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CONNECT THE WORLD
Ukraine Reports More Russian Military Activity in East; Changes in Turkey; Modi's 100 Days; Parting Shots: Rice Bucket Challenge; Steven Sotloff's Mother Appeals Directly To ISIS Leader; How ISIS Ideology Makes Them Uncompromising; African Start-up: Definition Africa
Aired August 27, 2014 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Right, we are waiting on the mother of the U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff to speak to us. She is speaking to an Arabic
news network. Her son, of course, being held by ISIS, we believe, at present. She is making an emotional plea for his release.
Steven last seen in the brutal beheading video of James Foley. In that video statement his mother Shirley Sotloff spoke directly to the group's
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHIRLEY SOTLOFF, MOTHER OF STEVEN SOTLOFF: I'm sending this message to you, Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi al-Qurashi al-Husseini, the caliph of the
Islamic State. I am Shirley Sotloff. My son Steven is in your hands. Steven is a journalist who traveled to the Middle East to covering the
suffering of Muslims at the hand of tyrants. Steven is a loyal and generous son, brother and grandson. He's an honorable man and has always
tried to help the weak.
We have not seen Steven for over a year and we miss him very much. We want to see him home safe and sound and to hug him.
Since Steven's capture, I have learned a lot about Islam. I've learned that Islam teaches that no individual should be held responsible for the
sins of others. Steven has no control over the actions of the U.S. government. He's an innocent journalist.
I've always learned that you, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you to please release my child. As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful
and not punish my son for matters he has no control over. I ask you to use your authority to spare his life and to follow the example set by the
prophet Mohammed who protected people of the book.
I want what every mother wants -- to live to see her children's children. I plead with you to grant me this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Shirley Sotloff appealing directly to the ISIS movement who, we believe, are holding her son hostage in Syria, that on an Arabic network.
And it was just released.
Anna Coren has more on this from Irbil. And Anna, this is fascinating, a mother appealing directly through an Arabic news network to the captors of
her son, the ISIS group. How is this going to go down?
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Look, it's a desperate move, but one which she has no other choice but to make. We heard that emotional
statement from Shirley Sotloff who has not heard from her son since he disappeared back in August of last year. Of course, Steven was in Syria,
northern Syria, we believe near Aleppo covering the civil war when he disappeared. What will this statement do to the ISIS militants who we have
seen what they are capable of? This is a brutal, barbaric terrorist organization some describe as psychopaths who take pleasure in beheading
their enemy. And certainly we saw that last week with the brutal, brutal video of the execution of American journalist James Foley.
It was of course at the end of that video, Becky, that we saw proof of life of Steven Sotloff. He was in an orange jumpsuit on his knees. A militant,
we believe to be the executioner of Sotloff -- I beg your pardon, of James Foley, with that British accent towering over him making a statement to
President Obama that his fate was in his hands.
Will Shirley Sotloff's appeal make any difference to the fate of Steven? We just don't know, Becky, we don't know what is behind ISIS and their
thinking on this. But certainly from a mother's perspective she felt she had no other choice but to make this direct appeal.
ANDERSON: And starting that direct appeal I noticed in Arabic before she went on with some very emotional words about her son and just appealing to
these men, and possibly women, to just let him go.
Stay with us, Anna, for a moment.
An American writer held Islamist -- by Islamist militants in Syria for nearly two years, is today thanking everyone who worked to secure his
freedom. A short time ago, Peter Theo Curtis told reporters gather outside his mother's home in Massachusetts, that he is overwhelmed by the number of
total strangers who have welcomed him home. He promised to speak about his experiences later after he gets the chance to spend some quality time with
his family. Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER THEO CURTIS, AMERICAN FREED BY ILAMIC MILITANTS: There have been literally hundreds of people, brave, determined and big-hearted people all
over the world working for my release. They've been working for two years on this. I had no idea when I was imprisoned, I had no idea that so much
effort was being expended on my behalf.
And now having found out, I am just overwhelmed with emotion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Anna, what we understand is that Theo -- Peter Theo Curtis was being held by the Nusra Front, which is a different organization and one,
certainly in the past, allied with al Qaeda, very different to the ISIS organization. We're learning about these organizations sort of on a daily
basis and their ideologies, of course.
They were negotiable with, or they were mediated with by Qatar on behalf of the family of Peter Theo Curtis through an American media organization,
we're not sure just how involved or not the U.S. government was in that release.
ISIS, quite a different beast, though, it seems. Do we understand whether there is any room for negotiation with this group as there was with the
COREN: Look, Becky, we just don't know, that's the simple answer. We simply do not know.
Obviously, the U.S. government does not negotiate with terrorists, they do not pay ransoms. How this comes to bear with Steven Sotloff we just don't
know how this is going to play out. This was a U.S. journalist who worked for TIME magazine, the World Affairs Journal, Christian Science Monitor in
Aleppo, in northern Syria covering the civil war when they took him -- we presume that ISIS took him.
But, look, we just -- you know, as for where this goes, Becky, we just don't understand the full mindset behind ISIS and what they want to
achieve. Obviously, James Foley's execution according to that executioner with the British accent was because of the U.S. airstrikes here in Iraq,
retribution for those airstrikes that have taken out ISIS targets, commanders on the ground, soldiers on the ground.
It has slowed down their rapid advance through Iraq.
But those airstrikes have continued despite that video that came out last week with the horrific beheading of James Foley and subsequently that video
of Steven Sotloff. So we are yet to hear from ISIS other than what they have put out on Twitter.
ANDERSON: Anna, thank you for that. And our hearts go out, of course, to James Foley's family. This must be incredibly difficult to watch and hear
of these other hostages when they also know that their son, of course, has lost his life.
Let me just give you a sense of what Steven Sotloff's mother just said in that direct appeal on an Arabic channel that we have just run. She said,
"since Steven's capture, I've learned a lot about Islam. I've learned that Islam teaches that no individual should be held responsible for the sins of
others. Steven," she said, "has no control over the actions of the U.S. government. He is an innocent journalist. I've always learned that you,
the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you to please release my child. As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not push -- or punish my son
for matters he has no control over."
Steven Sotlof's mother speaking directly to an Arabic news channel through that, that channel of course directly to those who are holding her son, a
U.S. journalist, hostage.
Karl Penhaul is joining us now. Karl, you've heard Steven's mother speaking. We've seen the release today of Peter Theo Curtis. And we
remember today, of course, James Foley. Your thoughts.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Steven Sotloff's mother's appeal is a very important address, addressed as you say, directly
to the leader of ISIS. And it's a play straight out of the kidnap and ransom playbook.
Now I say it like that, because kidnap and ransom across the world, unfortunately, is big business for both criminals and also radical
political groups. And I have just come back this afternoon, in fact, talking to a kidnap and ransom negotiator here in London and he says in any
dialogue that one has with the kidnappers, the first thing that you've got to reestablish here is that the hostage is not a pawn in a game, but an
individual, a human being. You've got to break that down, and once again humanize the victim and appeal to the kidnappers in that way.
And Mr. Sotloff's mother has done that in a very eloquent fashions. She's expressed Steven's interest in showing the suffering of the Muslim people.
She's also seeked to disconnect his work as a journalist with the work of the U.S. government, trying to say, look, we have no control over any
political or military actions the U.S. government is taking and trying to get it back into what the kidnap and negotiator says are the realms of what
Mr. Sotloff's family can't, of course, impact too much on the military campaign of the U.S., but may they're saying, let's talk here on another
level, and let's talk, first and foremost on a human level, Becky.
ANDERSON: It's remarkable stuff, isn't it?
I wonder what the ransom and hostage negotiator that you talked to thinks - - I don't know whether you asked him about how he perceives the U.S. stance, for example, which is a non-negotiation, no lines of communication,
even, it seems, with hostage takers as opposed to that which we've seen from European governments in the past. And I'm not suggesting for a moment
that everybody else pays, but certainly there is negotiation, and oft times we believe at the end of that there is possible payment on behalf of
families for hostages that are being held by groups like ISIS in the past.
PENHAUL: Well, it's remarkable when you talk to these kidnap and ransom negotiators, they're a very small band across the world. And this man,
like many others, cut their teeth, gained their experience, in the very lucrative kidnap and ransom market in Latin America in both Colombia and
And he basically laid it out like this, he said, it is very disturbing for the families, he said, I don't want to diminish their pain and suffering,
but eventually when you get into negotiations it is like dealing for a house. If somebody comes in and asks you ten times as much as you feel
that that house is worth, you walk away form the table. But if somebody comes in with a more or less reasonable figure, then you start to talk, you
start to haggle one another down.
Now he says when you throw into political demands into the mix, that becomes a little more difficult, because then families will necessarily
need some cooperation from governments and so you need to see what is possible there. But it is all about getting things back into the realm of
the possible. But he also does say, of course, is that there may be a public posture both by the kidnappers and by the families, or government,
and then under the table there may be some kind of unofficial negotiation.
But what he said, at all costs, what must happen is that families or governments must maintain at all costs lines of communication with the
kidnappers. The kidnappers may try to break off talks at some stage to try and pressure governments or families into making a snap decision. So,
you've got to buy time, but you've got to be sensible.
So, keep those lines of negotiation open. And where talks are going on, either publicly or behind the scenes, there is hope something can be done.
He also said, though, one of the dangers is if you're trying to negotiate a hostage with inexperienced hostage takers there is grave danger there. If
you've got experienced hostage takers on board, then they may be more reasonable in moderating their demands and coming to a deal.
And he says he believes that ISIS does have experienced hostage negotiators, particularly sectioning out the Chechens that may be fighting
alongside ISIS right now. He says there may be some level heads that people can talk to, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yeah. Seems ironic, doesn't it, if you're looking for a more experienced hostage taker than a lesser one.
All right, thank you for that. Karl Penhaul in house for you today out of London.
Next up, Faisal al Yafai will join me to discuss how the power vacuum in large swaths of Iraq and Syria has encouraged the rise of ISIS.
ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson out of the UAE at 16 minutes past 7:00.
While Barack Obama is on the face of it, at least, the world's most powerful man, or influential man. So the world is watching as he decides
how to tackle the enemy of his enemy in Syria.
Syria has said it is open to other countries helping in the fight against ISIS while Mr. Obama and his allies indicate the battle against Islamist
militants is theirs and theirs alone.
Well, it's a complex situation with a tangled web of characters vying for power on the ground. In Syria, the so-called moderate opposition competes
for influence with al Qaeda as well as with ISIS.
Faisal al Yafai is chief columnist for The National newspaper here in Abu Dhabi, a regular guest on this show and argues that ISIS is born of warped
ideals that make them less compromising than their counterparts. Explain.
FAISAL AL YAFAI, THE NATION: Well, there's a debate going on in militant jihadism about the right way to build a state, the right way to conduct
warfare, about whether it's necessary to keep good relations with the people that you are fighting amongst. And this debate has a real impact on
what is happening in eastern Syria and in western Iraq today.
No, I was going to make the point that if you look at al Qaeda's affiliate Jubhat al Nusra (ph) and the way that they are conducting themselves in
Syria and contrast that with ISIS, with the Islamic State, it is a totally different ideology, one of which is about murdering and slaughtering and
going straight for the prize and the other is about working among people.
All right, I want to read and extract from your opinion peace today for our viewers. It's a brilliantly written piece, I have to say. And I quote,
"militant groups are vehicles for an ideology," and this is the sort of analogy that you' draw on, "much like political parties. In that regard,
longevity is itself a sign of success. And al Qaeda is entering its 40th year as the foremost Islamist militant group. The Islamic State, by
contrast -- or ISIS -- has already alienated most Muslims as well as al Qaeda itself and may eventually face so may enemies that it will implode."
You are not for a moment surely suggesting that this group, who is now self-financed to the tune of something like a $1 billion a year with dodgy
oil, you're not suggesting that they are snuffed our or they're finished before they've even started are you?
AL YAFAI: No, not yet. But however rich you are, if you have too many enemies you are likely to be destroyed. They cannot fight the Syrians, the
Iraqis, the Kurds, the Americans at the same time. And this is a fundamental point, they have sought to try and go directly to build a state
without building alliances. Now, if they build that state immediately, maybe they will succeed, but if it takes too long they will have all of
these enemies surrounding them, and they will be wiped out.
ANDERSON: You also wrote today, "moreover the group has appropriated the ideas of al Qaeda, but it's taken them in surprising new directions." What
did you mean by that? And give us some sort of context here, some history as to what you believe al Qaeda's ideology is and where ISIS goes next.
AL YAFAI: Well, let's take a very quick example, there was a letter written by al Qaeda's number two, Aymen al Zawahiri who is now the leader
of al Qaeda, to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who was the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq in 2005. He wrote him a letter saying essentially you're becoming too
radical, stop the beheadings, stop going after the Shia Iraqis. And the reason he said that was that al Qaeda believed, and believe today, that the
way to maintain support is by not alienating Muslims. You go after people that you're attacking, like the west, but you don't alienate the Muslims.
ISIS, by contrast, has murdered Muslims, murdered Shia, murdered Christians, it has no interest in the people around it.
ANDERSON: It does seem absolutely ironic, but I'm increasingly thinking so important that we are discussing the kind of, you know, the sort of nuances
of these groups when I'm sure there will be many all over the world, but particularly perhaps in Washington, who say they're all of a muchness, you
know. When was it that we were last saying that al Qaeda are the lesser of the million of evils out there.
It does seem ironic, doesn't it, al Qaeda seem to be coming out of this as the sort of goodies, as it were. I'm not suggesting for a moment that they
YAFAI: No. But there's a reason for that. The reason is that the west and the Middle East for a long time has sought to combat this threat
militarily. For 14 years, we've tried to beat al Qaeda by force of arms. We can't do it. They are still around.
What we have to do is beat them by force of ideas. That is the coming conflict.
ANDERSON: Always a pleasure. You make a lot of sense. Faisal al Yafai with his article as chief columnist in the National newspaper today.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. I'll have your world news headlines in just a few moments.
Also coming up, making a statement: a Ugandan start-up finds success designing clothes for Africans by Africans. That's next.
OLGA MUGYENYI, DEFINITION AFRICA: Hello, I'm Olga Mugyenyi, one of the directors at Definition Africa.
MAHIDA BEGHANI, DEFINITION AFRICA: Hi, I'm Mahida Beghani, also a director of Definition Africa.
MAJENI: Welcome to our store.
LEONE LAKHANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Definition Africa, set up in Uganda's capital Kampala, is a t-shirt business that finds inspiration
from every day Ugandan life.
BEGHANI: Well, the concept of Defnition came up in and around 2009. We felt like there weren't really any products or apparel in the market that
really sort of celebrated the local experience.
MUGYENYI: We basically launched our brand on Facebook through one of our Facebook campaigns, which was our wall of fame. The idea was you'd come in
and take a picture on the wall of fame -- buy a shirt, take a picture. And then it just spread quite rapidly.
The t-shirts that we design are in theme with like life in Uganda, things that we come across, statements, food, people. We also have a line that's
called signature tees where we invite people to submit their designs. And if they go through the approval process, then they get printed.
LAKHANI: Mugyenyi and Mahida were unable to get a bank loan to start their business so they had to borrow money from their parents.
In January 2014, they opened their first store in a mall hoping the location would increase their exposure.
BEGHANI: We've built our business based on the ethos of our brand, which is that all of our products are locally made -- or African made, I should
LAKHANI: Definition Africa has recently won the Young Creative Entrepreneur Award from the British Council.
But success is not always easy.
MUGYENYI: One of the things that really makes Definition what it is, is that the products are supposed to be entirely African in subject matter and
as well as like material -- where the material comes from. It would have been much easier to source our t-shirts in China. It would be much easier
to get our stationary produced in Dubai. But we had to kind of stick to what we started with and that has been difficult.
LAKHANI: The company is steadily growing its marketshare by keeping up with popular trends and forming partnerships with different companies like
Bika (ph), a local handbag manufacturer.
BEGHANI: OK, this is one of the products that we have yet to release, and it's part of our collaboration with Bika (ph), but also it's part of our
collaboration with a hip-hop artist called The Myth. And his line is called I'm So UG.
MUGYENYI: In the near future, we'd like to get our ecommerce site up and running. Right now, the website is up, but you can't purchase
internationally. We want to be involved in a lot more regional events. So we're really excited about the up and coming Kampala Fashion Week and then
we're also going to attend London Fashion Week this year as well.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. The top stories for you this hour.
And the American who was released this week after spending almost two years as a hostage in Syria has faced the media for the first time. Peter Theo
Curtis spoke outside his mother's home near Boston just a short time ago. He expressed gratitude for all the support that he has received.
The mother of an American journalist held hostage by ISIS militants is making an emotional plea for his release. Steven Sotloff was last seen in
the brutal beheading video of James Foley. In a video statement, his mother, Shirley Sotloff, spoke directly to the group's leader, noting that
her son has no control over US policy and that Islam teaches that no individual should be held responsible for the sins of others.
US president Barack Obama has been given what's described as a "range of options" to choose from in going after the ISIS militant group in Iraq and
in Syria. Mr. Obama said Tuesday that he won't hesitate to use the vast reach of the US military to bring, and I quote, "justice to those who harm
Well, the echo of gunfire and explosions is gone from Gaza and southern Israel. The new cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian leaders appears
to be holding at this hour, and unlike previous truces, this one has no end date. Hamas is celebrating the deal as a victory. You're looking at live
pictures of the Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, addressing crowds in Gaza. But in reality, the longterm issues dividing Israel and the Palestinians
In France, IMF chief Christine Lagarde is now under investigation in a long-standing political fraud case. She was a witness in the case against
the French businessman, but after questioning, the French magistrate decided to also look into her role. Ms. Lagarde has not been charged,
denies any wrongdoing, and says the investigation is, quote, "without merit."
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko says he's meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, focused on border control. The two met on
Tuesday at a regional conference in Belarus. Both leaders agreed on the need to renew their dialogue, but Mr. Putin says any cease-fire talks must
take place between Kiev and separatists in eastern Ukraine.
We are getting word from Ukraine's National Defenses Security Council that Russian forces are actively working with pro-Russia rebels in several
villages. Let's get to Phil Black, live in Moscow. Let's find out what's happening on the ground before we talk about the politics. What do we know
at this point?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, today, once again, more allegations from the Ukrainian government regarding Russian
military incursions into Ukrainian territory, in addition to shelling, they say, which is originating from the Russian side of the border into Ukraine.
Those are the allegations. It's almost daily that we hear this sort of stuff from the Ukrainian government.
From the Russian side, well, they don't give a running response or running commentary to each of the Ukrainian allegations, but their position
throughout this crisis and when they do respond to these events, it is pretty consistent, as it was last night following the meeting between the
leaders of Ukraine and Russia.
Following two hours in which President Putin and President Poroshenko spoke on the many issues dividing these two countries, President Putin emerged
and said that when it comes to the military conflict and any chance of solving it peacefully, well, it's a Ukrainian affair. It's not Russia's
He said that Russia would support any sort of peace process that was launched, but that's about all it can do. And that really is that
consistent Russian position that Russia, according to Moscow, is not an active player in that conflict.
BLACK: And Russia has maintained that, as I say, throughout the crisis, despite the fact there are repeated strong allegations from Kiev, from
Western countries, that it is a significant player in that conflict in eastern Ukraine, Becky.
ANDERSON: Very briefly, just how well will these two men know each other? And I'm talking about, what's their legacy here? What's their past?
BLACK: They do know each other. They have met before, before Petro Poroshenko rose to the office of president of Ukraine. He is a very
significant businessman in his home country, and one with significant business interests here in Russia.
He's known in Ukraine as the Chocolate King. Some of his factories are here. He is a man who has dealt with the very highest levels of Russian
power, so they have worked together in the past, allegedly constructively.
There was some commentary at the time when it became clear that he was going to be the Ukrainian president, that there was a marked change of
approach from Moscow that perhaps he was a man that they could deal with.
And when they have met, it does appear to be constructive, at least on the surface. We don't know the tone or the substance when they talk privately,
but at the moment, they have had no success whatsoever in dealing with the fundamental disputes of this crisis, Becky.
ANDERSON: Sure. Phil Black's in Moscow for you.
Well, here's man who many draw analogies with President Putin. From prime minister to president himself, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be sworn
in on Thursday. He will become the country's first directly-elected president. And while the post is largely ceremonial, Mr. Erdogan has
already indicated that he wants to see and expanded role for the position.
As president, he will have to work with the government to boost the country's $800 billion economy. CNN's emerging markets editor, John
Defterios, now, takes a closer look for you at Mr. Erdogan's economic report card.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR (voice-over): During the first decade as prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered economically. His
government's policies are credited with creating wealth by tripling incomes in a decade.
Tire maker Pirelli is one of a long list of foreign companies having set up shop in Turkey. Selcuk Yorgancioglu oversees the country for private
equity group Abraaj. They put up nearly a billion dollars, having invested in eight Turkish companies.
SELCUK YORGANCIOGLU, PARTNER, THE ABRAAJ GROUP: Business has done very well in the last ten years. And they are happy, they continue to prosper.
They can see ahead of them very clearly.
DEFTERIOS: Growth averaged 5 percent for ten years. But the last two years have tested the scrappy former footballer. With months of protest
over Gezi Park development and ongoing investigations into allegations of corruption at the top of the ruling party, charges the government has
DEFTERIOS: After Erdogan's latest election victory, ratings agency Fitch said political continuity does not eliminate political unrest and social
unrest, adding, this could lead to credit weakness.
The new president has lashed back at the ratings agencies and appears more emboldened than ever.
DEFTERIOS (on camera): Erdogan has designed a massive infrastructure build-out for Istanbul. This includes a new airport to compete with Dubai
as a transit hub, a better than 40-kilometer canal to run parallel with the Bosphorus, and last year, he opened up a new underground train network to
connect Europe and Asia. Some suggest he has his sights on his legacy and not near-term growth.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): By 2023, the 100th anniversary of modern Turkey, Erdogan wants to see a $2 trillion economy and a more than doubling of per
capita incomes to $25,000. To hit those targets, Turkey would need to grow 7 percent a year. Some analysts say Erdogan could jeopardize economic
MARIOS MARATHEFTIS, STANDARD CHARTERED BANK: The higher the growth, the more the economy was overheating and the wider the current account deficit
of Turkey was becoming.
DEFTERIOS: But with fighting at the country's doorstep in Iraq and Syria, business still prefers continuity.
YORGANCIOGLU: Can you show me a good revolution in the last few years? I think we're happy where things are going. There's confidence in the
system, and the markets and the people are supporting it.
DEFTERIOS: That's if Erdogan's economic policy as prime minister is sustained as president.
ANDERSON: So, it appears Mr. Erdogan has a daunting task on his hands, but he's brought people into help him on his way. His longtime ally, the
foreign minister, will be named as Turkey's prime minister on Thursday. But many fear he'll be but a pawn in Mr. Erdogan's powerful political
Well, let's discuss this further, shall we? CNN's emerging markets editor John Defterios joining me now. I was interested to see that your guest in
your report right there at the end said -- and he laughed -- he said, "show me a good revolution in this region in the past few years." I mean, he
laughed, but he does have a point, doesn't he?
DEFTERIOS: Yes. In fact, it sums up the feeling within the business community in Turkey, and that's despite all the protest we saw in Gezi Park
because of the development plans, the allegations of corruption, which the party denies right now. The crackdown on the military, the crackdown on
the judiciary. But they're suggesting stability and predictability is much more important going forward.
Now, I thought is choice for prime minister, Mr. Davutoglu, his former foreign minister, was quite telling, because he's probably going to be much
more pliable, Becky, going forward. He could have gone with Abdullah Gul, the co-founder of the party, the current president, and just changed jobs.
So, the indication that he wanted somebody he could probably massage it a little bit more is an indication probably of how much power he wants to
consolidate as president.
ANDERSON: What do we, then, know about the near-to-be former foreign minister?
DEFTERIOS: Well, he's had this zero-problems policy in terms of foreign policy. They have good relations with Syria, good relations with Libya.
Egypt, Iran, Israel, and Iraq, one would say those are in tatters right now.
So, they've created some enemies, for example, in this region, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE because they cozied up the Muslim Brotherhood.
When Mohamed Morsy was ousted at that one point, they suggested this was a coup and it was against the wishes of those else in the region.
So, a very controversial figure. He represents the Islamic base, a big chunk of the party supports Davutoglu, but trying to rebuild those
credentials as prime minister. He's not tested economically.
He's going to pick his cabinet on Friday. We're watching to see if he stays with the deputy prime minister, Babacan, and the finance minister,
Simsek. Two moderate people, two people that wanted to keep the current account deficit under control.
ANDERSON: Let me just interrogate a little further the report that you filed before this. It was brilliantly done in that -- I spent a lot of
time in Turkey recently, and you really hit the spot with it. But you talked about these infrastructure projects, which are huge --
ANDERSON: -- as potential legacy projects for Erdogan, as trophies as it were. He wants to be seen as Ataturk going forward, I think it's the
anniversary in 2023.
I suggest to you -- I put it to you, at least, that investment projects are so important, if you're going to drag this economy into what you suggested
he wants is a $2 trillion economy. How are you going to do that if you don't invest for the future?
DEFTERIOS: Well, there's two arguments to that. Number one, the trend, as you know, within emerging markets right now is to have the city-states,
very large cities that can create financial centers --
ANDERSON: Like here.
DEFTERIOS: -- investment hubs. Exactly. That's what Dubai's been able to create, and Abu Dhabi's doing the same. But this is a much larger scale.
It's almost, as you know, a population of 20 million.
So, the canal's starting to worry people, 40-kilometer canal, they're run parallel to the Bosphorus. A new airport to handle 150 million passengers,
do they really need it at that sort of scale Another bridge he wants to build.
Some are suggesting this may just be overall, metaphorically, a bridge too far. That he wants to leave his legacy, be compared to Ataturk. But the
other side of it is, to get the growth that he wants to get, to get the efficiency in the economy, and the challenge that they have right now, it's
almost a middle-income economy, so 11,000 per capita GDP.
He tripled it in the first ten years. The next ten, if he can stay in power, are going to be much more difficult, because once you hit that
level, it's hard to attract the foreign direct investment because of the low-cost labor. So, he wants to try and grow at 7 percent.
Probably the reality is, Becky, the new normal for Erdogan and his economy is probably 3.5, 4 percent. And that will not hit his target of $2
trillion, and perhaps not leave that legacy he wanted to create as a G-10 economy by 2023.
ANDERSON: Having interviewed him recently, I wouldn't write him off.
ANDERSON: That's all I'm saying. I wouldn't write him off.
DEFTERIOS: He's an interesting character, by the way.
DEFTERIOS: Been tested a lot in the last 18 months, and he survived it and became president, so you're right in that respect, for sure.
ANDERSON: Thank you, John.
ANDERSON: John Defterios for you. Live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. He has governed India for 100
days, but is Narendra Modi on track to deliver on his campaign promises? That is up next.
ANDERSON: Today marks 100 days since Narendra Modi became the prime minister of India.
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ANDERSON: Well, this was the attention he received after his election victory back in May. In his campaign, he promised more development and
growth and less government bureaucracy. He won by a landslide and received a clear mandate to deliver on his promises.
Well, I was in India when Modi stormed to leadership, and back then, just as now, there were plenty of questions, high hopes, and some criticism.
ANDERSON: Mr. Modi has talked tough on the campaign trail, but the question is, can he walk these corridors of power at India's parliament
with a deftness of touch that his detractors say he's failed to show in local politics?
ANDERSON (voice-over): He's variously described as effective and efficient. Much like his Back Room Boys, a group of young, tech-savvy
professionals who masterminded his campaign behind the scenes.
ANDERSON (on camera): Modi is by no means everybody's cup of tea here in India. Charged by some as even Putin-esque in the way that he does
ANDERSON (voice-over): Ruthless, his opponents claim, a legacy, they say, of his years with the grass roots Hindu hardliner group, the RSS, who
delivered his message on the ground in 2014. The result: Modi and his party scored the popular vote in villages and cities across caste and
gender. Entrusted with a truly pan-Indian mandate for change, he must endeavor to empower everyone.
ANDERSON (on camera): But if he can come good on his promises to drag India's infrastructure into the 21st century, to make India an easier place
to do business in, to rid this place of corruption, to make unemployment a thing of the past, does it really matter if he's not everybody's cup of
ANDERSON: Well, let's discuss all of this with our India bureau chief, then, Ravi Agrawal. Ravi, that was back towards the end of May. At that
point, when we were working together in the New Delhi bureau, you wrote a memo to Modi. It's been 100 days since then and his landslide victory.
How has he done so far?
RAVI AGRAWAL, INDIA BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Becky, obviously, it's early days to make an assessment, but one thing has been clear so far. At the very
least, Modi's been saying all of the right things.
For example, he's talked about building 100 smart cities across India, ushering in a new period of growth and development across India. He's
talked about creating a leaner, more efficient, cleaner government.
Now, Indian CEOs whom I've spoke to, all of them say that this is exactly the rhetoric they wanted to hear, the rhetoric has been spot on.
Now, some of the other things that Modi's talked about are a lot more ambitious. He's talked about putting a toilet in every single Indian home
by the year 2020. He's talked about ensuring that every single Indian has a smartphone by the year 2019.
Now, some of those kinds of statements have -- obviously, great vision, but have opened him up to a little bit of criticism, critics saying, well, how
are you going to do any of these things? All of that's just talk.
And Modi's response to that so far has been, well, it's only been 100 days. This country needs a vision. Give me more than 100 days, give me ten
years. That's what he's been saying.
ANDERSON: Ravi, on that rhetoric, on that point, Indian politicians, of course, have often made controversial statements about the country's many
high-profile cases of rape. What has Modi had to say on that?
AGRAWAL: Well, Becky, on the 15th of August, India's Independence Day, Modi made a landmark speech to the Indian nation, and he talked about many,
many things. But one of the things he did address was rape and sexual violence in India, which has been a rampant and very embarrassing problem
Now, what I was struck by in that speech is how he kind of reframed that debate. He changed it on its head. So, in India, usually, Indian parents
always worry about their daughters, they talk about their daughters, what are they wearing, how late are they out at night?
Modi said, what about the boys? Listen in.
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NARENDRA MODI, PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA (through translator): After all, a person who is raping is somebody's son. As parents, have we asked our sons
where he is going? Have those parents asked a number of questions from their sons, which they have asked their daughters? The law will take its
own course, but we need to take responsibility to bring our sons, who have deviated from the right path, to bring them back.
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AGRAWAL: Now, Becky, as you saw over there, it was a great statement to make in India. Six hundred million Indians, that's half of India's
population, is under the age of 28. India is on the cusp of a great generational change.
And for all of those young Indians, to listen to a statement like that, that was actually quite new here in India, and a refreshing change from
what politicians have said in the past. That comment from Modi played out very well here in the Indian media.
ANDERSON: All right. That's the domestic front, Ravi. I've been struck by how active Modi has been on foreign policy, starting right with his
inauguration when, of course, he invited leaders from all of India's neighbors. What's happened since then?
AGRAWAL: Well, as you say, Becky, he started off with a bang. That was quite a coup to not only invite the leaders of all of India's neighboring
countries, including, I should add, Pakistan. But they also came. And that was quite a big thing. Pakistan's prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, came
Now since then, he's been on a bit of a roll on foreign policy. He went to visit Bhutan. Later on, he went to Brazil for the BRICS summit and he was
seen hobnobbing with the leaders of Brazil, China, and Russia.
A few weeks later, he was in Nepal, where he wowed Nepalis by actually speaking in Nepali in their parliament. And later next week, he's going to
Japan, where he's going to have talks with Shinzo Abe, India and Japan on the cusp of forming a great partnership in Asia, according to both leaders.
So, all of that's going on, and then there's the other side of the traffic, where you've had a lot of leaders from other countries come here. You've
had the foreign ministers of the UK and France. And of course, you've had John Kerry come here as well. And all of these countries are very
interested in where India is headed.
ANDERSON: Good stuff. Thank you, Ravi. Ravi is the New Delhi bureau chief for CNN, reporting today. And 100 days since Modi, his memo to Modi,
on cnn.com, written at the time. Other writings from Ravi, there, too.
Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, we all know it's good for a good cause, but if your Facebook feed has been saturated by the
Ice Bucket challenge, you might be ready for a change. We're going to tell you how one woman in India has taken inspiration from the global sensation
to feed the hungry.
ANDERSON: Unless you have been living in a cave, or at least avoiding the internet in the recent weeks, you've probably heard of the Ice Bucket
challenge. Everybody from Leonardo DiCaprio to George W. Bush to our own Richard Quest here --
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ANDERSON: -- has taken a very cold shower to raise awareness and money for ALS, also known as motor neuron disease. A wonderful cause, raising
bucket-loads of cash.
But as with all internet sensations, even as a viewer it's possible to feel somewhat drenched after a while. So in our Parting Shots today, we bring
you news of someone who's moved the concept on in her own equally charitable way.
This is the Rice Bucket Challenge, dreamt up by a lady called Manju in Hyderabad in India. She thought the idea of pouring away valuable water
wasn't appropriate in a country where so many people live without it.
So instead, she launched an online campaign encouraging her compatriots to fill buckets with rice and other supplies for those most in need. She's
already won thousands of followers. Your Parting Shots this evening.
The team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you, as ever, facebook.com/CNNconnect, have your say, it's your show. I'm here for you,
@BeckyCNN. Tweet me. We're on Instagram as well, that's Becky CNN.
From us for this evening here in Abu Dhabi in the UAE, I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. "World Sport" after a check of the headlines