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Police shoot and kill Barcelona attack suspect; Orhan Pamuk on Turkey's growing authoritarianism; Imagine a World: Americans flock to see total eclipse. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired August 21, 2016 - 17:00   ET



CARLES PUIGDEMONT, PRESIDENT OF CATALONIA: Barcelona on Thursday causing the death of 14 people.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN HOST, AMANPOUR: Also ahead on the program, Nobel Prize-winning Orhan Pamuk, why he is optimistic about Turkey's future

despite an increasingly authoritarian government.

And sky watchers in the United States take in the extraordinary spectacle of a total solar eclipse.

Good evening, everyone. Welcome to the program. I'm Michael Homes in London.

Police in Spain have shot and killed the suspected driver of a van that struck and killed 13 in Barcelona on Friday. That's what Catalonia's

president tells me tonight.

Authorities had launched a manhunt across Europe, but 22-year-old Younis Abu Yaqub turned up just west of Barcelona in Subirats.

He had been on the run, the last member of a 12-man ring, five of whom were killed by police on Friday morning.

None of the young men appears to have had any known link to terrorism. Eight came from a sedate town north of Barcelona, Ripoll.

And as you see there, some of their family members gathering in the central square this weekend to express disbelief.

How did this happen in Catalonia, so far untouched by this latest spate of European Islamic terrorism? President Carles Puidgemont is the president

of the Catalonian region.

He began by telling me the latest on the operation near Barcelona?


PUIGDEMONT: Well, just before 5 o'clock in this afternoon, our police - Catalan police has shot dead Younis Abu Yaqub, the driver of the van and

direct perpetrator of the attack in Barcelona on Thursday, causing the death of 14 people.

It has been during the controls and operations deployed by the Catalan police since Thursday throughout the country (INAUDIBLE).

HOLMES: And, briefly, president, could you give us your reaction to this? Is that this cell is done now? Are you relieved at what is the reaction

there that he has finally been brought down?

PUIGDEMONT: Well, our reaction first is a profound thanks to the Catalan police for this very efficient task carried out with the utmost discretion

and professionalism. I'm so sure Catalonia and Europe and the world is most safe today after the death of Younis Abu Yaqub than before.

HOLMES: Speak, if you will, to the broader issue of radicalization not just in Spain, but in the Catalonia region, the town of Ripoll itself. I

think between 2013 and 2016, a quarter of all of those arrested for radicalization, becoming radicalized, being involved in jihadist activities

were from that specific region.

Why do you think that is?

PUIGDEMONT (through translator): Experience has taught us, experience with all the attacks in Europe, I mean, is that jihadist terrorist is a global

threat. It makes no difference amongst countries.

So, whenever there is an attack in London, in Berlin or wherever, here in Barcelona, we always felt like if it has happened home in Barcelona.

HOLMES: Sir, the people involved in this attack and planning it apparently were not known to authorities then? And there have been plenty of other

plots that have been stopped in recent times, which is the good work of the intelligence services.

But I'm wondering are you concerned that a dozen people or so planned this for months and intelligence services, it would seem, had heard nothing.

PUIGDEMONT (through translator): Most of them, probably all of them except one, had no criminal records, many of them were very young. They were 17.

[17:05:09] They were like any other youngsters in the villages. It's true that the cleric who go to Ripoll from Spain had been imprisoned because of

drugs trafficking.

But the Catalan police didn't have this information. And this had nothing to do with what this imam did with the radicalization of this (INAUDIBLE)

not even a preparation probably, no police record.

And they were able to get a large amount of explosives ready (ph) and there were no records which could make us suspect that they had some contact with

terrorist cells.

HOLMES: And so, communities are then understandably still trying to understand how these apparently normal young men were radicalized to the

point of organizing something as dreadful as this over a period of months.

What more can be done? And it is a global issue. It's a Europe-wide issue. But what more do you think needs to be done, so that young men like

this aren't to doing something as evil as this?

PUIGDEMONT (through translator): Zero risk doesn't exist. Prevention is very important for us. We're successful in this sense.

In Catalonia, there are 200,000 Moroccan citizens. They carry a normal life. But, obviously, there is a violent phenomenon in our society,

religious fanaticism, ideological fanaticism, which has this expression - extreme violence expression.

And those youngsters don't become radicalized in most cases. They become radicalized through many channels. They learn how to attack, how to make

explosives. And, sadly, many governments are not able to control it.

There is no magical formula. No matter how much experience we have, we have not found successful formula.

HOLMES: Carles Puigdemont, president of Catalonia, thank you so much for being with us on the program.


HOLMES: And when we come back on the program, the Nobel laureate sounding the alarm on Turkey's crackdown.

And later, we turn our eyes to the sky for the eclipse traversing the United States.

But, first, the sound of silence right here in London as the iconic Big Ben clock rang for the last time until 2021, striking out 12 noon. It won't

ring out again - across the city again for another four years when its renovation is completed.


[17:10:20] HOLMES: Welcome back to the program. Istanbul is like nowhere else in the world, straddling Asia and Europe, secularism and conservative


And now, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan consolidates his power, Turkey is also stretched between democracy and authoritarian rule.

Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk has been called the bard of Istanbul. His new book, "The Red-Haired Woman" takes direct aim at those


On one level, it is the story of a traditional well-digger and his young apprentice. But Pamuk also digs deeply into the great stories of father-

son relationships and Turkey's lurch towards strongman leadership.

I spoke with Orhan Pamuk from Istanbul earlier today.


HOLMES: Orhan Pamuk, thanks for being with us on the program. In your book, you focus, in many ways, on father-son relationships. Is it reading

too much into it to suggest that it is a comment on modern-day authoritarianism, perhaps even the leadership, the government in Turkey?

ORHAN PAMUK, WINNER, NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE: There are always ideas that legitimize authoritarianism in my part of the world. We need a strong

state. We need a strong government, they say. And we see the rise of middle classes not only in Turkey, but in India, in China, but then these

countries are increasingly getting to be authoritarian.

My novel plays around with these ideas.

HOLMES: You were so connected to Turkey and there have been so many fast- moving changes in your country. What, to you, is enabling that to happen?

PAMUK: That is, the changes is that, after the failed military coup last year or 15 months ago, the government and Erdogan's party are increasingly

getting authoritarian. A-hundred-and-thirty-thousand people are fired from their jobs. Forty-thousand or fifty-thousand 000 people are put into


I think the emergency gave sort of made this permissible. But, on the other hand, the opposition parties should work harder and work strong.

HOLMES: You mentioned the numbers, the post-coup numbers. You're right. Hundreds of journalists detained, 150 media outlets were shutdown.

There was - even on the weekend, there was a journalist arrested in Spain at Turkey's request, an author. You're an author, you were a journalist.

Do you worry about yourself?

PAMUK: Yes. I worry about every month, but it's not a personal thing. There is lesser and lesser space for free speech. The government is

increasingly authoritarian.

But I am optimistic. Don't forget that Erdogan's party's votes are going down. Now, the situation made the opposition fight back.

It's an interesting situation. And, in fact, the roots of the situation is the authoritarianism and the celebration of our individuality. These are

the issues that I focus on.

HOLMES: In many ways, Kamal Ataturk was the father of modern day Turkey and secularization. You wrote about that - or you were interviewed about

that. What is left of Kamal Ataturk's vision for Turkey today?

PAMUK: Don't forget that 49 percent of Turkish voters voted for Kemal Ataturk's vision of modernity or what we take to be liberal values of

Europe. Turkey is not only Erdogan's party. There is a 49 percent of Turkish population who are saying no to him. Liberal values are embedded.

Our problem is not that we don't have liberals or social democrats or people who believe in free speech in Turkey, but that there is an intense

fight between - there is a polarization.

HOLMES: In another book that you wrote, "Istanbul: Memories and the City", you talk a little bit about the divide between the city and outside

the city and how different those two Turkeys are. Is that part of the issue here in what we're discussing?

PAMUK: Politicians may strongly want to dramatize, increase the polarization, but I don't believe in that. The man in the street is not

that polarized.

[17:15:02] The richness of Turkey is based on harmoniously putting together things that come from its Asian, Islamic culture and also putting together

things that come from its aspiration to be part of Europe.

Turkey is trying to be westernized, be a part of Europe in the last 200 years. It's not easy to finish the liberal, egalitarian, democratic

Turkey. There is a strong fight going on. It doesn't necessarily mean that the people are fighting in the street, but there is a political fight.

It's meaningful.

I am in my - with my novels part of it. And it's continuing. A redheaded woman is an attempt to understand the roots of authoritarianism in my part

of the world.

HOLMES: And when you look at your own country and look at others as well, the US, for example, do you see a trend towards nationalism globally as a

tool to keep and expand power?

PAMUK: No, no. Yes, I understand your question. And my answer is simply no. I think that is exaggerated. There is not a nationalist, strong

conservative nationalist movement.

Don't forget that Hillary Clinton got 2.5 million more votes than Trump. And in France, liberals won. And I don't think this antiliberal current or

whatever atmosphere will continue too long.

They're already regretting Brexit in England. I am not pessimistic. Maybe I'm deceiving myself, but that's how I see it.

Also, the situation for each country is so different. Turkey's problem is the old-fashioned problem of authoritarianism. What's happening, say, in

United States is completely different. It's a problem of multiculturalism, if you ask me as a professor at Columbia University.

HOLMES: It's a fascinating conversation. I am curious, though. You mentioned Europe. Do you think Turkey will be part of Europe, part of the

European Union?

PAMUK: Don't ask me that. Between 2005 and 2008, I was involved in negotiation and promoting my country, so that it find a good place in

European Union. It didn't work out.

But I'm not crying about it and I'm not predicting. I am continuously - and that's my only - my solution, my frank solution, defending liberal

values. We shouldn't be afraid of Trump or Modi or whoever, but we should continue to defend liberal values.

Woman's right, for example, is now at the agenda. Everyone is talking about that. It's a way of arguing back, fighting back to the

authoritarianism of the government.

HOLMES: "The Red-Haired Woman" is your latest book out in English. It's a fascinating read. And that was a fascinating discussion. Orhan Pamuk,

thank you so much.

PAMUK: Thank you so much.


HOLMES: And when we come back, we take a break from planet Earth to look up at the total eclipse crossing America. The significance of the cosmic

event, up next.

But before we dig into the science, a musical interlude as many Americans simply look to the skies from land, some are reaching for the moon, taking

a cruise and having aging songstress Bonnie Tyler singing her number one hit, "Total Eclipse of the Heart" for the duration of the actual eclipse.

What a world!


[17:20:54] HOLMES: And finally tonight, imagine a world going dark. As the total eclipse crosses the United States, millions of people forecast to

travel to 14 states to witness it.

For scientist, the brief event will give them a unique chance to study the sun and the Earth. And to help us break down what will happen during the

event, I'm joined by solar researcher and University College London Professor Lucie Green.

Professor, a pleasure to have you on. There has been an extraordinary level of excitement at this as it unfolded. What about the scientific

community? I mean, the public is, obviously, engrossed. What about the scientific community?

LUCIE GREEN, PHYSICS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: The scientific community has absolutely embraced this solar eclipse. I think because it

passes over a continent which is so accessible - most of my colleagues are over in America at the moment and many of them are conducting scientific

projects as well because solar eclipse is still a really valuable opportunity to study our sun's atmosphere and find out more about it.

HOLMES: And the thing is too, because it's working its way across the United States as it is, it's like the gift that keeps on giving. I mean,

you can just keep watching it and watching and watching it.

GREEN: It is. You're absolutely right. And with the fact that we have all these telescopes lined up across America, and as the eclipse ends in

one location, it gets picked up somewhere else.

And it's been a really lovely way to just get a feeling for what an eclipse looks like, traveling across the globe. And also, we've had images coming

in of the sun using different wavelengths of light. And that means you see different parts of the sun's surface and that gives us some pretty

spectacular views of the sun.

We've had some sunspots on the surface of the sun. These are these dark spots that we see all the time actually. They characterized the sun's

cycle. The sun is giving us a lot to look at.

HOLMES: And so, in a scientific sense, what do we learn from an eclipse - or what do you learn? The rest of us are just saying, wow, that's cool.

What are you learning? What do we take from it and how can it help us down here on Earth?

GREEN: There is a phenomenal rate of science that we can do the solar eclipse. So, to sort of sum it up, we want to understand why the sun is an

active star and why the sun has million-degree atmosphere, whilst its surface is at around 6000 degrees. so, we have something that we call the

coronal heating issue.

And everything really comes down to the fact that the sun has a magnetic field that threads through the gas in its atmosphere. And in that gas, we

see waves propagating. We see explosions happening. We see eruptions of material taking place.

And during a solar eclipse, we have a unique opportunity to really see the bottom of the sun's atmosphere that's very hard to do in any other way.

And so, during the times of the solar eclipse, we can gather lots of data on ground-based telescopes, not space-based that are limited by the data

size that we can collect, and we can do some unique studies.

HOLMES: And then, what do we with that information in a real sense?

GREEN: So, in solar physics today, we're really interested in building up a very detailed picture of our sun and really understand how it operates as

a star, especially given the fact that it is our closest star and it's the only star that we can have this kind of data from.

And so, we want to understand how the sun's magnetic field evolved. Everything to do with the sun comes back to its magnetic field. We want to

understand how it originates, why it changes over time and then what impact that magnetic field has in the atmosphere of the sun.

And so, when I think about the magnetic field of the sun - I view sort of as bit like a battery that stores energy and then gives energy up to be

used and then sun atmosphere then powers some pretty spectacular events.

HOLMES: There are those - I mean, that's the scientific side and it's, obviously, very, very important. But there are people who chase total

eclipses around the world.

They want to go see everyone that they can and describe it as an almost spiritual experience. Or some do. What is it like? What is that feeling

if you like?

GREEN: It is amazing. And it is like no other feeling in astrophysics or astronomy. So, I saw a total solar eclipse in 2009. I was out on the

Pacific on a ship. And it's incredible to have the temperature drop. It's a really marked difference in the temperature.

[17:25:14] Obviously, the darkness comes in. So, the intensity of light drops. But it's not just that. The colors of the sky change. You look

like - it looks like there is sunrise happening all around the horizon.

I remember it looking quite purply and hue, but quite orange on the horizon. Stars come out. Planets come out. Things quieten down, I've

heard, if you're observing eclipse on land. And it is a remarkable, remarkable experience and one that moves people who see it.

HOLMES: Yes. I wanted to ask. I mean, we know so much about this. We're ready for it. Everybody is enjoying it. You're studying it. What about

people centuries ago who didn't know it was coming until it happened? And all of a sudden, their most important source of energy vanishes. I can't

imagine what that would have been like.

GREEN: I think it would have been terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. I can imagine and I can understand stories about ancient civilizations being

fearful when the sun disappeared like that. And I think there's lots of stories in ancient China around people banging drums, making noise, try and

chase away dragons that were eating the sun.

We completely rely on the sun for modern life, for our food, for our welfare. We need the sun. And you can imagine just how terrifying it

would be if you didn't know what was going to happen.

HOLMES: And your colleagues are there. You're not. I mean, how did you miss out on this?

GREEN: I wasn't able to go this time unfortunately. But I like to think that we need someone here in Britain to hold the fort.

HOLMES: Well, it was great to talk to you. Thanks so much, Professor Lucie Green. Thank you.

GREEN: Thank you.

HOLMES: And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can listen to our podcast. You can see us online at You can follow me

on Twitter at @HolmesCNN, if you like. Thanks for watching everyone. Good bye for now from London.