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Ukrainian Independence Day as Fighting Rages in East; Turkey Ramps Up Anti-ISIS Efforts in Syria; The Play that Puts You Inside a Picasso

Aired August 26, 2016 - 14:00:00   ET


[14:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: Then in 2014, President Obama signed executive orders aimed to closing the pay gap between woman and men.

And the White House announced today that nearly 30 leading businesses have sign the equal pay pledge.

But still today woman make only 79 cents to every $1 that a man makes, although certainly that is something that has become debatable I would say

in this current political climate.

And that is it for me. Wolf is back on Monday. The news continues right now.

JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, I'm Jonathan Mann. This is "CNN News Now"

Italian police have released pictures from the first funeral held after this week's deadly earthquake. Marco Santarelli was the son of a police

official and one of at least 267 people killed in the quake. Meanwhile, the search for survivors continues as do the ongoing after shocks.

Evacuations are underway to end one of the longest stand offs in Syria's civil war. Thousands of civilians and hundreds of fighters leaving

Darayya. A joint agreement reached between the rebels and Syrian government. Government forces have the Damascus suburb surrounded since


A truck bomb at police headquarters in Southern Turkey has left at least 11 officers dead. The blasts wounded nearly 80 people in the town of the

Syrian borders. Officials are blaming the Kurdish militant group, the PKK.

The top administrative court of France says mayors do not have the right to ban Burqinis. The garments many (INAUDIBLE) women favor for swimming. The

ruling suspends burqini ban in one town and will likely affect bans in several others.

That's your "CNN News Now." Up next is "Amanpour."

You're watching CNN, the world's news leader.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: This week, Independence Day celebrations in Ukraine, but fighting still raging in the east. A report from the


And part two of my exclusive interview with Ukrainian Petrol Poroshenko president on the corruption still plaguing his country.

Also ahead, as Turkey rolls its tanks into Syria, I speak to President Erdogan's spokesperson about the anti-ISIS operation and preparing

relations with the United States.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to this special weekend edition of our program showcasing the week's big interviews and highlights.

I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

And this week, Ukraine celebrated 25 years of independence from the Soviet Union with a show of military might and a parade through Kiev by its brand

new army.

But away from all those celebrations, fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed separatist is flaring again. U.S. Secretary of the State

John Kerry is meeting with his Russian counterpart to try to enforce last year's Minsk Ceasefire Accord which is failing fast as our Phil Black

reported in this exclusive view from the eastern front.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Through this gate is one front line of a war still ravaging a country and destroying

lives. A year and a half after all sides promised a ceasefire, where would Ukrainian soldiers near (INAUDIBLE) in the country's east as they try to

hold a position against pro-Russian forces.

(on camera): That thing coming for us, slamming into the walls of this shed. The people here say that this is what it's like every single day.

They're not just lobbing stuff at each other. They're trying to move forward and take each other's territory.

(voice-over): Captain Andrei Skorovsky (ph) tells us we must now run.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SOLDIER: Quickly! Quickly! Quickly!

BLACK: This short dash for cover draws fire. We shelter in the remains of another devastated building. The source of the incoming fire is very


(on camera): So your enemy's out that way?


BLACK: About 100 meters away?


BLACK (voice-over): The pause in the shooting allows us to move forward. We cross more open ground between old buildings. This industrial site is a

fiercely contested prize. The Ukrainian forces say they've lost ten men here in the last month and there are casualties every day.

Captain Skorovsky (ph) wants to show us one of the positions they are being attacked from. A tall tower-like building so close we could stroll there

in less than a minute.

At that moment, the fighting picks up. There is incoming fire from several directions.

[14:05:26] (on camera): There is now fighting during the day every day. The soldiers here say. But more than that, it's in the evening, 4:00, like

clockwork this begins and it really kicks off.

Why is this position, this territory so important?

(voice-over): He says the enemy has already moved beyond the line of control set in the peace deal know as the Minsk agreement. He says that if

the pro-Russian forces move forward from here, they could keep going and take any city in Ukraine.

From relative safety, we listen to the remains of war. Until it gets too close. Mortars land just outside. They've punched through this building


(on-camera): Let's go now?


(on camera): You good? Chris, you good?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, let's go, let's go, let's go.

(voice-over): Bullets whistle around our team during the final run to safety. This is what a ceasefire looks like in Eastern Ukraine.


AMANPOUR: In the next month, G20 in China, German and French leaders will meet the Russian president to try to get an end to this fighting, but

Ukrainian President Petrol Poroshenko tells me that he hasn't yet been invited. And he warns that President Putin wants to dominate the whole of


In part two of my conversation with President Poroshenko, we also discuss the continuing problem of rampant corruption in his country, and whether

his government is serious about enforcing tough Democratic reforms.


AMANPOUR: Mr. President, you last week warned that there might be a full scale Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine. Do you believe that? Or do you

think it's just an attempt to destabilize? And if so, what is the long term strategic efforts of President Putin?

PETROL POROSHENKO, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Look, this is a very good question.

If you're asking me in the year 2013, that is in general impossible that Russia will make an invasion and occupy the Crimea. I would tell you, no,

this is not possible. There is some red line and Putin do not cross this red line.

If you're asking me in January of 2014, is it possible that thousands of Russian regular troops will penetrate on Ukrainian territory on the east of

my country, in July and August? I would say, no, this is not possible.

With that situation the world is completely changed and Russia crossed the red line.

Today, we have Russia -- thousands of Russian soldiers both in occupied territory on Crimea. Today, we have hundreds of Ukrainian as hostages

keeping in the Russian prisons and in the prison on the occupied territory.

We've received just day before yesterday, the information that one of the leader of the Crimean Tatars, Ilmi Umerov was forced to put to the mental

clinic. So we see that there are starting times, the 30 years of the 20th century is completely returned.

AMANPOUR: When it comes to corruption, Transparency International says that corruption has barely improved at all in your country since you took

power. Your country's still 130 out of 168 countries on its Corruption Perception Index.

And even though you have a new anti-corruption bureau, it appears that the country's prosecutors are going after the bureau, and there's some kind of

struggle -- a war between your prosecutors and your own anti-corruption bureau.

How do you -- how do you square that circle?

POROSHENKO: That's a good question, because we invite the American anti- corruption -- American federal prosecutor to coordinate a reform of our general prosecutor office.

I invite both the leader of the anti-corruption bureau, special anti- corruption prosecutor and general prosecutor.

Point number two. We're launching now on the first of September, we're launching the special electronic declaration, which was, again -- that was

the point which was discussed with the Transparency International.

[14:10:00] And we have left just five days and you will see that the project will be launched; the electronic declaration and the effective

tools for fighting against corruption will be launched the same way like an anti-corruption infrastructure.


AMANPOUR: So will you call off your prosecutor, Mr. President? Will you call of your prosecutor who seems to be going after your anti-corruption


I mean, they -- you know, they raided the headquarters, detained investigators. That's not good.

POROSHENKO: Look, we have no person who should be umbrella on any investigation, and I think this is a right thing. So we have completely

independent anti-corruption bureau, completely independent. And we have very popular and very reliable prosecutor general. And we have an

effective cooperation with our American partners both in anti-corruption bureau and in prosecutor general office.

My purpose is that it should be independent from the president. The fighting against corruption should not depend from the president. That is

the main message. And this is already happening. And I'm proud of that.


AMANPOUR: All right, Mr. President, some of your strongest allies including Americans, indicate that despite the changes you're talking

about, there has been not enough progress on reform. To the point that people who ran on your --

POROSHENKO: That's true.

AMANPOUR: -- own party list have now split away, formed their own new party, and saying that you, President Poroshenko, are too wedded to the old

oligarch system.

What do you say to that?

POROSHENKO: I cannot commend that because we have and demonstrated an effective fighting of the old oligarch system -- of the old, old oligarch.

And you cannot find out anybody who will be -- who will improve that situation. None of them.

And look, it would be better -- just come and see, this is my simple answer. And the main purpose is that the system should not depend on

anybody, including the president. That's it.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me move to journalism because obviously that is something that's often an indicator of the freedom and the legality of a


As you know, there have been, you know, several journalists who have killed, who have been in trouble, including Pavel Sheremet. He was

murdered by a car bomb in Kiev last month. Real concerns about the sincerity of your government in pursuing and approaching the


In fact, your Deputy Information Minister has resigned -- did so earlier this month because she was frustrated with your government's failure to

investigate the threats against journalists.

What are you going to do to right that situation?

POROSHENKO: Look, this is again very simple approach.

The very next moment when we have a signal that the explosives were used against very famous journalist Pavel Sheremet -- to whom I know very well.

And he was -- we have quit close relations with Pavel. I know him for ages.

My first reaction was very simple, I instruct chief of the national police in coordination -- there is an investigation -- chief of the secret

service, specialist for the investigation from the prosecutor general's office -- immediately to invite for this investigation FBI representative.

And that was done in a few hours.

And that -- this is not just because we need some assistance and help, but to increase the transparency and trust to this investigation. And this is

actually the real new thing in my country, which never happened before.


AMANPOUR: So just to confirm --


POROSHENKO: We are transparent. And I do my best to be effective because this is -- if you want a challenge, a test for Ukraine law enforcement

agency and for Ukraine as a state.

AMANPOUR: Are you personally committed to investigating it and holding those responsible accountable?

POROSHENKO: Certainly. Certainly. Certainly. I was -- I know him personally. I was on his funeral. I know Olena Prytula. I know this

journalist who -- with whom he worked with.

And this is the test for Ukrainian law enforcement agency to provide the transparent and effective investigation of the murder case against Pavel

Sheremet. This is -- we should do certainly, no doubt.

AMANPOUR: President Poroshenko, thank you very much for joining me at this time of Ukrainian independence, quarter a century of independence.

POROSHENKO: Thank you very much indeed. See you. Bye.


[14:15:04] AMANPOUR: Democracy and the rule of law also on the mind of the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden as he travelled to mend fences, promise

support and get Turkey fully on board in the battle against ISIS.

Up next, my conversation with the Turkish president's right hand man and spokesman Ibrahim Kalin on that fight.

And the fight to get Washington to extradite a leading opposition figure they blame for last month's failed coup.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

This week, Turkey staged its first major military offensive against ISIS in Syria. Special Forces have helped U.S.-backed Syrian rebels retake the

strategic town of Jarabulus, the last major ISIS stronghold along the Syria-Turkish border.

The operation comes after Turkey has suffered a series of deadly terror attacks this year as ISIS lashed out across the border. And also, after a

failed military coup against President Erdogan last month.

The U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met President Erdogan on Wednesday to try to smooth over thorny relations since Ankara and pro-government press blame

the U.S. for the coup.

I asked Erdogan spokesman and special assistance Ibrahim Kalin about Turkey's dramatic policy shifts inside Syria, and about its wide crackdown

on alleged coup plotters and whether relations with its U.S. NATO ally can really be really healed.


AMANPOUR: Mr. Kalin, welcome to the program. Thank you for joining us.

Can I start by asking you directly, what is your main aim inside Syria with this offensive? Is it against ISIS or is it to ensure that the Syrian

Kurds, the YPG, do not advance any further?

IBRAHIM KALIN, TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMAN: Thanks, Christiane. Thanks for having me on.

The primary goal of Shield Euphrates, as the operation is called, is to clear our border from all ISIS terrorists as well as from other terrorist

elements, that includes the YPG and other, you know, possible terrorist groups.

ISIS or Daesh, as we call it, has been launching a number of attacks to our towns in Kilis and other places, and especially after last week's true

side attack in Antep, where we lost 53 people.

We said enough is enough. And we already had in fact these plans under way. And in cooperation with the international coalition, with our

American allies, informing the Russians and with our support, the free Syrian army members entered the City of Jarabulus and cleared the city from

Daesh or ISIS. This is similar to what happen in Manbij, but the difference is that we didn't want to see any PYD-YPG elements in the City

of Jarabulus, which is right next to our border.

And now the town is very quiet and peaceful. There are no Daesh elements. They moved to the south and we want to keep it that way.

AMANPOUR: But I'm interested to know, because there is a shift, first and foremost, you're in discussions with Russia. I know you're trying to mend

fences and you feel that you're back and re-establishing your relationship with Russia.

But you've also decided that at this moment, you are not insisting that Assad step down and that you are envisioning a role for him in, quote,

unquote, "A peaceful transition."

What is the root of this change by Ankara, by President Erdogan?

KALIN: Well, first of all, our position on the future of Assad hasn't changed. We believe Mr. Assad has no place in the future of Syria, because

he's lost all legitimacy. He's responsible for the killing of more than half a million people and responsible for millions of people who have

become refugees. So there is no place for him in the future of Syria.

For the transition period, that is an essential part of the political transition process, which we are working with Russians and Americans under

the U.N.

We would like to see -- we would like to focus on the mechanism rather than on the person. Some elements of the regime and elements of the opposition

can come together under the umbrella and under the premises that the Americans and the Russians have been discussing with us with the Saudi

Arabia, with Qatar, with Iran and all the other major players.

In fact, we can come up with a transition period, insisting on keeping Assad as part of the future or the political transition simply is a non-

starter and it makes things much more difficult on the ground. So our position on that hasn't changed.


KALIN: But at the same time, of course, we want to see a quick result of the blood letting in Syria, so we are talking to all the partners,

including Russians. And of course we have extensive discussions with Vice President Biden, when he was here yesterday.

So we are hoping that we will come up with some sort of a process and mechanism by which we can end this war.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you more about the U.S. relationship.

Obviously, you want Fethullah Gulen extradited. You have Justice Department lawyers and others working with your own people to try to figure

out this investigation. And you heard what president -- Vice President Joe Biden has reported to have said, he wished he wasn't in the u.s.

Are you satisfied with what the U.S. is doing? The speed at which this is moving. The U.S. says it could take a long, long time for this to be

resolved, if ever.

KALIN: Well, in a sense we are at the beginning of a new process. Vice President Biden, I believe expressed his sympathies and the extent to which

he understands now the magnitude of what happened here

I believe he also saw how serious people here are and united about the Gulenists cult and their criminal network both here in Turkey as well as in

the rest of the world. And why there is this consensus on Gulen's extradition.

Christiane, we want justice after what happened. We don't want revenge. We are after justice. People are asking for justice and closure, not


AMANPOUR: People do think revenge is happening and whole scale revenge with tens of thousands of people being rounded up and shoved into jail.

So there's a huge amount of concern despite the fact that this was an legitimate coup attempt, that the people of Turkey came out and supported

President Erdogan. You know, stared down the coup and it failed.

But, nonetheless, you know, really, can you really arrest tens of thousands of people, journalists, opposition figures, I mean, in every walk of

society and keep them in jail? How is that going to work?

KALIN: those have been connected to the Gulen cult and movement, which is now declared as a terrorist organization in Turkey, of course they will

have to be investigated.

You know, at one point Gulen claimed that he has millions of followers. So what's happening in Turkey is proportionate to the magnitude and severity

of what happened on July 15th.

Secondly as a reminder, this is not very different from what Germany did in the early 1990s when the two Germanys united. They sacked also thousands

of thousands of civilian servants -- civil servants on the grounds that they may have connections to the old regime, Stasi, and so on and so forth.

So this is in the line -- in the light of what happened there, this is a judicial process. The prosecutors are doing their job. But there is, as I

said, there is a growing consensus on what needs to be done to make sure that, you know, such coup attempts do not happen again in Turkey.

AMANPOUR: Ibrahim Kalin, thanks so much for joining us tonight.

KALIN: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And now from the international stage to the theatrical one. He was one of the most famous artists of the 20th century, but Picasso was

also a play write or was he? We will find out after this.


[14:26:07] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, we imagine a world inside Pablo Picasso's surreal, artistic mind. It might come as a surprise, but the

iconic artist also painted with words.

He wrote two plays in the tumultuous 1940s, at the height of Nazi occupied Paris. One of them, "Desire Caught by the Tale" is currently playing at a

small independent art's theater here in London. While it does gave rare incite into the mind of the 20th centuries greatest and most prolific

artists and the pressures he faced from the Nazis is rarely staged because, frankly, it is a bit bizarre. And it begs the question, should Picasso

have kept to the canvas?


SOPHIE HILL, BOW ARTS GALLERY MANAGER: Picasso wrote the play. He was living in occupied Paris and in fact more war. And he went through a

period of transition where he explored other mediums of art forms as well as painting. He wrote a lot of poetry and he wrote two plays. "Desire

Caught by the Tail" is one of them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lie down and wait for the fat cat to be called.

CRADEAUX ALEXANDER, DIRECTOR: It's about working even when you're told you're not supposed to, which is what he was told constantly. The Nazis

said you mustn't work. Your work is sinful or whatever they wanted to use at the time, and he kept on going.

HILL: He is massively emotive of human feeling and what we have gone through. And I think that makes it relevant to us today. You know,

especially this play was written in the Second World War, we're going through a hell of a lot of conflict -- now, you know, and the world as a


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A very good morning to you.


AMANPOUR: Well, you mustn't argue with genius. And that's it for our program. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for watching and good-bye from London.