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No Apologies from Turkey to Russia; Russian and Turkish Foreign Ministers to Meet; White Powder in Envelope Found at Brussels Mosque; Pope Celebrates First Mass in Africa during Kenya Visit; Trump Mocked Reporter with Disability; Russia Deploying Missile Defense System in Syria; Going Green; Celebrating Thanksgiving in Space. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired November 26, 2015 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Hi, there, everyone, welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.
No apologies and no backing down from Turkey's president for shooting down a Russian warplane. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has just given an exclusive
interview to CNN and he gives a blistering defense of his military's actions. Here's more of that conversation with Becky Anderson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): Well, I think if there's a party that needs to apologize, it's not us. Those who
violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize.
Our pilots and our armed forces, they simply fulfilled their duties which consisted of responding to a violation of the rules of engagement. I think
this is the essence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Russia is also digging in with tour operators, halting trips to Turkey and the agricultural ministry tightening controls over food and agricultural
imports from there. Let's get more on this from Jill Dougherty in Moscow. She is with the International Center for Defense and Security, also our
former bureau chief there in Moscow.
Hi, Jill. We're hearing now also from Vladimir Putin, he's talking about a dead end in relations.
JILL DOUGHERTY, INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR DEFENSE AND SECURITY: Right. And he's saying that basically Turkey is trying to push relations between the
two countries into a dead end. He also talked about, you know, no apology. There's a lot of anger, I can tell you; just a few minutes ago, I got back
from the Russian foreign ministry from a briefing there.
And the spokesperson, Maria Zakharova (ph), was very emotional and very angry about the fact, as she put it, that Turkey has not apologized for
shooting down the plane and she said, even on a human basis, Turkey should be apologizing.
But as you hear in the interview with CNN, Turkey is not about to apologize. In fact, it feels that it needs an apology from Russia.
So we really have a deterioration, a very rapid deterioration of relations between the two countries and then, as you mentioned, you have these
economic -- this economic retaliation by Russia, cracking down on food imports, slowing down, making sure that not as many -- as much gets over
the border as usual.
The Russians are intent on showing that they are very angry and the steps that they will take will not be military but they will be economic and
CURNOW: As you say, a deterioration; Putin is meeting with President Hollande today, President Putin.
Does any of this Russia-Turkey tension change their conversation?
DOUGHERTY: Well, in a way it does, because it makes it much more complicated to pull together that vision that President Hollande has, of
some type of grand coalition because, after all, if you have the parties now, at least Turkey, Russia, fighting with each other about this incident
and then also, at that briefing at the foreign ministry, the Russians are claiming that, in a sense, the United States should have known or should
have been informed by Turkey if Turkey were going to take some type of military action, such as it did in shooting down that Su-24.
So implicitly they're not making -- they're not saying directly that United States approved it but they're saying, according to the rules, that's how
it should have been. They should have known.
So there is a certain criticism of the United States as well. And when you put this all together, joining into any type of coalition or cooperation on
taking military action seems pretty far away at this point.
CURNOW: Indeed. Really muddying an already complex and dangerous situation.
Jill Dougherty in Moscow, thanks so much for your analysis.
Despite all the angry words and Russia's new economic measures against Turkey, their foreign ministers to plan to meet in the coming days --
that's according to Turkish media. I want to talk more about what could happen next with James Jeffrey. He's a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey
and Iraq and now a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute. And he joins me via Skype from Washington.
Thanks so much for talking to us. So diplomacy might continue on one level but President Erdogan remains unapologetic, he says they'll do it again,
that there's no apology needed.
Is Turkey justified in taking this position?
JAMES JEFFREY, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO TURKEY: Legally --
JEFFREY: -- it is but there's also a backstory. I know President Erdogan quite well. He sometimes is unpredictable but, on this issue, the facts
and the truth are more on his side.
The first shootdown along the border in this whole messy Syrian situation started in 2012 and it was a Turkish fighter, shot down by Syrian anti-
aircraft, which the Russians clearly had some role, in at least providing the equipment and providing advice. So the Russians are not innocent in
The Turks have warned the Russians repeatedly because the Russians were deliberately and provocatively entering Turkish airspace beginning back in
October. They were lighting up Turkish fighters with their target control radars, which is very dangerous. And Erdogan was sick of it and he gave
them a warning, do not come within five miles of the border.
The Russians violated that the other day and the Turks shot down the plane.
CURNOW: OK. So with all that in mind, you say you know President Erdogan, he sometimes is unpredictable, some analysts say he's a bit of a loose
With that in mind, how did NATO allies manage this situation?
JEFFREY: Well, I think that most of the managing is going to have to be between Turkey and Russia. And while president Erdogan may be sometimes a
loose cannon, he's not in the same class as Putin when it comes to loose cannons. And that's the problem we have.
Putin has been provoking not just Turkey but the United States and all of our NATO allies the last several years with provocative aircraft and
submarine incursions. And finally somebody pushed back. That's what where we are today.
The Turks are not going to apologize and the Russians will take various secondary measures on cutting off food and trade and tourism and they'll
bomb the hell out of the Turkmen, who are allied with the Turkish government on the Syrian side of the border. I don't think the incident
CURNOW: OK. So you touch on it slightly, but whether the U.S. or the U.S. coalition allies like it or not or even Turkey likes it or not, Russia are
now players in this Syria game essentially.
How has that complicated things?
They really do seem to be digging in, particularly when it comes to this missile system that they've instituted on the west coast there.
JEFFREY: Yes. That's very dangerous, far beyond the issues of Syria. We basically have two conflicts, the entire world against ISIS in Iraq and
Eastern Syria and the struggle of most of the Middle East and most of the Western world against the Assad regime, which has done most of the killing.
Russia and Iran have come in on the side of Assad. That's their goal, to preserve and expand their power at the expense of the United States and our
alliance system, which includes Turkey and the Arab states.
They use ISIS as an excuse. Putin claimed that his plane was bombing ISIS the other day when it was shot down. This is clearly and totally a
fabrication. They have done very little against ISIS. They're not in this game primarily to take out ISIS.
They're in this game to expand their influence and preserve the Assad regime so it can continue killing its own citizens.
CURNOW: OK, James Jeffrey, former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, thank you so much for your perspective. Appreciate it.
JEFFREY: Thank you.
CURNOW: Back now to our exclusive interview, Turkey's president, as we know and as we've heard, defiant and insisting his nation was not at fault
for shooting down that Russian warplane on Tuesday. He spoke to CNN's Becky Anderson. Becky joins me now live from Ankara.
Hi, there, Becky.
What more did he have to say?
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: , Well, I guess the context of this interview, given what I've been listening to with the interview you've just had with
your guest, is that the Turkish authorities here are trying very hard to try and deescalate this situation.
Perhaps that might surprise you when I tell you what he told me but there is a will here to really take the sort of the fire out of this rhetoric.
But it's difficult for them when the Russians continue to provide this incredibly fiery narrative. I'll come to what he actually specifically
said to me in a moment on the downing of the jet.
He specifically said, we are saddened by what has happened. We are disturbed by what has happened because we have a strategic partnership with
the Russian Federation, a partnership of great important.
But, Robyn, when I asked him whether he felt that it was a mistake that this Russian fighter jet had been downed, when it had incurred, as far as
the Turks are concerned, into Turkish airspace and whether he felt that Turkey need to apologize, he said no, he didn't, that it was an apology
that was needed from the other side.
He said to the Turkish authorities, for the incursion into their airspace, so as much as you hear this --
ANDERSON: -- leader of a country, which is clearly sort of at loggerheads now with Russia and this is something that's clearly really concerning the
rest of the world, his idea of wanting to deescalate the situation only echoes the words of the U.S. president and NATO and other Western leaders.
You really feel that this incident risks ratcheting up what is already, as you rightly point out, a very complicated and very messy situation in
You know, he's willing to concede that it's important that we take sort of the power out of this keg, as it were, but defiant when you ask the
president to respond, for example, to the words of Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, who suggested that this shooting down of the
Russian jet was planned provocation.
I mean he just wouldn't concede to that at all, wouldn't accept that at all, wouldn't accept the comments from President Putin that Turkey is an
accomplice to terror, I mean, was outraged by that comment.
So we are seeing, as I say, once again, the president of Turkey eager to see a deescalation as far as he is concerned and this is the line that he
takes and the prime minister is taking here and other officials you speak to here. They are eager to deescalate this incident.
However, there is definitely a defiance when offered to respond to some of the fiery rhetoric that is coming out of Moscow at this point -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Indeed. Thanks so much. And this certainly isn't a sideshow, is it? Turkey is a NATO member and the consequences of what plays out in the
coming days so crucial. Becky Anderson, thanks so much, great interview.
Still to come, British prime minister David Cameron makes the case for airstrikes inside Syria and now he's telling members of Parliament,
military action will help safeguard the U.K. from ISIS. We'll go live to London for more on that.
CURNOW: Well, in Brussels there's been a new development in that suspicious package with white powder found at the Grand Mosque. Let's get
more from our Alexandria Field; she joins us now live from right outside that mosque with the latest.
What more do you know?
She's not hearing us; appears that we have a communication issue there. We'll try and get her back.
In the meantime, let's move on. British prime minister David Cameron says it's time for Britain to hit ISIS in their heartlands. He's just told
Parliament that joining coalition airstrikes against ISIS in Syria will make Britain safer. Phil Black joins me now, hopefully, from --
There you are. Great to see you, Phil Black.
Did the PM make his case, both to Parliament and the British people?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a cautious, sober, understated case, in a way, tried to manage expectation while, at the same time,
advancing his argument that he believes Britain should be involved in airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.
So he talked on one hand about how this is not going to defeat ISIS quickly, it's not going to fix Syria but he believes that it is necessary
and he also made the argument about why he thinks there's a moral point here, that Britain should be taking its security responsibilities for
itself, not handing them out to its allies to take care of.
Take a listen to him talking on that point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER, GREAT BRITAIN: -- members on all sides.
We shouldn't be content with outsourcing our security to our allies if we believe that action can help protect us, then, with our allies we should be
part of that action, not standing aside from it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hear, hear.
CAMERON: And from this moral point comes a fundamental question: if we won't act now when our friend and ally, France, has been struck in this
way, then our allies in the world can be forgiven for asking, if not now, when?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: So, Robyn, that moral point comes from what he argues is the necessity, and that is that ISIS poses a very real threat to British people
here. He said that the intelligence services assess that Britain was among the very top tier of targets, that ISIS aspires to hit. And he said that
they had disrupted as many as seven recent terror plots organized by people who are either controlled by or inspired by ISIS.
In addition to all of this, he addressed the issue of legality and that's crucially important in this country, a country that is still pretty uneasy
about its role in the 2003 Iraq War.
He said this was legal. There's a very clear case for it based upon the United Nations' existing rules, Article 51 of its charter on self-defense,
either national self-defense or the collective self-defense of its allies as well.
So no further U.N. Security Council resolution is needed to authorize such action, according to David Cameron -- Robyn.
CURNOW: OK. Outside the Houses of Parliament, Phil Black, thanks so much.
I want to take you back now to Brussels and an update on that security scare there. Alexandria Field is with us.
Hi, there, hope you can hear me this time.
But just tell us, what more do we know?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we do have you now, Robyn. If you can see behind me, the picture has changed a lot from what our viewers
were watching earlier this morning. Emergency cars have cleared out; that's the last one to leave right behind me. They've now determined that
what happened here today was simply a false alarm at the Grand Mosque.
It started when somebody discovered a package that they thought was suspicious. Inside that package, 10 envelopes with white powder. They
called emergency officials, who swarmed the scene, responding in very large numbers. We saw a lot of people going in and out of that mosque, dressed
in protective clothing, even with masks on.
But they now tell us they have tested the powder, they have determined it was nothing more than flour. Some 17 people, it now seems, had come into
contact with the flour at some point or another. They were taken away to be decontaminated before it was clear what the substance was.
But emergency responders now quite confident that there was, in fact, no threat to the mosque. They have again cleared out of here now. That
package was unmarked. They're not sure how it got here or why it was here but they do now know it doesn't pose a threat, Robyn.
We can now say that this kind of situation did, of course, prompt this level of response, given the environment, given the climate here in
Brussels over the past few days. This is a city that has remained under the highest terror alert level.
People are naturally on edge. There's naturally anxiety here. These are people who lived under lockdown for a number of days earlier this week. So
when something seems suspicious, authorities had to respond -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes, understandably jittery. Alexandria Field in Brussels, thanks so much.
Has he gone too far this time?
"The New York Times" wants an apology from Donald Trump. But he's firing right back. The controversy -- next.
CURNOW (voice-over): There you go, Pope Francis, live pictures there of him, giving a speech in Nairobi; this is his first visit to Africa as
pontiff. Earlier today, he said mass at the University of Nairobi. Many people turned out to listen to him, to see him. Even the rain did not
Right now, the pontiff, as I said, is giving a speech at the United Nations office in Nairobi. We're keeping an eye on that. And later, he will
travel to Uganda and the Central African Republic.
CURNOW: Warm welcome for the pope.
"The New York Times" wants an apology from U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after he insulted one of its reporters.
Now reporter Serge Kovaleski suffers from a condition that limits movements of his arms. Trump mockingly imitated him at a campaign rally Tuesday
while defending his controversial claim that he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the 9/11 attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: Right after a couple of good paragraphs -- and they're talking about Northern New Jersey, draws the prober's eye, written
by a nice reporter. Now the poor guy, you got to see this guy, oh, I don't know what I said, ah, I don't remember.
He's going, I don't remember at all. Maybe that's what I said.
This is 14 years ago. He still -- they didn't do a retraction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Wow. Well, "The New York Times" says it's outrageous that Trump would ridicule the appearance of one of its reporters. CNN political
commentator Errol Louis says the Republican front-runner crossed the line this time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There's a portion of this that everybody accepts as part of the trade.
LOUIS: I've been insulted, I've been sued, I've been barred from press conferences, all of that stuff.
But when you see this kind of petty cruelty, that it has nothing to do with anything, it's very personal, its' something we wouldn't teach our children
to do or we would teach our children not to do.
And to see somebody who is the Republican frontrunner, I would just caution Republican voters, especially those who support Trump, Republicans have
lost five -- the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections.
Every single person in America, every family has people who are disabled in it. There comes a point where I think, when people, in the quiet of the
voting booth, will say, do I really want to support this?
He's mocking someone the same way we might have experienced people mocking our friends, our relatives, our co-workers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, not surprisingly, Donald Trump has come out and he's been tweeting responses to "The New York Times." He's not apologizing.
In one tweet, he says, quote, "The failing 'New York Times' should be focused on good reporting and the paper's financial survival and not with
constant hits on Donald Trump."
A little happier story, an update on that quite tragic news that a newborn baby that was abandoned in a church nativity scene, we now know his mom has
come forward but will not face charges. We first brought you this story yesterday.
Now the infant boy was found wrapped in a manger, wrapped up in towels, also by a member of a New York church. He's doing fine in the hospital.
Under state law, a parent can legally abandon a newborn at a safe place if a suitable person is informed.
Even though that didn't happen, the district attorney says the mother followed the spirit of the law and will not be prosecuted. Well, some
church members hope to adopt the child, many grateful that he's now safe and healthy.
You're watching CNN. We'll have much more after this break.
CURNOW: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Here's a check of the headlines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): Russian president Vladimir Putin says Turkey appears to be consciously seeking to bring relations with Moscow to, quote, "a dead
end." He says Russia hasn't received an apology from Turkey for the downing of the Russian jet Tuesday and that Turkey has not made offers of
Meanwhile, British prime minister David Cameron is urging his Parliament to approve airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. He told the House of Commons
today that Britain needs to take action now to protect itself against terrorist attacks. A parliamentary vote could come next week.
And Pope Francis is visiting the United Nations office in Nairobi, Kenya, as part of his first visit to Africa. Earlier he celebrated mass at the
University of Nairobi, where more than a million people turned out to see him.
Tomorrow Francis is expected to meet an Irish nun known as the Mother Teresa of Kenya.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: After Turkey shot down that Russian warplane, Moscow said it would deploy a missile defense system to an air base in Syria. That could
further muddle an already delicate situation in the skies over Syria. I want to bring in CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd from our Washington
Hi, there, Phil. Thanks for talking to us.
This missile defense system, what are the implications, particularly for the U.S.-led coalition also flying above Syria?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I think there are a couple. There's a tactical implication. The first is military, which is we're not
just talking about a missile system that can go after the Turks, as you suggested; the Brits may be flying there, the Americans are flying there,
there might be Arab nations flying there.
So what the Turks have done is put NATO in a position of having a broader conversation with the Russians, about deconfliction to ensure that other
aircraft don't go down.
I think there is a broader implication and that is the conversation between Hollande and Putin today, what is the long-term solution for Syria?
We've now had terror attacks, we've had a military escalation in Syria and we, obviously, have major refugee flows.
What is the end game for Syria so that we can bring this to some sort of peaceful solution in the next six months or a year? Because the situation
on the ground now is not tenable.
CURNOW: Indeed. And it seems that the distress in the Gulf has widened.
With that in mind and sort of touching on what you were saying, do you feel that Turkey overreacted, in a way playing into Russia's hands?
Is that what you're saying here?
MUDD: Absolutely. I think the Turks took the bait.
Look, we've got some broad issues. The Russians have laid on the table a plan, a diplomatic plan, that provides a solution for Syria. It does not
accord with the American views of what should happen here. The White House has been very tough on saying Assad must go now. There is not a middle
ground that's fallow. President Obama's relationship with Putin is not that good.
So we have the potential that Francois Hollande can have a conversation, maybe bringing in other Europeans about what can happen in Syria, and maybe
he can play a bridging role between the Americans and the Russians.
In the middle of this, a Russian airplane goes into Turkish airspace for 17 seconds and diverts the entire strategic conversation. The Turks are
tactically correct but, strategically, if you're a NATO foreign minister, you have got to be saying, excuse me, we have bigger issues to deal with
CURNOW: Exactly. That was going to be my next question. Turkey is a NATO partner. I mean, they're looking, according to one analyst, more like a
loose cannon going rogue.
How do NATO allies manage President Erdogan in Turkey?
MUDD: Boy, the first 24 or 48 hours of this were painful to watch from the outside because the Americans, the rest of the NATO allies, can't sit out
there, especially since the Turks have data that shows that their borders were violated.
They can't sit out there and leave the Turks out to dry. They've got to have a united front as they did yesterday, to say the Russians can't be
invading a sovereign territory like this.
Behind the scenes, though, foreign ministers have got to be bringing the Turks aside and saying, please don't ever do this again.
The problem with this entire scenario is that you have President Erdogan in Turkey, who's decided that this is his chance to play nationalist. He
suffered politically there in the past year. I think he's looking at this, saying, I can't show any weakness, even while NATO allies are saying you've
got to back down here.
CURNOW: OK. So we're hearing bellicose rhetoric from both Turkey and Russia but also bellicose actions doesn't really bode well, does it, to a
quick and sustainable solution to Syria?
Phil Mudd, as always, thanks for your perspective.
MUDD: Thank you.
CURNOW: Still to come at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, Americans are celebrating --
CURNOW: -- Thanksgiving the world over, even at the International Space Station. We look at the challenges of making an American feast in space.
CURNOW: The U.N. climate change conference begins next week and it will bring together world leaders to address global warming. In today's "Going
Green" report, we meet a London-based businesswoman, who is tackling food waste in a clever new way.
JENNY DAWSON, RUBIES IN THE RUBBLE (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) in the U.K., there's around a third of fruit and veg won't make it to the supermarket
shelf because of aesthetics. But it was more that the almost the naive, childlike dream of wanting to solve that was 1 billion people going to bed
hungry every night and we're discarding a third of what the world produces.
I'm Jenny Dawson, the founder of Rubies in the Rubble, and I'm a champion for valuing our food supply chain better and caring for our resources.
DAWSON (voice-over): Rubies in the Rubble is a brand of chutneys and jams made from what would be discarded fruit and veg to wonky shapes or simply
gluts in the supply and demand. And the reason for Rubies in the Rubble coming around was I was researching food waste in 2010 and realized the
scale of it, the implications both financially and environmentally and wanted to do something about it.
I was working in a hedge fund for 2.5 years. I do have a masters in mathematics. And so I was using my degree, my first job after graduating.
I loved it but I had no passion for finance but I wanted to spend my time and my days doing something that I cared about.
I became passionate about wanting to make a brand that represented how much we discard unnecessarily. I rang up a lot of cafes and charities around
London that had kitchens that weren't being used to full potential and we started making chutneys and jams in their kitchens in the evenings and on
the weekends when they weren't being used.
DAWSON (voice-over): What makes Rubies in the Rubble unique, it's about valuing our resources and cherishing them and championing the oddball, the
wonky one, to make the effort and put the effort in and go almost against the grain of business and things being the same and to really champion the
uniqueness in nature.
CURNOW: Let's stick with a food theme. It's Thanksgiving Day and a Thanksgiving Day feast in space for the American astronauts aboard the
International Space Station. And zero gravity hasn't stopped them celebrating.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
CURNOW (voice-over): On the menu, smoked turkey, candied yams, cornbread dressing and other traditional favorites. And if you've ever wondered what
it's like to cook in space, here's how it's done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, that looks like they could do with a bit of gravy there. But anyway, that's all from us here at the CNN Center. I'm Robyn Curnow.
I'll be back in just over an hour.
In the meantime, "WORLD SPORT" with Alex Thomas is up next. And we'll leave you also with pictures of a holiday tradition here in the U.S., the
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Enjoy.