let's -- I think we have some translation. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERDOGAN (through translator): So far as you continue your position in this way, we'll succeed.
I would like to make a certain expression particularly. At the highest level of our army from the heads of the armies to lower ranking officers and to ordinary private soldiers in Turkey, armed forces are not governing the state and not leading the state and they cannot. This should be known by all.
This nation brought a certain government using their own will, by election. The government is in control. 50 percent of the people elected a president and that president is on duty.
My brothers, I want you to know this. Those who brought these tanks out, what happened to these tanks? My people took these tanks back, haven't they? So far as we believe in that, so far as we are alive, we will be prepared to die in the cause, to tackle these people. But we will stand firm. We are not going to compromise.
Now I am addressing those in Pennsylvania. The betrayal you have shown to this nation and to this community, that's enough. If you have the courage, come back to your country. If you can. You will not have the means to turn this country into a mess from where you are.
[23:35:00] The crowd is chanting "We won't, We won't" -- and it's not very clear. At every step we are taking, we will be -- pay attention to this. They cannot stand with Turkey getting bigger, Turkey developing, but whether they like it or not, we will complete what we are targeting. We will achieve to our target.
The God is great. The God is great.
LEMON: Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan addressing supporters in a crowd in Istanbul. Now he has spoken to the media twice and now he is addressing the public live and outdoors.
Again, I'm here with my panel.
Bob Baer, Lt. Col. Rick Francona, Joshua Walker, Spider Marks here as well. Here's what he said panel and let's dissect this.
He said that the highest level of our army to the lowest ranking, the government is not leaving the state, this should be known by all. He said the people elected this government. Those who brought the tanks out, my people took the tanks back. We will be prepared to die to tackle these people. We will stand firm. We will not compromise. The betrayal shown is enough. If you have the courage to come back to your country, come back. And then there was chanting as well.
Joshua Walker pointed this out, but I want that that might have been what he was saying and indeed he was.
Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, what's your response to this?
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, you know, it was interesting to watch him work that crowd because this is what prevented this coup from succeeding. When he called the people out to go out in the street, I think that effectively ended the coup.
And the coup probably failed right there, because -- and General Marks and I were watching some of this footage earlier. When you saw this people in the street walking up to armored vehicles, tanks, APC's and literally putting themselves in the path of these vehicles, climbing up on the vehicles, disarming the soldiers and the soldiers didn't know what to do. Just the mass of the people --
LEMON: Let's listen in -- let's listen in real quick.
FRANCONA: It was reminiscent of Egypt.
LEMON: Let's listen in, Colonel. Let's listen.
ERDOGAN (through translator): Don't forget --
The crowd is chanting reject Tayyip Erdogan. What do we say? What do we say? What do we say? What do we say?
One nation, one flag, one motherland, one (INAUDIBLE).
LEMON: And there you have the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. And, again, they are chanting his name as you heard from the translator. And there they are chanting again.
And look at the size of this crowd. It is really a crowd of thousands. It looks like tens of thousands.
And the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again addressing that crowd. He says, what do we want? We want one nation, one flag, one motherland.
Sorry to cut you off, Col. Francona. As you were saying?
FRANCONA: Well, I think you saw it right there. I mean, he's got the popular support now. And I think he's in a much better position politically now than before. He emerges from this much stronger and now he can enact those reforms.
I want to talk a little bit about -- you were talking about the military officer corps and that they don't run the country, the people run the country, the government runs the country.
You know, over the last four or five years, Erdogan has been very successful in weeding out any opposition in that senior officer rank. So I think when you look at who was running this coup, it was not the senior officer level. They are loyal. It was probably at the brigadier or colonel level. And that's why they just didn't get this done.
You know, coups have to be done as General Mark said. They'd have to be done very quickly, very efficiently and you have to put a leader in charge. They didn't do any of that.
LEMON: It's interesting, Bob, because we have looked -- I guess, just over the last 12 hours we have seen, you know, a coup attempt and it looked like it had been successful if you monitor the pictures happening all day. And then here we are late into the evening, unsuccessfully. I mean, this all played out in a swift amount of time here.
[23:40:00] BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE & SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Don, let's wait and see. I mean, if I was Erdogan, I would fly back to the capital and made that speech from there.
He used to be the mayor of Istanbul. He's got a big support there. And there's some doubt in my mind why didn't he go back to Ankara. He doesn't feel safe there clearly. So we're going to -- this is still going to play out.
And I want to say something about, Don. Something you said before about Washington being confused. I know the reason for that. I've dealt with the Turkish military. And we are shut out of their internal politics. Turkish military officers don't come to American officials. Military attache, CIA and say, look, we're unhappy. So it doesn't come as a surprise to me that it was a surprise to Washington --
LEMON: So how did the U.S. go with Turkey moving forward?
BAER: Well, the problem is, Erdogan, if I were him in a situation like this in a divided country, if I got back in power, I would crush any possible dissent in the military, which will cause problems in the future.
LEMON: So, general, I want you to look at this video. I'm sorry to cut you off, Bob.
You see, this is happening live. Not exactly sure. You see members of the military with their hands up here. I'm not sure exactly what is playing out, Joshua. You may know. Maybe Spider Marks. Maybe a number of our panelists now. But, again, you see them walking in front of tanks here, holding their hands up. I don't know if it's surrender or if it's a symbol?
MAJOR GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Don, I think this is an initial act of reconciliation. I think what you see is these are elements within the military that either were coerced to participate or participated willingly. At this point, it doesn't matter. But they're acknowledging that they want to try to work themselves back in in an effective and an efficient way and get beyond this.
And, clearly, the coup is not over. I mean, the coup is not over until it's completely over. Erdogan is not going to allow this chaotic opportunity to pass him by. He'll take advantage of this crisis and really double down.
LEMON: This is the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul.
MARKS: Significant for a whole bunch of reasons, obviously.
LEMON: Go for it. Why is that?
MARKS: Well, I mean, this is really -- this is passage into Europe. I mean, this is why Turkey is such an incredible important ally to us. A stable Turkey is what we need on our southern and eastern border that is surrounded by a troubled and chaotic Syria, Iraq, Iran, the borders Armenia and Georgia, the Black Sea. Crimea now belongs to Russia.
This is really a turbulent, turbulent area. It always has been. That's why we have this really -- you know, a very strong and yet at the same time, a very troubled relationship with Turkey.
When I was a senior Intel guy, and we were going to war in Iraq, we worked desperately to try to have a northern route advanced into Iraq where we could come in from the south and we could come in from the north.
Turkey at the 11th hour said no, thank you. Irrespective of our best diplomatic efforts to try to gain their support. This is a partner. This is an ally.
MARKS: This is a NATO ally.
LEMON: Quick question for you. And if you can do it quickly because I need to get to a break.
LEMON: The U.S. military, are they -- what about their stability there, their safety?
MARKS: Good to go. Short answer.
LEMON: They're good to go. OK.
MARKS: It's good to go. It's all fine.
LEMON: OK, Joshua, quickly here, when you look at those pictures, what's going on here with the troops with their hands up?
What do you know about this?
WALKER: I mean, that bridge is important, symbolically. It looks like that they put their hands up and they are moving in. We saw pictures in CNN Turk, where a lot of the soldiers coming in were shaking. It didn't look like they are in very much control of the situation. The tied seems to be turning against him, seeing that big crowd, looking at the rhetoric from Erdogan. It seems to me that this is something that these guys don't want to be on their losing side of. They are going to find a way of moving over and making sure they don't pay the ultimate price for the coup that looks like it's failed to this point. But it's still too early to tell, obviously.
LEMON: This happened live and now the video, they have looped it. So, again, that's what's happening now in Turkey. We'll be right back. Don't go anywhere. We'll have our breaking news coverage.
[23:47:56] LEMON: We're going to continue to follow the breaking news in Turkey.
But our other breaking news story tonight, a terror attack in Nice, France killed 84 people, wounded 200 others.
CNN international correspondent Max Foster is in Nice for us. Max, tonight, there is chaos in Turkey, but you are standing on the spot where just 24 hours ago, a disaster was unfolding. What's the latest?
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting. We're not getting many updates from the investigation because they seem to have hit a bit of a brick wall. They've investigated this guy. He was going through a divorce. He had three young children.
He wasn't particularly religious, we understand, and yet the mayor of Nice was telling me just yesterday in comments that reflected what the prime minister has been saying is that someone doesn't just wake up and mow through dozens of people. He must have been radicalized in some way. He must have been inspired in some way. He must surely have had some sort of network to carry this out. But they don't seem to be any links to wider terror groups. So they're stuck really.
But this incident happened. It's frightened the nation. It's frightened Europe. And so they've extended the state of emergency on the streets that's just full of military with large guns and this frightening atmosphere we have here currently.
And inevitably people are looking at his background. And he was someone who was born outside the country. And he was a Muslim. So these sorts of features play into a wider political debate here. But they can't specifically tie him to any wider group.
Max, the driver's wife has been detained. Is there any new information about his motivation?
FOSTER: Not really. I mean, that's what they're digging away at. There's certainly lots of stories about how he was quite an angry person and he had lashed out on various occasions. And he was going through this divorce, which was clearly very difficult. And you had these three young children. But they can't get any further than that. Obviously, we're not being told all the information throughout the investigation, but normally we get some sort of hint.
When we start meet a lone wolf, they're saying they don't really believe in the idea of the lone wolf anymore. These people are inspired by something. And that's what they are trying to establish right now.
LEMON: Any new leads on what authorities are chasing right now?
[23:50:15] FOSTER: They're literally just trying to find these links they may have had to have to any other groups. And apart from that, they're just trying to prepare for any other similar instance that might occur.
It's almost more frightening to have a situation where someone can carry out such a horrific attack in the scene behind me, and not to have any clear motivation, but that seems to be the situation at this point.
Meanwhile, they're trying to clear out this area. People are in a horrible state of insecurity here. Not really knowing what to do is kind of odd.
You go, a couple of streets, Don, that way, and life appears to be carrying on as normal. People are out at the bistros. It's summer here. People are coming from all over France to hang out here. But at the same time here, it's this isolated, frightening place.
To think that all of this happened at a time when, you know, Bastille Day is all about freedom, it's about peace, it's about French identity and for that to have happened here, people are struggling with.
LEMON: Yes. The driver plowed through a mile long stretch of where you are now, and it's certainly a different scene today or tonight than it was last night.
Thank you very much for that. Max Foster in Nice, France.
I want to bring in now Kayla Repan and Alex Kapetan, who witnessed the attack.
Hello to you, Kayla and Alex. Thank you so much for joining us. We know that you have been through a lot. I'm glad that you're both safe. You're both from Florida. What were you doing in France?
KAYLA REPAN, WITNESS TO ATTACK IN NICE: Actually, we started our trip last week in Paris, where we actually got engaged. And then just a few days ago, I guess at this point, we moved to Nice just to, you know, enjoy the beach and enjoy a little vacation.
You know, we actually thought when we were in France, the Euro Cup was going on and we were a little concern about the security there. And then when we got to Nice, I think, we kind of, you know, took a breath. We're a little relieved to be there thinking, you know, it was a lot safer.
LEMON: Yes, and then that happened.
Congratulations, by the way, on your engagement.
But, you know, Alex, we have all seen these images on TV. But what was it like to be on that Promenade last night. What did you -- what did you guys see?
ALEX KAPETAN, WITNESS TO ATTACK IN NICE: It was the craziest experience I've ever had in my life. We were there watching fireworks that went off, and it was packed with people.
The street, by the beach, the cafes, everything was slammed. And right when the fireworks ended, we walked back to the cafe area to get some dinner and we had just crossed the street and we walked in where the cafes were and we just heard bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. And we didn't know if it was fireworks or if somebody was shooting a gun. But people started running and all of a sudden it was just a mass of people just flying.
It was like, it reminded me when you watch on TV, the running of the bulls in Pamplona except you knew the bulls are there. When we're running, you don't know if you're running into something else. You don't really know what you're running away from. It was just a surreal feeling.
REPAN: People are tripping over each other.
KAPETAN: And falling.
KAPETAN: And just yelling. And, you know, we tried to run off the main street and kind of down some alleyways which still were packed with people. And we ended up running into a restaurant and people were hiding and they are screaming, holding their children. I mean, it was surreal.
And then you feel like, what am I doing in here? We're just a sitting duck so we took off down the street and ended up in a hotel, some random hotel that the police ended up walling off.
LEMON: Did you see the --
KAPETAN: I couldn't tell if it was two --
LEMON: Did you see the truck.
KAPETAN: We did not see the truck.
REPAN: No, we had no idea. I mean, we were sort of asking people as we were running, you know, what's going on? We were just totally panicked. Everyone was panicked.
And we heard, you know, people are saying gunshots, and then we heard terrorist and then, you know, once we got into the restaurant, we heard that a truck had plowed through a lot of people.
But, yes, we are -- at that point, we were maybe a minute away from where the truck -- we were making our way away from the truck when it came so we didn't actually see it. We are running away.
LEMON: You, guys, are from Florida, right? Where?
KAPETAN: Well, Lighthouse Point in Broward County, Florida.
LEMON: So you were very aware, I'm sure, of the situation that happened in Orlando with the terrorist attack there. The attack on the nightclub and then now this. It appears to be no matter where you go, you're vulnerable. KAPETAN: yes. There is nothing, no place is sacred anymore. At home, here, anywhere, which is why, I mean, you can live in your fears or not. I mean, it is, you know, the kind of thing that you have to be aware of.
[23:55:05] We actually talked about it before we came over here. We said we have to be aware. You know, there have been incidents over here. And let's be aware -- have an exit strategy when we're in somewhere. But in this case, the exit strategy was just to run because we were already outside.
And, you know, you're turning these corners, when you're running, you don't know if you're going to be met with a bomb, someone with a machine gun. It's like, it was, it was really, really just a completely surreal experience.
LEMON: We --
REPAN: I think just the contrast, you know -- I'm sorry, go on.
LEMON: No, go ahead.
REPAN: You know, in the Orlando situation and in this situation, obviously, I wasn't, you know, in Orlando first hand, but you know, people just enjoying themselves in a place they feel comfortable. And in this situation, you know, parents with their kids, you know, like kids on their parents shoulders, just enjoying the fireworks, it was very celebratory, a nice experience. It's a really scary thing.
LEMON: Kayla and Alex, again, we're glad that you're OK.
And, again, congratulations on your engagement. We appreciate you joining us here on CNN.
REPAN: Thank you so much.
KAPETAN: Thank you.
LEMON: Our coverage of the coup in Turkey and the terror attack in Nice, France, continues in just a moment with Max Foster in Nice and Becky Anderson in Paris.
I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for watching. I'll see you right back here on Sunday night, where I will be live from Cleveland for the Republican National Convention.