tv Amanpour on PBS PBS January 24, 2018 6:00am-6:30am PST
tonight turkey sends troops into syria to fight u.s.-backed forces. now nato's two biggest militaries face off. how did the allies get to this place. my conversation with ibrahim kalin and the state department spokesman john kirby. oscar nominations are out. my conversation with a.o. scott. ♪ >> announcer: amanpour on pbs
was made possible by the generous support of rosslyn p. walter. good evening, everyone and welcome. i'm in london with the global perspective. relationships between washington and its long time ally turkey have reached a dangerous low as turkish forces launch land and air invasion against u.s.-backed forces in northern syria. turkey and nato ally and key partner in the fight against isis maintains the united ates-bacd kurdish military are a terroristwhile the uts se proxies who fought and defeated isis instead of sending american troops into battle. u.s. secretary james mat sis urging turkey to exercise restraint in the military operation. the presidential spokeman ibrahim was asked where this leads. he joined me moments ago from the turkish capital ankara.
ibrahim, kalin welcome to the program. >> thank you. >> it looks like it's a very dangerous situation. you have launched operation olive branch. it's directly confronting american-backed forces and the u.s. presence there. how can this be happening? >> well with we've been raising this issue of pottering pydypg in the name of fighting daish for months almost years. and we haven't received any convincing answers or positive results from either the american side or from you know the other countries in the region. the reason we had to take this action is precisely because of our national security along our border. there have been a number of attacks in fact in total over the last carrier 700 regions this afridge region controlled by pydypg.
and there have been cross border operations on both sides, et cetera. we have raised this issue a tion to protect our border.e and as you know pydypg is pkk syria branch and pk. k issis willed as terrorist organization in both europe and united states. and we can't last this kind of terror organization establishing some kind of autonomy or state structure right along our border. >> so the acronyms you're talking about refer to the names of these kurdish groups some of which backed by the united states. but is this going to pit two nato allies against each other? i mean, what measures are you taking if any to make sure that you don't enter a hot war with your major nato ally, the united states? >> well, first of all americans are not in the afrin region. they're mostly in another region east of the euphrates river. talking about the western side of the country across the turkish border. number two of course we coordinated this operation olive
branch briefed our allies, the ukraine, p 5 countries our president just spoke to president macron he will be speaking to president puotinen, also to president trump tomorrow. and we'llen doing this you know round the dlomic circles make sure evebody understands what we are coulding. we are being transparent with this because you know our national security is at stake. let me also underline that christiane that is a operation against the kurtds of afrin or syria. this is against a terrorist network that claims to represent the kurds but that's just far from the truth because there are thousands of kurds who do not subscribe to pkk or pyd marxist leninist ideology. . puff una great irony irony in where america has chosen the marxist leninist ideologies. >> they are aware of your sensitivity was the kurdish
groups but they say you have a joint desire to beat isis. and these were the forces that the americans armed in order for to them to beat isis they didn't have send too many americans into harm's way. this is what ash carter, the former defense secretary told me about this situation. >> we had to protect ourselves. and now we have to sustain the victory. and that means letting the people who live there rule in a way that is better than isis ruling. now, these kurds actually live there. so the idea that they should govern is i think unassailable. we could oit to turkey as a nato ally to make sure that the consent that we can. that those kurds part of the syrian force don't turn against turkey. which is a nato friend and ally. >> so you can see that he
understands your sensitivities, but these are the fighters, these are the successful fighters. . and they're the residents there. is there anything the u.s. can do to reassure you these people won't turn their guns or whatever on you, turkey? >> well there is one concrete action that american government can and should take. it is to collect all the weapons that they have given to pydypg over the last two years. because the reason or justification for providing all the military support to pydypg was the fight against ice or daish. and they told us many times that once daish threat is eliminated there won't be any support military support to pydypg thp but unfortunately military aid and equipment be weaponry continuing to go to this pydypg groups there. so the yes equestion is why are you still sporing them because
the daish threat is not there anymore? how are you going to make sure that they're not going to use these weapons against us or against other syrians pick arabs or turkeyman. >> the main force benefitting from this nato and nato problem here between you and the united states is russia. how do you feel about that? >> if you look at the end result, i mean, cosmetically it looks like russia wants to manipulate this. but we haven't seen russians going that way in any way. in fact this has worked on the syria issue. and we will continue to work obviously with the russians. but we are a nato ally. and we would like to see our you know nato allies primarily, the united states obviously stop are the supporting a group that has been targeting turkey for 30 years or so. >> okay. so finally let me ask you to comment. i wonder what president erdogan feels about president trump. it's quoted you remember on the
sidelines of the u.n. ga in september president trump said that president erdogan has become a friend of mine. i think now we're as close as we've ever been, he said. does the president -- your president share those views especially at this moment. >> well, they obviously have a good recommendation. they developed a good et chemistry and have talked many times and they've met in person a number of times. and they will be talking again. buthere are key issues that we have to resolve really at the leadership level. i think the american turkish relationship is just too important, too significanto be damaged or shadowed by you know groups like pkk, pyd, et cetera. we have greater strategic interests in the region if we work together for the region, for ourselves and obviously for the americans. >> ibrahim kalin, presidential spokeman thanks for joining from us ankara tonight. >> thank you. so what of the american perspective? joining me now is the formerly
state department spokesman john kirby, in washington, i think. john kirby, welcome to the program. you heard ibrahim kalin. and you heard him say i think what the americans could could is first of all you know clear up all the weapons. and stop those groups having access to them. is that likely? >> well, i don't think so. not in the near term, christiane. for two reasons. the first of all the weapon provided to kurdish fighters -- not just kurds, syrian the democratic forces they are small weapons and munition that is kind of thing. number two, the fight against isis and syria in syria is still very much alive .the spokeman was wrong when he said ice sis eliminated in syria. nobody said that. certainly not that administration and not the military. there is pockets of isis groups inside syria mostly in the middle of the country and to the south of the area.
but they are there. we need to partner with syrian democratic forces on the ground to go after the rest ofceness syria. >> what can you do to ally the tub irk fierce? you heard what ash carter said the defense secretary there with president obama while you were the spokeman for the state department. what can you do and shouldn't you be doing something more to reassure turkey. >> yes, i think this administration can do more to reassure turkey. i think they are trying. so they're right now trying to figure out where turkey is going with the operation in afrin. we no he what they're saying. it's about the border security. by don't know what the outcome is. they don't know exactly how far they'll go. are they putting occupying forces in? are they doing this in the air and back off? they're trying to figure out the goal here for turkey. and number two, they are trying to rk work behind the scenes diplomatically to reassure turkey that we understand their border concerns. they are legitimate border concerns. but there are better ways to address them than by
cross-border attacking such as what they're doing. i also want to make a point here that the afrin area is way in the northwest of syria. it's historically kurdish region. the kurds have always been there throughout history. this is not a pocket of terror attacks from the pkk. i can't cut dispute that there hasn't been cross-border strikes out of afrin but it's not a hot bed of the pkk as they would have you think. the current thinkening on the u. side is that the turks shows this time and place to deliberately try to drive a wedge between the united states and the syrian democratic forces which we are working well with with east of the euphrates. >> where do you think this goes? before i ask you that? well do you think this ends in a shooting match between turkey and by extension the united states? >> i don't think so. i don't think either side wants it to get to that point. i think what's going on here is a political calculation by both turkey and russia to minimize if
not completely eliminate u.s. military presence inside syria. both sides want us out. the turks are using this to drive a wedge between us and the sdf -- and you've seen probably christiane the sdf said they might come to the brother rescuer in afrin. which would take them away from isis where we need them. number two you see russia using this to drive a wedge between turkey and the united states. as you noted two nato allies. i don't think it comes to blows. but it strains the bonds between us a and a key nato ally. >> i have to press you on this because a former american ambassador james jeffrey has said and he was ambassador to turkey and iraq -- look we told the turks the kurds were temporary tactical and transactional to defeat isis. iran.e need them to contain americans believe you are moving
the goal post. >> i think mr. jeffrey as criticism isn't all bad. he made sure when we started arrange the sdf, the kurds we made it clear to turkey this was all -- two things, one aimed at going at isis and only isis not to get involved in the civil war, not to do anything in terms of pressuring the border turkey. number two, that when that fight was over, that support would cease. we did tell them that. he is not wrong. we made it clear it was temporary. but from the american side i think what they'll say is that fight is ongoing. isis is not eliminated. i don't think -- i mean the united states is necessarily moving the goal post. i would disagree on that. it's not that we're going to relinquish on that promise to stop that support. but they believe the support is vital because the fight against ice sis very much alive. >> you are saying that, that the fight is alive as you know secretary tillerson not so long ago ris raise the specter of open ended u.s. commitment which clearly guess against what president trump thought of
course years ago. several years ago when he tweeted that we should stay out of syria. the rebels are just as bad as the current regime. what will we get for our lives and billions of dollars, zero? >> do you think secretary tillerson made a mistake by raising this open-ended commitment? and actually telling the turks we're going to raise a border army with kurds. you know 30,000 strong? >> so a couple of things there, christiane. i think it was miscommunicated. as i understand it this is not a 30,000 strong bot border security force. this is an effort to train and equip kurdish forces on the syrian side of the border to go after ices in that area. not necessarily secure the border with turkey. i think it got miscommunicated. i don't know whether tillerson misspoke or not. it's hard fos in the
administration bha they're thinking. i don't think americans would support a an open ended commit in syria. i don't think they'd support open-ended commitment anywhere aside from treaty alliances we have around the world. that said. i think the secretaries are right to want to stay committed to the fight against isis inside syria and keep the military presence small though it may be in place and alive and vibrant while the fight against isis persists. it's not a healthy thing for to us relinquish erie to bashar al assad and russia. >> let's talk about russia admi.ral yi it was on president obama's watch, the presint you served as state department spokesman this that they allowed russia to enter the frey well-known and timed, on president obama's watch this happened. and now russia is there to a stay and many say is calling the shots the at the u.s. expense.
again american dpomts say this whole situation right now, mess, shows that the u.s. is in some disarray in syria. and unable to shape an influence the outcome there. they're right. >> yeah. yeah. i don't disagree with that at all, christiane. first of all a couple of things russia was always there to stay in syria. they had even before they ramped up military pressure a couple of years ago, military presence there a couple of years ago they had two bases there. there is no indication they were giving those up rarldless of which way the civil war went. it's one of the reasons they have propped bashar al assad up so maintain their presence. syria is their toe hold in the e critics are right they have gained more influence because the united states has ceded influence and didn't just start under president trump. i understand that. but they have definitely now sort of controlled the table with respect to the future of syria. and just today, christiane, you may have even the russiass are calling for a meeting in sochi
of the u.n. security counsel members to discuss the civil war in syria and potentially solving this diplomatically along the u.n. lines. think that is unfortunate, that russia now is being process ut in the driver's seat diplomatically. this administration while i praise them for the work against iceness iraq and syria, up until recently last week there's been no discussion out of the trump administration about how to solve the syrian civil war diplomatically. how to drive it forward, the way that secretary kerry tried to do while in in office. they have given that to the russians. it's not a good place for us or the syrian people to be. because we can't expect the right. at heart of the syrian and meantime, bashar al assad sits safely in his palace in damascus watch this. admiral, thank you for joining us. so as tension building yet
again in the volume tyler middle east, hollywood at least has served up a well-time distraction. this morning the achk or nominations noujz ds .state of nominated film covers a diverse range of talent and stories. a.o. scott is the chief movie critic from "new york times" joining me from new york. welcome. >> great to be with you. >> we are doing a hard turn from syria and turkey all the way to fiction. what is left out for you in the slate of the announcements today, the nominations? >> well, one thing which i think youuggesteds just how diverse the nominees are. in terms of gender and background and race. but also in terms of generation and style and genre. you have you know the move "get out," the big hit of the early part of the 2017, a horror
movie, first-time director, african-american director, a movie that really i think touched a lot of raw nerves in the american psyche in a way that was very insightful and entertaining. you have greta gerwiw "lady bird." fear feature as director. nominated for best director and best picture. compared to years past, the slate of nominees in the aggregate looks not only more diverse and inclusive but also i would say more youthful. we have moved away from the idea that oscar films are stodgy prestige products of the studio. and. >> how did that happen? >> we have now. >> how did they get more youthful? to be honest with you the academy is still 72% male appear
80% white. how has it expanded to become more youthful and indepde and edgy? >> well, there's been an effort of voting enemies ha voting members members expanded to 8,000 from six thousand. even though the numbers you cite don't look encouraging there are big improvements over where it's been in the past. the voting membership has gotten younger, less dominantly male and white. and i think for whatever reason is -- you are finding voters and people in the nominating bodies much more atuned to movies that are more adventurous, more ambitious, that belong to popular genres that reflect even what say critics like me who has
been an oscar exceptic and hate are for a long time think of as the best movies of the year it's been unusual in my career as a critic that i agree with the academy. it's happening more and more. >> do you agree with "shape of water" which took everybody by surprise by garnering the the most nominations. i'm not sure if everybody heard of it or seen it. but maybe the bigger blockbuster lie the steven spael berg about the pentagon papers, "the post." >> that was interesting. and the director of shape of water" has been a fan favorite for a long time and has directed big action fantasy movies. this is a more intimate monster movie. but it's a movie that has gained a lot of support with critics and with critics groups. and as it's come out into the marketplace with audiences it's
an unusual movie. it's basically about a love affair. it's a monster move but also a love story and sally hawkens plays a woman a a research facility in baltimore in the cold war who falls in love with a fish, with the creature from the black lagoon kept in the facility. >> let's play a clip from lady bird rgs. you greta gerwik is the >>. >> mom. >> you didn't let me me. >> the way you work or the way that you don't work you're not even worth state tuition christie. >> my name is lady bird. >> actually it's not not and it's ridiculous. >> call me lady bird like you said you would. >> you should go to city college. go to jail and back to city college then maybe you learn to pull yourself up. >> that's -- that was a dramatic end to that ip. i wasn't expecting that. i had hadn't seen the film but certainly will go.
is it relevant to you that in this me too movement that film directed by a woman about two women is so well recognized? >> i think it's absolutely relevant. i think that this is a story about a teenage girl and we have seen a lot of stories over the years of american teenagers. and teenage girls. often sensitive and honest look at an ordinary teenage girl's life opinion the performances are wonderful that was laurie metcalf as the mother and then the main character. and ner so -- they are so reel. and the emotion in this movie are so clear and he precise. and it's very funny. but it's not ever cruel to the
characters. and i think it's a wonderful movie. i think there are a lot of movies that are kind of taking up female characters and looking at women's lives with kind of more honesty and more nuance than we're used to. it's striking -- sorry. go ahead. >> that's okay. it's an interesting point. because you're right women have been often underrepresented in the full banner that they are being certainly in the films we've seen. but what about the breakout newcomer timothy, i interviewed him with his co-star. army hammer in new york last week after the golden globes. that's "call me by your name." about a summer romance between the two men in italy. here is what timothy told me about the film. >> it would be fair for anybody to watch this or and say it's gay or a bisexual or a coming of age or a coming out story or northern countryside in italy
summer movie or a first romance. i'm always careful with these movies any project i'm part of. the art takes place in the head of the viewer. >> how -- when was the last time you saw such an amazing breakout actor, young actor? >> oh, gosh, it's -- maybe it was -- maybe it was ronan in "atonement." . he is just extraordinary. he is this character -- this character he plays is a 17-year-old boy name ilio spending the summer with his and h this aai older graduate o lass come to stay with them and work with the father, this- what he gets across is the way this kid is still figuring himself out. and he is unpredictable to himself. en and his own emotions and reactions take him by surprise. and it's very rare that you see
a performance of this kind that doesn't seem to have been programmed in advance. it seems to be happening as if the character is taking shape from one scene to the next right before your eyes. and it's really just -- it's a breath taking performance. >> indeed. and so many -- a.o. scott i wish we had time for more clips and predictions. i will put you on the spot next time. if you haven't seen the films now is your chance. that's it for the program. thank you for watching amanpour and pbz and join us tomorrow. >> announcer: amanpour on pbs was made possible by the generous support of rosslyn p. walter.