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Controversial Referendum Divides Turkey; North Korea's Nuclear Warning; Prince Speaks Out About Loss of Mother. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired April 17, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, what makes for Turkey after Sunday's controversial referendum passes sweeping new powers to the
president? Reaction from a top adviser to President Erdogan and from the EU.
Also ahead, North Korea's deputy U.N. ambassador makes a terrifying statement, nuclear war could break out at any moment, he said. With the
U.S. vice president visiting the Peninsula, is there a diplomatic way out? The former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry was there when the last
major deal was struck with Pyongyang and he joins me tonight.
And imagining a world where a very public light shines on a very private grief. 20 years later, Prince Harry on his emotional struggles after
losing his mother, Princess Diana.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Turkey is a nation divided, as it stands at the dawn of a new political era. For the first time since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the nation's
parliamentary system will turn into a presidential system, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holding the reigns of power.
Perhaps this look as he prepared to address the nation last night reveals some of his concern, though. The result of the constitutional referendum
was not the resounding victory that he had predicted but rather a slim 51.4 percent of the vote. The opposition already is vowing to contest the
result, but a few hours ago, the president said the result effectively ends the debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): Thanks to God, pay attention to this number. The constitutional change has been
accepted by the choice of nearly 25,200,000 citizens.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Therefore, from now on, all debate about this issue has ended.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, Gulnur Aybel is a senior adviser to the president and she joins me now from Ankara.
Welcome to the program. Congratulations. Your side won. But it was narrow. Would you agree that the nation is divided, and particularly you
stand in Ankara where the vote was lost, as well as in Istanbul and in Izmir, the big, big metropolitan cities?
GULNUR AYBEL, SENIOR ADVISER TO TURKISH PRESIDENT ERDOGAN: Well, I think, you know, you can say it was close. But, you know, a difference of
1,300,000 and over that is not really a small difference in the votes.
And you're right to mention the cities. I mean, I think in the cities, there was a confusion as to the 18 points of the constitution that were not
explained well enough. And let's face it, the opposition had been actually confusing people with regards to this and politicizing and making it about
one man and not really focusing on what the changes actually mean.
I mean, you mentioned at the beginning of the program that this was bringing an end to a parliamentary system. I have to remind you that since
2007, when we had that referendum that ushered in a directly elected president, we have had a de facto semi-presidential system with two
executive heads. So it hasn't even been a proper parliamentary system since 2007.
AMANPOUR: Well --
AYBEL: And the old system, the president - one was based on the 1982 constitution for the coup. So in fact, what we have now is Turkey's first
civilian constitution during the era of the Turkish republic, and I think that's really quite something.
AMANPOUR: You know, Ms. Aybel, you say it hasn't really been a proper parliamentary system since 2007, and that's precisely what some of the
concerned onlookers are worried about.
Can I just read you this quote from "The Economist" and have you explain. As you said there's a lot of confusion around. So "The Economist" says,
formally, the new constitution abolishes the prime minister's office and divides power between parliament, which legislates, and the president, who
In practice, it enthrones the president as a term, limited sultan and parliament as his court. I mean, they're kind of right, right? Because he
gets to do pretty much what he wants now.
AYBEL: No, no, no, they're wrong. Now I'll tell you why, because under the current system, which is based on the '82 constitution, the president
has enormous powers, and President Erdogan hasn't even used all those powers. And he has no accountability.
The president has no accountability under the present system. Under the proposed system which has been ushered in, he will be accountable to
parliament, and parliament can actually take the president to the Supreme Court.
So it's absolutely wrong to say that there are no checks and balances in this system. Actually, there are no checks and balances in the present
system. So it's a bad reading of the system. But what people are doing and this is what the opposition had been doing as well is that they're
confusing the political reality of Turkey with the merits of the system.
And the political reality of Turkey is this, that yes, there has been a strong party that's been in power for a long time. There's been a weak
opposition, which casting to get his act together and, yes, it has a strong leader. This party that keeps winning. But that is a political reality.
And that's quite different from the merits of the system. And the current system, which is being ushered out was totally unworkable.
AMANPOUR: So they'll also dig down in what you just said. But on the issue of the opposition, again, the OSCE, which as you know monitors a lot
of these events and stated that, yes, the vote was fair and it was free. But it was conducted on an unlevel playing field, and this is what it says,
"Fundamental freedoms essential to a genuinely Democratic process were curtailed under the state of emergency, which exists right now, and the two
sides did not have equal opportunities to make their case to voters."
It goes on to talk about how the press was overwhelmingly on the, you know, the A.K. side of this constitution. And as you know, many, many
journalistic outlets, some 200 or so have been closed down. There are many, many journalists in jail, and people are in fact very concerned about
the concentration of power, despite the fact that you say that the president will be accountable.
AYBEL: I understand why people are confused about this. And Christiane, I know that Turkey is difficult to read right now, but let's just clarify a
few things. I have a few issues about the OSC report today.
For example, they're taking very narrow examples and applying it to the bigger picture. And I would like them to actually elaborate more on how
the bigger picture works.
For example, they're saying things like the legal framework is inadequate for referendums in turkey. Well, are they saying that all past eight
referendums in Turkey have been null and void?
You mentioned about the press. Now, yes, there have been, you know, issues with some aspects of the press, which were part of the Gulen movement,
which carried out an attempted coup attempt. So in actual, any clamping down in the media has got to do with Turkey's current act of terror --
against terrorism and it hasn't really got to do with freedom of speech. So that's the other thing.
AMANPOUR: All right.
AYBEL: But there are issues about the OSC report, and I would like to see them bring it out more to the bigger picture. But I just want to add one
more thing. There's been a high turnout of Kurdish voters in the southeast region in favor of the yes vote. And I think this is very significant for
moving on and reconciliation, especially in border areas, where people have come out and voted as high as 77 percent in the yes vote. And I think this
means that people value stability and security and dependable governance.
AMANPOUR: All right. Gulnur Aybel, adviser to the president, thank you very much. And, you're right --
AYBEL: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: The turnout was up to 85 percent. And, of course, everybody will look forward to reconciliation, if that's possible.
And we're going to turn now with some of your concerns to Norbert Rottgen, who is with us from Germany.
And he is very, very concerned about what's going on. 63 percent of voters in Germany and outside of Turkey supported the constitutional changes,
which of course came after weeks of tension in which rallies in Germany and the Netherlands featuring Turkish ministers were cancelled.
President Erdogan even accused German and Dutch leaders of using Nazi practices. So Norbert Rottgen, a German MP, very close to Chancellor
Merkel chairs the Bundestag's Foreign Affairs Committee and joins me now.
You just heard -- first of all, welcome to the program. You just heard the adviser to the president criticize some of the criticism and say that
actually this is going to be a much more accountable presidential system than was in the past. Your reaction looking from the EU perspective?
NORBERT ROTTGEN, GERMAN MP: I think the campaign made this very plain. If President Erdogan was interested in accountability, the campaign would have
certainly given him the opportunity to hold him accountable. But all those Turkish citizens who uttered some criticism on the president were put into
All those newspapers who were critical on the president and his policies were shut down, were closed. All those in the judiciary, on the civil
service who were not followers of this party, they were purged.
So this was a campaign which made absolutely clear what the political goal of President Erdogan is, to correct on a pluralistic political system. To
correct on the opposition and to establish a tailor-made authoritarian system, very, very unfortunately in Turkey.
So he has with yesterday's referendum take a significant step from turning the Turkish democracy into an authoritarian-ruled state. And this is ill
compatible with European values. Europe is constituted by democracy, rule of law and civil liberties. And now we see just the opposite happen in
AMANPOUR: Mr. Rottgen, you look like a big problem is brewing. You're saying this about Erdogan, and he today had some harsh words for Europe.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERDOGAN: Some European countries have objected to this reform more passionately than the opposition parties in our own country. Now the same
circles are threatening our swift, freezing the tops on our membership in the European Union. Of course, it's not a decision that they will make,
but my dear sisters and brothers, let me tell you that this is not that important for us any way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So where do you go from now? I mean, does one give up on turkey? Is Turkey's access to the EU way, way further down the line? And
he did actually today raise also the issue of possibly down the line, depending on the political realities, of bringing back the death penalty.
ROTTGEN: Yes. But of course, we must not give up on Turkey. Erdogan is not Turkey. But we have to make clear that now it is Erdogan's rule, which
is being established more and more in turkey, and with a government under President Erdogan.
There is no perspective of negotiating an exception to the European Union. Erdogan wants, as I mentioned, to establish a very, very different rule
from European democracy and you can't simultaneously establish an authoritarian Turkey and then demanding to be a member of the European
Union, which is constituted by the rule of law and democracy.
So my view is that we should formally suspend negotiation talks with Turkey as long as Erdogan is establishing and conducting authoritarian power.
This can't go together and it has to be make -- make clear that this can't go together. Otherwise, the European Union would severely damage itself
and would lead itself into a crisis of credibility because we would not have stand up to our core values and we can't afford that. We have to
stand to our core values and principles.
AMANPOUR: Again, Mr. Rottgen, you are being incredibly strong tonight. What does that mean then for Europe's relationship with Turkey vis-a-vis
NATO? And particularly, the refugee deal that Germany has struck with President Erdogan?
ROTTGEN: Turkey always has been and has a geostrategic importance, particularly with regard to the region. And this is the more unfortunate
when this region now is set ablaze and Turkey could play such an important, constructive role. This is to be accepted and respected. But talking
about joining the European Union is something very, very different, and of course it is that Turkey really needs the cooperation with Europe. The
Achilles heel at least for Erdogan is the economy.
The economy was in much better shape when he acted as a responsible leader. Now the economy has went down, is in a deep crisis. And Erdogan needs
Europe. We want to cooperate with him, of course. He is damaging also NATO, which we always understood as a community of values. And he is
creating a severe problem for us, but our clear conclusion should be and must be we can't negotiate an accession to EU. We would like to have a
cooperational relationship with Turkey but these are different things.
AMANPOUR: Norbert Rottgen, chair of the foreign affairs committee and parliament, thanks for joining me from Bonn this evening.
And speaking of staring down authoritarian tendencies, in the United States this weekend, on Tax Return Day, thousands took to the streets again
demanding their president stick with precedent and release his returns. Again, he refused.
But when we come back, a critical issue that will last far beyond President Trump's first 100 days. What to do about North Korea? Its latest missile
test barely left the ground, but global tensions are sky high. That's next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
A sobering statement from the United Nations from a rarely cited North Korean envoy. Just a short while ago, Kim in-Pyong wished the assembled
reporters a Happy Easter, and then announced this in response to recent U.S. warnings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIM IN-PYONG, NORTH KOREAN DEPUTY AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: It has been created dangerous situation, in which some nuclear war may erupt at any
moment on the Peninsula and pose a serious threat to the world peace and security, to say nothing of those of the Northeast Asia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Wow. After putting on a military show of force with the parades from Pyongyang this weekend, and then testing a missile that essentially
flopped back to the ground, tensions are reaching boiling point.
This morning, the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stood at the demilitarized zone on the Korean peninsula and fired this rhetorical shot at the north.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: The advent of nuclear weapons testing, the development of a nuclear program, even this
weekend to see another attempt at a ballistic missile launch, all confirms the fact that strategic patience has failed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Speaking there to CNN's Dana Bash, Pence declared all options are on the table, and president Trump says he's counting on China to reign
in the north's nuclear ambitions, which now appears primed and ready, quote, "To launch its sixth nuclear test."
Over the past 30 years, there's been one major nuclear deal with the North, the so called "Agreed Framework" negotiated by Bill Clinton's
administration in 1994. It lasted almost a decade until President George Bush ditched the deal.
Clinton's Defense Secretary William Perry played a major role in the diplomatic history of U.S.-North Korean relations and he joins me now from
California, where he's a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution.
Welcome back to the program, Mr. Perry -- Secretary Perry. We've talked many times over this. What is your feeling right now about the state of
play and you just heard what the deputy envoy to the U.N. said.
WILLIAM PERRY, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: I think obviously they are very dangerous today, and we must regard that danger with great concern. I
think there's much talk of military action against North Korea. In my view, there may be a time that this dangerous situation required military
action, but I don't think that time is now. I think this is a time for us to create diplomacy.
Paradoxically, the dangerous situation right now has created the environment which now diplomacy actually might be successful.
AMANPOUR: So Tell me how exactly you made that equation, because obviously there's a lot of rhetoric flying around. Your administration did do
diplomacy with I believe it was Kim il-Sung actually, the founder of the North Korean state, way back in 1994. So if it's possible with him, it
must be possible with his grandson.
PERRY: The situation today has some resemblance of that 1994. The most important is that in 1994, Kim il-Sung, the then president of North Korea
believed that the United States was prepared to take military action. And that played a big role I think in his calculus.
Today, I think it's probably true that the president -- North Korean president believes it's possible the United States is ready to take
military action. So that is one of the things that's comparable. What's different today and was very positive for negotiations is that China has
never played a very significant role in bringing North Korea to the negotiating table in the past. I think this time, they're probably
prepared to do so. The situation is dangerous enough that they can see actions underway, which I think will be very adverse to their core
interest. They see a possibility of a war breaking out on the Korean Peninsula. It would be very adverse to them. And beyond that, they see
the possibility of either South Korea or Japan or both who are nuclear themselves.
So I think it's time not to look at China to solve this problem, but to partner with China in putting together a very powerful negotiating package,
which China could put on the table, some very important disincentives in terms of removing food supplies and fuel supplies which they have been
giving North Korea for many decades now.
AMANPOUR: Secretary, we've talked --
PERRY: So I think this is the time where we can put together --
AMANPOUR: Yes --
PERRY: This is a time where we can put together a negotiating package.
AMANPOUR: Right. We've talked about negotiations in the past, and for some reason, some members of the U.S. establishment believe negotiations to
be a sign of weakness.
Now, President Donald Trump, to his credit, said that he would, you know, sit down and have a hamburger with Kim Jong-un, the current president. In
other words, that he would negotiate. But there are many powerful interests in Washington who don't believe in negotiations, and you remember
George W. Bush's team thought it was just a load of weakness and ditched your negotiations with North Korea. And now look where they are, with 10
to 20 nuclear bombs. They had none when you guys were doing your negotiation. What advice would you have on the idea of incentives and not
just disincentives and actual direct negotiations?
PERRY: I think this is the right time for what I would call coercive diplomacy. Diplomacy which is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of
strength. Well, on the one hand, where we can offer some incentives, as we have in the past, but we also have now, for the first time, very powerful
disincentives in (INAUDIBLE) in terms of the Chinese being able now and perhaps willing now to withdraw very significant benefits that they've been
giving North Korea for many decades now and the possible threat of military action by the United State.
So these are -- this is a very powerful package now. It changes the situation, but we can now go forward with some very, I believe, effective
This is like what we had in 1994. We had coercive diplomacy and those -- because in 1994, we were threatening to take military action and we were
actually assembling a force of 30,000 additional troops to go over to North Korea -- to South Korea. North Korea was very much aware of that when they
came to the table, when they asked for negotiations.
AMANPOUR: Fascinating. Thank you for your insight, former secretary of defense William Perry from California.
And while transparency is not the strength of the hermit kingdom, here in the United Kingdom, we imagine the heir to a royal dynasty opening up like
never before. A window into Prince Harry's pain. That's next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world where the stiffest of stiff of the lips quivers just a little. In a podcast for Britain's "Daily
Telegraph," Prince Harry, the queen's grandson, has revealed the huge emotional pain that he's been struggling with for the past 20 years, since
his mother, Princes Diana, was killed in a car crash.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE HARRY, PRINCESS DIANA'S SON: My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mom because why would
that help? It will only make you sad. It's not going to bring her back.
So from an emotional side, I was like, right, don't ever let your emotions be part of anything. And then I started to have a few conversations and
actually all of a sudden, all of this grief that I have never processed started to come to the ?!forefront and I was like, there is actually a lot
of stuff here that I need to deal with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: He described a period of, quote, "total chaos" before his older brother, Prince William, urged him to get counseling.
Harry spoke to a reporter whose "Mad World" podcast is aimed at bringing these issues out into the open. Here in the UK, suicide is the biggest
killer of men under 45. So imagine the boost when one of the world's most visible people challenges a hidden epidemic head on.
That's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online @Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.