a huge explosion at a restaurant in northern japan has left at least 41 people injured. the explosion happened at a restaurant in the city of sapporo. at least one person is said to be in critical condition. before the blast, local residents reported a strong smell of gas. north korea has condemned the trump administration for imposing new sanctions on its citizens, warning of a possible permanent block on any denuclearisation. last week, the us imposed sanctions on three north korean officials. this story is popular online... one of the greatest tennis players of all time billiejean king has been honoured with the lifetime achievement award at the bbc‘s sports personality of the year show. she's been recognised for her sporting success and her fight for gender equality. that's all for now. stay with bbc world news. now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk.
i'm stephen sackur. the murder ofjournalist jamal khashoggi inside the saudi consulate in istanbul put turkey at the heart of a story about a shocking abuse of power and a total disregard for human rights. turkey was the accuser, saudi arabia the accused. and yet for all its appeals to the international community, the turkish government itself faces condemnation for violations of basic human rights. my my guest today is gulnur aybet, senior adviser to president erdogan. when it comes to respect for universal rights and norms, how much authority does turkey have? theme music plays
gulnur aybet, welcome to hardtalk. thank you. let's start with the shocking case of jamal khashoggi. is there more that turkey intends to say and do to getjustice forjamal khashoggi. there is an investigation still going on and the turkish authorities have stated that, as more evidence becomes available, as investigation continues, they are prepared to share it with the rest of the world, including the saudi authorities. they have shared all the information so far with the
saudis and a number of other countries. but there is more? they could be. we do not know. there is still an investigation going on. dfb—elf still an investigation going on. dfb-elf the still an investigation going on. dfb—elf the turkish authorities, —— do you feel, how did they handle this with due care and process? absolutely, i think they handled it very well considering this incredibly horrible crime was committed in deep consulate of another country, in in in stumble. . they have kept their bilateral relationship with saudi arabia separate to the investigation of the murder. —— instanbul. separate to the investigation of the murder. -- instanbul. he said most people in the chain of command should be held accountable. is the
current thinking in ankara, your boss, that the buck stops with the crown prince mohammed bin salman. but not name any names. we want to make sure the investigation is farah and the reason note curragh. it will be in the interest of saudi arabia to reveal everything and whoever was behind this... i only asked that question because at the end of november, just a couple of weeks ago, the saudi foreign minister said on the record that turkish authorities told saudi officials that they were not directing accusing crown prince mohammed bin salman of responsibility. turkish authorities and the president have said it is not their intention to damage or harm the state of saudi arabia or the royal family in any way. they just want a thorough investigation of this murder and they believe will be in the best
interests of saudi arabia to co—operate, which they have not done so co—operate, which they have not done so far. you hinted there may be more information to come out. like has turkey not made a formal request to the united nations for an independent third—party international investigation?” believe this is being considered at the moment... he disappeared at the beginning of october and we are now at the beginning of december, by easter considering something which many people in the international community, including human rights watch and the un high commission, say is absolutely to getting to the truth. the crime happen in turkey so obviously first it had to be investigated thoroughly by our authorities and we wanted to make sure that the saudis would actually co—operate. the saudi chief prosecutor met without prosecutor
but he did not... turkish officials say there was not efficient cooperation... that is what i alluding to. we did not get the co—operation we wanted to from saudi arabia and we do hope they do come up arabia and we do hope they do come up with some corporation otherwise we are going to go to the un for an international investigation and the un have a ready welcome this so i think that is where things are going if the saudis do not co—operate. think that is where things are going if the saudis do not co-operate. for all the noise you have made about the killing of jamal all the noise you have made about the killing ofjamal khashoggi... that is not true... that is the view of the human rights watch had, she said the main thing holding up an international investigation let by the secretary general —— led, is the lack of a formal written request from ankara, from the turkish government. the investigation has to
continue in turkey first. you do not wa nt continue in turkey first. you do not want human rights investigators on your territory because once they are there they might see things you do not want them to see. that's rubbish. turkey has been investigating this crime very thoroughly and have shared evidence to other countries concerned. they have been very transparent in their investigation and that they will go to the un if this matter is not resolved with any further cooperation from saudi arabia. it obviously have not listened to the remarks made by our foreign minister when he said the matter could be taken to the un a very soon.” when he said the matter could be taken to the un a very soon. i am just wondering about the delay and any message from the us to turkey about improvement of relations if you back off a little bit because we know donald trump has made his decision, saying maybe the crown prince new and maybe he did not but
it would be foolish for the us to question its strategic partnership with the saudis... this is a crime committed on turkish soil and it is being investigated thoroughly. what another country thinks of that crime is not really any concern of ours. we just shared the evidence. it is up we just shared the evidence. it is up to them what they make of it. has the us put any pressure on turkey not to ask for a un backed independent investigation? not that i know of and i independent investigation? not that i know ofand i do independent investigation? not that i know of and i do not think there has been any. let's turn to the picture that i was alluding to that maybe turkey would not be too thrilled to have human rights investigators on its territory. of oi’ investigators on its territory. of or is investigators on its territory. of orisa investigators on its territory. of or is a profound irony in the fact that turkey has championed the rights of jamal khashoggi's that turkey has championed the rights ofjamal khashoggi's family to know the truth, has talked about the criminality of murdering a journalist. turkey happens to be the
world leader in imprisoning journalists... were a huge getting those figures? i have looked at a lot of figures and the numbers contradict each other. the second thing i want to say is that in turkey, whoever is being imprisoned, when you look at the numbers of these people these organisations claim art journalist. these people these organisations claim artjournalist. when a person is arrested in techie they can put what their profession is in a form. —— in turkey. also in those numbers we have found out that they have included people arrested weight back in the 90s for ordinary crimes such as domestic violence. right
currently, an organisation that protects journalist said 150. .. around. 120 plus, protects journalist said 150... around. 120 plus, what does it mean it? you are senior adviser to the president if he cared about this, what is the figure you a game to give me that we can compare it? the numbers are flawed... how many? how many are in prison today it? there are no journalists in many are in prison today it? there are nojournalists in prison... many are in prison today it? there are no journalists in prison... no journalists. so all of this organisation, the world press index,... organisation, the world press index, . .. there organisation, the world press index,... there are no people convicted ofjournalism. that convicted ofjournalism. that convicted under other crimes. there are dozens and dozens ofjournalists
in prison but all of them are in prison for reasons entirely unconnected to their professional lives? yes. and you expect me and the international community to believe that? that is a fact. if you look at... so much other evidence suggesting that your government has declared some sort of a war on civil society. you were an academic before being hired by the president to work to him, at you know better than anyone that hundreds and hundreds of academics... hundreds and hundreds? is that the number you are giving us now. if you want, all the human rights organisation said over 100,000 civilians have been in prison for their political beliefs in the last three years. 0k, prison for their political beliefs in the last three years. ok, let's look at the number of academics. i came from a university where was working in a department where a lot
of people, actually everybody in my department, was very strongly in the opposition. none of them have lost their job, persecuted by opposition. none of them have lost theirjob, persecuted by their beliefs and they were very much against the president, some of them. let me read you an excellently later that was published by a former academic colleague of yours... it was written in 2017 it still seems incredibly relevant. he says, directed to you personally, somebody that you know. you have become an apologists for an authoritarian regime. i cannot remain silent as you advice, promote and defend an autocrat. president erdogan has dismissed thousands of your fellow academics, hundreds who have lost theirjobs and arrested at your university, y ld z technical university. you have advanced your career on university. you have advanced your career on the back of massive human
rights violations and it is unforgivable. he obviously had an issue with my newjob and he is perfectly welcome to express his opinions but i can tell you that a lot of academics that i note the act he has just shot so many holes in what you told me previously. it is a piece he has written in his blog. he has written to you directly.” piece he has written in his blog. he has written to you directly. i did not take any notice because he had an issue with what is going on in turkey and he is very ill informed. he has an issue with the job i turkey and he is very ill informed. he has an issue with thejob i am doing and he made a personal attack which either was not becoming of an end was very ugly and in fact a lot of my academic friends who do criticise the turkish government but who are still friends with me actually shamed him for writing this because they thought it was immoral to do so. i think if he had an issue
he could have told me personally. i am really surprised you brought this piece of trash here on this programme. . . piece of trash here on this programme... piece of trash? yes it is, because he's attacking me personally, it is the big if. over something i doing at the moment. he should have been able to say to my face... you talk about ugly sentiments... weight... you actually read that out and i feel i have to respond to that. i am more than happy to you to respond to that. he claimed that no academics in your circle had suffered in any way from this crackdown and he says that dozens this crackdown and he says that d oze ns of this crackdown and he says that dozens of them lost theirjobs at yourformer dozens of them lost theirjobs at your former university... they have not. in my former university, before i was appointed there, i believe that some academics were arrested or
detained or lost theirjobs, one of the three, because they signed this petition that glorified terrorism. we have to ask ourselves why this is happening. you never ask why. had either been to a trial... i will tell you what appears to be from the turkish government... have you from the turkish government... have you seen from the turkish government... have you seen the relatives? quaycentre relatives of people crying in court forjustice to smack your message to me is that all of these people, whether it be the hundreds of journalists or the thousands of academics... dinner how many people died in the hand of the pkk? to think it is all right to glorify terrorism? —— do you think. they are supporting one organisation or an other, otherwise they would not be in trouble. let's talk about one specific case... let's talk about
osman kabbalah, a turkish businessmen and philanthropist... 0k. he businessmen and philanthropist... ok. he is widely regarded in turkey asa ok. he is widely regarded in turkey as a man who is tried to build temperatures in turkish society, particularly with the kurdish community but far beyond the kurdish community. he was arrested more than a year ago. he spent months and months in prison without any charges being laid, in the end of the council of europe intervened and the commissionerfor council of europe intervened and the commissioner for human rights at the council said if you want to talk about an independent judiciary council said if you want to talk about an independentjudiciary come about an independentjudiciary come about the importance of the rule of law, you simply cannot keep a person in prison without indictment for the yea rs. in prison without indictment for the years. how can turkey defend all of this? well, 0k years. how can turkey defend all of this? well, ok that case is still going on so it would be appropriate for me to discuss legal process that is still going on. but regarding the length of time, i think we shouldn't just focus on one particular case. i
think there is problem in the judiciary with regards to the processing of cases and the reason for that is because the movement infiltrated the judiciary and all other state institutions so thoroughly, but i think they've messed up the judiciary up more than any other institution. is notjust about process. how did you feel when your president, in terms of that case, described him as a man who was backed by that fame is hungarian due, george soros. he is backed by him, isn't he? but the words, famous and gary and due, also accused of others saying he is in conspiracies. you always take what the president says out of context. what context? he is famous, isn't he? would you deny he is jewish? are not interested in denying if he is
jewish, i wonder why your president, president erdogan, to say that he is associated with the famous and gary and due, what on earth does that have to do with your claims that he is, in some sense, involved in terrorism inside turkey, on the shooting george soros is financing terror? there are links, i believe, as far as my knowledge, again i cannot talk about the case and i am not a legal expert so i shouldn't talk about the case, but i know the charges as these are over the newspapers. charges basically are that the foundation that he was running is being charged with organising and funding the protests of 2013 in an attempt to overthrow the government. now, of course he can deny the charges and defend himself accordingly, but these are the charges, right? yes all right.
and the foundation that he has, that is accused, is a foundation that is closely affiliated with the george soros foundation. these are facts. he and george soros would deny everything you have presumed. obviously they have no respect for the due process and judicial system in our country. no respect whatsoever. you are an academic who spent years working in western universities, studying politics, do you understand that the way turkey's government is handing that case and so many others today is making more and more europeans convinced that any notion that turkey could ever be embraced in the european union has become absurd? become impossible to |magine? become absurd? become impossible to imagine? you accept that, do you? no, ithink imagine? you accept that, do you? no, i think turkey and europe have very good relations with regards to the trade volume and with regards to the trade volume and with regards to the agreement that they have over
the agreement that they have over the migration. turkey holds 3.5 millions refugees, it is doing more for human rights than any other country in the world. it is the number one country in terms of gdp of giving humanitarian aid. how many refugees have a single european country ta ken for syria ? refugees have a single european country taken for syria? angela merkel said the fact is now clear that turkey should not become a member of the eu. that is her opinion. she said i will speak to my eu colleagues to see if we can reach an agreement to end these succession talks. this is what the erdogan era has happened. did she repeat that after the election? you have to ask yourself that. she is using it for the election, i think. and she asked the election, i think. and she asked the same question? once turkey held the same question? once turkey held the court summit with germany, the leaders of germany and france and russia and bringing the small group over syria and the start a process in istanbul together, it was playing
the forefront in international diplomacy and then angela merkel and emmanuel macron were very eager to co—operate with our president, who talked to vladimir putin in istanbul about the situation in syria. so you see, there is often an inconsistency about how the leaders of europe are having a public discourse about turkey. they are not consistent in their approach. what they are seeing isa their approach. what they are seeing is a turkey that flout the wishes and demands of the european court of human rights. the european court of human rights. the european court of human rights. the european court of human rights is not being flouted, there is due process there as well. in turkey have locked up one of the biggest opposition leaders, turkey ‘s said they were not releasing. once the european court of human rights issues something like that you have three months in order to reply and investigate. this is still going on, it is not a final decision, then you can appeal. we
will keep a watch on that, the clock is ticking... i do think you can say that and also, the person you mentioned, is being charged, as far as my knowledge is correct, over 30 different cases and the ruling was only related to one of them. the other cases that he is charged with, he actually incited people to go out onto the street and all of violence was created and a lot of people were killed. he was responsible for that. including a 12—year—old boy. these are kurdish people who did not support the pkk what about their human rights? you never ask about their human rights? a final thought, we are running out of time, you are an expert on foreign affairs in turkey, do you warn the president that turkey is in great danger of being very isolated ? that turkey is in great danger of being very isolated? europe, we can talk about the us as well where there is a new stand—off over northern syria... who is being isolated? my contention is that from yourformer isolated? my contention is that from
your former partners isolated? my contention is that from yourformer partners in europe and the united states, turkey is looking increasingly isolated. the president has a very good working relationship with the leaders of germany and france and also with the british government. i am actually president —— present in most of the meetings, he has delegations and has a very good relationship with vladimir putin as well and they are cooperating over syria. he is managing to bring... let's end it on syria, in the last four hours a serious warning has been issued saying that it is alarmed from what it is about president erdogan about new turkish military operations in northern syria and there is great concern in the pentagon about what turkey is about to do. turkey has a lwa ys turkey is about to do. turkey has always stated very honestly and clearly from the start, should not come as a surprise to or anyone else, that we will not allow a terror corridor on our 900, to border with syria, have a. —— ever.
so you think the americans are, at the very least, turning a blind eye to the presence of what you would turn terrorists, on your order. no, we don't recognise them as terrorists, the pkk is recognised as a terrorist organisation. we talking about the white pg. are part of the same democratic force that the americans are working with to combat high as anjihadists in that area. we have said if you want to combat daesh, work with us, don't fund an operation. they said we will take the weapons back and give full account of them. they have not done that yet. and you say you are not isolated by the west? we are working with the americans right now, and joint patrols together, does that sound like we are isolated?” joint patrols together, does that sound like we are isolated? i am telling you, that pentagon has given a warning. we are determined this will happen, we will not have a
corridor on our border. the americans can clock rate with us if they wish to. if they don't? i think they wish to. if they don't? i think they will eventually. gulnur aybet, there is a much more to talk about... there is, absolutely. thank you very much for coming on hardtalk. thank you. hello there. we are seeing a significant change in weather type as we are heading towards christmas. the weather this week looks very different to last week. the weather didn't move an awful lot last week, big blocking area of high pressure and we are drawing in cold air from continental europe. but earlier in the weekend, storm deirdre blew away that really cold air and since then we have seen our weather coming in from the atlantic. that cloud will bring some rain, that cloud has already brought some rain.
that is moving away and with clearing skies and light winds it's going to be cold enough come the morning for a touch of frost and perhaps icy patches as well. but a lovely looking day for many central and eastern parts of the uk. it should be dry on monday. there'll be a fair but of sunshine around, the winds will be lighter but further west the winds are going to be strengthening, the cloud increasing and we see some outbreaks of rain and drizzle arising, especially in the afternoon. later in the day, winds could be touching gale force across some western coasts. but it's a southerly wind, so it's a mild wind. 12 degrees in northern ireland and a milder day across the board than it was on sunday. eventually that area of low pressure is going to bring us some showers, but at the moment it is playing second fiddle to that weather front there which is bringing wet and windy weather in from the west overnight and continuing on tuesday. gales for a while, the rain moving very slowly eastwards, some outbreaks of heavy rain and with snowmelt in scotland there is likely to be some localised flooding. the weather should improve later in northern ireland and it takes all day for the rain to arrive in east anglia. it will be another mild one, as temperatures up to 11 or
12 celsius. eventually that rain should push its way eastwards out of the way on tuesday night into wednesday morning and then that area of low pressure starts to get a bit closer and that will be a focus for some showers. there'll still be some spells of sunshine on wednesday, a lot of places in the east will be dry, although the south—east corner catching a few showers here. most of the showers or even longer spells of rain coming into northern ireland across western scotland over the irish sea into western parts of england and wales. temperature won't be as high on wednesday, 7—10 degrees, still not bad though. that area of low pressure is going to sit around during wednesday and into thursday as well. it is a filling area of low pressure, that means pressure is rising across it and it is weakening, the wind becoming lighter, the showers fewer and there will still be some spells of sunshine. there are shower around out the west and through the english channel as well and the temperatures on thursday much like those on wednesday. it could turn quite chilly overnight on thursday night, some mist and fog around as well.
then we look again to the atlantic to see another change, milder air bringing cloud and some rain up from the south—west. welcome to newsday on the bbc. i'm mariko oi, in singapore. the headlines: a huge explosion at a restaurant in northern japan leaves more than a0 people injured. north korea threatens what it calls "a return to exchanges of fire", as pyongyang condemns the latest us sanctions. i'm babita sharma, in london. also in the programme: a fifth victim dies after the christmas market gun attack in the french city of strasbourg. and hunting for honey — we meet those risking their lives to access mountainside beehives in rural nepal. live from our studios in singapore and london, this is bbc world news — it's newsday.