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Bombing Suspect Rahami Now in Custody; How to Tack ISIS in Iraq, Syria; Syria's Military Declares Ceasefire Over; Turkish Foreign Minister on Syria Safe Zone Strategy; Triumph of Brotherly Love

Aired September 19, 2016 - 14:00:00   ET



[14:00:10] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, a massive manhunt, delivers the main suspect, who is in custody after two bombings here in

Manhattan and New Jersey.

As the world's most powerful leaders descend on New York for their annual gathering of the United Nations, the mayor made this announcement.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK: We have every reason to believe this was an act of terror.


AMANPOUR: And President Obama's point man on fighting ISIS, Brett McGurk, joins me live.

Plus, our exclusive interview with Turkey's foreign minister. Why he believes ISIS can be easily defeated?


MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, TURKEY FOREIGN MINISTER: There are around maybe 30,000 Daesh terrorists on the ground. So 65 countries cannot defeat such

terrorist organizations. For us, we can easily do that.


AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, a triumph of brotherly love in Mexico.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York this week, where two dramatic explosions, a manhunt

and now the main suspect in custody are all happening as the city rolls out the red carpet and extra heavy security for its annual gathering of world

leaders for the U.N. General Assembly.

A 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, a U.S. citizen of Afghan origin, was captured by police after a shootout in New Jersey earlier today. They're

trying to determine whether the suspect acted alone or not. That's in Saturday's attacks in New Jersey, and of course, in downtown Manhattan,

where 29 people were injured.

Lone wolf attacks have long been a cause for concern among nations bombing ISIS, but President Obama in New York today says the U.S. remains committed

to that fight, both on the ground and crucially online.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will continue to lead the global coalition on the fight to destroy ISIL, which is instigating a lot

of people over the Internet to carry out attacks. We are going to continue to go after them. We're going to take out their leaders. We're going to

take out their infrastructure. They're continuing to lose ground in Iraq and in Syria.


AMANPOUR: And the man tasked with leading that battle is Brett McGurk, President Obama's special envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS

joining me now from the U.N.

Welcome to the program, Mr. McGurk. And let me go straight to the heart of the matter. The police in New York say they are not at the moment looking

for any other suspects, and they, at the moment, have no evidence that there was a bigger cell other than this one man that they have in custody.

From your perspective, countering the global threat of ISIS, what does this say about lone wolfs, about the online inspiration as President Obama

indicated earlier?

BRETT MCGURK, SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY, GLOBAL COALITION TO COUNTER ISIS: Thanks, Christiane. It was great to be here. I think, first, what we've

seen here of the last dramatic 48 hours is just implementation of so many reforms that we've put together as a country since 9/11. The incredible

information sharing between federal, state and local law enforcement authorities, and obviously we'll let the investigation proceed.

But it really seems to have been a really heroic effort by those first responders and then the investigative work that came afterwards. And if

you look at what we have to do, and there's no link here, whatsoever, at least as far as we've seen so far to ISIL or any sort of foreign, directed

terrorist plot, we really don't know at this stage.

But what you have to do to get ahead of this threat is you have to take out the core of ISIL and Iraq and Syria. We're doing that. Just in the last

three weeks, we've eliminated their number one chief of information, who puts out all their propaganda.

Terrorist name Dr. Wa'il (ph). We killed him in an airstrike just about a week ago. And before that, Muhammad al-Adnani, who was the number one ISIL

terrorist charged with directing plots all around the world. Coalition air strike killed him, just a few weeks ago. So we are taking out these

leaders, as the president said. We are taking back the territory to try to stop those directed attacks: The Brussels, the Paris, the Istanbul, the

Dhaka in Bangladesh.

These are attacks that have been directed out of Syria. Now, when it comes to these lone wolf types of attacks, what we really need is just extreme

information sharing. And so as a global coalition, of course, we're pulling resources to fight ISIL on the ground, in Iraq and Syria and to

fight them in Libya and to make sure that they don't have sanctuary anywhere around the world. But most importantly, we're also working for a

long term fight to share information as we receive it.

Let me just give you an example. Very important operation eliminated a safe haven that ISIL had in the town of Manbij in Syria. Since then, we

have collected about 15 terabytes of information on ISIL foreign fighters, their networks, their cellular structures and we are now rapidly processing

and disseminating that information across our coalition.

[14:05:00] Interpol is apart of the process, so that when we find names, when we find phone numbers, or able to kind of trace a network, to

determine who these people are, they can no longer travel freely across borders.

This is very difficult work. The reforms that we put in as a country after 9/11, with really information sharing across multiple layers of government

are reforms that now many countries are putting in place, and it's really necessary.

Two years ago, here at the U.N. General Assembly, we passed -- U.N. Security Council passed a historic Chapter 7 Resolution. U.N. Security

Council Resolution 2178. It called on all nations around the world to pass laws to make it harder for foreign fighters to travel across borders.

Since then about 50 nations...

AMANPOUR: All right.

MCGURK: ...have updated their laws and we're making a difference.

AMANPOUR: So let's get to the ground now. Because that may be, but you heard what I said at the beginning of the program through the words of the

Turkish foreign minister, who will say on this program that, whey did, you mentioned Manbij. There's also Jarabulus.

What they did in terms of their ground defences, supported by U.S. air cover, et cetera, managed in a matter of hours to defeat and practically

clear ISIS from those border areas.

So the question, obviously, given that he says with a bit more effort from more members of the coalition on the ground, you could easily defeat ISIS.

Wouldn't it have been better, given the fallout that we're seeing for you to have been doing this much, much earlier on? It's been -- it's taken way

too long, hasn't it, to get the ground game up and running.

MCGURK: Well, we're talking about retaking major cities, sometimes with hundreds of thousands of individuals and civilians in these places. And

that's what ISIL does. They embed themselves in the population centers. They were the strongest army on the field about two years ago. That's no

longer the case.

And I would just say to our Turkish partners. I just met with a Turkish delegation here. We had a very good discussion about the steps ahead in

Syria. How we're going to continue to work together. It is a big, significant development that they have eliminated. The last, it was a 98

kilometer stretch of border that ISIL continue to control with Turkey. They no longer control it.

So it's almost, it's much harder now for these terrorists to get into Syria and if they do manage to get into Syria through smuggling routes, it's

almost impossible now for them to get out.

That's what we wanted for some time. We now have that in placed. And now we're looking to squeeze them from all directions.

In Mosul, in Iraq, in Raqqah, which remains their administrative capital and in the town of Dabiq and some other areas which remain their kind of

spiritual heartland.

We are going to be putting multiple points of pressure from all directions. We have to generate a ground force to do that. It's a tough fight. In the

battle on Manbij, our -- the partner forces we are working with, the coalition of Kurds and Arabs, they took over 1,000 casualties. So it is a

tough, difficult fight.

We are providing assistance, we are providing advisory support, we are providing intelligence, but it's difficult. But having the Turks focus on

that border is going to help and we welcome that, and we're going to be working closely with them.

AMANPOUR: Again, and I gather you probably won't go here, but even off the record, certain Americans Special Forces say that, you know, with about

30,000 real Special Forces, this force, who apparently amount to 30,000, the ISIS, if we believe what all of you officials are saying, could be

wiped out much quicker and much earlier.

But I want to ask you this about the cease-fire, because presumably that's got something to do with all of this. That appears to be failing and it's

expired, and not even a gram of humanitarian got into Aleppo or anywhere else.

So how much longer does the United States, the State Department, rely on Russia to try to deliver at least some piece of this puzzle in Syria?

MCGURK: Well, we're not relying on Russia. The Russians have come stood before the world. They've stood before the Security Council here just

downstairs, and have said that they will deliver on their part of the bargain.

And their part of the bargain is continuous days of de-escalation of violence in Syria and continuous humanitarian supplies moving for 7

continuous days. And thus far, they have failed to deliver on that.

So it calls into question what the Russians intentions are in Syria. We have very candid discussions with the Russians. What's your end game in

Syria? Do you want this to go on forever?

They've lost helicopters. They've lost soldiers. They've lost pilots. This can go on forever without some political resolution to the conflict.

What we have on the table now is an agreement potentially if we can have seven days of continuous humanitarian aid and the de-escalation of violence

that would get the Syrian regime out of the sky to stop all airstrikes over opposition areas. That is the heart of the deal.

AMANPOUR: But that's the --

MCGURK: And we would also work -- we would work with the Russians. Well, we have to see. I think we're going to see, we're going to assess the

situation every single day. And we need seven continuous days. If we can get to the point, we look forward to trying to get this Syrian regime out

of the sky, which the Russians have said that they will do.

[14:10:10] So the onus is on the Russians. If they want to be in a quagmire, that's up to them.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you this, because many of the people I asked say they don't really think Russia has an end game right now apart from

keeping Assad where he is.

And does the fact that you depend on Russia for trying to use their good officers with Assad, which hasn't seem to have born any fruit, how much is

that complicated by the U.S. strike on Assad forces and the fight now with Russia over that?

MCGURK: Look, Syria is a very complex battle space. That's why we have deconfliction talks. We don't coordinate with the Russians. We have

deconfliction talks everyday to make sure that our Air Force and theirs are in the skies. We don't have any accidents.

What happened over the weekend appears to have been a mistake. These things happen in a very complicated battle field environment. The Russians

then decided to make a propaganda tool out of it, and did this kind of show thing down here at the U.N. Security Council, but since then, we're trying

to quiet things down, figure out if the Russians are going to live up to their end of the bargain.

If they are not, then, you know, they have -- and Putin have stood before his people and have said we will have a cessation of hostilities. And

that's so far he has not been able to deliver of Bashar al-Assad. So the onus really is on them.

AMANPOUR: Well, we will continue to watch this.

Brett McGurk, thank you so much for joining us from the U.N. on this very important day. Thanks a lot.

MCGURK: OK, Christiane. Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And, of course, this whole crisis has generated such a massive refugee crisis and the world's failure to rise to this challenge are the

focus of the United Nations today, vividly demonstrated outside parliament in London by this so called graveyard of lifejackets. Just look at that.

And also here in New York, by hundreds of life jackets lining the waterfront to draw attention to the cost of inaction.

Meantime, the German chancellor, who has paid at the polls for welcoming refugees, said this after defeat in local Berlin elections.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): If I could, I would turn back time many, many years to better prepare myself, the federal

government and all those in positions of responsibility for the situation we were rather unprepared for in the late summer of 2015.


AMANPOUR: And perhaps, of course, Merkel means better persuading the rest of Europe to take in their fair share of refugees.

When we come back, Turkey hosts almost 3 million of them. We hear about that. And how ISIS could easily be defeated according to the Turkish

foreign minister, who joins me next.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

As we've said, this attack here in the New York area, as world leaders descend on the United Nations, has again focused everyone on just how

urgent it is to finish off ISIS or Daesh.

Turkish foreign minister tells me, his country's recent military offensive proves that should be relatively easy to do. As Syria's northern neighbor

Ankara is stepping up its ground game there, pushing back ISIS and starting to carve out a safe zone near its border.

That's also an effort to repatriate Syrian refugees who spilled over into Turkey.

Meantime, Turkey is again calling for the United States to extradite the dissident leader Fethullah Gulen, who he blames for the recent failed coup.

[14:15:03] Surprisingly, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also admitted to me some of the purges at home may have gone too far, quote, "If any mistake

is made, it is our obligation to correct it," he told me, in our exclusive interview here in Manhattan.


AMANPOUR: Foreign Minister Cavusoglu, welcome to the program.

Here we are in the United States, so obviously, first question. Have you repaired your relations with your vital ally, the United States?

MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, TURKEY FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, U.S. is our ally and mode of partner as (INAUDIBLE) define, when he came to power first. There are

some issues that we disagree. This is obviously acceptable. But after the coup attempt, since the person who is behind this coup, Fethu, is still

living in the United States, Turkish people actually has been reaction. And we are -- our expectation is the expectation of this person to Turkey.

AMANPOUR: Has the United States indicated that they will extradite or expedite the arrest warrant that you presented with them for Fethullah


CAVUSOLU: The U.S. told us, Obama, Biden and Kerry, all of them told us, they want to extradite him, and they are asking for the evidences, and we

have been transmitting those evidences. But now we are preparing another file about the coup, and we are going to transmit that file to United

States. And there is a cooperation, but we need to get the results and the best result is that he has to be extradited.

AMANPOUR: The state media did suggest that the United States was behind the coup, which most people think is a little bit crazy.

So my question to you foreign minister is given that you have your legitimate concerns, and that you have very serious bilateral concerns

about Syria, have you sufficiently repaired your relationship with the United States?

CAVUSOLU: Actually, we have been disappointed that U.S. hasn't extradited him yet. But there are other areas that we have to cooperate. And we have

common enemies, like Daesh and other terrorist organizations. And we have also common goals and common challenges. And that we have to actually face

those challenges together. And that is what we are doing particularly in our fight against Daesh.

AMANPOUR: So let's go straight to the so-called ceasefire, which was announced with great fanfare last week between the United States and

Russia. Turkey praised the ceasefire.

How would you describe it? It's expired with absolutely no delivery of even a gram of humanitarian aid to the most deceive and desperate people

there. This was a failure.

CAVUSOLU: It was not the first time, actually. There was an agreement on ceasefire. At the end of each international Syrian support group meeting,

but each time, unfortunately, the cessation of the hostilities, well, they did by the regime and its supporters. And they block also humanitarian aid

of the United Nations. And this time it is not different.

Regime has been bombing, not only Aleppo, but many different parts of Syria. And they are targeting the moderate opposition. They are not

targeting Al-Nusra. They are not targeting Daesh. And they have been blocking the humanitarian aid that we are sending them.

AMANPOUR: What is your next move as an international community? Is Russia an honest broker? Does the United States able to get anything done? Or is

Turkey going to start taking matters into its own hand, as it's doing, militarily crossing the border and trying to clear land there?

CAVUSOLU: Nobody can ignore the efforts of John Kerry, for instance, (INAUDIBLE) including the Russians.

And, meanwhile, we have to defeat the terrorist organizations. We have been conveying the same message to the moderate opposition forces that they

have to respect the cease-fire and also, they should go to Geneva for direct talks. We are supporting the free Syrian army and our special

forces are actually assisting them on the ground. This is what we have been asking at every meeting. Without ground operation, you cannot defeat

this bloody terrorist organization.

AMANPOUR: What is the next military strategic step in the plan that you're talking about?

CAVUSOLU: To make this area, Manbij -- I mean, a safe zone, and to clean Daesh from this region, al-Bab should be the next target. But Raqqah is a

kind of capital of the Daesh in Syria, and Mosul is kind of the capital of Daesh in Iraq. They have to be defeated in those main two cities as well.

Therefore, al-Bab and Raqqah should be the next targets.

[14:20:08] When you clean Daesh from this region, this 5,000 square kilometer could be a de facto safe zone for Syrians. And this is what we

have -- what we want to see.

AMANPOUR: Does the United States support that? Because U.S. has always said no to a safe zone, no to a no-fly zone.

CAVUSOLU: Many -- actually, European leaders and countries have been supporting this, and U.S. is also considering it.

AMANPOUR: But Jarabulus shows that within a few hours of a sustained military operation, you can defeat these people. So people like me want to

know why aren't you doing more of it? What is holding this up? You can do it.

CAVUSOLU: Well, this is what we have been asking at every single meeting. Without ground operation, we cannot defeat them. But many countries, they

didn't want to send their troops on the ground. And they were asking only Turkey to do so. And we were asking them, why only Turkey. This is the

common enemy. We have to defeat them together. So why don't we send our special forces.

Now after the Jarabulus operation, actually everybody gained the confidence that Daesh will be defeated easily. It is not that difficult. We are 65

countries in the coalition against Daesh. And there are around maybe 30,000 Daesh terrorists on the ground. So 65 countries cannot defeat such

terrorist organization?

AMANPOUR: Meantime, the refugees are still pouring out of Syria. Your country bears the lion's share of the burden there. But there is a

troubling report recently that you are preventing refugees who have been screened over a period of two years, who have, you know, education,

degrees, and all sorts of ability to make their way here in the United States, accepted by the United States, about 1,000 of them, and Turkey is

refusing to give them exit passes.

Why would you do that?

CAVUSOLU: We are not against the resettlement of the refugees. But we are against the selective approach. Nobody can say that I want to get

Christian ones. I want to get the best educated ones, talented ones, able one and not disabled one.


AMANPOUR: But that's kind of weird allowing those who have already been screened to leave.


CAVUSOLU: Selective approach, first of all, is not humane. You cannot select people like you are selecting the sheep and goats from the market.

AMANPOUR: But you can't prevent people from leaving if they've been agreed and accepted.


CAVUSOLU: No, we are against -- we are against this approach.

AMANPOUR: Meantime, obviously, the world has been watching the post coup reality inside Turkey. We've talked many times with many officials about

the wholesale purges of every area of your society.

I know you have your answers, which you have delivered many times. But the prime minister and other officials have been saying that maybe we're going

too far. Maybe we've taken it too far.

CAVUSOLU: Look, they have been infiltrated in the state structure for 40 years, in the military, in judiciary, in police and in my ministry. In my

ministry, in five, six years, more than 500.

So you can imagine, how many of them actually has infiltrated in other state structures. We have to make sure that Turkish nation will not be

facing this similar situation again. The ones who have actively involved in the attempted coup arrested. The ones who are supporting and belonging

to this group, suspended from the state structures.

Can you make mistake? Yes.

I know that, for instance, in my hometown, some mistakes made. Some academics were arrested, and it was a mistake. So they were released. Our

obligation is actually to take necessary measures that innocent people shouldn't be affected or punished or purged.

AMANPOUR: Foreign Minister Cavusoglu, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

CAVUSOLU: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And up next, way, way away from the United Nations, united by brotherly love. In another global arena, the world of sports can inspire

us in so many, many ways. We imagine how -- next.


[14:26:50] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world where blood is thicker than gold. The fabulous Brownlee brothers, stars of British

athletics, took top medals in both the Rio and London Olympic triathlons.

Sunday, however, a gruelling race in Mexico proved one challenge too many for one of the brothers. With just 700 meters left to the finishing line

of their 10 kilometer run, 26-year-old Jonny Brownlee, started to feel the heat and the humidity. Veering off course to the side of the track. He

was on the verge of collapsing from exhaustion, and that is when big brother came to the rescue.

You can see that in that instant, 28-year-old Alistair Brownlee, sacrificed his own chance at first place to give Jonny a shoulder to lean on. And

they crossed the finish line as brothers in arms.

It's an inspiring story of family, humanity and choosing in the instant what mattered most in life.

Afterwards, Jonny took to Twitter to pay tribute to brother come savior, whose loyalty he says was incredible.

And that is it for our program tonight.

Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for watching, and goodbye from New York.