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Turkey's Erdogan Declares Referendum Victory; U.S. VP Mike Pence Visits Korean DMZ; Aggravated Murder Warrant for Facebook Suspect; Javier Duarte Arrested in Guatemala. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired April 17, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:10] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Turkey's President Erdogan declares victory after voters there grant him sweeping new powers in a referendum.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, as tensions flare on the Korean Peninsula, the U.S. Vice President reassures allies while visiting the demilitarized zone.

ALLEN: And Prince Harry opening up about how he dealt with the sudden death of his mother, Princess Diana.

And we'll have it all here -- ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: I'm Cyril Vanier. Thank you very much for joining us.

The people of Turkey are waking up to a new political reality. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is promising a new era for the country.

ALLEN: Voters appear to have handed him sweeping new powers in Sunday's referendum by a razor-thin margin though the results aren't official as of yet. Turkey's opposition party CHP says it will contest at least a third of the ballots because of suspected vote tampering.


BULENT TEZCAN, CHP DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (through translator): The high electoral board has changed the rules after the voting started. There is a clear clause in electoral law saying unstamped ballots will be invalid and the high electoral board issued its notice in compliance with this law.


VANIER: CNN's Ian Lee is in Istanbul with more on Turkey's historic vote.


IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mark this the day that Turkey changed forever as thousands celebrate a new constitution. Preliminary results give this man, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): Regardless of what people voted for, I would like to thank every single member of our nation who attended the ballot box to indicate their choice. Turkey in respect of supporting its democracy and respecting people's choices, Turkey will be able to overcome all sorts of difficulties, crises and issues.

LEE: A no vote would have rebuked the strong man who has led the country for over a decade. And that's why millions of Turks, young and old, descended on the ballots to cast their vote in this narrow referendum.

This father of three voted yes telling me "It's better for the country, the economy, my children's future that president Erdogan has more power.

Valiha (ph) agrees saying of course she voted yes. "We benefitted greatly by President Erdogan's leadership. If I said no, the bad times would return."

But with celebration comes sorrow. The no campaign said they faced intimidation and threats of violence. Independent election monitors say state media and pro government outlets slanted coverage in favor of yes and that's what had no voters despairing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, I'm sad. I cried all night. It's really sad that we have to do this voting event. I mean in 15 years we saw that, you know, the radical Islam have come to power and we ended up with dictatorship.

LEE: This father had voted for his daughter's future also telling me "It's courageous to talk about this. Democracy is important. Multi- party system, separation of powers, checks and balances, it's valuable. That's why I voted no."

Security concerns also dominated the lead up to this referendum. The threat of a terror attack loomed large.

Security has been tight at polling stations like this one here in Istanbul. Hundreds of thousands of members of the security forces have been deployed across the country to secure the referendum.

Polls closed without a major incident. But with such a narrow victory, no perceived mandate, and the President previously calling no voters traitors who side with supporters of terror, the question now can Tayyip Erdogan heal the wounds of this deeply divisive and polarizing referendum?

Ian Lee, CNN -- Istanbul.


ALLEN: We're going to talk about it more now with Matthew Bryza. He is in Istanbul for us. He's a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan. Thank you so much for being with us -- Matthew.

First of all what issues led Erdogan to put this referendum before the citizens?

MATTHEW BRYZA, ATLANTIC COUNCIL SENIOR FELLOW: Well, for many years, President Erdogan has been hoping for a change in the constitution that would grant him these much stronger powers and create a presidential political system.

That grew out of years of his party being in power. From his perspective frustration that he was unable often to push through his legislative priorities and frustration with having to deal with coalition governments very often -- that's from his perspective.

[00:04:53] The perspective of the opposition is that all along he's wanted a centralized power to try to move the country in a new direction away from its traditional secular form of democracy and toward a more traditional one in which values of the heart of Turkey, Anatolia and Islam play a more important role.

ALLEN: And obviously, the opposition, who says that they were, you know, harassed and intimidated before this referendum, it's worrisome. Then we heard that one gentleman in our story by Ian Lee talk about what's going to happen to the checks and balances.

BRYZA: Yes. Well, you know, this was -- as Ian also said, a highly polarizing vote outcome. If you look at the map of Turkey, the post referendum map and where people voted, you see the yes votes came from the heartland of Turkey -- Anatolia, the central part.

And all around the periphery of Turkey, whether it be in this more Europeanized part of Turkey here in Istanbul, all along the coast, and then the northeast corner where interestingly there's a connection with Georgia which has a much more European perspective, you had a no vote. So the country was already polarized and it's even more polarized.

So the question now is, how will President Erdogan use this mandate? Will he use it to heal the wounds, to implement structural economic reforms to get the economy going again? Or will the polarization continue? And of course, investors and I think everybody in the west hopes he's going to use this mandate for healing purposes.

But as the report said by Ian, the result is going to be contested. There is this issue of whether or not the stamped ballots should be accepted. So stay tuned. The polarization will continue for a bit.

ALLEN: All right. You mentioned the west, how -- if this does go through, it appears -- we'll wait and see -- how would the west be impacted by this if Turkey is such a pivotal country there in that region and so important?

BRYZA: Turkey is crucially important. I mean the land that it occupies is so strategically significant. I mean it borders Iraq, Iran, Syria, the Caucuses meaning Georgia, Armenia, part of Azerbaijan, the Balkans, Greece, Bulgaria -- across the Black Sea is Russia. Not to mention the fact that the E.U. is really dependent upon Turkey to implement -- to keep implementing its migrants agreements.

And then for the United States, Turkey is a NATO ally, secular democracy -- democracy in this important part of the world. So Turkey really matters. I think that the west is hoping that the dust will settle in the immediate term. The question will be in the long term, again, will Turkey heal? Will the polarization go away? Or will the country come together and strengthen its democratic institutions as we look forward?

ALLEN: A lot of questions. And a lot of people will be watching. Matthew Bryza for us -- thanks so much for joining us.

VANIER: And the Korean Peninsula's fault line just got a high profile visit. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence traveled to the demilitarized zone a short time ago and got a rare look inside North Korea.

ALLEN: He arrived in South Korea Sunday right after a North Korean missile test reportedly failed.

VANIER: The DMZ is the highly fortified strip between North and South Korea. It was created by the Korean War Armistice in 1953. But there wasn't a peace treaty and tactically that means the Korean War never ended.

Paula Hancocks is in Seoul following this. Paula -- by going to the DMZ, the American Vice President symbolically put the U.S. right at North Korea's doorstep. What do you make of that?


This is often what we see, Cyril, when these high profile VIPs come from different countries especially from the United States. Rex Tillerson, the U.S. Secretary of States just a matter of weeks ago went up to the DMZ as well.

It is a symbolic show. It is to (inaudible), as you say, to show North Korea that the United States is right there. We know that when Vice President Pence walked towards the border part itself that some North Korean soldiers came out to watch for protests, and what they do as well.

But it's also to give the Vice President a chance to understand the situation better. It gives clarity on just how close these two countries are; and as you say both still technically at war and Vice President Pence calling it the historic frontier of freedom. He also said that he wanted to say thank you to the troops who were working there.

Let's listen to a bit more of what he said.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We express the resolve of the people of the United States of America to stand together in the months and years ahead with the people of South Korea to both preserve their freedom and ensure the objective of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.


HANCOCKS: Mr. Pence also said that he was heartened by the resolve of many countries, many allies to try and fix this North Korean problem including China. So certainly from Vice President Pence (inaudible) -- he believes that China is doing more now to try and ease the situation -- Cyril.

[00:10:06] VANIER: Paula -- apart from the general tone, do you see real differences between this administration's approach to North Korea and the approach of the preceding administration?

HANCOCKS: Well, certainly we had -- you know, there was a sound bite from the U.S. Secretary of State the days of strategic patience are over. Now this was the Obama administration policy -- strategic patience, sitting back waiting until the time is right to either have negotiations or to go for another option.

But the Obama administration also said that all options are on the table. What's different now and what many people here are feeling that the difference is the potential unpredictability of the Trump administration; the fact that the North Korean policy has not been laid out in detail although not many would actually expect too many details to come out.

They all say more options are on the table, heads of (inaudible) today saying that obviously they would prefer the peaceful resolution of this crisis; also mentioning negotiations which is something that they said they weren't willing to do at this time and before.

But this administration is keeping the military option center at this point. People are openly discussing the potential preemptive strike that the United States could do. People are openly talking about whether or not it is an option.

The presidential candidates here in South Korea, there's a presidential election on May 9th, were asked about this in a presidential debate. Should the U.S. carry out a preemptive strike? That has never, at least during the Obama administration been discussed in such clarity and so openly. So that is the difference at this point. Not necessarily that they would they go ahead with it, but that it is being openly discussed.

VANIER: All right. Paula Hancocks reporting live from Seoul in South Korea. Thank you very much.

ALLEN: U.S. national security adviser also speaking out about North Korea, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster was in Afghanistan Sunday. He told ABCS News the problem with Pyongyang is reaching a boiling point.


LT. GEN. H.R. MCMASTER, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: This problem is coming to a head. And so it's time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of a military option, to try to resolve this peacefully.


VANIER: Joining us for more on this is Han Park. He's the founding director for the Center for the Study of Global Issues at the University of Georgia. You've written several books on the Korean Peninsula including "North Korea Demystified". Vice President Pence visiting the DMZ, the border between the two countries, what message does this send to North Korea?

HAN PARK, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF GLOBAL ISSUES: Well, not a lot. North Koreans have been getting strong messages from this president and previous leadership as well. But right now, North Koreans are enormously nervous and fearful over American possible military provocation. They never doubt that would be the case when we were guided by strategic patience.

But now strategic patience is done with. Our president is very clear about the fact that we will not hesitate to strike militarily, if necessary. And North Koreans are very concerned about that.

What we must realize, the fact that there are 25 million citizens in the mega-city of Seoul. There are three million automobiles, cars filled with gasoline in each of them.

So now, North Korea is only 35 miles away from the DMZ, from Seoul actually. If that's the case they don't need to use sophisticated modern equipment. Artillery will reach some areas of Seoul very sharply. If that's the case, Seoul itself will become (inaudible).

We're talking about possibly a couple million South Koreans will perish as well as many Americans there. As you know --


VANIER: Mr. Park, if I can just interrupt you on this. Everybody I have spoken to -- our correspondents, military experts, CNN analysts -- over the past two days has told us the U.S. will not militarily strike North Korea precisely because of what you're describing, because it would involve many deaths in South Korea and especially in the capital.

You seem to be of the opinion that the U.S. is willing to risk the lives of those people?

[00:14:54] PARK: If you compare this administration with the previous ones over time, what I think is not important, what you think is not important -- what North Koreans are thinking, that is important.

As I said, they are very fearful of our president now because he has shown to the world that diplomacy is not the answer -- it's military strong action is. The North Koreans believe unless they're being (inaudible) is they test the sixth nuclear bomb for example yesterday, probably they think that America could have employed a military strike.


VANIER: Mr. Park, Mr. Park --

PARK: Yes.

VANIER: -- you've been asked by government before here in the U.S. to provide guidance and advice on the Korean issue. If the President asked you for advice what would you tell him to do when it comes to North Korea?

PARK: Peace agreement. I mean there is no military solution, not even economic solution. There is only political solution where we have to exchange ideas with North Koreans. They want peace agreement and normalization of diplomacy between their country and the United States.

You know what, I think we should seriously consider giving that to them in exchange for denuclearization and their behavioral change. All these are possible. If we shift the security paradigm to a peace paradigm, I would like to see Washington initiate that. Then North Koreans will be giving up their weapons.

A lot of people, experts are say North Korea will never give up their nuclear preparedness. I do not agree with that. North Koreans I have spoken with them on numerous occasions. They have their technology. They have their science. They have their experience. They have their raw material. They can turn around and start from scratch and get to where they are in a matter of a few months.

So they're not really giving up their nuclear capability or nuclear preparedness. They're giving up their weapons they produced, equipments that they have to make these things all working. So North Korea is preparing to give up what we want, it seems to me.

VANIER: All right. Thank you very much. Han Park there, founding director of the Center for Global Issues at the University of Georgia.

ALLEN: Coming up here, a killing posted on Facebook and now police are looking for the killer. That's happening in Cleveland, Ohio. We'll have the story in a moment.

VANIER: And a former Mexican governor arrested after six months on the run. He had more than 100 bank accounts and two countries were after him.

Stay with us.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri for CNN Weather Watch.

Very interesting set-up here on water vapor satellite imagery -- you see a classic storm system coming in across northern California, you see that spin in the atmosphere. And then you see convective variety building in right across parts of western Texas there. Storms blossom into the afternoon hours.

That's the concern really stretching for much of the southern United States if you're flying out of Dallas into places such as New Orleans, eventually into Atlanta. Some of these storms could make it a rocky go across this region. But (inaudible) scattered in nature while towards the west there is very persistent rainfall coming down in that region.

So here's the area we're watching carefully as you exit parts of Oklahoma there for some heavy rainfall especially as you work your way into parts of the Midwest and into the Ohio Valley and even the Tennessee Valley there -- some heavy rains expected over the next 36 hours.

There is that western U.S. storm here comes round one. There is another one knocking on its doors, steps back behind that. So the active pattern for California certainly not over yet.

They wish it was over in parts of southern California but you notice still getting some decent snowfall, at least up towards another foot or so possible across the higher elevations of the sierra in the next couple of days.

San Francisco a few showers, Winnipeg looking at cloudy conditions and 7, Chicago appear (ph) mostly sunny skies there with comfortable temperatures in place.

Also in Caracas, Cartagena, Managua -- all coming in at around 35 degrees.


ALLEN: Horrific story developing out of Cleveland, Ohio. Police there have issued an aggravated murder warrant for a man accused of killing someone and posting video of it on Facebook.

VANIER: They learned about this killing from people outside the area who called the police when they saw what Steve Stephens posted online.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has the details.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The city of Cleveland and also much of the U.S. is still in shock and in disbelief after this senseless crime was captured on camera and then eventually uploaded on to Facebook.

Authorities say that Steve Stephens -- that's a man who appears to go on this rant in his car and then sets his sights on an innocent man.

Authorities with the latest information on the case.


CALVIN WILLIAMS, CLEVELAND POLICE CHIEF: We want him to turn himself in. If that doesn't happen, again, we have all of our partners in on this. And we'll look until we find him. Currently, the division of police is, of course, the lead on this. But of course our partners from the FBI, our state and county partners are also working with us diligently to make sure that we get this person off the streets.


SANDOVAL: We're now learning more about the victim in this case -- a 74-year-old man who was simply walking on the side of the road and by all accounts randomly targeted by Stephens. According to authorities his family now reacting to their loss.


ROBERT GODWIN, JR., VICTIM'S SON: He's a good guy. He'd give you the shirt off his back. I'm not saying that for these cameras like people doing on, that really ain't right but I'm telling the truth. This man right here was a good man.


SANDOVAL: CNN spoke to Stephens' mom, a woman by the name of Maggie Green who tells CNN that the last time she saw her son was on Saturday and he told her it would be the last time that she would see him.

Polo Sandoval, CNN -- Atlanta.

ALLEN: We'll continue to give you updates on that story. We'll also be looking in to how Facebook is handling this that it was posted on their social media site.

VANIER: Absolutely.

Let's go to the latest escalation of tensions in Venezuela. The President Nicolas Maduro says he will deploy armed forces to patrol city streets starting Monday. Five people were killed and hundreds injured in violent protests that erupted earlier this month. Those started when the government tried to dissolve parliament and banned opposition leader Henrique Capriles from politics.

ALLEN: Maduro accused anti-government protesters of promoting violence. Opposition and pro government leaders alike are both planning massive protests on Wednesday.

Guatemalan police ended a six month search Saturday when they arrested former Mexican governor, Javier Duarte.

VANIER: He once held up as an example of probity (ph) with a spotless record but he actually stole hundreds of millions of dollars.

Rafael Romo has more on the capture and what it means to Mexico's government.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Javier Duarte had been missing for more than six months. Last October, Mexican authorities issued an arrest warrant against him on charges of money laundering and racketeering.

[00:25:03] The 43-year-old was finally located Saturday night at a resort in a Guatemalan tourist town where he was arrested by police. Duarte is accused of mishandling millions of dollars from programs for the poor.

This case is an embarrassment to the Mexican president, Enrique Pena- Nieto. Both politics belong to the Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI by Spanish acronym, which governed Mexico for most of the 20th century. Pena Nieto once mentioned Duarte as an example of the new, younger, less corrupt PRIs.

In November, Mexican officials froze 112 bank accounts belonging to Duarte. They also seized five businesses and four residences owned by the former governor. The Mexican government was offering about $810,000 for information leading to his capture and arrest. Mexican officials announced Sunday they now have 60 days to request and carry out Duarte's extradition back to Mexico.

Duarte is just one of several former Mexican governors in trouble with the law. Last week, Tomas Yarrington former governor of the violence- ridden state of Tamaulipas who had been on the run since 2012 was captured in Florence, Italy. An arrest warrant has been issued against former Chihuahua governor, Cesar Duarte, no relation who remains at large.

Rafael Romo, CNN.


VANIER: On the campaign trail, Donald Trump had harsh words for China. Coming up after the break -- why there's been such a dramatic reversal.


ALLEN: Welcome back to all of you joining us. We really appreciate it.

[00:30:02] You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. Let's take a look at the headlines this hour.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has visited the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. He viewed the North Korean side of the border and told reporters all U.S. options on North Korea are still on the table. Pence was in Seoul on Sunday just hours after a failed missile test by Pyongyang.

ALLEN: It looks like Turkish voters have handed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers. Early results show him winning Sunday's referendum by a razor-thin margin. His victory would mean major constitutional changes and the term limits for his presidency would be reset.

VANIER: A monitoring group now says 126 people were killed in a bombing near Aleppo, Syria. And that include dozens of children. Saturday's attack targeted a convoy of buses evacuating pro-regime Shiite villages to safety. The evacuations were under a swap deal that also allowed some rebel supporters to leave their besieged towns.

ALLEN: Emergency teams are trying to rescue hundreds of migrants stranded in boats off the coast of Libya. The Italian coast guard and relief agency say the bodies of seven people including an 8-year-old boy were found during the latest rescue operations, Sunday.

The current standoff with North Korea over its nuclear ambitions poses a complex challenge for the Trump administration. But there is agreement that the pivotal player in trying to reach a diplomatic resolution is China.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: China is the key. China is the key. They can stop this if they want to because of their control over the North Korean economy. This guy in North Korea is not rational. His father and grandfather were much more rational than he is.


VANIER: On the campaign trail, President Trump had harsh words for Beijing.

Well, Matt Rivers explains how that has changed.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Well, this latest missile test out of North Korea only serves to strengthen the notion that both China and the United States continue to have a major problem on their hands when it comes to the Kim Jong-un regime. But over the last several weeks, we have seen signs of increasing cooperation between the United States and China when it comes to trying to work together to figure out a solution to this ongoing crisis.

And many people will point to the relationship between Chinese President Xi Jin Ping and U.S. President Donald Trump as the reason why.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China, which has been ripping us off, the greatest abuser in the history of this country.


RIVERS (voice-over): That was candidate Trump. But there's been a stark about-face from President Trump in just the last week on one of his favorite campaign targets, China. Remember when he said he'd label China a currency manipulator on day one of his presidency? Didn't happen. And now he says they're not manipulating the Renminbi.

And then there's North Korea. Trump consistently blasted China for failing to stop Kim Jong-un's nuclear weapons program. Now this.


TRUMP: We have a very big problem in North Korea, and as I said, I really think that China's going to try very hard and has already started.


RIVERS: So what changed?


TRUMP: I have really gotten to like and respect, as you know, President Xi, is a terrific person, spent a lot of time together in Florida. And he's a very special man.


RIVERS: The new detente appears to have started in the sunny confines of Mar-a-Lago at the crucial first in-person meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 6th. Trump said talking with Xi helped change his mind on China's ability to handle North Korea.

"After listening for 10 minutes I realized it's not so easy," the president told the Wall Street Journal. Trump went on to praise China for banning North Korean coal imports, a move China actually made back in February.


TRUMP: The vast amount of coal that comes out of North Korea going to China, they've turned back the boats.


RIVERS: The apparent ability of Xi Jinping to connect with Donald Trump is unexpected, if not remarkable. Given that both men appeared to be polar opposites.

One is the brash, attention-seeking New York media personality. The other, a scripted, enigmatic leader who has never given a face-to-face interview as president. Someone who steadily rose through China's communist party ranks, consolidating power in a way not seen here since the days of Chairman Mao.

Speeches like this one at the world economic forum in Davos helped give Xi the air of an international statesman. And China's economic prowess has forced many a world leader to pay homage. Xi's global charm offensive seems to have at least temporarily worked on Donald Trump but there are signs it won't last. Trump's strike against Syria and threats of military action against North Korea have alarmed China.

Xi even called Trump this week asking for a peaceful solution to the crisis. And despite that coal import ban, China's total trade volume with North Korea is actually up nearly 40 percent in 2017, figures sure not to sit well with the Trump administration.

But a nuclear North Korea appears to have bridged the divide for now. Two very different leaders with budding cooperation over a common threat.

(on-camera): But the ability of this newfound cooperation to continue I think largely depends on how the United States under the Trump administration is going to react to North Korea moving forward. I think you can depend on the Chinese to remain consistent in their position as they have for well over 10 years now.

But if the Trump administration decides to launch some sort of military strike, that could put a serious dent in the ability of the United States and the Chinese to continue to cooperate. Back to you.


ALLEN: Matt Rivers for us there.

[00:35:45] Prince Harry is giving a personal look at how he dealt with his mother's death. He was just 12 when Princess Diana died in a car crash.

VANIER: In a candid interview with the UK's "Telegraph," Harry explained how he first ignored the situation for a while before he sought professional help.


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. So I was a typical sort of 20, 25, you know, 28-year-old running around going, you know, life is great or life is fine. That was exactly it.

And then I started having conversations and actually, all of a sudden, all of this grief I never processed started to come to the forefront. I was like, there's actually a lot of stuff here I need to deal with.


VANIER: And Harry is encouraging UK residents to seek mental health treatment and be generally more open about their struggles.

ALLEN: Very good that he's talking about that. The world wonder how would a boy dealing with that now, you know, at least from Prince Harry.

Coming up here, Russia is once again accused of interfering in a presidential election. We'll hear how France is dealing with the apparent hacking and a wave of, quote, "fake news."


ALLEN: Well, France is days away from deciding its new political future. The presidential election has almost one dozen candidates, each of them with a different approach on how to deal with Russia.

VANIER: Ahead of the vote, many are also concerned about Moscow meddling with their election, the spread of so-called "fake news" in France. Our Melissa Bell takes a closer look.


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The choice facing French voters is stark. Eleven candidates with radically different visions of what the future should be.

Of them the two front-runners have almost diametrically opposed proposals. On one hand, a stronger relationship with Europe and a tough approach to Russia. On the other, a referendum on leaving the E.U. and a closer relationship with Moscow.

It's a (INAUDIBLE) that Marine Le Pen has already started working on with a visit to Moscow. Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to state Russia's position.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We do not want to influence events in any way.


BELL: But inside Emmanuel Macron's headquarters, the fear is that Moscow has been trying to help Marine Le Pen. His campaign manager says they are being targeted by both cyber-attacks and fake news.


RICHARD FERRAND, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF EN MARCHE (through translator): Emmanuel Macron wants a strong European Union. And we know that the strategy of those countries that don't want a strong Europe means making him lose the election.


BELL: So is Russia interfering in France's presidential campaign as it is alleged to have done in the American poll? France's Internet watchdog has warned of the danger of cyber interference. We asked an expert on French cyber security whether he thought Russia was involved.


FABRICE EPELBOIN, CO-FOUNDER, YOGOSHA: Yes, probably. J ust like the United States has been interfering in many, many presidential elections around the world for the past, I don't know, 50 years at least.

Just like France has been interfering in almost every African presidential election since, well, the last 60, 70 years. It's the way democracy works around the world.


BELL: The trouble, says Fabrice, is that it is impossible, given the sophistication of the technology, to determine where a particular hack originated.

CNN reached out to the Kremlin to get their response. A spokesman said, we strongly disagree with these accusations, they are groundless, Moscow was not involved in any cyber-attacks and can't be involved. So what about fake news?

At the French daily Le Monde a special unit was set up in which 12 journalists worked to identify and debunk fake news.

Adrien Senecat tells us the French presidential campaign has seen partisan news from Russian media but not fake news, that his news stories that are entirely made up. They have tended, he says, to come from inside France.


ADRIEN SENECAT, JOURNALIST, LE MONDE: Stories the last couple of months under French internet where mostly being made up by far right web sites or far right partisans or far right Facebook pages. Mostly targeted migrants are media of Emmanuel Macron.


BELL (on-camera): For those inside Emmanuel Macron headquarters, fake news stories targeting their candidate are although more worrying because of the nature of his electorate. It is untested because he has never stood before and the polls suggest much more volatile than Marine Le Pen.

In short, he has many more people to convince, and the fear here is that some may be all too easily put off.

Melissa Bell, CNN, in Paris.


ALLEN: And we'll be sending our own Cyril Vanier to cover the election. So no fake news here. We look forward to your reporting for us.

VANIER: Absolutely. ALLEN: All right.

Well, if you've seen him, you know that the flamboyant chef, Salt Bae, gives good garnish. You may have seen his signature way with seasoning. There it is. There it is again.

The Turkish chef and restaurant owner shot to fame for his elaborate moves with salt as you can see.

VANIER: A bit of a salt poser.

Well, on Sunday, he used those moves to spice up voting in the Turkish referendum. So he didn't actually reveal his own choice. Perhaps the stakes were too high.

ALLEN: All right. Well, he voted and that's what's important. And we'll talk about that in another 15 minutes, the Turkish referendum among our top story.

VANIER: Thanks for watching. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: Thank you very much. I'm Cyril Vanier. "World Sports" is up next and we will be back at the top of the hour.