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CONNECT THE WORLD
Ukrainian Official Accuses Russia Of Invading Country; ISIS Executes Up to 250 Syrian Soldiers; Militants Take Golan Heights Crossing; UEFA President Platini Will Not Run For FIFA's Top Job; Erdogan's Presidential Aims; Erdogan's Allies; Parting Shots: Exploring Tehran's Surreal Murals; Turkey's Presidential Future; Turkey's Businessmen; ISIS's Black Gold
Aired August 28, 2014 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Sheer brutality on the battlefield. New video, believed to be from ISIS, shows the militant group marching hundreds of
Syrian soldiers to their deaths. Full analysis of what is going on with our reporters in the field.
Also ahead, a top Ukrainian army officer accuses Russia of a, quote, "full-scale invasion. " We're live in Eastern Ukraine with the details.
And Iran's optical illusions -- meet the artist behind these surreal 3D murals transforming Tehran's urban landscape.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: Well, it is 7:00 p.m. local time here in the Gulf.
Hello, we begin with new gruesome video from ISIS posted online. The images appear to show Syrian soldiers walking in their underpants. The
group said on one of its official website that at least 250 Syrian soldiers have been executed near the al-Tabqa airbase.
Other video we're not showing you shows dozens and dozens of bodies on the ground after what appears to have been a mass execution.
Meanwhile, ISIS fighters are setting fire to oil wells near Mosul in Iraq in an attempt to cover their movements from Kurdish forces and U.S.
Anna Coren joins us live from Irbil in northern Iraq.
Firstly, Anna, I'm going to start with these images. Brutality, as I say, on the battlefield. If the images that we have seen are to be
believed these are Syrian soldiers who have been paraded in front of cameras in their underpants, possibly after that video was shot, executed
en masse. What do we know at this point?
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's extremely distressing, and this is something that we have seen time and time again
the way that ISIS militants operate when they capture the enemy, this is what they do, certainly when they are Syrian soldiers.
As you say, these happened in Raqqa Province in the northeast of Syria just after they had taken control of al-Tabqa military base. A battle had
been waged over a week for this particular military base, which is where a bunch of al-Assad's regime had been based, firing on Raqqa, on the
stronghold of where ISIS had based themselves. ISIS overran, took it, and obviously have captured hundreds of soldiers. They have then filmed them
whilst they're being paraded walking, quite literally, to their deaths.
Obviously we don't then show the video, but they would then be lying in the ground, and ISIS militants shooting each one of them in the head.
As I say, Becky, we've seen this video before taking place in other cities, other townships across Syria and also here in Iraq. This is what
ISIS does, it terrorizes the population, it puts these horrific images out there on social media, which only creates more fear and panic within the
OK, meantime the very big question for President Obama this hour is whether he takes advantage of the permissions that he has been given to
conduct airstrikes over Syria, as he has been doing over Iraq in support of the Peshmerga, who we know are trying to attack and push back ISIS
militants in the north of Iraq where you are.
We do know that the ISIS militants have been setting fire to oil wells, we believe, in order to cover themselves as they move back into Iraq
-- they're moving back and forth between Iraq and Syria. We're seeing horrific details of their work on both sides of what they say is no longer
What do we know about the Kirkuk?
COREN: Well, what we know about Kirkuk, it's a city 100 kilometers south of where we are here in Irbil. We went there a few days ago, because
from what we are hearing from authorities it could very well be the next target for ISIS.
Obviously, those U.S. airstrikes that we have seen over the last two weeks, 101 to date according to U.S. Central Command, they have really
changed the way that ISIS is operating, at least here in Iraq out in the open. They're having to alter their tactics somewhat. And some officials,
Becky, fear that they're going to move into carbombing suicide attacks to really create, as I say, that fear and panic within the population. Take a
COREN: Sitting silently in a hospital bed, 10-year-old Aya (ph) gently touches her face. the horror of her injuries more than enough to
bear. Her brother is dead, but no one wants to tell her.
This was the terror unleashed on Aya (ph), her family and the city of Kirkuk. When three car bombs and a roadside explosive went off within
minutes, killing 20 people, injuring ore than 100.
CCTV footage capturing one of the deadly blasts.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the weekend attacks, designed to inflict as much pain and trauma as possible.
"My children didn't deserve this," says Aya's (ph) father who was driving his family when one of the bombs went off just meters from his car.
"No one's children should have to suffer like this."
While it struck panic and fear into the mixed community of Shia, Sunnis and Kurds, Kirkuk is yet to fall under ISIS control. When Iraqi
soldiers fled from their outposts following the sudden fall of Mosul back in June, it was the Peshmerga from Kurdistan who came in to defend the city
and its valuable oil fields.
But despite the presence of these soldiers and the newly built defensive positions, the Islamic extremists are on the doorstep.
"ISIS is just over there in those Arab villages," explains General Nadi Amiya (ph). "They fired on us against last night."
Not all ISIS militants are operating out in the open. Intelligence officials tell us that many are infiltrating Kirkuk, quietly recruiting
young, disaffected Sunnis, including this influential emir from Mosul who was recently arrested.
"They come to Kirkuk, because of all the minorities," says intelligence chief Idriss Rafat. "It's easy to blend in."
Due to Kirkuk's diversity, this is a city that is exposed and vulnerable to ISIS. According to authorities, they've arrested dozens of
members in the past few months, including the emir. And they strongly believe there are sleeper cells planning to attack.
For these bombing victims, recovering from their gruesome injuries, they know too well the danger the Islamic extremists pose in their mission
to create a Caliphate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ask from the god to revenge from this terrorist (inaudible). Please, god, help us. Help the Iraqi people.
COREN: A desperate plea from a young engineering student who just wants to live in his country without fear.
COREN: Now, Becky, those ISIS fighters surrounding Kirkuk on the outskirts, same here in Irbil. But you mentioned the fight that's going on
at the moment with the Peshmerga up near Mosul dam. We spoke to Kurdish forces. They believe that they've killed about 50 militants in that
operation today where those ISIS fighters have set fire to oil wells, blown up those oil pipes as well. Certainly they are making progress pushing
ISIS fighters back towards that Syrian border, but they're coming across a lot of explosives, a lot of IEDs. This is something that ISIS does as it
retreats from areas, Becky.
Anna Coren for you on what is a fast moving story today. Anna, thank you.
We'll have more on the battle against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Later on Connect the World we'll take a closer look at ISIS and the other Islamic
militant group in the news, al Nusra Front. The numbers of fighters, their source of financing and their ultimate goals for the region. And we're
going to take a look inside the art of hostage negotiations and when it's necessary to pay the ransom. That is a bit later on Connect the World.
We'll be going to the Golan Heights as well where we are hearing a lot of news today.
And before I move on, I just want to tell you that news in to CNN Center that President Obama about five hours from now will be meeting with
his national security team. He'll put the vice president, we understand, on a secure line. He is traveling. He's on the road, I believe in
Philadelphia or Pennsylvania and that is a closed meeting, of course. But Obama meeting with his national security team on what is one assumes a
very, very busy day for them because not only are we seeing what's going on in the Middle East, we're also seeing movement with Russian and Ukraine.
A top Ukrainian commander says that Russia has launched a full-scale invasion of southern -- Southeastern Ukraine. Fierce fighting has been
taking place on two fronts in the Donetsk region, including the strategic town of Novoazovsk some 20 kilometers from the Russian border.
Moscow denies sending its soldiers in, but one rebel leader claims that up to 4,000 Russian troops are fighting alongside separatists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER ZAKHARCHENKO, SELF-PROCLAIMED DONETSK PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I will be even more frank, current
military are also fighting with us who prefer to spend their holiday not on the seaside, but amongst us, amongst brothers who fight for their freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Diana Magnay has been monitoring developments for us and joins us live now. She is outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol
near the Russian border.
Diana, what can you tell us at this point?
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky.
Well, this has been termed a direct invasion by the Ukrainian forces. From where we are, and we've driven about 30 kilometers up this route with
the Russian border in the distance behind me and we have seen none of it. That said, it is difficult and dangerous to get to the town of Novoazovsk,
which has reportedly been taken by rebel forces with Russian backing.
And we were talking to the commander of one of the volunteer battalions down here who says that it is in Russian hands and that his
troops were pushed back towards Mariupol.
Now this checkpoint behind me is really the last Ukrainian presence for some 20, 30 kilometers towards the border. So it would appear as
though that land is really there for the taking if the Russians are pushing in at this moment.
As you said, there seems to be fighting on two fronts -- down here in the south around the coastal strip towards Mariupol and further north
really where you have a line from Donetsk through to the Russian border very close, in fact, to the site where MH17 came down. There seems to be a
lot of fighting there.
NATO says it believes there are north of 1,000 Russian troops who are actively engaging to support the pro-Russian rebels on this side.
But as you heard from the self-declared prime minister of Donetsk, he says there are 3,000 or 4,000. Some of them, he says, are retired
servicemen, but some of them active duty Russian troops who have come to support the rebels in their holidays.
Now there has been talk, or conjecture, that what the Russians are trying to do here in the south is to open up another front to try and
distract the Ukrainians as they try and retake Donetsk and Luhansk. If that is the case, then they've certainly been quite effective about it.
There's also been talk that perhaps the Russians are trying to create a corridor from the border from the town of Rostov, a very important
military base for them, through Ukraine to Crimea. But at the moment that certainly doesn't seem to be the case. There is a very effective brockade
by the Ukrainians from them going down that very key route from Novoazovsk to Mariupol.
But the fact that they have taken a town in this part of the country, well away from the main rebellion area, is very striking, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yeah, and this, of course, a strategically important area, because it lies on the main road leading from the Russian border to Crimea.
And just keeping you there for a moment, news that the UN security council will hold an emergency meeting about Ukraine at 2:00 p.m. local New
York Time on Thursday. Russia will be asked to explain why its soldiers are in Ukraine, that according to the British ambassador to the United
Nation's Mark Lyles Grant.
OK, fast moving news agenda tonight.
Still to come, call me Mr. President. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is sworn in to what was Turkey's number two job. We'll examine whether the former
prime minister is happy to play second fiddle.
And dozens of UN peacekeepers are detained amid heavy fighting in the Golan Heights. I promised you a live report from there. That is just
LU STOUT: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson at 16 minutes past 7:00 in the UAE.
The UN says dozens, dozens of its peacekeepers are being detained in the Golan Heights a day after Syrian rebels seized a key border crossing
Now Syrian troops are battling to retake the Quneitra crossing from rebel forces, including fighters from the al Qaeda-linked group al Nusra
Israeli troops have sealed off the area around that crossing, which likes just a few hundred meters from the Israeli occupied territory.
Well, our Ben Wedeman monitoring the situation for us from the Israeli controlled side of the Golan Heights.
Ben, what do we know about these UN peacekeepers?
BEN WEDEMEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know from the United Nations itself that 43 members -- peacekeepers with the United
Nations disengagement observation force that monitors the area between the Israeli occupied Golan Heights and Syria proper have been detained by what
they call armed elements. In addition to that another 81 peacekeepers are essentially pinned down in their positions because of the fighting in this
Now the UN describes them as armed elements, but a senior Israeli official familiar with the situation on the ground confirmed to me that
they are being held by members of the Nusra Front, that al Qaeda affiliated group.
Now this is not the first time that UN peacekeepers in this area have been detained. In March and May of 2013 there were similar incidents. The
difference, however, is that according to this Israeli official they are being held by the Nusra Front.
Now we did see some fairly intense fighting earlier in the day on the other side of the demarcation line just behind me, just about a kilometer
behind me, with what appeared to be an exchange of mortar and artillery fire between Syrian forces, Syrian government forces and the rebels.
There was also some fairly intense small arms fire that we could hear quite clearly coming from the old town of Quneitra behind me.
At this point, it doesn't look like the Syrian military is making any effort to retake the border position that they lost to these rebel
elements, including the Nusra Front, yesterday afternoon. At the moment, it's relatively calm, although just to the south of here we did here a
little bit of gunfire awhile ago.
So it's relatively calm at the moment, but it usually doesn't last very long -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Yeah, no you're absolutely right, Ben.
Stay with us on this story. Ben Wedeman there on the Israeli controlled side of the border in the Golan Heights. And as he gets more,
of course, he will bring it to you live on CNN.
You're watching Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson, in Abu Dhabi.
Coming up, we are talking Turkey, and more specifically this man as Recep Tayyip Erdogan moves from prime minister to president we'll ask
what's in it for him and what's in it for his country?
And will he or won't he? Another presidential role is up for grabs in football's governing body. We're going to tell you whether the top man in
the European game is going to try to topple the apparently immovable Sepp Blatter.
ANDERSON: Well, in about 25 minutes time the eyes of the footballing world with be on Monaco where the draw for the UEFA Champion's League is
due to take place.
While the world's most prestigious club competition is always a big talking point, it could find itself overshadowed this year by another event
this Thursday. This man, UEFA President Michel Platini has chosen not to do what many hoped he would, namely challenge long-standing FIFA President
Sepp Blatter for the top job in sports.
Well, the decision paves the way for the highly divisive Blatter to stand for an unprecedented fifth term.
With more on all of this and the latest from World Sport, it's Alex Thomas in the house for you this evening out of London.
Alex, why is Platini not standing?
ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Essentially, Becky, because he knows he wouldn't win. Sepp Blatter has the support of five of the six
continental confederations in World Football. They love him because he keeps them plenty of money for development funds and supports them. He's
been a huge supporter of African football, for example.
Whereas Michel Platini, although he's respected as a famous former footballer and has done well in his first spell as UEFA president, really
would be up against it to win enough votes to oust Blatter even though he's been in the position so long Platini himself said he could have beaten him
and said that certainly believes football, world football needs a breath of fresh air.
But his own UEFA presidency is up before that FIFA presidential election next year and he wants to focus on Europe, maybe hoping that
another four years down the road Blatter, his position maybe even more weaker and might be time for Platini to step up.
ANDERSON: You know, a week is a long time in politics. In footballing terms, it must seem like a lifetime, because only four years
ago Platini himself will admit that he wanted the top job and was expecting it. And then it seems things went slightly array in his relationship with
Blatter and the rest is history, Blatter gets, again -- and this is the second time, it seems, that this has happened -- anyway, whatever.
Listen, World Sport is coming up in just over half an hour time with more Alex, I know, from our exclusive match fixing series. What have we
THOMAS: Yeah, because Sepp Blatter could well stand on the post, couldn't he, for FIFA presidency, but whoever is in charge of world
football, match fixing in one of those huge issues affecting the game. And I don't know about you, Becky, but I've been gripped by our exclusive
series put together by Don Riddell, Zain Abbey (ph) and some of the others in our sports team here getting to Wilson Raj Perumal, the most notorious
fixer of football games on the planet. And we've got a little taste for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Let's talk about how you would fix a game. How would you approach this?
WILSON RAJ PERUMAL, CONVICTED MATCH FIXER: Firstly, we need to know if that particular football match has got bets and the books open for these
matches, that is the first thing we have to look at.
And then we look at the team. If it is corruptible, they will (inaudible).
In Zimbabwe was in turmoil at that time. So when I approach the captain, I brought him out. We had a meal before we (inaudible) one
another. I asked him if it's possible. It's like a bait. If he bites the bait, then it's OK.
RIDDELL: So once you've had this initial conversation, then you've gauged interest from the first player you've approached, what is the next
PERUMAL: I would use that person to bring in players whom he is very close to, whom the players he can trust.
RIDDELL: Does it matter which players? Are there some players on the team you would prefer to have involved in the fix?
PERUMAL: Not exactly. I'll fix matches with just one single player. It is the commitment of the player.
But, of course, we would like to have the goalkeeper, we would like to have the defenders, then the strikers.
If you have the strikers, you don't have the goalkeeper and all then you draw out a strategy whereby we are able to achieve the result.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS: Don Riddell putting the questions there, Becky.
And in just over half an hour he's going to host the next World Sport with the latest episode where Wilson talks about specifically bribing a
referee and talking about his favorite referees not the way FIFA has favorite referees because they're so good, but because they're so
corruptible and will do what he says for money. It's astonishing stuff.
ANDERSON: It's fantastic stuff. Good on you and good on Don.
All right, thank you, Alex.
You can watch much more of the match fixing coverage, of course, online as well at CNN.com/sport to find out about the referee who colluded
with Wilson to throw football matches around the world. That is alongside the international sporting headlines, of course.
Well, the latest world news headlines are just ahead.
Plus, a prime minister becomes a president. But why were a number of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's former friends absent from his swearing in ceremony
in Ankara? We're going to investigate that after your headlines. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. The top stories for you this hour here on CNN.
ISIS militants have posted a video online showing what appears to be captured Syrian soldiers walking in their underpants. Other videos show
dozens of bodies on the ground after an apparent mass execution. The group also says it killed some 600 Syrian soldiers in clashes near an airbase.
A top Ukrainian commander says Russia has launched full-scale invasion of southeastern Ukraine. One rebel leader claims that up to 4,000 Russian
troops are fighting alongside separatists. Moscow denies sending the troops in.
The UN says it's trying to win the release of 43 peacekeepers detained in the Golan Heights. They were seized by an armed group near a key border
crossing between Syria and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Syrian rebels took control of the area from government troops on Wednesday.
He's been Turkish prime minister for more than a decade, and now Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been sworn in as president at a ceremony in Ankara. The
role was previously largely ceremonial, but after winning the country's first democratic presidential election, Mr. Erdogan has ambitions to widen
Shortly before the presidential vote, I sat down with Mr. Erdogan exclusively in the capital and asked him about his motivations for
remaining in politics, in leadership. Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: You are on the presidential campaign with an election upcoming. Have you not had enough of politics in Turkey?
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): Well, of course, I was born into politics. Are you fed up of journalism?
Do you have such intentions?
ERDOGAN: So, my life has always been politics, and right now, I'm at a dynamic state, to be honest. I'm at a productive state in politics. In
terms of serving my country, I will continue serving my nation and my motherland until no more leaves are left in the calendar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, in other words, Mr. Erdogan has absolutely no intention of going anywhere while there is work to be done, he says. But
in order to keep his regional influence, he's going to need strong allies, and as our emerging markets editor John Defterios can tell us, a few of
Turkey's traditional friends were conspicuous by their absence at today's inauguration.
What does the list of attendees tell us about this transition of Mr. Erdogan to president, John? I know you've got the list with you.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: No, it's very interesting, because I was just listening to the comment he made to you.
He's almost suggesting that he's in his prime time. But I think those who didn't attend today is quite reflective of the state of play and the
relationships, particularly with Western Europe.
We put up a little graphic here with the chart kind of indicating the big four countries, the big trading partners of Turkey right now: the UK,
Germany, France, Italy. Surprised not see Mrs. Merkel there, for example, or not to see Mr. Hollande or Mr. Cameron, or the young Mr. Renzi. Italy
has trade with --
ANDERSON: Conspicuous by their absence.
DEFTERIOS: And in fact, also, I think it's interesting. They're a member of NATO. The secretary-general of NATO didn't sent a
representative, he wasn't there as well. The president of the European Commission or the European Union didn't come as well.
And let's not forget, how has Turkey positioned itself, Becky? It is the bridge between East and West, the gateway into Africa. Half of its
trade's with the European Union. So, it was a message today.
It's been a very rough 18 months, as you know, for Mr. Erdogan because of the protests, because of the corruption allegations and the rest. And I
think has put an arm's-length distance between he and the European Union.
ANDERSON: It's fascinating, isn't it? Some major players, then, absent. But how about those who did attend? What does it tell us about
Erdogan's geopolitical and economic strategy going forward?
DEFTERIOS: I think it's particularly interesting because we're standing here in the Middle East, and how he straddles, I suggest, East and
West. The non-Arab Muslims are in great attendance today. Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Pakistan. The leaders all went, representatives from
many, many countries.
The foreign minister of Iran was in attendance. His neighbor, the president of Kurdistan, was attending as well.
So, I think it's very important. He has tilted to the east because he thinks there's growth in the east. Now, absent again? Egypt. Why?
Because he took a position with the Muslim Brotherhood, though it was a coup against Mohammed Morsy, so el-Sisi's government, not represented.
Israel not represented. They used to have very good ties with Israel as well.
ANDERSON: The emir of Qatar was there.
ANDERSON: You would expect that.
DEFTERIOS: It's an interesting --
ANDERSON: From what's going on.
DEFTERIOS: Yes. Well, it's also interesting, they intervened in Libya, Egypt, Syria, the Arab Spring countries. They oftentimes were in
alignment there. So, the emir was represented, but no other big players from the Gulf states.
ANDERSON: Well, a great deal of ceremony around the president today. Friday, he will hand over to a new prime minister. What have we learned
about his intentions? This is the former foreign minister, soon to be prime minister.
DEFTERIOS: I know you want me to say his name.
ANDERSON: Go on.
DEFTERIOS: Mr. Davutoglu --
ANDERSON: There you go.
DEFTERIOS: -- the former foreign minister now is going to be taking over as prime minister. I think we got a very good indication -- the
reason I wanted to bring it up is he gave a speech last night to the AK Party Congress. It was the last attendance of the congress by Mr. Erdogan,
because he has to divorce himself by constitution from the party
But a quote that I picked out from that speech from Mr. Davutoglu is that we have to protect Mr. Erdogan's legacy. On his first speech to the
party, "Erdogan's legacy is our honor and will be defended to the very end."
DEFTERIOS: And that was a signal to the rest of the world --
DEFTERIOS: -- that he should get the constitutional changes that he wants. And I thought it was also interesting today in this acceptance of
the presidential inauguration, that he went to the tomb of Ataturk, the first president of Turkey, Kemal Mustafa Ataturk, who he often compares
Laid a wreath there, suggesting that as the 12th president, he wants to carry on that legacy and would like to probably stay in power until the
100th anniversary of that modern republic --
ANDERSON: Well, that's nine years from now.
DEFTERIOS: Two terms, if he can get it.
ANDERSON: Two terms, you're absolutely right. And let me just say before I let you go that when I was interviewing Mr. Erdogan a month or so
ago, it was absolutely clear that he is determined.
And I read the constitution. The constitution allows for an extension of what was in the past a ceremonial role. So, it wouldn't be going
against the constitution if he adopts and takes on a much wider remake as president.
DEFTERIOS: Very interesting.
ANDERSON: So, he --
DEFTERIOS: He needs two-third majority, and this is going to be the story that we'll watch --
DEFTERIOS: -- for the next year.
ANDERSON: It's going to be absolutely fascinating. Always a pleasure.
DEFTERIOS: Nice to see you
ANDERSON: Thank you.
DEFTERIOS: Yes, thanks.
ANDERSON: The Iranian capital, Tehran, is home to towering blocks and clogged streets. But in tonight's Parting Shots, CNN's Reza Sayah shows us
how one man is hoping to add a tad bit of color to the buzzing urban jungle. Have a look at this.
(CAMERA SNAPSHOT SOUND)
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before.
(CAMERA SNAPSHOT SOUND)
(CAMERA SNAPSHOT SOUND)
(CAMERA SNAPSHOT SOUND)
(CAMERA SNAPSHOT SOUND)
(CAMERA SNAPSHOT SOUND)
SAYAH: After. Few artists in the Islamic Republic of Iran have taken more big, old, ugly walls and turned them into mind-bending works of art
than Medhi Ghadyanloo. "I never thought my job would be painting murals," he tells us in his studio in Tehran.
But eight years after he painted his first wall, Ghadyanloo has become an internationally-recognized muralist, who's made an unlikely career out
of beautifying bland barriers. "When I drive and see a good wall, I say to myself, wow, what a wall! What a wall!"
Remarkably, Ghadyanloo says he didn't start taking painting seriously until he was 18 years old when he sketched his aunt. She was so impressed,
she enrolled him in a class. Ghadyanloo's big break came when the government hired him for a project to beautify parts of Tehran with public
The Iranian authorities censor art not deemed consistent with Islamic values, but Ghadyanloo says his instructions were simple: just make it
look pretty. "My hand was open," he says. "No one interfered with my work. I never even talked to them. I did my work, and they liked it."
Ghadyanloo's work clearly doesn't push the political envelope. His murals are mostly surreal snapshots of everyday life.
SAYAH (on camera): Ghadyanloo says whenever he starts a project, his priority, his aim, is to do art that makes people stop in their tracks.
SAYAH (voice-over): In Folded Walls, he pushes back building facades to reveal white clouds and blue skies. In Cycle of Life, he honors his
grandfather, who often wonders where his youth went. In Childlike Vision, Ghadyanloo takes us inside the imagination of schoolkids.
"The first time I was really happy about my work is when I saw a group of tourists taking pictures in front of my mural," he says. "I stood from
afar and really enjoyed it."
Art lovers outside Iran are noticing, too. Ghadyanloo has been invited to a number of international street art festivals, including one in
America, where he'll join other artists in painting murals in Louisiana.
"It's a very good feeling," he says. "Our dreams and imaginations are ones people share all over the world, so I know I'm communicating with
Reza Sayah, CNN, Tehran.
ANDERSON: Amazing stuff. The team here at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you. The news agenda at the moment couldn't be more packed. Let
us know what you are thinking about, how you feel about what's going on, not just in this region, but around the world. You've got an artist like
that on, let us know what you think of his work, facebook.com/CNNconnect, have your say.
You can tweet me @BeckyCNN. Instagram is Becky CNN. Twitter, is @BeckyCNN. I will be back with the world news headlines at the top of the
hour. MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST is next.
DEFTERIOS: This week on MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, Turkey's new president is sworn in. How will President Erdogan's continued political
presence shape the country?
And the market for black gold. How ISIS is becoming richer by the day through illegal oil trades.
Welcome to MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST. Turkey's first directly-elected president has been sworn in this week. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country's
former prime minister, has switched roles to president, a move that could keep him in power for another decade.
While the presidential role is supposed to be mainly a ceremonial one, Erdogan has already indicated the desire to change the constitution and see
his powers extended beyond that. But will this help or hinder the development of this large emerging market of nearly 80 million consumers?
And will it attract or repel investment into this economy of better than $800 billion. Let's take a closer look.
DEFTERIOS (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 stability again.
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.
DEFTERIOS: So, an overall look, there, at how the Turkish economy could take shape under President Erdogan, but how do businesses on the
ground feel about Turkey's future?
I spoke with the chief executive officer of Ustaoglu Mining and Construction, who's also the president of the American-Turkish Chamber of
Commerce, and I asked him if he was concerned about the slower growth we've been seeing in the country.
BESIR KEMAL USTAOGLU, CEO, USTAOGLU MINING AND CONSTRUCTION: We have been growing quite rapidly in the last ten years, and especially for the
last three years of the Erdogan government. And nowadays, the economy is a little slowing down, you are right. And we should be expecting to see
growth rate of 3 percent, 3.5 percent in the next few years.
DEFTERIOS: This is a difficult time because of the unrest in Iraq, which could last a few years. You have the challenges to the south in
Syria. And Europe is slowing down again. Where do you get your export growth?
USTAOGLU: Well the neighboring countries in the southern part of Turkey, Iraq and Syria, was our main partners for exports in the old days.
And actually, being the gateway to the Middle East markets, going through Syria, Turkey was exporting to almost a dozen countries.
You're right, it stopped. And now, European Union is going through some recession. And hopefully, the United States and the European Union
are working on TTIP, Transatlantic Trade Investment, and Partnership Project. Turkey is partner and exporting to both the European Union and
the United States.
DEFTERIOS: Years ago, though, Mr. Erdogan was promising this great growth to the Middle East and tilting south to Africa. Africa's still in
play, but the Middle East looks very chaotic. This is really going to undermine the prospects for the next few years, though.
USTAOGLU: Of course, after this Arab Spring, Northern Africa -- Turkey had so many contractors in Libya, in Egypt, and Algeria. This also
didn't help the Turkish economy, you are right. And I hope in the near future this -- all this completely resolved, and again, Turkish contractors
will take their place in those countries in Northern Africa, especially.
DEFTERIOS: You've had Prime Minister Erdogan in office for nearly a dozen years. He could be in power for another ten years.
DEFTERIOS: Does this not concern you, that there's a centralization of power under one personality and one individual?
USTAOGLU: Well, not really, because if you look at it, Turkey had its best time in terms of economics and social welfare. The last 12 years,
since November the 3rd, 2002, things are really growing.
Good track record of a dozen years, as you say, 12 years of managing the country in terms of social welfare, economics, and the relations with
Europe and the United States. I think Mr. Erdogan was given a chance to see what happens in his presidency.
DEFTERIOS: It's interesting to note that the ratings agency, particularly Fitch and Moody's, are putting a question mark over domestic
political challenges. Do you think that's fair, by the ratings agencies?
USTAOGLU: I don't agree with those. If you look at the Turkish economy, we have our own dynamics, and if you look at production, it's
increasing. And the unemployment rate is not so bad . And we have a 29- year-old average -- of an average age. It's a big consumer market.
And so rating institutions, I don't understand why they are trying to reduce the rates of Turkey. I don't know.
DEFTERIOS: CEO of Ustaoglu Mining and Construction, Besir Ustaoglu, on the more challenging times in Turkey in terms of economic growth.
Up next, an in-depth look at Turkey's neighbor, Iraq, and how ISIS has quickly established a black market network for oil.
DEFTERIOS: Welcome back to MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST. As ISIS continues to ramp up its attacks in Iraq in a bid to create an Islamic
state in Iraq and Syria, fears are growing that their capture of oil-rich territories is making the extremist group an increasingly wealthier force
to be reckoned with.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): ISIS popped up on the global radar in June with its attack on Mosul. And in a span of just two months has created its
own black market for Iraqi crude.
THEODORE KARASIK, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AND CONSULTANCY, INEGMA: The scale is actually sizable in the sense that they are able to export up to
$3 million a day of oil. Now, this is probably going to rise in the coming months, because winter's coming.
DEFTERIOS: Kurdish regional government president Massoud Barzani confirmed that figure, which he said is generated through a combination of
oil sales and extortion.
DEFTERIOS (on camera): Now, this may be a small sum by global oil standards, but if left unchecked, ISIS could earn more than $1 billion a
year from its oil operations in Iraq. It made that charge June 10th into Mosul. It now has four oil facilities in Mosul.
And if you go down to Kirkuk, which has big deposits, but they have three smaller operations, it has a total of 80,000 barrels of capacity per
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): What ISIS lacks is refining capacity, unable to wrestle control of the strategic Baiji refinery south of Mosul. Energy
strategists say ISIS is selling Iraqi crude at $25 to $60 a barrel, a deep discount on the global benchmark of $100 a barrel.
But black market distribution, even for basic crude, in this part of the world is well-established.
ROBIN MILLS, MIDDLE EAST ENERGY ANALYST: Northern Iraq, of course, people have been stealing and smuggling oil and tapping oil from pipelines
for years in small volumes. So, there's already that kind of infrastructure and those middlemen who know how to trade this stuff.
DEFTERIOS: Islamic militants plied their energy trade in eastern Syria, seizing oil and gas assets for the past few years. In early June,
under the banner of ISIS, they took control of Syria's biggest field in the Deir ez-Zor province.
LUAY AL-KHATTEEB, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE, IRAQ ENERGY INSTITUTE: This is not a nascent experience. It is something I would call at least three
years of experience, and they've been supported by various cartels that they have interest in in this black market economy.
DEFTERIOS: Opposition Turkish parliamentarian Mehmet Ali Aediboglu, based in the country's south, bordering Syria, claims $800 million worth of
oil that ISIS obtained is being sold in Turkey."
AL-KHATTEEB: We're talking about a sophisticated network that stretches between -- predominantly between three countries. That's Iraq,
Turkey, and Syria.
DEFTERIOS: With US military intervention, strategists say the Kurds have kept ISIS out of Kirkuk's super oil field, capping for now the group's
DEFTERIOS: And it's worth noting, despite ISIS's control over some oil fields and all the continued chaos in the region, the prices of crude
continue to weaken. And that's all for this edition of CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST. I'm John Defterios, thanks for watching. We'll see you next