Return to Transcripts main page


Obama Meets with Turkey PM; From One Former Captive to Another; Anthony Bourdain Tours Libya; Obama and Erdogan News Conference

Aired May 16, 2013 - 12:30   ET



SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: We are waiting a press conference to begin there in the Rose Garden momentarily here. The president as well as the prime minister of Turkey will be facing reporters who will have questions. Very likely there will be two questions to the American journalists and two questions that Turkish journalists will be able to ask the leaders.

And, of course, we're talking about relations dealing with Syria, civil war. We are also talking about three different scandals that the White House has had to address within a span of a week or so. And so there's going to be a lot to cover in that period of time there.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And a lot of the -- say the domestic issues are clearly going to dominate, but it's a shame really because Turkey/U.S. relations are vital at the moment when it comes to that part of the world.

Long-time allies, they've got common interests, a Muslim ally if you like. And neighboring Syria and Turkey having its concerns about U.S. involvement or limits of its involvement in the Syrian conflict.

So, unfortunately, probably that's going to be pushed a little bit to one side.

MALVEAUX: I suspect probably the foreign press will deal with the Syria and some of the overseas questions and subjects and then the Americans will deal with a lot of the scandal here, the politics of all that at home.

We are watching as well Cleveland honoring its police officers for their part in rescuing the three women from ten years of torture and captivity.

One officer said she prayed that the 911 call was real and not a hoax.

HOLMES: At a news conference yesterday, several of those officers gave heartfelt accounts of what they experienced when they found Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight alive. They said no training could have prepared them for the emotions of that day.

MALVEAUX: An Austrian woman who was held captive for more than eight years, she has advice for the three victims in Cleveland. HOLMES: A unique perspective, Natascha Kampusch knows what those women went through based on her own painful experience, and she's encouraging them to savor every moment of their newfound freedom.

MALVEAUX: And she spoke exclusively with our Matthew Chance.



NATASCHA KAMPUSCH, AUSTRIAN KIDNAP VICTIM: I walked down the street and I saw a man.

CHANCE: If anyone can understand what the Cleveland kidnap victims must have endured, it's Natascha Kampusch.

She took us to the streets in Vienna where she herself was abducted, age just 10.

KAMPUSCH: Grabbed me and ...

CHANCE: Like the women in Cleveland, she spent the best part of a decade torn from her family, imprisoned in her abductor's house.

When you saw that there were three women in Cleveland, Ohio, that had been through a very similar experience to yours, how did that make you feel?

KAMPUSCH (via translator): I thought to myself, I'm very happy for the three women. Thank God they have survived their ordeal. They are certainly very strong.

CHANCE: This is the man who robbed Natascha of her childhood. Wolfgang Priklopil kept her locked in his cellar for eight long years.

He raped her then committed suicide when she finally escaped, aged 18.

KAMPUSCH (via translator): It was an enormous feeling of joy that cannot be compared to anything else. You see all the possibilities laid out in front of you.

The women in Cleveland should really try to savor this joyous feeling as long as possible.

KAMPUSCH: I was very jealous of him. He had everything and I had only a small room.

CHANCE: But at the house where she was a prisoner, she's now the owner. It was awarded to her by the Austrian courts as damages.

The property is an important symbol, she told me. Keeping it is her way of dealing with her past.

How do you get over it? A lot of people are going to be watching this situation in Cleveland and thinking about you as well and wondering, you know, how do you ever get over an experience like this?

KAMPUSCH (via translator): You live with it. You live with it in your head your whole life.

You have to try to see the positive and look forward to the future. And to bury the hate you feel for the person who did this to you.

CHANCE: It is a sobering thought for the victims in Cleveland. Like Natasha, their captivity has been ended, but their ordeal may be far from over.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Vienna.


HOLMES: All right. Two years after Gadhafi's fall, Libya struggling to cope with violence, new leadership. There's been an influx also of fast food restaurants.

MALVEAUX: That is amazing. We're going to take a look at all that.

Anthony Bourdain is walking the streets, and he tasted the fried chicken there. Oh, you see him eating.

He's going to join us live right after this to talk all about it.


HOLMES: Anthony Bourdain, boy, he's been doing great. This new show that we've got on, "PARTS UNKNOWN," which we've been fans of for years back in the previous incarnation, the CNN one much, much better, traveling the world, going to all these cool places.

MALVEAUX: And actually it's really cool because this coming Sunday night he's actually in Libya doing his thing, meaning eating everything he can.

Take a look at the country since the fall, of course, of Moammar Gadhafi. Take a look.


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, HOST, "ANTHONY BOURDAIN PARTS UNKNOWN": Fresh produce is for sale on Tripoli's streets.

If you are a small restaurant or shopping for a big family, you bring cash, a wheelbarrow and load up with what you need.

But revolution has brought changed tastes. Libyans, especially young Libyans, hunger for more than just freedom.

They hunger for places like this ...

Kentucky Fried Chicken. Uncle Kentucky Fried Chicken? OK. The Colonel and his buddies, the King and Clown, have not quite made it here, given the uncertainty of the situation. So in the meantime places like this have been popping up.

Uncle Kentucky? Awesome.

Do you know where Kentucky is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Kentucky is from USA.

BOURDAIN: A part, yeah.


BOURDAIN: This place is new?


Before Gadhafi ...

BOURDAIN: Impossible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. Now it's normal.

BOURDAIN: Oh, that's nice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you find it?

BOURDAIN: Spicy delicious.


HOLMES: And there's the man himself, live in New York, Anthony Bourdain.

I was just saying to Suzanne I was in Afghanistan after the Taliban fell and almost immediately up popped Kabul Fried Chicken with the whole KFC signage and everything, memories of that.

What did you think about Libya? I know you ate more than Kentucky Fried Chicken.

BOURDAIN: I found it alternately confusing, frightening and deeply inspiring.

I mean, I met a lot of people there who'd fought during the uprising, like this young man, who spoke to me very earnestly, guilelessly about their hopes for the future.

I find more often than not I was charmed and made optimistic.

MALVEAUX: And, Anthony, you also talk a lot about all the different kinds of things you saw and experienced from hip hop, Libyan hip hop, Boy Scouts, AK-47s, people blowing off fireworks and all that.

What was the most surprising thing that you saw?

BOURDAIN: This sense of exuberance, this determination to build a country from nothing, to really to start anew, the do-it-yourself nature of basic services, meaning a lot of functions ordinarily performed by police are being done on a voluntary basis by a militia.

Surely there are people there who would like to hurt us, who don't particularly love America, but there are also a lot of young people there who just want to have fun.

HOLMES: I think we're going to show pictures that you took while you were there, which I love to see personal photographs.

I actually got to spend two or three weeks with the rebels during the revolution up in the Nafusa Mountains where our cuisine was mainly Laughing Cow Cheese on crackers, I have to say.

But I'm curious whether the joy that we all saw -- we ate one of those as well. The joy that we saw at the end of the revolution, did you get a sense now that there is also, I don't know, a fear now of where it's going? Because things are still blowing up every day or it seems like every day.

BOURDAIN: I asked a lot of people this question. The answer I got back again and again was, look, we took down Gadhafi. We can -- we will take care of these people too.

There seemed to be a sense of determination to not ever allow themselves to backslide into the kind of oppressive regime they had before. They like their freedom.

I'm not speaking for everybody, for sure, but I met a lot of people who are very determined and convinced however long it might take that they will not go back to the way it was and that they will not allow what they call "dark forces" to interfere with the kind of Libya they'd like to have.

MALVEAUX: And, Anthony, you mention a feeling of danger. How so? When did you feel a sense of unease there?

BOURDAIN: Well, it was a very fast-changing situation. The British embassy when we were there had told all British citizens to leave Benghazi. It got tense.

Our security advisors were very concerned to the point that, you know, every night there was a crisis meeting, a discussion of whether or not -- our security guys were very much leaning towards the whole crew heading to the airport immediately.

So that was sort of a daily discussion and a tense one, but in the end we worked through.

HOLMES: There are so many challenges that face Libya and Libyans in the real world, but this is what I love about your show. It's a real window onto the places you go. It's such a great show.

What was the food like though? The non-KFC food?

BOURDAIN: Well, we did a sort of a fried-donut-and-egg thing. I forget the name, how to pronounce it. It was delicious. Libyan breakfast food is extraordinary.

The seafood is very, very good. They're right on the Mediterranean. They have access to great fish and they know how to cook it.

And it should be remembered they had a long colonial period with the Italians, so traditional Libyan food at this point incorporates a number of what we would call Italian classics like Neapolitan-style ragu is very popular there, very popular.

And, of course, meshwi, which is a -- you know, they do like a good -- as any good society, they like barbecue.

MALVEAUX: Anthony, they're telling us we've got to go. But how was the KFC? How was the chicken? Did it taste like KFC?

BOURDAIN: You know, it wasn't bad. And that kid who you see, a militia member, at one point looks in the camera and says, this is the taste of freedom.


BOURDAIN: Which is both dismaying and heartbreakingly beautiful at the same time, I think.


HOLMES: Uplifting and depressing all at once.

Anthony, great to see you. Love, love, love the show.

MALVEAUX: Anthony Bourdain in Libya, of course, Sunday night right here on CNN. "Parts Unknown" comes on at 9:00 Eastern. You've got to tune in or at least set your DVR.

HOLMES: There's a lot on my DVR, that's for sure.

All right, still ahead, we're going to be telling you about a desperate shortage that has led Venezuela's new president to import 50 million -- do you want to say it?

MALVEAUX: I'll say it. Rolls of toilet paper. That is right, toilet paper.

Stay with us.


MALVEAUX: We go directly to the Rose Garden at the White House there. President Obama and the prime minister of Turkey there to make some statements and answer some questions. Let's listen in.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Please be seated, everybody. Good afternoon. It is a great pleasure to welcome my friend, Prime Minister Erdogan, back to the White House. This visit is also another opportunity for me to return the extraordinary hospitality that the prime minister and the Turkish people showed me on my visit to Turkey four years ago, and that included my visit to the prime minister's beautiful hometown of Istanbul.

This visit reflects the importance that the United States places on our relationship with our ally, Turkey. And I value so much the partnership that I've been able to develop with Prime Minister Erdogan.

Today, we discussed the many areas in which our countries cooperate, including Afghanistan, where our troops serve bravely together, the G- 20, where we promote our shared prosperity, and Iran, where we agree it is critical that we do not see that country acquire a nuclear weapon and potentially trigger an arms race throughout the region.

Given our shared interest in peace, I want to note the prime minister's efforts to normalize relations with Israel. This will benefit both the Turkish and Israeli people and can also help us make progress on a two-state solution, including an independent Palestinian state.

Today, we focused on three areas that I want to highlight. First, we agreed to keep expanding trade and investment. Over the past four years, our trade has surged and U.S. exports to Turkey have more than doubled. As the United States pursues a new trade and investment partnership with the E.U., I want to make sure that we also keep deepening our economic ties with Turkey.

So we're creating a new high-level committee that will focus on increasing trade and investment between our two countries and will help fuel Turkish innovation. And the progress that Turkey's economy has made over the last several years, I think, has been remarkable, and the prime minister deserves much credit for some of the reforms that are already taking place.

Second, as NATO allies, were reconfirming our solid commitment to our mutual security. And, Mr. prime minister, on behalf of the American people, I want to express our condolences to the Turkish and the victims of the outrageous violence that took place in Reyhanli. As always, the United States stands with you as you defend your nation against terrorism.

We want to thank you for the cooperation that you've provided us in threats against the United States, and I want to take this opportunity to commend you and the Turkish people for your courage in seeking an historic and peaceful resolution of the PKK violence that has plagued Turkey for so long.

And, just as the United States has stood with you in your long search for security, we will support efforts in Turkey to uphold the rule of law, good governance and human rights for all.

Finally, we spend a great deal of time on an issue that has racked the region, the issue of Syria. Under the prime minister's leadership, the Turkish people have shown extraordinary generosity to the Syrians who have found refuge in Turkey. And, I know this is a heavy burden.

I've it made clear again today that the United States is going to keep on helping countries in the region, including Turkey, shoulder this burden, doing our part as a major donor of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, including those refugees in Turkey. And we're going to keep working with our Turkish partners to deliver the food, shelter and medicine that's needed to save lives.

At the same time, we're going to keep increasing the pressure on the Assad regime, and working with the Syrian Opposition. The prime minister has been on the forefront of the international effort to push for a transition to a Democratic Syria without Bashar Assad. And Turkey is going to play an important role as we bring representatives of the regime and opposition together in the coming weeks.

We both agree that Assad needs to go. He needs to transfer power to a transitional body. That is the only way we're going to resolve this crisis. And we're going to keep working for a Syria that is free from Assad's tyranny, that is intact and inclusive of all ethnic and religious groups and that's a source of stability, not extremism, because it's in the profound interest of all our nations, especially Turkey.

So, again, Mr. prime minister, I want to thank you for being here and for being such a long ally and partner in the region and around the world. I know that Michelle appreciates the opportunity to host Mrs. Erdogan and your two wonderful daughters this morning.

I'm looking forward to dinner tonight, and as always among the topics where I appreciate your advice is That's close to our hearts, and that is how to raise our daughters well. You're a little ahead of me in terms of -- in terms of their ages.

With the prime minister's permission, I want to make one other point. There has been intense discussion in Congress lately around the attacks in Benghazi. We lost four brave Americans, patriots who accepted the risks that come with service, because they know that their contributions are vital to our national nterests and national security.

I am intent on making sure that we do everything we can to prevent another tragedy like this from happening. But, that means we owe it to them, and to all who serve, to do everything in our power to protect our personnel serving overseas. That's why, at my direction, we've been taking a series of steps that were recommended by the review board after the incident.

We're continuing to review our security at high threat diplomatic posts, including the size and nature of our presence, improving training for those headed to dangerous posts, increasing intelligence and warning capabilities, and I've directed the Defense Department to ensure that our military can respond lightening quick in times of crisis.

But we're not going to be able to do this alone. We're going to need Congress as a partner.

So I've been in discussions and my team has been in discussions with both Democrats and Republicans, and I'm calling on Congress to work with us to support and fully fund our budget request to improve the security of our embassies around the world.

We also need Congress to work with us to provide the resources and new authorities so we can fully implement all of the recommendations of the accountability review board.

And we're going to need Congress' help in terms of increasing the number of our Marine Corps guard who protect our embassies.

So I want to say to members of Congress in both parties, we need to come together and truly honor the sacrifices of those four courageous Americans and better secure our diplomatic posts around the world.

And I should add, by the way, that we're getting some help from the Turkish government on some of these issues.

That's how we learned the lessons of Benghazi, that's how we keep faith with the faith with the men and women who we send overseas to represent America. And that's what I will stay focused on as commander in chief.

So with that, Mr. Prime Minister, welcome to the United States. I'm sorry the weather's not fully cooperating with our lovely Rose Garden press conference, but I think we'll be OK.


(via translator): Mr. President and members of the press, ladies and gentlemen, my dear friend, president of the United States, a friend and ally, I am here to -- I am once again very pleased to be here in Washington to have meetings with the president. I would like to express my thanks for the hospitality that has been shown to us on this occasion, on behalf of myself and my delegation.

In the president's person, I would like to express our condolences for the terror attack that took place in Boston. I - we express our condolences to the American people. We are a country which has been fighting against terrorism for many years. We've lost many lives in that fight against terrorism, and so we very well understand the feelings and sentiments of the American people in face of such an event. As Turkey and the United States, we are both determined to continue to fight jointly against terrorism.

My dear friend, Turkey and the United States have many issues that cover the Middle East, to the Balkans, to Central Asia, to other areas, including issues such as energy security of supply, and many other issues. And in all these areas and on all these issues, we display a very strong cooperation. And in our meetings with President Obama today, we talked about relations between Turkey and the United States and also about some topical issues which remain on both of our agendas. We had an opportunity to exchange views on regional and global issues, and our exchange of views and opinions will continue throughout the day with other meetings that will take place during the rest of the day. I am here with close to 100 businesspeople, and they are holding meetings with their counterparts in the United States, and they will continue to talk and meet with their counterparts this afternoon, as well.

Bilateral economic relations between Turkey and the United States have to be improved, and we both have this aim. Ten years ago, our trade stood at $8 billion. At the moment, trade stands at $20 billion. But this amount is still not sufficient. We have to increase the amount of trade between our two countries.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to break away for a moment from the prime minister of Turkey as he makes his opening statement. As soon as the first question begins, we're going to go back to this news conference.

But we just heard the president make a statement promising that he was going to do whatever was necessary to make sure that the killings in Benghazi last September 11th do not happen again. Whatever security requirements are needed to bolster U.S. diplomatic presence, the diplomatic presence around the world especially in sensitive insecure areas, he wants to work with Congress for the funding and the proper treatment. Gloria Borger's here. Jake Tapper's here. We're watching.

We're going to go right back to the news conference, Gloria, once the questions start. But obviously the president is very sensitive to what happened in Benghazi.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Obviously. And he took the opportunity -- you, remember, he was not asked a question about it, but took the opportunity to raise the issue of embassy security here, making the point that they are taking steps to do exactly what the review board told them to do, and also seemed to indicate that they could even go beyond. I mean he said that we continue to review security at these high threat diplomatic posts. Because in all of the controversy over the Benghazi e-mails, Wolf, what they understand over at the White House and what every American understands is that this cannot happen again. That four people died who did not need to.

BLITZER: And I still don't have a good answer, and I've read the accountability review board's assessment, the Thomas Pickering, the retired U.S. ambassador, Admiral Mullen, they came up with a long review of what happened. I still don't understand who decided that the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, should be in Benghazi on that day after there were repeated warnings of potential terrorism. The British had pulled out. The Red Cross had pulled out. Do you have a good answer to why he was there in a dangerous situation like that to begin with?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, my understanding is that Chris Stevens was in Benghazi because Chris Stevens wanted to go to Benghazi. And I don't mean to disrespect a man who was killed, and a brave man, but my understanding is that he was there for that reason. A lot of ambassadors who are in countries like that don't actually like to have big footprints when they travel.