Return to Transcripts main page


Pope Visits Nairobi; Turkish President: Russia Should Apologize to Us; Silk Road: Armenia's IT Sector; Belgian Imam Attempts to Combat Extremism With Afterschool Program. Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET

Aired November 26, 2015 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:16] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: A relationship too important to ruin, threatened by a blow too big to ignore.

Russia and Turkey have been giving their versions of what happened to Moscow's warplane shot down over Syria, and the war of words is

intensifying. This hour, I talk exclusively to the Turkish president, for his take on a deepening rift with dangerous implications for his country,

for Syria and the world.

Hello, welcome to a special edition of Connect World live from Ankara.

Just before this show, I spoke exclusively to the Turkish president here in this capital. He says, Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent

comments accusing Turkey of supporting terrorism are a big mistake.

And while he reemphasized he wants to de-escalate the situation with Moscow, Mr. Erdogan refuses to apologize for the shooting down of the

Russian warplane, which he says violated Turkish air space.


RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): Well, I think if there is a party that needs to apologize, it is not us. those

who violated our air space are the ones who need to apologize. our pilots and our armed forces, they simply fulfilled their duties, which consisted

of responding to a violation of the rules of engagement. I think this is the essence.


ANDERSON: We'll have more of my exclusive interview with President Erdogan later in the show. But I want to bring in Professor Ozgur Ozdamar,

an expert in Turkish international relations. He joins me here tonight.

This was a wide ranging interview. And our viewers will hear more of it later on. What's the president and I first talked about with the

circumstances of the downing of this Russian jet, which has caused such a ratcheting up of tensions between Turkey and Russia. And he, once again,

explained that this jet had incurred into Turkish airspace.

Clearly, we are hearing fiery rhetoric from the Russians. The Turkish president emphasizing to me that he is saddened and disappointed by the

situations and that he wants to de-escalate things.

Is there a risk, though, things will continue to get worse?

OZGUR OZDAMAR, PROFESSOR: I don't think so, at least with the information we have right now. I don't think the situation will get any

worse. I don't think there will be a war or anything short of war between Turkey and Russia. And I think both sides will find a way to de-escalate

the situation.

ANDERSON: There will be, though, repercussions. We are already seeing it across, for example, economic issues, talk of suspending gas

deals and infrastructure deals. Can you see some short-term repercussions here?

OZDAMAR: Sure. There may be some economic repercussions but I think the

worst repercussions for Turkey will be in the political arena. We already hear that the Russian president and the Russian administration is blaming

Turkey for supporting terrorism, supporting ISIS, which they have no evidence about it, actually.

And I think we will see more and more propaganda from the Russian side to actually divide Turkey and NATO, Turkey and Europe, Turkey and the U.S.

so that Russia will have more room to maneuver in Syria and do whatever they want in


ANDERSON: Explain what you mean by that.

OZDAMAR: Well, this is actually the downing of the plane is just a side issue. The much bigger issue is nobody knows what to do about Syria

and Syrian civil war. And worst of all actually the west doesn't know what to do about Syria.

And there is a huge power vacuum in the region, actually in the world, but mostly in Syria. And this power vacuum is filled by Russia. And

Russia wants to continue to fill that power vacuum and wants to unilaterally decide on things in


And unless we see more involvement by the united States with its European allies with Turkey, I think Russia will have a free hand to


ANDERSON: It is interesting, though, because you have President Hollande of France in Moscow this very hour and we will hear from him on

CNN as they hold a press conference between him and the Russian president going forward.

Clearly, the west courting Moscow in an effort to get Moscow to join the anti-ISIS coalition, not what they are suggesting at the moment, which is

Russia with Syria attacking moderates and other opposition.

How is that going to go down here, if Moscow were to conceivably get on board with the west? Does that work for Turkey or does this leave

Turkey somewhat isolated?

[11:05:12] OZDAMAR: We have to see the specific conditions of that. I don't think Turkey will be isolated. But we have to see if that kind of

a deal is ever going to happen.

But I suspect that Russia will come close to the French position or American position on pretty much about anything about Syria. I think

that's just a little bit of wishful thinking that Russia will come to the...

ANDERSON: Does that, though, mean Russia effectively and officially jettisoning the Assad administration?

OZDAMAR: Of course. That's what why they are there. They are there to lead the survival, or provide the survival of the Assad regime. I mean,

anything else is just rhetoric and just daily things they say to save the day, basically.

ANDERSON: All right. We are going to leave it there for one moment, because I want to remind our viewers of just how tense this area is, sir,

after the downing of that plane.

Russia sent one of its biggest warships to the region. And look at this map. You can see Turkey and Syria share a long border. With that in

mind, if ISIS is to be defeated, or there is going to be any diplomatic solution in Syria, just how important is it that Turkey and Russia get along?

OZDAMAR: can you repeat the question?

ANDERSON: Just how important is it at this stage that Turkey and Russia get along given what's going on?

OZDAMAR: Well, it s -- it will be much better if they got along. But I think the bigger problem here is that they don't agree on what to do

about Syria. And they are on opposite sides of the story.

And as long as they are on opposite sides of what to do about Syria, the survival of the Assad regime or what to do with ISIS or the Kurds, then

all these issues at the border, the plane, everything, is a side issue.

And the thing is, since the western alliance cannot make up its mind about what to do about Syria and we constantly appease Russia about Syria

and all the other issues, I think a peaceful policy will not work.

First, the western alliance should decide on what to do about Syria. Then, I am sure Turkey will also come along with it. But first, we have to

know ourselves what to do about Syria.

ANDERSON: All right, going to leave it there for one moment. Thank you very much, indeed.

I want to get to -- we're in the Turkish capital tonight. I want to get to Moscow for the latest from Russia.

Let's cross to Matthew Chance in Moscow.

In this exclusive interview that I have just conducted with the Turkish president, he was very defiant in the face of some of this rhetoric

we have heard out of Russia, not least the idea that this might have been a planned provocation by Turkey in the downing of this Russian jet nonsense,


The Turkish president told me and outraged really to hear the accusations

of the Russian president, who effectively has been saying that Turkey is pushing Russia, Matthew, and Turkey into a dead end and that Russia -- that

Turkey is an accomplice to terror.

I certainly got the sense from the Turkish president that although he was being defiant, he was emphasizing he wants to de-escalate this

situation. Are you getting that sense from Moscow?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I am getting the sense that the Turkish president wants to de-escalate, yes, but I'm not

getting the sense that the Russian president does. I mean, he has come again today, Vladimir Putin, saying that we want an apology. We haven't

heard anything about that. We want compensation. We haven't heard anything about that. Those were the remarks kind of remarks, as I

understand it, that President Erdogan rejected so completely.

But there is very little sign that the Russians, despite the urges that they have had for restraints, very little sign that they are going to

let this one slide.

I mean, the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev basically got his ministers together earlier today in a cabinet meeting and said, look, for

areas where we can really have an economic impact and impose sanctions on Turkey. And they have gone away to come up with a list of projects, a list

of areas of trade that they scan potentially sanction that's going to punish Turkey for doing this.

Looking at the gas supply sector. Turkey receives 57 percent of its natural gas from Russia. It is hugely dependent on Russia for its energy

needs. Russia is building a nuclear reactor in Turkey as well. That could be affected as could this other massive infrastructure project the Turkish

stream gas pipeline which is a pipeline carrying gas from Russian fields into Europe by passing Ukraine and going

through Turkey, a multi-billion dollar project, and now in jeopardy, and that's before you even start calculating in the real economic impact of

Russian tourists not going to Turkey anymore.

They -- 3.2 million Russian tourists went to Turkey last year alone. If they stop going, that's going to send a very powerful economic message

to the Turks and something they're not going to be able to ignore, Becky.

[11:10:22] ANDERSON: Speaking of this event earlier on today, the Russian

president said it seemed that Turkey was consciously trying to bring relations with Russia to a dead end and said that he had received no

apology from Turkey for the downing of this Russian jet and that Turkey had not made any offers of compensation.

How important is that to the Russian president or is this more posturing at this point?

CHANCE: I think the Russians are in a state of shock, frankly, that one of their planes that was in Turkish air space, for just 17 seconds, it

has emerged, was blasted out of the sky by a country which they may be on opposite sides on politically when it comes to Syria, but otherwise have

had a very close relationship with, a very close economic relationship. They are shocked.

In addition to that, the rebel groups which one of the rebel groups which Turkey backs, along with other western powers, filmed itself shooting

against international law, at one of the pilots who parachuted out of the Russian

plane after it had been shot down and killing him while they shout the allah akbar, god is great. You know, these are the moderate rebels that

the west is trying to sell to the Russians as being the people they should be doing business with and

could come into talks with, potentially, for the future of Syria.

It is not a very compelling argument from the Russian perspective. And it is going to make the job of Francois Hollande who is of course in

Russia right now. He is meeting with Vladimir Putin as we speak. They are going to have a working

dinner tonight. There's going to be a joint press conference in a few hours.

It is going to make his job of forging a grand coalition against ISIS all the more difficult.

ANDERSON: Matthew Chance is in Moscow. We are live in Ankara, in Turkey

for you this evening. This is a special edition of Connect your World.

Coming up, the pope's second day in Kenya was a busy one. The events on his schedule that attracted people from all over the world and the

country are coming up.



DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We shouldn't be content with outsourcing our security to our allies. If we believe that action can help

protect us, then with our allies, we should be part of that action, not standing aside from it.

And from this moral point comes a fundamental question, if we won't act now when our friend and ally, France, has been struck in this way, then

our allies in the world can be forgiven for asking, if not now, when?


ANDERSON: Well, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron making his case

to parliament earlier today, calling for the UK to begin air strikes against ISIS in Syria.

Well, Cameron's call coming on the same day that French President Francois

Hollande continues his bid to form a grand coalition against ISIS. He is Moscow today meeting Vladimir Putin this hour.

Now in recent days, Mr. Hollande also met with his British, German and American counterparts in an effort to unite forces against the group.

We'll be keeping an eye on the latest developments out of Moscow for you.

Putin and Hollande expected to speak live in just over an hour's time.

Meanwhile, investigators in France are working to piece together the network of terrorists that carried out the Paris attacks nearly two weeks

ago. CNN's Martin Savidge on the story for you.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, with an international manhunt still underway, there are new details emerging about a second

suspect on the run. Mohamed Abrini, last seen here at a gas station in France with Salah Abdeslam, shortly before the November 13th attacks,

traveled to Syria in 2014; and like Abdeslam was maybe to make his way back into Europe undetected, a major concern for investigators.

Also tonight, new fears radicalized Islamic workers are infiltrating the French transportation system, a report revealing concerns about airport

employees with access to commercial airlines at France's two main airports. Officials say since January 50 employees at Charles de Gaulle International

Airport have been denied access to secure locations due to suspicions they may have been radicalized. French transportation unions have complained

that some bus drivers refuse to acknowledge women and have been found praying inside their bus when they were supposed to be driving their

routes. One of the Bataclan Theater attackers was a bus driver, as recently as 2012. Meanwhile, French jets are stepping up the battle against ISIS,

pounding targets inside of Syria and Iraq.

MANUEL VALLS, PRIME MINISTER, FRANCE (through translator): There is no alternative, we have to destroy ISIS.

SAVIDGE: Martin Savidge, CNN, Paris.


ANDERSON: Well, an official with the Brussels Five Service tells CNN that a suspicious powder found at a mosque there was only flour. The

substance was inside an envelope discovered at the grand mosque. Police were alerted and the powder was tested.

Several people also underwent decontamination procedures.

All are reported to be in good health.

Belgium, of course, has been the focus of investigations into those terror attacks in Paris and the city has been at its highest terror alert

level for several days.

Well, while France and Belgium crack down on jihadists, one imam is working to teach children about the true meaning of Islam and protecting

their young minds from becoming radicalized. Our senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir with the story.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Some people, he's saying, do bad things and think they are doing good. And when those people

arrive before their god they will say Allah, I did this for you.

Imam Sulayman Van Ael is teaching his usual afterschool class. Today he's asking the children whether what happened in Paris was an Islamic act.

This little boy refers to a verse from the Koran. He says -- if you murder one person, it's as if you killed all humanity.

Imam Van Ael runs a Muslim values overschool program for Muslim children in Antwerp. Since the attacks in Paris and the prominent role

Belgian jihadis were discovered to have placed, these programs have taken on a new urgency.

[11:20:14] IMAM SULAYMAN VAN AEL, MUSLIM EDUCATOR: Muslim children are exposed through many means like especially social media. There's no

child that doesn't have internet at home.

ELBAGIR: Van Ael when he converted to Islam 20 years. In the intervening two decades Belgium has emerge as ground zero for radical

Islamic force in Europe, providing per capita the highest number of Jihadi fighters joining the ranks of


Children as young as 9 and 10 are being exposed to jihadist thoughts and the ISIS world view.

ELBAGIR: Some of the children that you are working with, they will have older brothers who have gone to Syria.


ELBAGIR: How do you combat that? How do you stop a child following in their older brother's footsteps?

VAN AEL: OK. I think that what we try to do in general is to make a difference between this is your brother as a brother and these are the

deeds of your brother.

ELBAGIR: Van Ael set up these afterschool classes to provide an alternative, he says, to the radical messages that children are being

exposed to.

Next month he's moving to a new facility where he can accumulate 300 students. But it's come at a price.

You have been threatened repeatedly by ISIS.

VAN AEL: In the beginning I stopped teaching because it was -- it got to me. It's not something that is easy. But at the end, you say, you

know, if your goal is good, then it's worth going for it and whatever happens, happens. So it's too important. So, it's too important. It's not

just about my life.

ELBAGIR: The classes will continue in spite of the risks. The need here is greater than ever.

VAN AEL: If I am erased, there will be somebody else that thinks like -- that thinks like me and will keep on going.

ELBAGIR: Nima Elbagir, CNN, Antwerp.


ANDERSON: Live from Ankara, this is Connect the World. Coming up.




DEFTERIOS: You like that, huh?


ANDERSON: CNN's John Defterios takes us on a grand tour of Iran's grand bizarre and we hear from Iranians about their hopes for the future.

Plus, Silk Road is in Armenia, the latest stop of what has been a nine-month odyssey along the

ancient trading route. We will see how modern technology is driving business today. That's next.



[11:26:01] SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You've probably heard of the iPad, but what about the arm tab? This is Armenia's

own tablet computer, designed and assembled by engineers right here.

The man making them is Vahan Chikarian man. Chikarian (ph) isn't trying to compete with big brands, he wants to make cheaper, customized

solutions for the local market.

VAHAN CHIKARIAN: Our clients can come and say, hey, I am ready to spend $120. And I need 500 tablets with this specific software, with this

specific abilities. Can you build it for us?

We build for them.

UDAS: And he is not the only one, across Yaraban (Ph) the IT sector is booming, from computers to robotics.

Today, the country's latest innovations are increasingly exported through a new, virtual silk road.

Early this year, these four young men developed a game for Apple's mobile operating system. The app, Shadowmatic, tests users' abilities to

match shadows to shapes. It was their first game, but already it is a hit. It has over 4 million downloads so far.

"It was very surprising for us to see people paying so much attention to us. It was like we were a winning sports team and all of Armenia was

cheering, he says. There are, of course, challenges for start-ups here, like anywhere. Limited cash flow, change in technology and

difficulties exporting to name a few. But Chikarian doesn't see any risk in this industry.

CHIKARIAN: The more we have startups, it's going to bring more investment in Armenia, it is going to bring more happiness and the young

generation is not going to look how to escape from this country to find a job.

UDAS: He has invested $3 million of his own money in the company and is hopeful his technology will soon be available around the world.

Sumnima Udas, CNN, along the Silk Road.



[11:32:16] ANDERSON: This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson out of Ankara for a special show this evening. The top stories for you

this hour.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he will not apologize for his country shooting down a Russian warplane. In an exclusive interview,

Mr. Erdogan told me those who violated his country's airspace are the ones who should say that they are sorry.


ERDOGAN (through translator): Well, I think if there is a party that needs to apologize, it is

not us. Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize. Our pilots and our armed forces, they simply fulfilled their

duties which consisted of responding to violation of the rules of engagement. I think this is the essence.


ANDERSON: Meanwhile, Britain's Prime Minister DavidCameron is making the case for

British air strikes against ISIS in Syria. He told parliament that strikes are needed to counter the direct

threat he says the militant group proposes to the country. Britain is already attacking ISIS targets in Iraq.

French President Francois Hollande is in the midst of a flurry of diplomacy following the Paris terror attacks. He is in Moscow as we speak

meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Now, France is trying to build a broad coalition to fight ISIS. And this just in, the threat level in Brussels has now been lowered to level

three. The decision comes after a meeting of security officials there.

And Pope Francis has wrapped up the second day of his trip to Africa. Earlier, he celebrated mass in Nairobi in Kenya, his first ever in Africa.

He ended today's schedule with a speech at the UN office in Kenya a short time ago where he called for action on climate change.

Well, our Robyn Kriel is in Nairobi and she joins us now.

What has the pope had to say about religious tolerance while he has been in town, Robyn?

ROBYN KRIEL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, here in Kenya and his next stop Uganda and his final stop the Central African

Republic religious tolerance are all hot button topics. For example, Kenya and Uganda both have troops battling al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab across the

border. And they've both seen the scourge attacks that al Shabaab has wrecked on their own countries. Here in Kenya, the Garissa attack as

recently as April and the Westgate Mall attack in 2013. And in Uganda, the Kampala bombings back in 2010.

Religious tolerance, a big issue. And he sat down today with leaders from all of different faiths including the Supreme Cof Kenyan Muslims and

they talked about peace. And from what we can tell, it was a very positive occasion and everyone walked away with a smile on their face.


[11:35:09] KRIEL: The commute to school is a little different for these Kenyan children. Deep in a Nairobi slum, a transport mama arrives

early to collect this Zane Moritzi (ps), who is disabled. His real mother, desperate to look after him and his siblings, for years had to leave him at

home, alone, while she went to work, but not anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "I always feel so happy when transporting these children" she says. I don't feel bad because I transport disabled kids. I

am happy with it as my job of carrying these children and I have so much love for them."

Zane attends school at Tsonga Imbele, or moving forward. It caters to Kenya's most vulnerable, children who are disabled, mentally or physically,

or others who, for whatever reason, simply cannot function in regular schools. it was the brainchild of Sister Mary Killeen, an Irish nun who

moved here nearly 40 years ago. In that time she's started schools and programs that have educated more than 300,000 of Nairobi's poorest


CHILDREN: One. Two. Three.


KRIEL: She's one of the lucky few that will speak to Pope Francis during his visit to a local slum.

MARY KILLEEN, CATHOLIC NUN, KENYA: So on the very first day he became pope he's been emphasizing about the poor. That hasn't had much effect

here, in Kenya, yet, but we're hoping by his coming that it will have an inspirational effect on people and that more people will come and help in

this kind of work.

KRIEL: Killeen says she likes religion in action and here it is. A month ago, 6-year-old Juangetshi (ps) took her first steps.

How was her mother's reaction to this?

KILLEEN: They can't believe that she can walk.

KRIEL: Here, blind and mentally disabled children discover they too can read and write.

KILLEEN: So it's like the gospel, you see the lame walk, the blind see and the dumb speak. So it's really wonderful to be part of that and to

enable it, now we're not doing as much as we should. It's like a drop in the ocean. "Like a diamond in the sky" ...

KRIEL: But a drop can often be just enough.

KILLEEN: "Twinkle, Twinkle, little star".

KRIEL: Here, it's a helping hand that makes all the difference.


KRIEL: Well, that lady featured in that film, that's Sister Mary Killeen will have the honor of meeting the pontiff tomorrow and of course

they will be discussing poverty. She has got -- she says that she is not going to mince her words with him about the poverty issues facing Kenya and

the region.

ANDERSON: Good. And aside from poverty, what are the major themes of the pontiff's visit?

KRIEL: Well, religious tolerance as we mentioned, of course poverty really, really an important issue to the pope. Him, of course, coming from

Argentina, developing nation, and he spent much of his time working in slums or barrios as they're call in Buenos Aires.

In addition to that, of course the environment, he was at the UN environmental program speaking earlier today, planting trees. Refugees is

going to come up when he is in the Central African Republic. He is going to visit a refugee camp there. And of

course that is going -- that is the first active war zone that the pope will visit. Many, many were concerned that the trip would be canceled,

because they would not have the ability to look after him. But it looks like it is going ahead.

ANDRESON: Robyn Kriel is out of Kenya for you this evening. Thank you, Robyn.

Years of international economic sanctions have hit Iran hard but its oil and gas reserves are among the world's largest. And with nearly 80

million people and an educated workforce, Iran offers huge potential for investors and international companies. CNN's emerging markets editor John

Defterios to Tehran where he found Iranians ready for business.


JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These are the faces of Tehran. They are unfamiliar to the outside world and carrying the burden of years of isolation. To take the pulse of the people, I explore

the beating part of the old city around the grand bazaar and receive a warm embrace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you from?

DEFTERIOS: California.


DEFTERIOS: You like that, huh?

DEFTERIOS: So, Californian almonds, Iranian almonds. I am surprised to see California almonds here.

Oh, these are excellent.

This is what people get very excited about, the last major frontier market to open up. In fact, they call it the Germany of the Middle East.

But we can't forget for the last three years it has been extremely painful. Average incomes have dropped better than $2,000. And this country has been

in recession.

Enter, the cavernous bazaar, a place where trade has remained the same for centuries.

I've been in (inaudible) throughout the Middle East. But your first impression is it is hard not to be impressed. Deep inside, excited

merchants, displaying their offerings.

These so-called bazaarees are a powerful force here in Tehran. In fact, they're known to be on the conservative side and wanting not to be

open in the past to the outside world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is (inaudible).

DEFTERIOS: While Omid Omivar (ph) proudly rolls out his hand-made carpets, he talks

about the day ex pats will return and Iran is no longer shut out of the global banking system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In some parts, it was difficult, specially for transferring the money, because there are so many customers here that are

tourists, they didn't have money to spend.

DEFTERIOS: Iranians have worked around sanctions to survive.

How much? 20?

With the currency, that at one point was down 80 percent.

Thanks very much.

20,000 reals, that's about 50 cents.

Even as inflation hovered above 40 percent.

Through the city's grinding congestion, we make our way to an oasis of calm, a cafe in one

of Iran's historic palaces. I find two friends, both who work in industry, but with very different visions of the future.

You two were actually having a debate before, right?


DEFTERIOS: One wants to leave the country and doesn't see any hope and one wants to stay in the country and sees hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wrong decision, wrong time. In my opinion.

DEFTERIOS: Next door to the cafe, designer Anahita Ostadi makes jewelry featuring palace motifs.

ANAHITA OSTADI, JEWELER: This one is the window of the main palace here.

DEFTERIOS: Her way of offering a taste of Persia.

OSTADI: I hope that in the future we have a country that is open to everyone, everybody, specially the United States and the other countries,


DEFTERIOS: Division is apparent all across the country of Iran. The country's younger generation, half under the age of 24, is at odds with the

country's hard liners.

Iran's supreme leader recently declared he wanted to seriously avoid importing consumer goods from the United States, but Iranians are yearning

for change and ready for business.

This is an ultramodern mall opened 15 months ago with over 500 stores. Up to 40,000 shoppers pass through each day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One new complex, the big one, so that's why I choose here.

DEFTERIOS: One of the first retailers in was Ali Razie (ph), who was importing clothing from Turkey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my brand. This is completely made in Ismia (ph) for the (inaudible) to Asia with the material completely from


DEFTERIOS: You think the market is ready for this sort of taste?


DEFTERIOS: They want U.S. products, for example?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my opinion, yes, they want U.S. products.

DEFTERIOS: And that will be the challenge for the government, opening its doors to the outside world but trying to keep firm boundaries in place.

John Defterios, CNN, Tehran.


ANDERSON: Well, as more of John's exclusive reporting from inside Iran on the website. That's You can watch the other installments

in this serious, including John's visit to one of the countries giant oil fields, where billions of barrels are waiting to be

tapped. That story and more on

Live from Ankara, this is a special edition of Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Coming up, parts of the Middle East have been hit by

heavy rain. We're going to have the latest on where it has been hit hardest.


ANDERSON: Well, let's get back to our top story, the crisis between Russia and Turkey that could escalate beyond just a war of words as Moscow

threatens to retaliate with economic measures. Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev says his government is drafting a broad punitive response to the

downing of a Russian war plane. He says it could include halting joint economic projects, limiting some flights to and from Turkey and restricting


Well, the Turkish president told me a little earlier that Turkey did nothing wrong and will not

apologize for the incident.

We are joined again by Ozgur Ozdamar who is professor of international relations at Billikent University (ph) here in Ankara.

It is interesting to hear the rhetoric out of Russia, because we are talking about bilateral trade here. And whilst we have made it very clear

over the last couple of days that the reliance on gas from Russia to this country, to the tune of about 60 percent is clearly an important one.

But the president pointing out to me today that, for example, there was an uptick of some $35

billion in bilateral trade last year. That when everybody else slapped sanctions on Russian food a

couple of years ago, Turkey didn't do so.

So he is disappointing but determined that the economic impact of this incident won't be felt going forward. Will it? Can you see these

repercussions being serious?

OZDAMAR: They may be, they may not be. We have to see the list, because there are many economic relations between these two countries.

Actually, Russia is Turkey's second biggest trade partner. And Turkey is Russia's seventh biggest trade partner. And you have to go item by item

about what they are talking about.

For example, they can limit some food export from Turkey to Russia like the famous Russian culinary diplomacy. If they are not happy with a

country's politics, they may actually cancel the imports from that country, like the Georgian wine, for example.

Then, there is the energy issue. We import more than half of our natural gas and also coal from

Russia. But Russia also needs to export those, because they are actually not in a very good position economically. In fact, their economy has

contracted in the last year. The economy is getting smaller.

ANDERSON: But the threat is real here.

OZDAMAR; The threat is real and I think that the worst area, the worst economic impact could be on tourism, because Turkey is receiving a

lot of Russian tourists.

[11:50:05] ANDERSON: 4.5 million a year, I think.

OZDAMAR: It's is a huge number. And the Russian government --- it is not going to hurt the

Russian government to tell Russian citizens not to go to Turkey actually they can go somewhere else for holiday. And that is an area that actually

can hurt Turkey.

There is also some other bigger projects like the nuclear energy transfer from Russia to Turkey. There is a joint project to build a

nuclear power plant. But I'm going to be a little bit of a silver lining there, because a lot of people in domestic politics in Turkey were afraid

that we are importing old-fashioned Russian nuclear technology. So it may be a good thing.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about the slightly wider picture here, becuase one of the perhaps more alarming developments over the past 24 hours is the

news that Russia is moving the S-400 anti-aircraft system into Syria, which will give Russia viewers surface to air missile

capabilities over a large swath of this conflict zone.

Do you consider or do you think Turkey considers this as a direct threat to Turkey and to other coalition members? One has to consider what

happens if, for example, as has happened in the past, a Turkish jet strays into Syria as part of the coalition against ISIS into Syrian air space.

With the introduction of this missile defense system, they could be shot out of the air as could the French, the

British or the Americans who are fighting ISIS.

OZDAMAR: I think that is actually one of the biggest issues in this whole story since yesterday. Becuase Russia, I think they already wanted

to do that. But now, they have an excuse to do it. And what they are going to do is by bringing in this missile defense system, they are already

going to deter, just like you said, not only Turkey but also the French, the Americans and all the other western coalition forces operating in


I think we have to see some American or western leadership here against this proposal. Because this is actually what exactly Russia has

been trying to do.

ANDERSON: It will be interesting to see whether that is something that President Hollande brings up with President Putin and indeed whether

we find out whether that indeed is brought up in the meeting, which is happening in the next hour.

We will certainly find out in a news conference which we will be broadcasting on CNN. For the time being, sir, thank you very much indeed.

Joining us out of Ankara this evening.

This is Connect the World, coming up, it's common in many parts of the world, but very unusual in much of the Middle East. I'm going to show you

the damage downpours have caused in the Gulf.


[11:55:34] ANDERSON: Well, your parts shots this evening. And that it may be approaching

winter in the Middle East, but rain is a rare sight in the Gulf. But when it does pour, there are often some serious consequences. John Jensen has



JOHN JENSEN, JOURNALIST: It took just a few hours to dump more than a year's worth of rain in one of the driest regions in the world. A rare

downpour this week flooded parts of Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Saudi's capital, Riyadh roads became rivers.

At least one person was killed when a car submerged. Parts of Qatar's capital received 8 centimeters. While some in Doha had fun, traffic

stalled and some schools and embassies closed Wednesday. Part of a ceiling collapsed in a shopping mall, too.

Emergency crews quickly pumped water off the street but with big infrastructure projects on

the way ahead of Qatar's 2022 World Cup, the government said that the recent rain revealed certain flaws they'll now investigate to make sure

this doesn't shut down the city again.

John Jensen, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


ANDERSON: Well, I'm Becky Anderson and that was Connect the World. Our exclusive interview with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is

coming up. His message to Russia, you should apologize, not us. All that and more in just a moment.