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CONNECT THE WORLD
A Day Of Football on the World Stage; Hundreds of Yazidi Hostages Released by ISIS; Yemen President Chief of Staff Kidnapped by Rebels; Seven Million Copies of Charlie Hebdo to Print; Muslims Protest Charlie Hebdo Cover; French Society Examines Roots of Homegrown Terrorism; Islamists Out of France Protest Canceled; Parting Shots: Turkish Cartoonist Defends Free Speech; Bilateral Trade; Investing in Iran; Technological Expansion
Aired January 18, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: The long road to freedom after months in captivity.
This hour, the latest on hundreds of Yazidi prisoners released by ISIS.
Also ahead, a rebel militia, an active arm of al Qaeda and now a political kidnapping: what exactly is going on in Yemen? We're live in Sanaa for the
And satire in Turkey: the tale of a cartoonist in the fight for freedom of expression.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: At 8:00 in the evening here, it is a very good evening. We begin with a major development out of northern Iraq tonight where we
understand around 200 minority Yazidis have been released by ISIS.
Now you'll remember last year the world watched as an entire Yazidi community fled in terror. they were in the path of a brutal ISIS advance,
some eventually rescued or managed to escape, but many others were not so lucky. Those who were left behind were taken captive. Hundreds of women
and girls were enslaved or forced to marry ISIS fighters.
Well, CNN's senior international correspondent Ivan Watson is in Belgium right now following the terror investigations for you in Europe, but he
covered the plight of the Yazidis extensively and was on board that helicopter you just saw. He's got more now on this latest development.
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Kurdish authorities and activists from the Yazidi religious minority are trying to reunite a group
of nearly 200, mostly elderly men and women from that Yazidi community who were released by ISIS militants after being held captive for months. They
were released on Saturday without really any explanation near the frontlines between ISIS positions and Kurdish Peshmerga positions near the
northern Kurdish controlled city of Kirkuk on Saturday.
An activist that I talked to, he said that many of these elderly were in terrible condition. They were filthy, many of them sick and hungry and
many of them also physically and mentally disabled.
They are on their way back to the Yazidi shrine of Lalesh (ph) in northern Iraq. They are probably going to end up living in some of the refugee
camps that house hundreds of thousands of people, not only Yazidis, but Christians, Muslims as well, who have all been made homeless by the ISIS
military offensive that began last summer in northern Iraq.
The release of these people underscores a much bigger problem, the fact that ISIS took thousands of Yazidis hostage when they mounted their
offensive last summer. And in fact they have publicly claimed responsibility for the enslavement of thousands of Yazidi girls and women
who according to survivors that I've talked to, many of whom have been described -- have been used effectively as sex slaves since they were taken
ISIS have actually released memos, pamphlets that they've distributed at mosques describing how the captors are allowed to have sex with some of
these slaves, how they're allowed to buy and sell them, and treat them.
This is a case of modern-day slavery as well as ethnic cleansing that has been carried by ISIS in northern Iraq. Desperate members of this religious
minority, some of them are trying to gather money to pay ransom to ISIS to try to release some of the thousands of members of this Yazidi group who
are still being held hostage in ISIS militant hands.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Brussels.
ANDERSON: Well, we will head back to Brussels later in the show for the latest on that Europe-wide crack down on alleged terror cells. France,
Belgium and Greece all on high alert. More on that in about 10 minutes' time.
Well, I want to take you now to Yemen where the president's right-hand man is spending a second day in captivity held by prisoners -- held prisoner,
sorry, by rebels who, they say, want to send a message to the country's leader.
Ahmed bin Mubarak was abducted by armed men in the capital Sanaa on Saturday. Now he is the latest victim of what is a power struggle between
the country's Sunni leadership and Shiite Houthi rebels that continues to simmer despite a peace deal reached in September.
Well, between longstanding feelings of marginalization and fresh fears over the country's draft constitution, Yemen's minority Houthis have a lot of
To talk us through some of them, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh joining us now from the capital.
And let's start with this abduction, Nick. In broad daylight and in the middle of the city, a brazen abduction. What is the message?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Given a few hours after the abduction by the Houthi political wing was they are keen for the
president to recognize, quote, this is a sensitive time and they say they did this to slow down or prevent him from introducing a new constitution,
which they say they do not approve of. That constitution would be part of the lengthily negotiated transition process here in Yemen wracked by years
Becky, that conflict has gotten no easier. The Houthis increasingly organized, a collection of militia or tribes, disgruntled parts of the
country here, have been sweeping across the nation, taking a lot of ground most importantly in the past few months, the capital behind me.
You see their checkpoints on most of the major streets here. A lot of order, it has to be said, but also a lot of fear that they brought with
them, because many Sunnis in Yemen fear them as ostensibly a Shia majority -- sorry, a Shia group that are having great success in taking back parts
of the country.
So that move to take President Hadi's chief of staff, Dr. bin Mubarak, clearly their bid at an escalation. We've seen today further moves now.
We are hearing about the southern province of Shabwah where Dr. Mubarak, the chief of staff, is from, has said it will shut off oil supplies to the
country's main infrastructure this evening if he is not released.
So, a real sense of tension mounting here between both sides. And frankly few intermediaries at this stage to slow that process down, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yeah, Nick, one Yemeni official describing this abduction as a, and I quote, ridiculous show of muscle flexing. But it does beg the
question, who is in charge in Yemen? Who controls what? And where does the government fit in these days?
WALSH: Well, who controls what is a very interesting question, one, frankly, I can't give you a simple answer to simply because nobody seems to
be in control of much a lot of the time.
The Houthis are in control of a lot of the streets you see here in Sanaa. The government is doing its best to cling on to the vestiges of power. The
president is still in his administration, although his chief of staff obviously can't travel to the center of the capital city without being
We see fears of an economic collapse. Many officials talking about the potential the government may soon run out of money to pay salaries, the
meager salaries of the staff depend upon.
So, the real sense of the crisis escalating here -- and for the west that's vitally important, because the deeper the spiral in which Yemen falls, the
easier ostensibly it is for al Qaeda to get on with their job of planning attacks on the west.
One western diplomat explaining to me that in fact it's this rise in perceived sectarian tension, however much you view this as being a simple
Sunni-Shia split, and many analysts explain it's far more complex than that -- but that perceived sectarian tension is in fact causing many worried
Yemeni Sunnis to join the side that you might be consider to be one al Qaeda is on, too, easing the job of al Qaeda on the local battlefield here
in many of the troubled reasons around here and freeing up some breathing space, as one diplomat said to me, in which they can use to plan external
So, however bad it gets here in Yemen, that does seem to benefit al Qaeda's ability to plan attacks on the west, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh in Sanaa for you this evening. Thanks, Nick.
Well, Pope Francis wrapping up his week-long trip to Asia. He had an emotional moment on Sunday when a 12-year-old girl who had been abandoned
asked him why god allowed bad things to happen to kids. Later, at an open air mass, the pope reminded Filipinos to care for their kids.
CNN's Anna Coren shows us how the event may have been the largest gathering ever for the pope.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Despite pouring, unrelenting rain, millions of people braved the elements to see Pope Francis celebrate
his final mass here in the Philippines.
Well, many of them had camped out from the night before waiting patiently to be part of papal history.
It's 20 years since Pope John Paul II visited this devout Catholic nation and authorities expected this crowd to exceed the record of 5 million who
had gathered here for mass back in 1995.
And while the wet weather may have turned some people away, it certainly did not dampen the spirits of those who came, describing their faith as
Pope Francis continued his message of helping the poor, protecting the family in particular children.
POPE FRANCIS, HEAD OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: We need to see each child as a gift to be welcomed and protect. And we need to care for our young people,
not allowing them to be robbed of (inaudible) and condemned to the life on the streets.
COREN: The 78-year-old pontiff has received a rock star reception throughout his four-day visit in the country that has the third largest
Catholic population in the world. After delivering a 90 minute service, the pope said his final farewells blessing the crowd, stopping along the
route to kiss babies and children. The adoring public professing their love not wanting him to leave.
Well, the pope heads home to Rome on Monday morning, wrapping up his week- long trip to Asia, which has been heralded as a success.
Anna Coren, CNN, Manila.
ANDERSON: Well, still to come this hour, the routes of radicalism in France: a talk show host tackles the question of why the terrorists
rejected their nations values and turned on their own people.
And a show of force: police on the streets of Brussels after Friday's dramatic anti-terror raid in Verviers. And an update on the investigation
ANDERSON: Belgium now on high alert as heavily armed guards patrol the streets in Brussels and in Antwerp. Authorities have charged five
nationals with participating in a terror organization. Now this comes after police raided a suspected terror cell in Verviers last week.
And it's not only in Belgium that terror raids have taken place. In France, the public prosecutor's office says three women detained in
connection with the Paris attacks have been released. Nine other people remain in custody for at least 48 hours while the investigation continues.
Let's get you to Belgium. Phil Black is standing by following the terror investigation.
And have authorities been willing, Phil, to say what they've learned at this stage?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, not beyond the most basic information.
So we know that they believe they've disrupted a plot that was targeting police officers. They conducted raids across the country, five people have
been charged, two people were shot dead during those raids, two more people detained in France.
Beyond that, the authorities here have been very disciplined, suggesting that this is very much an investigation still underway.
And in this new international lead that we have heard about, this discipline is still being maintained, both Belgian and Greek authorities
say they are working together. The Greeks say they are investigating based upon information supplied by the Belgian authorities. But they're saying
little more than that.
However, a Greek police spokesperson said to CNN in a somewhat mysterious statement that for individuals where the process of identification has been
confirmed, they cannot establish a link to the Greek terror plot.
What that line very strongly suggests is that they have been detaining people. They are looking for someone, or perhaps multiple people in Greece
connected to the Belgian terror plot, they just haven't found them yet, Becky.
ANDERSON: Can you describe the atmosphere where you are at present?
BLACK: Here on the streets of Brussels, it's largely a pretty average Sunday afternoon apart from the very striking sight of armed soldiers on
the streets outside key buildings, key sites either related to the Belgian government, the European Union or key Jewish sites.
We were in Antwerp, the city north of Brussels earlier today talking to members of the Jewish community there where again there are also armed
soldiers on the streets. They are nervous, the Jewish community in this country is particularly nervous. They are happy to see these armed
soldiers patrolling. This is part of the security response to the terror plot that has been disrupted to the ongoing terror threat in this country
as it has been assessed by authorities, by the government here.
Members of the Jewish community say these soldiers help. They do make them feel better. But they believe it is just a short-term solution. They
believe that there needs to be a greater, long-term government solution to deal firstly with the threat of Islamist terror in this country, but also
to deal with what they believe has been a wider dramatic increase in anti- Semitism here and across Europe -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Clearly, Europe on high alert. You've eluded to the operations in Greece. And we're looking at what is going on in France and in Belgium
at the moment.
Where you are, has there been any evidence of a real and credible threat any time soon? Or are we really looking here at authorities airing on the
side of caution after what were clearly missed opportunities in France?
BLACK: It's an interesting question.
When it comes to the plot targeting police that the authorities acted on, on Thursday night, these raids across the country, they believe that threat
in particular was imminent. The authorities here have spoken about it being hours away, certainly no more than a day or two. They think they got
in there just in time based upon information that they haven't yet revealed.
But, as we've been talking about, there is security response, the uptick in the security posture, that has been maintained and it's going to be like
that for at least a week.
The authorities here say they don't have any new information pointing to another immediate threat, but they clearly believe the threat is still
substantial and that is why they are taking these steps.
And given the fact that the investigation is still very much ongoing, it does appear they are still looking for people connected to it either here
in Belgium or perhaps in other countries like Greece, it does suggest that members of this particular terror plot may still be a t large, may not be
detained. And perhaps that is where they see the potential threat coming from as well, Becky.
ANDERSON: Phil Black reporting for you tonight from Brussels. Thank you.
Well, first, France and Belgium and possibly Greece, the terror attacks and raids that followed have many wondering what the next target might be, and
crucially how to prevent it before it happens. You can stay up to date on all of that and the latest developments on the website at
CNN.com/international as you would expect.
Live from Abu Dhabi, it's 19 minutes past 8:00 this evening. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.
Coming up, a hat trick tournament of action for football fans from Man City and Arsenal to China's streak at the Asia Cup. That and more after this.
And as the investigation into the Paris attacks continues, France (inaudible) how to prevent another incident.
Your world news headlines are at the bottom of the hour, then more on Paris.
ANDERSON: Well, football fever on several continents this weekend. Huge excitement in Equatorial Guinea for the opening of the Africa Cup of
Nations. 16 teams, four host cities, and unlimited enthusiasm at the open scenes -- at the open match were anything to go by.
You're watching Connect the World live from Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson for you.
First, it's super Sunday, though, in the Premier League with champions Manchester City taking on Aresonal. 20 minutes into that game at City's
Eitihad Stadium, the score still nil. We'll be hearing later how Manchester City are down one star player and one new signing in that game all because
of this tournament, the Africa Cup of Nations, which started with great fanfare despite precautions over Ebola, it has to be said.
We'll be looking at some of the favorites in just a moment.
And topping off our tournament hat trick for you, the Asia Cup. China now leads Group B after beating North Korea, their third straight group win.
A rousing red-shirted effort. So does it mean China is back in the game?
James Piercy here with me to talk us through this Sunday extravaganza of sport if you're a football fan, wow, anywhere in the world today it seems
there's something going on. Let's talk about the Asia Cup.
JAMES PIERCY, DEPUTY EDITOR, SPORT 360: Absolutely. I mean, you touched on China there. They've perhaps been the story of the tournament so far.
Are they back in the game? Well, they've never really been in the game. And it's amazing, really, you know, a population that large.
But I think with China football has never really taken hold. I mean, there's been parallels drawn with Yao Ming, his impact he made on the NBA
10 years ago. And perhaps if China can have a decent run in this tournament, make a statement -- they've got a tough game up next against
Australia, the hosts. You kind of lean towards the Aussies to win that. But if China can continue, then maybe football fever can take hold in that
part of the world.
ANDERSON: Some local interest, the UAE versus well one might say their nemesis, Iran coming up.
PIERCY: That's right. I mean, it's -- I don't mean to sound biased but the UAE have been pretty good so far. You know, it's a very, very small
country. They've got some wonderful, wonderful talent. Their technical footballers. This isn't a team that just, you know, plays the percentages,
does the basics. They really do play football exceptionally well.
ANDERSON: So, you back them to go on, do you?
PIERCY: Well, I think tomorrow's game I think will reveal a lot more, because ultimately the UAE need a draw or a win. If they get that, they
avoid Japan in the next round. Japan by far the strongest team in the continent. They get past Japan, they're looking at probably Iraq in the
second round. They've got the beating of Iraq. Once you're in the semifinals anything is possible.
So, they're a very good side -- if the draw (inaudible) they get results tomorrow, they could well go. They could progress to the final.
ANDERSON: This is what these tournaments are all about. If you just think back to Costa Rica in the England group, of course, way back when in the
summer last year. I mean, anything, anything can happen and often does.
PIERCY: Yeah. I mean, the thing is with the UAE this is something they've been planning for. I mean, Mahdi Ali the coach, he's had this group of
players for three, five, six, seven years, some of them since they were 15, 16 year old kids. So they seem to have really grown up together. And
you're seeing that in the way they play. They're a great collective. Some of the flicks and tricks going on -- they're very, you know, aesthetically
they're a wonderful side to watch.
ANDERSON: Let's get to Super Sunday in England, because I can tell our viewers that Arsenal have just scored against Manchester City. Cazorla at
24 minutes. It was a penalty. I can't see the game, as we are on air, of course, but that looks like a cracking game. Aguero and company starting
for City of course.
PIERCY: Yeah, well it does -- it starts (inaudible). They're missing Yaya Toure. They haven't won a league game without Yaya Toure, since April last
year. So that's some record and Arsenal are really taking the advantage there.
So, it's interesting to see how this pans out. Aguero makes such a difference for Manchester City. They are just so much more of a threat
with him in the team. Aresonal, of course, you're struggling to see an Arsenal keeping clean sheets at the moment.
ANDERSON: Yaya Toure just finally and very briefly not playing for Man City of course today because he's playing at the Africa Cup.
PIERCY: Absolutely. I mean, he's an injury doubt for Tuesday's game. Ivory Coast, a lot of pressure on them. You know, this group of players
they're very strong team, but underperformed so far, had a poor World Cup. Going into the tournament not quite favorites. Algeria there with a
(inaudible), but yeah there's a lot of pressure on Ivory Coast to deliver this time.
ANDERSON: Yeah, fantastic.
All right, well as I said if you're a football fan out there you're having a great day. And if you're not, well, I was just looking at some of the
fixtures and it was just great to see, you know, Thailand out there giving it -- I mean, like you say, China, you never really consider a footballing
nation, sort of rising up through the ranks.
PIERCY: Palestine, of course.
ANDERSON: They do say that it's a great game when it's a good game, as it were on the global stage.
The world news headlines are just ahead here on CNN -- thank you Piercy.
Plus, Charlie Hebdo's Mohammed cartoon have enraged some and enfired (ph) others. Hear what a Turkish cartoonist has to say about freedom of
expression in his own country. That after this.
ANDERSON: From Abu Dhabi, welcome back. This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. The top stories for you this hour.
Around 200 Yazidi have been freed by their ISIS captors in northern Iraq. They are now in the care of Kurdish authorities. One activist told CNN
that most of them are elderly, and many are sick.
Rain didn't discourage around 6 million people from attending the open-air mass with Pope Francis in Manila. This may be a record for a papal event.
He reminded followers to care for their families and their community.
Belgium is deploying soldiers to patrol its streets for the first time in more than 30 years. The boost in security comes after a series of anti-
terror raids. Five Belgians have been charged with alleged terror activities.
A weekly anti-Islam march in Dresden, Germany has been canceled. This is video of the rally last week. The group announced the cancellation on
Facebook and said police received information about a credible threat against one of its leaders.
Circulation of the once obscure Charlie Hebdo keeps growing. Publishers now say they are printing a total of 7 -- 7 million copies of the satirical
magazine to meet demand. That new issue depicts the Prophet Mohammed on the cover, which is considered blasphemy for Muslims. Protest against the
issue have taken place in Niger, in Somalia, and in Pakistan.
In Niger's capital, at least ten people are dead after protests turned violent. Demonstrators set churches on fire and burned Bibles. Well,
students from Mogadishu University crowded the Somali capital's streets in protest, many holding "Je Suis Muslim" signs.
And in Pakistan, people gathered in major cities in Karachi. A photographer was injured by gunfire during the protests.
The attacks in in Paris have also sparked a debate inside France about what steps authorities and the public can take to meet the challenge of Islamic
radicalism. In a moment, I'm gong to go live for the latest news there. First, though, this report from our correspondent Jim Bittermann.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For seven years now, Ahmed El Keiy's talk show on French TV has taken on
important social issues, like racism, security, and multiculturalism, topics that justify the show's title, "Toutes Les France," all kinds of
France, with guests who reflect the country's diversity.
So, after last week's bloody days of terrorist attacks, there was little doubt what this week's program was centered on. In a special edition, the
French-Egyptian host decided to show a film called "My Brother the Terrorist," and after the film, gathered teachers and students to debate
what he believes is the solution to France's homegrown terrorism: education.
AHMED EL KEIY, "TOUTES LES FRANCE": How are we going to teach in a different manner all what we call the Republican values -- liberty,
fraternity, equality -- and make citizens -- make responsible citizens today. Because the assassins were in the French Republican school. They
learned in the French Republican school. They are French citizens. So, what happened to them?
BITTERMANN: In fact, one of El Keiy's guests calculated that the three terrorists involved in the shootings last week, because they went through
the French school system, had each been in classes with at least 45 different school teachers. Yet somewhere along the line, they made the
decision to reject those national values.
FRANCOIS DURPAIRE, PROFESSOR OF EDUCATION SCIENCE (through translator): Today, there are 10,000 soldiers in the streets of France, but there are a
million teachers. These one million teachers are one million soldiers for tolerance, for liberty, and for the republic.
BITTERMANN: But for both educators and students involved in the program, the challenge seems to be coming up with the practical tools to give young
people, who increasingly come from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, a reason to feel French first.
El Keiy, who once did a program called "Sheikh Google and Abu Facebook," says that in an era of the internet and social media, with problems of
discrimination and unemployment, it has become more and more difficult to inspire young people.
EL KEIY: You have to be very careful and very vigilant and understand why people decide to leave the French society, to leave their life, where is
their dream, and consider that going to Syria and fighting and becoming jihadist is an adventure. So, where is the adventure in the French
society? Where is the dream?
BITTERMANN (on camera): The debate about how best to address the roots of French terrorism will no doubt continue for some time here, and no one is
suggesting that there is a quick fix that can make the threat go away.
Jim Bittermann, CNN, Gennevilliers, France.
ANDERSON: A demonstration was planned for Paris today with the theme "Islamists Out of France." Paris police banned that rally that was
organized by far-right groups. The organizers are complying with the ban and have not gathered.
Well, CNN's Nic Robertson is in Paris for us now, and while the protest, Nic, didn't happen, it is clear that the organizing groups' raison d'etre,
as it were, does represent the feelings of some Parisians, doesn't it?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It does, Becky, but you could really argue it is such a small minority. The organizers,
instead of having a rally, because it was banned, decided to hold a press conference.
They had about 30 people at the press conference, and really, the star of the gathering of the people on the stage was somebody from the German
group, PEGIDA, where earlier this month, they were gathering in Dresden, for example, 17,000 people at their rally. This leader of PEGIDA spoke and
said we want to join the different groups in Europe together.
Again, but a minority audience. One of the leaders of the protest or the planned rally that became, essentially, this press conference, said that
what is happening in France, the fact that their protests had been banned by the police, he said that the interior minister was, in effect, doing the
job of the terrorists.
But the reality is here that they're not getting a huge widespread support, 30 people at a press conference is a pretty small number, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nic Robertson reporting from Paris for you. Nic, just explain, how would you describe the mood in Paris today?
ROBERTSON: You look out here at the Champs-Elysees, the streets are full of tourists and Parisians. This is a city that's sort of emerging, if you
will, from the horror and tragedy that they went through and now debating the way forward. The concerns now are how to deal with this, what is the
nature of the problem.
Of course, there are plenty of police around because there is a realistic concern that there could be another attack, that there are other elements
of these cells. The French released 3 of the 12 people that they'd arrested for questioning, 9 are still being held.
But I don't think anyone here believes that the police have gotten to the bottom of this yet, so that's in the back of people's minds. I think these
are the ways that Parisians are feeling it at the moment, Becky.
ANDERSON: Very briefly, Nic. A lot of soul-searching, one assumes, as well, because I think French politicians or certainly authorities will
accept that there were missed opportunities. So far as legislation is concerned, would you expect more and tougher going forward?
ROBERTSON: Certainly expect a serious and heated debate about it. There's obviously a feeling that something like a Patriot Act in France similar to
what the United States would have would be going too far, that that would deal a blow to freedoms and liberties here.
But that is going to be the nature of the debate, how far should the controls and the oversights go? For example, right now, the intelligence
services here, when they get a wiretap, are allowed to tap one particular phone associated with that person in question that's been specified and
they've been to a judge to get the permission to do this.
What they're not allowed to do that would be more expected and normal, perhaps, in some other countries, is to be able to listen to a number of
phones associated with that person, because what happened here, some of those people involved, apparently were using the phones of relatives and
friends to avoid detection, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nic Robertson reporting. Nic, thank you
The massacre at Charlie Hebdo has sparked a fierce debate over freedom of expression. In tonight's Parting Shots, we hear from a Turkish cartoonist
who faced his own battle to draw cartoons critical of then prime minister, now president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Jomana Karadsheh has the story.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Locked arm-in-arm, world leaders marched in Paris in a show of solidarity with
France following the terror attacks.
But at an event advocating freedom of expression, many saw the presence of leaders like Turkey's prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, as hypocritical
because back here, at home, many say these freedoms have been under fire.
MUSA KART, TURKISH CARTOONIST (through translator): Everyone knows that for the past ten years, the space for the press has increasingly shrunk.
Opposition voices are harder to express.
KARADSHEH: Musa Kart says he knows that all too well. Last year, his satirical cartoons of then prime minister now president Recep Tayyip
Erdogan landed him in court on charges including libel and insult. He's faced similar charges in the past because of his worth. The court
acquitted him, but the decision has been appealed. He still faces about ten years in jail if convicted.
KARADSHEH (on camera): Watchdog groups say the media freedom situation has worsened over the last couple of years. They say they've documented cases
where journalists critical of the government have been detained and imprisoned under restrictive laws. They say other journalists have been
fired or forced to resign as a result of what they describe as systematic pressure by the government.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): The Turkish government has repeatedly denied a crackdown. President Erdogan last month dismissed the criticism. "Nowhere
in the world is the media as free as it is in Turkey. The commit defamation, racism and hate crimes. You would not be able to commit this
much insult anywhere else in the world," he said. But Turkish journalists tell a different story.
YAVUZ BAYDAR, JOURNALIST: News reporting per se is becoming a challenge as we have never seen before. The censorship, and in a wider context, self-
censorship, as become a norm. It's a culture now as a result of increasing cabin pressure.
KARADSHEH: Baydar is a founding member of P24, an organization recently created to give independent journalism a platform. Despite the challenges,
Kart says he will not stop.
KART (through translator): People learn how to deal with fear. They learn to control their fear, and they continue doing what they want to be doing
responsibly. We will continue writing and drawing because this is our job.
KARADSHEH: A job that many here worry is under threat.
Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.
ANDERSON: Well, freedom of expression, the roll of the satirists, for example, your thoughts, facebook.com/CNNconnect, have your say. You can
tweet me, as ever, @BeckyCNN. From the team here in Abu Dhabi, it is a very good evening.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, HOST: On this week's program: from sanctions to social media, we'll look at how Iran's economic woes are impacting people and
places beyond its borders. And how back at home, they're creating windows of innovative opportunity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SASSAN BEHZADI, CO-FOUNDER, ANAR SOCIAL MEDIA APP: You have to be crazy to do something like that in Iran, but there's an opportunity there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: Welcome to MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, this week from Dubai. The world, of course, is anticipating the conclusion of the P5+1 talks with
Iran, nowhere more so, perhaps, than here in the UAE.
There's less than 100 kilometers that separate the two countries, and despite the sanctions, we see bilateral trade of $10 billion on an
annualized basis. But right now, not everyone is benefiting, including the small traders on the water. Amir Daftari has their story.
AMIR DAFTARI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A walk around Dubai's old creek is like taking a step back in time. Despite the heat
from the midday sun, all the labor here is done by hand.
Workers load cargo onto traditional dhows. Everything from TVs and textiles to refrigerators and rugs, ready to be shipped 150 kilometers
across the gulf to Iran.
Dubai has always been a major trading partner with the Islamic Republic, and these old boats play an important role in that relationship. We were
invited for a rare look onboard.
This dhow has been shipping goods back and forth for 20 years. This six- man crew all eat, live, sleep, and even wash here. The vessel and the cargo it carries is their entire world and a thousand miles away from
negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program.
So, when I asked Pouraya, the youngest crew member, how international sanctions on Iran are impacting his livelihood, his answer is simple.
"Things have become harder," he says. "It's harder to get hold of goods. There are fewer buyers. And Iran's currency doesn't have the value it once
But what if a nuclear deal is done and sanctions are finally lifted, I asked? "Until now, things have only been getting harder," he insists.
"Things may improve. All we can do is wait and see what happens."
But no matter how hard the situation gets, for Pouraya and everybody else onboard, work doesn't stop. Because for the merchants of Dubai's creek,
the everyday reality is far removed from diplomatic discussions in five- star hotels. Here, they're down to just the basic necessities of life. And still, the crew insists we join them at the captain's table for
something to eat.
But the talk here is not of nuclear ambitions or uranium enrichment. On this old dhow, they tell me they just want stability amid the choppy waters
of international politics.
DEFTERIOS: A falling currency and tighter sanctions, not the best climate in which to launch an investment fund in Iran, but that's what Turquoise
Partners has been faced with. It has $200 million invested in Iranian companies. I had a chance to talk to the CEO and asked him what would
actually happen to this frontier market if the sanctions were lifted.
RAMIN RABII, CEO, TURQUOISE PARTNERS: I would say the opening up of Iranian market is the largest opening up of any market in recent history,
after Russia, probably, in 1990s.
If you put together the consumer potential of Turkey, the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia, the national gas reserves of Russia, and the mineral reserves
of Australia, we all have it in one country. And the country has been closed to foreign investment for over 30 years. So, the potential is
Iranian population is a very young population, very well-educated population, tech-savvy population. So, there's a lot of potential for
growth and investment when Iran opens up.
DEFTERIOS: How much good will does President Hassan Rouhani have within the business community? I know expectations were very high linked to the
RABII: Talking to the Iranian business community, they all thought the deal is done, and they're just negotiating the details. So, I would say
that November extension came as a surprise, and it was disappointing to some people in the business community to see extended negotiations.
But the mood in Iran following the election of Rouhani and the Geneva agreement, in the business community, the mood is much, much better. Our
economy grew by 4.6 percent the following quarter, and it was because of the deal.
Because the three main sectors that grew were oil sector, auto sector, and tourism, which was the result of the Geneva agreement. And it just shows
the potential of growth of Iranian economy if sanctions were to be lifted.
DEFTERIOS: Let's see if we can break down two sectors and give the international community a sense of what is there in Iran. Let's take autos
and cement and what could happen if you'd lifted the sanctions permanently.
RABII: A very interesting pick. Auto sector, Iran at its peak produced 1.6 million vehicles a year, which put it ahead of a lot of the developed
countries in that matter. In the cement sector, this year Iran surpassed US as the third-largest producer of cement in the world, and it's actually
the number one exporter of cement because of the development programs that are going on in Iraq and Afghanistan.
DEFTERIOS: As you know, many international banks were burned by violating sanctions and paid heavy fines. Isn't this going to be a huge hurdle, to
have them engage, come back -- UK banks, Swiss banks, French banks -- into the market?
RABII: I would imagine that if Iran were to open up tomorrow, we would -- the first people who would come to Iran for investment would be frontier
market investors and emerging market investors. And then, following that, larger financial institutions.
Larger financial institutions, they're like big tankers. For them, it's very difficult to change their compliance policies. So, I would say it
will take a few months, maybe a few years for larger financial institutions to come to Iran.
DEFTERIOS: If Iran were to open up, wouldn't it need to have or adopt the fiscal discipline of removing subsidies, which got as high as $50 billion?
RABII: Everyone in Iran understands and knows that eventually that has to change and subsidies need to be either lifted or be very targeted for the
poor and needy. And they have various -- they've tried various methods to try to target the subsidies.
Having said that, with oil prices going down and crashing, in next year's budget for Iran, the total amount of subsidies will be much less than
before. Most of the subsidies are energy subsidies, and because of the drop in prices, they're -- going to be much smaller.
Just to give you an example, the price of a liter of gasoline in Iran used to be 65 percent lower than that of the US. Right now, it's around only 25
to 30 percent less.
DEFTERIOS: Ramin Rabii of Turquoise Partners on some of the challenges and opportunities of this developing market.
Up next on MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, high-tech Tehran. How the Islamic Republic could be the next regional hub for innovation. That's after the
DEFTERIOS: Welcome back to MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, this week from the heart of Dubai. We know that Iran is faced with some of the most difficult
sanctions of any country in the world, and it's hitting the economy badly. For example, youth unemployment remains above 20 percent.
But despite the difficulties, we're starting to see the initial sparks of innovation. It may not be Silicon Valley, but there's a high-tech sector
starting to brew.
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With a touch of his finger, Sassan Behzadi uses the new smartphone app Anar to send his
favorite pictures to his friends. Moments later, his friends respond with comments and their own photos.
Sounds like your typical photo-sharing social networking service. But what's different about Anar is that it's made here in the Islamic Republic
of Iran. And in less than six months, more than a half a million people are using it.
BEHZADI: It doesn't take long to sort of say there's an opportunity there.
SAYAH: Behzadi and Jafar Barzegar co-founded the new Farsi language app, one of several projects that have made them pioneering entrepreneurs in an
Iranian high-tech sector most investors used to avoid. Here in Iran, the conservative leadership restricts internet speed and access. Sites like
Facebook are blocked.
SAYAH (on camera): Western sanctions have also cut off the country from international banking, making online payments often impossible. Even so,
computer and smartphone use here is at an all-time high, and entrepreneurs are moving in.
SAYAH (voice-over): Today, e-commerce site Digikolo is Iran's version of Amazon, doing millions of dollars of weekly online sales. Iran's Center
for E-Commerce has more than 20,000 smaller internet stores, and social apps are online.
BEHZADI: This country needs it, because it's been cut off from the world.
SAYAH: Behzadi and Barzegar saw such an opportunity, the two came back to Iran after years in Europe and the US.
BEHZADI: I think you have to be crazy to do something like that in Iran, but when you look at the market, you look at a country of 70 million
people, mostly young, fairly educated, well-off, desperate need to be connected to the world. There's an opportunity there.
SAYAH: Seven years ago, their employees numbered four. Today, they have 32, mostly young programmers and engineers who put off dreams of moving
overseas and instead stayed in Iran to help launch Farsi language online games that have more than 1.5 million users, and the social app Anar, that
caters to Iran's growing number of young consumers and local businesses and advertisers who want to go after them.
JAFAR BARZEGAR, CO-FOUNDER, ANAR SOCIAL MEDIA APP: This is getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And our audience is basically -- the market is
coming after us. We're not going after the market.
BEHZADI: The best feature is being native, native meaning we give people the kinds of things they want.
SAYAH: A winning business formula that has the high-tech sector in Iran thriving despite an economy that remains cut off from much of the world.
DEFTERIOS: Online commerce, not something that pops to mind when you think of Iran.
If you'd like to reach out and find out what we're doing online, check out our website, cnn.com/mme. Or you can send us a message on our Facebook
page as well.
And that's all for this edition of CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, this week from Dubai. I'm John Defterios, thanks for watching. We'll see you next