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U.S. President Set To Deliver Last State of the Union Address; According to UN 400 Madaya Residents Need Immediate Evacuation for Medical Treatment; 10 Dead After Suicide Bomber Attacks Instanbul; Outgoing OPEC President Calls For Emergency Meeting. Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET

Aired January 12, 2016 - 11:00:00   ET


[11:00:27] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: It's suicide bombings in the heart of Istanbul's busy tourist district.

This hour, we are live from the scene of that attack that left at least 10 people dead.

Also ahead this evening, falling oil prices. Will OPEC call for an emergency meeting now that crude is at 12 year lows?

And in a country wehre cars dominate the roads, we'll show you why some people are now opting for two wheels instead of four.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: A very good evening from the UAE. Just after 8:00 here.

The Turkish prime minister blaming ISIS for a deadly suicide bombing that targeted the heart of Istanbul's tourist industry. The blast was in

the Sultanahmet Square, killed at least ten people and the prime minister says all of them were foreigners.


AHMET DAVUTOGLU, TURKISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We will be side by side standing firm against terror once again. I would like to

offer friends of Turkey who lost their lives in this brutal attack, I would like to offer my condolences to their families and to their countries,

especially with Germany. Our friendship remains as solid as before and we'll remain to be so.


ANDERSON: Arwa Damon with more on the attack from Istanbul for you.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The very scene Turkey had feared: foreigners among the dead and injured from a blast at the

country's most popular tourist hub, Sultanahmet Square, home of the famous blue mosque and Hagia


Authorities have identified a Syrian national as the attacker.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): I condemn the

terror event in Istanbul's Sultanahmet Square that has been evaluated as a suicide bombing attack with Syrian roots.

DAMON: An attack like this targeting the country's $69 billion tourism industry was not unexpected. Amid a security situation that has

rapidly deteriorated. Just two weeks ago, authorities claim they thwarted a plot to bomb New Year's Eve celebrations in Ankara.

Two men with alleged ISIS ties were arrested as they scouted locations and were found carrying a vest and backpack with explosives ready to use.

The Islamic group was also blamed for the country's worst attack in modern history, the twin suicide bombings in Ankara, which killed 103

people in October.

So, too, a bombing that claimed 33 lives in Suruc near the Syrian border in


The wave of violence has exposed Turkey's increasing vulnerability to attack. Despite countrywide sweeps that have seen hundreds of individuals

with alleged terrorist links detained.

Many in Turkey have been bracing themselves for what happened unfolded in sultanahmet Square early on Tuesday. A strike at the heart of an

industry that attracts more than 34 million visitors a year

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): Of course we don't have all the information, neither about the victims nor about the

perpetrators. But we have very worried German citizens could be among the victims and injured and probably are.

Those affected are members of a German travel group. And of course the German foreign office has immediately established a crisis unit and we

try to get all information as fast as possible.

DAMON: Foreigners named among the casualties. This latest attack of terror on Turkish soil also an attack on the historic soul of the country.


ANDERSON: And Arwa Damon joining me now live from Istanbul. Authorities at this point, Arwa, blaming ISIS for the attack. What's the

evidence for that?

DAMON: We don't know the specific details of it, but they are saying that the individual -- the Syrian national, the suicide bomber, was in fact

a member of ISIS, someone who according to the Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu, had recently crossed into Turkey from Syria.

And based on what we're hearing from officials, this was not someone whom the

authorities were necessarily tracking, bearing in mind of course that there are thousands of people that continue to cross every single day. Turkey

already home to 1.7 million plus Syrian refugees.

Officials, though, have also been fairly quick to say that this should not be impacted -- should not impact in any way whatsoever the country's

refugee crisis even though this individual was at this stage according to the authorities a

Syrian national.

What we also do know is that all ten of those who were killed were foreigners as mentioned earlier. And according to a source, nine of those

who died were German nationals. The Turkish prime minister earlier saying that he did phone German Chancellor Angela Merkel to express his

condolences, all the while the Turkish prime minister also vowing that the country would stay steadfast when it

came to the threats being posed by ISIS and by terrorism, but also saying that the only way to defeat these kinds of groups would be that if Turkey

and all nations worldwide were to stand together, Becky.

[11:06:22] ANDERSON: Arwa Damon is in Istanbul for you this evening. And our coverage of the terrorist attack there continues on Connect the

World. I'll get an insider perspective from a security expert in Istanbul in about 25 minutes time for you.

I want to move you this evening to the downward slide in oil prices, which seems far from over as analysts warning further price drops are


Now, crude prices have dropped to their lowest level in 12 years after a 6 percent tumble on Monday. Brent down 16 percent this year, less than a

month into 2016.

Well, good news for consumers, but continued pain then for oil- producing countries. The low prices have OPEC's outgoing president and Nigerian minister, calling for an emergency meeting.

CNN's emerging markets editor John Defterios covering this for us and joining me now live on the show.

Can we read this correctly as a challenge to Saudi Arabia's strategy, this emergency meeting, or at least this calling for an emergency meeting,


JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think it's a fair comment, Becky.

In fact, a challenge to the Saudi-led strategy, which has the backing of the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait, to go after marketshare and not be so

concerned about prices. Let's call it the $30 wakeup call, that's the floor that we potentially could see right now. And the outgoing president

of OPEC and the Nigerian minister suggesting it needs a call to action.

So, I asked him, could we see an emergency meeting by the end of February or early March if we see the prices stay where they are today?


I expect to see one. There's a lot of energy around one of those meetings, we make a meeting, unless you have both of the protagonists agree

to some common positions.

EMMANUEL KACHIKWU, NIGERIAN MINISTER OF STATE FOR PETROLEUM: But ultimately, OPEC is a union of the interests of members. And a majority of

members are beginning to take a (inaudible) in the oil markets environment and the economies are really getting shattered. There's something that

needs to give. And I expect that that emotion much more than the polemics of pricing will ultimately was going to drive an emergency meeting.

DEFTERIOS: Does it change the Saudi Arabian position with the support of three other Arabian Gulf producers? Has it gone too far, the Saudi's

strategy to fight for marketshare?

KACHIKWU: I will say that for us, that policy is going too far. We need to sit back and say how can we balance the need to protect

marketshare. We need it for the survival of the business itself and survival of the countries who own these

businesses themselves, and I think a greater majority of people, not necessarily a majority in terms of the volumes that they produce, but a

majority in terms of membership, have to (inaudible) time has come to sit back and have a meeting and dialogue again once more without the sort of

tension that we had in Vienna.

DEFTERIOS: Well, you raise a very interesting point. You can have dialogue, but does it lead to action? Will Saudi Arabia give up some of

the almost 1.5 million barrels a day acquired in the last two years? Will they change policy is the real question.

KACHIKWU: I think ultimately for interest of everybody, some policy change will happen.


DEFTERIOS: Pretty bold discussion there from Nigerian minister.

He's suggesting even if it's symbolic, Becky, that you can get the Russians, the Mexicans, the Kazakhs and in that non-OPEC group to at least

take action.

What also emerged in that interview today, because he was the OPEC president back at the last meeting, we almost had a mutiny by the African

and Latin American producers challenging Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf producers saying this

policy is not working for us.

So, it is a call action. We'll see if the Gulf producers bend, particularly Saudi Arabia coming forward at the end of February or March,

but the price of oil nudging closer to $30 a barrel clearly has nine of the 13 members of OPEC unhappy today. Back to you.

[11:10:07] ANDERSON: All right, John, thank you for that.

American actor Sean Penn responding to criticism over his secret meeting with a Mexican drug lord. He told the Associated Press in an email

has, quote, nothing to hide.

Well, his comments come after photos surfaced that appear to show him arriving just before his interview with the cartel leader "El Chapo."

A Mexican official says intelligence officers took these pictures suggesting the actor was closely followed by authorities.

Well, our senior Latin American affairs editor Rafael Romo joining me now from the CNN Center in Atlanta -- Rafael.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Becky, in his Rolling Stone magazine article, Sean Penn claims that he and "El Chapo's" people went to

great lengths to make sure that his trip to Mexico was a complete secret, but these new

pictures seem to suggest that Mexican intelligence officials knew about his plans all along.


ROMO: Is this Sean Penn arriving in Mexico back in October on his way to meet the world's most infamous drug lord? Mexican newspaper El

Universale claims this is indeed the two-time Oscar winner. El Universale also published several

other pictures that allegedly show Penn meeting with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's people.

A source with the Mexican government told CNN the pictures are legitimate and were taken by Mexican intelligence teams.

Sean Penn published in Rolling Stone magazine Saturday claiming he met with

Guzman in October in Mexico, an encounter brokered by Mexican star Kate del Castillo.

JOAQUIN "EL CHAPO" GUZMAN, DRUG KINGPIN (through translator): I want to make clear that this interview is for the exclusive use of Miss Kate del

Castillo and Mister Sean Penn.

ROMO: The meeting was so secret, Penn said, that he and del Castillo were told to leave any electronics behind before boarding an airplane

supposedly with a device that jams radar.

But these new pictures suggest that Sean Penn's get together with El Chapo might not have been so secret after all and was instead being

monitored by Mexican intelligence officials at all times.

Now Mexican authorities say they want to question both Penn and del Castillo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any concern about Sean Penn at all? If the Mexicans want him, will the U.S. make sure that they are able to talk to



interesting questions both for him and for others involved in this so- called interview. So, we'll see what happens on that. I'm not going to get ahead of it.

ROMO: The meeting with "El Chapo" has been both praised and criticized by journalists and fellow actors.

RICKY GERVAIS, COMEDIAN: I want to do this monologue and then go into hiding, okay? Not even Sean Penn will find me.

ROMO: Among those condemning Penn is Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: If one of these American actors who have benefited from the greatness of this country, who have made money from

our free enterprise system, want to go fawn all over a criminal and a drug

trafficker in their interviews, they have a constitutional right to do it. I find it grotesque.

ROMO: In the end, it seems El Chapo wanted to have the meeting, an interview that might have cost him his freedom.


ROMO: Mexican officials now say that the meeting between "El Chapo" and

Sean Penn was essential, Becky. Listen to this, essential to being able to capture "El Chapo." And they want to question Kate del Castillo and Sean

Penn. And as we mentioned earlier in a brief email exchange with the AP, Sean Penn says that he has

nothing to hide.

Back to you.

ANDERSON: Remarkable.

Thank you.

Still to come, as evidence mounts of starvation in parts of Syria, agencies on the ground warn the picture may be far worse than first

thought. We'll be speaking to the World Food Program up next. Taking a very short break. Back after this.


[11:16:21] ANDERSON: Faces of hunger and desperation. Some people in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya have finally received food aid. But

their problems are far from over.

The United Nations officials says this is the worst suffering that the agency has seen in the country's bloody civil war citing credible reports

of people starving to death.

This is CNN. You're watching Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

Now, despite aid trickling in, humanitarian agencies say they have been shocked by the scale of the problem. The UN's relief chief, Steven

O'Brien tweeted earlier saying at least 400 people need to be evacuated from the town as soon as possible or they could die.

We're joined Muhammad Hadi from the World Food Program also involved in that aid into Madaya. He is with us via Skype from Cairo for you this


Just describe what your colleagues on the ground have been telling you about the situation that they've found there.

All right. I'm going to take a short break for you and we need to do this interview. It's really important. So, I'm going to take a very short

break. I'm going to get our guest either back on Skype or on the telephone for you. We'll do that after this. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Back with you here on CNN. It's 19 minutes past 8:00. We were trying to talk to the representative in this region for the World Food

Program. I think I've got Muhammad Hadi back with you.

One of the UN relief workers on the ground in Madaya in syria saying at least 400 people need to be evacuated from the town as soon as possible

or they simply could die. We are talking about starvation here.

Muhammad is joining us from Cairo this evening. And I was just asking you before we got cut off to describe what your colleagues on the ground

who are in Madaya are telling you about the situation there, sir.

[11:20:02] MUHAMMAD HADI, WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: Yes, good morning. The way it was described to me this morning by our staff who visited Madaya

yesterday, it's simply as they were describing to me a horror movie.

When they went inside, it was cold, it was rainy. There was no electricity, there was no fuel in that place. Actually people who received

them could not wait for the food to be off-loaded in warehouses. They were saying we're hungry, we

need to eat here. Please, give us what you have. It was really a heartbreaking story.

Our staff were devastated even by the scenes that were there.

They actually had to offload the food using the lights of the vehicles they had. They were using their mobiles, the light on their mobile to

offload the food.

What they saw is really heartbreaking. It's the children who were hungry -- it's very, very sad and unfortunate what they saw in Madaya


ANDERSON: Yeah, I'm hearing that this is as bad as it's been in what is this terrible bloody conflict. But horrific reports from Madaya. But

the warning signs, sir, were there almost two years ago. Amnesty International claimed that the Syrian army was using starvation as a weapon

of war. I'm talking about in 2014. And here's what the regional director Philip Luther said, and I quot for our viewers here, "the harrowing

accounts of families having to resort to eating cats and dogs and civilians attacked by snipers as they forage for food have

become all too familiar details of the horror story that has materialized in Yarmuk."

That was Yarmuk, this is Madaya. You are describing it as a horror show two years on.

Where's the sense of urgency here? Will this be another town that we are talking about conceivably in 2018 where starvation will continued to be

used as a weapon of war?

HADI: Well, we never lost the sense of urgency in the United Nations. As a matter of fact, as we were -- as those 50 trucks, or 70 trucks were

going to Madaya and to Ketraya yesterday, we had another 250 trucks going all over Syria.

We never stop talking about Madaya or about the rest of the 400,000 people in besieged areas all over Syria. Every child counts, every woman

counts, every human life must count. We've been trying, as the United Nations and the international community, to do our best to reach those

people. Sometimes things are not within our control. We have (inaudible) for all sides of this conflict to allow us to go in and help people.

There are other areas like Deir ez-Zor, and other areas that are under the control of ISIS and other terrorist organizations active in Syria and

in the region who do not allow us to reach to the people who are desperately in need.

I mean, we've seen those images in Madaya. And the truth is, the fact what we're seeing in Madaya -- although by the way our staff were working

at night and they were all the time busy offloading the food.

But what they saw is close to the images that came out of Madaya. But there are other images in other parts of Syria that we are not seeing

simply because we have no access to. I repeat especially areas that are under the control of ISIS and terrorist organizations.

We have to reach people everywhere. We have been appealing from day one of this conflict. And now we are in year five, to allow the

humanitarian agencies to work and to reach those victims of the war who have no say in what they are -- in this conflict.

Those are the real victims of this conflict -- women, children, elderly who are displaced and refugees. It's a sad story. What we have

seen in Syria is -- I've been doing this job for 25 years. What we are seeing in Syria is really heartbreaking, especially for somebody like me as

a father of three children.

When I see those images of kids hungry or malnourished, it really breaks my heart. And I'm sure it breaks the heart of any human being.

ANDERSON: You've said you've got a 250 trucks on the ground. As far as you understand, can this aid corridor, as it were, continue or is this a

one off opportunity for the UN at this point?

HADI: Well, we are hoping it's one. We have another convoy scheduled for

Thursday where we will be taking wheat flour this time. One agencies will also be sending non-food items. And another one scheduled for next Sunday.

But this is why we -- this is why we ask for unconditional access to those places because what we need to find out also is the real needs of the

people. We need to go there, make an assessment, see what the needs are, and continue sending the items that they need.

Right now we're sending to them food that they can eat without a lot of hassle -- canned food, canned beans, something they can open and eat

directly, nothing that requires a lot of cooking. But we also want to send some nutritional food to meet the needs of the desperate children. UNICEF

has also sent fortified food for the children.

We need to work together collectively as an international community to meet the needs of those people, let alone we haven't even started talking

about medical, surgical equipment, about water purification. It's a menu of needs that people require nowadays in Madaya and also in other places,

in Ketraya and in other places of city.

That -- this country has -- is now in its sixth year. It's torn because of this war. The needs are getting greater and greater. We're

grateful for the international community for everything they're doing, but there must be a

political solution for the Syrian crisis so we can end the suffering of the Syrian


ANDERSON: Yeah, a serious appeal from our guest tonight to those listening to this interview. The UN representative on the ground who

tweeted today there are some 400 people, men, women, children, who need to be evacuated immediately lest they perish, how will those evacuations be

effected? Is it safe to bring people out?

HADI: Well, I'm not aware of any deal that has been -- that has been reached for this, but I do hope that a deal is brokered sooner than later.

And if so, definitely arrangements must be set for the safe evacuation of those people. We cannot move them from one danger to subject them to

another one.

Assurances must be there. We need always to look after the safety of the people that we assist as we look for the safety of ourselves. That was

one of the main reasons why there was a lot of delay yesterday, a lot of negotiations, a lot of arrangements for the convoy to go in, becuase we

care about the safety of the affected population as we care about our own personal safety.

So, I'm confident that if a deal is arranged, the UN will definitely have all the assurances and try our level best to make sure that it's justa

safe operation.

We take risks all the time. But we take calculated risks when it concerns affected populations.

ANDERSON: Muhammad Hadi is out of Cairo for you giving you a real sense of what are these harrowing accounts of an unfolding famine. And

these aren't just being reported in Madaya as Muhammad pointed out, do head to the website to find out why this town is being described as the

tip of the iceberg. Just the latest devastating effect of Syria's brutal conflict. It's sickening. We'll be right back.


[11:32:11] ANDERSON: Well, Turkey has been dealing with a security threat from ISIS which operates just over its borders with Syria and Iraq.

The terror group released a new propaganda video last week and attention quickly focused on

this man, the so-called new Jihadi John.

Authorities are still working to confirm the identity of the British militant that security agencies are reportedly focusing their investigation

on a 32-year-old Londoner who calls himself Abu Rumaysah. The UK's home secretary wouldn't

comment on the name in response to questions in parliament because of the ongoing investigation.

CNN's Clarissa Ward has spoken to his sister. And she joins me now live from

London with more on that -- Clarissa.


world he's known as Abu Rumaysah. He is a British convert from Hinduism who became an outspoken radical Islamist here in the UK before fleeing to

Syria with his wife and young children about a year and and a half ago.

But to 29-year-old law student Konika Dhar, he is simply Siddhartha Dhar, or just Sid, her big brother.


WARD: What was he like as a brother?

KONIKA DHAR, SISTER OF ABU RUMAYSAH: Typical brother. I think just into sort of -- he liked playing his basketball a lot, which he was quite

good at, video games and films. And he liked to collect comic books as well.

WARD: But after converting to Islam as a young man, things began to change. He fell in with a radical preacher. And in an interview with CBS's

"60 Minutes" shortly before he fled to Syria in 2014, he told me he was not able to love his mother or anyone in his family any more.

SIDDHARTHA DHAR, NEW JIHADI JOHN: I don't love them and -- but I desire for them to become Muslim and embrace Islam.

WARD: But you love her as your mother?

SIDDHARTHA DHAR: She's my mother and she has rights over me so I have to take care of her.

WARD: But do you feel love for her?

SIDDHARTHA DHAR: It's not right for me to love non Muslims, so that is a matter of faith.

WARD: What's your reaction to that?

DHAR: I was upset and sad, more than anything, because I don't understand it. I'll be honest with you, one thing that I sort of noticed is

that he has stripped his identity completely. And this is what's sad because he had the most colorful, creative personality and I don't know

where it's gone and where we've gone wrong. But it's been lost.

WARD: You say where we've gone wrong. Did on blame yourself?

DHAR: I think, yes, definitely, there's an element of guilty. I feel why could I not stop it? Are we that bad that you have to leave, that you

have to go and live another life?

WARD (voice-over): Dhar wants to believe her brother is not the man in the new ISIS video, though she has conceded the voices are similar. She

says she is unable to reconcile that killer with the boy she grew up with.

(on camera): Most people would say that anyone who joins ISIS on some level is evil, a psycho path. Do you believe that to be true about your


[11:35:20] DHAR: Well, I can only speak in regards to my brother and I can -- you definitely say that I don't agree with that. I see him as a

compassionate sort of family person, caring individual, somebody who sort of who doesn't really engage in activities like...


WARD: Even after he's joined ISIS?

DHAR: Maybe I don't want to believe it. I don't know.

WARD: Do you believe that he's a killer?

DHAR: Oh, god no. No, absolutely not. No.


WARD: Konika Dhar told us that she has only spoken to her brother several times since he left for Syria about a year and a half ago, Becky,

but when she said she did speak to him, he didn't show any remorse for his actions so far and that

told her that is quite happy where he is.

ANDERSON: Now, he is by no means the only British citizen that we believe

may be in Syria. There's a great example of how those who leave for country like

Britain ravage not just -- terrorize entire populations, but ravage their own families, Clarissa, as well. I mean, it was clear that his sister

simply doesn't understand what is going on.

WARD: There's a complete disconnect for her, Becky, between the young man who she grew up with, the loving brother, the fun-loving laid back

carefree brother and the potentially monster who she is now confronted with. And with that also comes issues of shame for the family, of

embarrassment. It took a long time to persuade her to talk about her story precisely because there is such a stigma

attached to radicalization.

And she really wants to present to the public and to a wider audience just how easy it is for impressionable youths to become radicalized and how

difficult it is once they've made that monumental step and gone to somewhere like Syria how few

options remain not just for the men who go, but obviously for their families, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, all right. Clarissa, thank you.

Let me get you back to our top story this evening, that bombing in Sultanahmet Square, the heart of Istanbul's tourist district.

I'm joined now from Istanbul via Skype by Ahmet Han. He is an associate professor at the Kadira University -- Has University, sorry, in


President Erdogan blaming a suicide bomber of Syrian origin for the death of ten foreigners today, possibly Germans, and the injury of so many


Turkey facing a myriad of security threats establishing which group was behind this will be an absolute priority. The prime minister

suggesting it is likely ISIS.

Why are authorities focusing specifically on ISIS? And who else will they be looking at at this point?

AHMET HAN, KADIR HAS UNIVERISTY: Well, the usual suspects in such an event for today in Turkey would be either the Kurdish group PKK and its

affiliations like the HKPC, or ISIS. And the modus operandi actually indicates ISIS more than it does the PKK. This is not PKK's modus


So, in the light of the evidence that they have, the authorities should have concluded that taking into consideration, the modus operandi of

the attack, that should be ISIS and also they have much more on the identity of the person who have committed this abhorrent crime.

So they do know better than we do in terms of that, too, in terms of the specifics of the attacker and probably his culprits.

ANDERSON: Clearly Turkey facing, as I've suggest, a myriad of security

issues at this point. What are authorities doing to actively make Turkey's population more secure going forward and to avoid slippage across Turkey's

borders to elsewhere?

HAN: Well, it's usually very hard, not for only Turkish security institutions, but also for any other country's security apparatus to come

out and say that they are very successful on preventing such attacks, because you just prevent six and then the seventh goes off. And you never


And the authorities are usually very tight-lipped about these. So we are now apparently very much sure about what the success rate of the

Turkish security institutions, Turkish intelligence and police forces are.

But taking into consideration what has been happening since January of last year with the bombings in Suruc and Ankara, and a year ago, almost

around this same time, in Sultanahmet itself which costed the life of a police officer, so

many attacks altogether, of course does indicate a security weakness and that should be

definitely noted by the authorities in Turkey. And I think that they are noting that.

But are they acting upon it? As I said, it's very hard to judge because we never know whatever was the attempts that they -- the number of

attempts that succeeded in stopping.

ANDERSON: What are the implications of this and the other attacks on Turkish soil, do you think, going forward? The consequences for policy,

both domestic and international, from a government and a president who is looking for more executive power at this point?

HAN: Well, it works both ways, I would say. The PKK terrorism tries -- has

served the government's purposes in the last elections. And what happened has

consolidated the power of the government as well as the president himself. But ISIS terrorism, if it kind of escalates at the rate that it does right

now, will not be tolerated as such by the public in my opinion. That is why the government

authorities are calling themselves in a proxy war or Turkey is part of a proxy war in the Middle East.

That kind of legitimizes, also, some of the attacks or puts Turkey in a position where it is target to many intelligence services outside of



HAN: terrorist penetrations.

ANDERSON: But Turkey has also taken a position in what is a proxy war going on in Syria. So I think the point I'm trying to get to here is, does

that policy position change going forward or is it ingrained and intrinsic in the way that President Erdogan with his potential executive power going

forward or a government who backs his principles? Do you expect to see any change in policy with regard to Syria and indeed Iraq?

I do not expect to see any position changes, but policy changes certainly will come by. Turkey is much more considering its approach in

Syria and in Iraq with that of her Transatlantic allies and we will be seeing more of that. But that is going to be silent, that is going to be

carried out behind the doors more than it is public.

The government and the president himself has vested a lot in terms of political capital to their positions in Syria and Iraq. However, as we are

hearing from the news as we have been discussing all over the domestic and international press that Turkey's trying to make amends with Israel and

that kind of an agreement is -- seems to be very close.

And under such circumstances, of course, another change, another very, I would say, revolutionary in terms of what has been happening in the past

four years in the Middle East is hard to explain to the Turkish public, especially the AKP electorate from a perspective of getting close with Israel, but getting

against some of the Muslim actors that are of Islamic identity in the rest of the Middle East.

ANDERSON: All right. And with that, we're going to leave it there. But we thank you very much indeed for your analysis. And viewers, do

expect within the hour a press conference from chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany regarding the attack in what was one of -- is one of Istanbul's

historic districts that has left at least ten victims dead. It appears nine of them German per the Turkish prime minister.

We'll carry that for you as soon as we can get it. That is the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to speak shortly.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. Coming up, U.S. President Barack Obama is preparing to give the final State of the Union

Address of his presidency. We're going to take a look at what he is expected to say after this short break. Don't go away.


[11:47:50] ANDERSON: This is CNN, Connect the World. 47 minutes past 8:00 in the evening here in UAE. Welcome back.

The 2016 race for the White House heating up. The two major parties are about to start the process of choosing their candidates.

The Iowa caucuses, as they are known, are less than a month away. And New Hampshire holds what is known as its primaries just after that. Well,

new polling out from Monmouth University has Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton in the

Democratic race in New Hampshire. Sanders margin in the state has widened. He's opened up a 14-point lead with 53 percnet of likely Democratic voters

selecting him if the primary was held now.

Clinton lags behind with 39 percent.

Well, as the U.S. presidential hopefuls hit the campaign trail, the current president is preparing to give the final State of the Union Address

of his presidency.

Unlike Barack Obama's previous State of the Unions where he set out distinct agenda items, this speech is expected to be more of a farewell

address and a call to action for future presidents.

CNN's senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta explains.


UNIDENTIFED MALE: The president of the United States.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Obama years are flying by fast. Up next his last state of the union address in his video tweeted out by his

chief of staff, the president said his speech will focus on his vision for the post-Obama years.

BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: The big things that will guarantee an even stronger, better, more prosperous America for our kids. The America

we believe in.

Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad.

ACOSTA: At the top of the president's agenda for 2016, gun control. To remember victims of gun violence, one seat in the first lady's box at the

state of the union will be left empty. As the president explained on a conference call with supporters.

OBAMA: We want them to be seen and understood that their absence means something to this country.

ACOSTA: White House aides say the president will not only defend his executive actions on guns but will talk about his plan to close the terror

detention prison at Guantanamo, pass criminal justice reform and take the fight to ISIS. Obama administration veterans are getting nostalgic.

[11:50:09] VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: This is going to be an incredibly emotional moment I think for folks. I mean, I think about speech

after speech. This is the last one. This is the last state of the union. And there's no deceleration in this guy. There's no deceleration. This is

the guy that we voted for.

ACOSTA: Heading into the eighth year of these speeches to the country starting at the depths of a financial crisis -

OBAMA: Experts from across the political spectrum warned if we did not act, we might face a second depression.

ACOSTA: The president has turned gray right before our eyes. The most memorable moments, a Supreme Court justice grimacing at the president in


OBAMA: With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the flood

gates for special interests including foreign corporations to spend without limit in our election.

ACOSTA: And Mr. Obama's last stirring tribute to the families of mass shooting victims in 2013.

OBAMA: The families of Newtown deserve a vote.

ACOSTA: The White House has hinted there won't be a long laundry list of proposals in this final state of the union, an acknowledgement that time

is winding down and Congress is looking to the next election.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president's message is mostly going to be focused on looking beyond the next election and making

sure we're making decisions that are going to ensure that our children and their children inherit a country that's as strong and as safe and as

prosperous as it's ever been.

ACOSTA: While the president has focused on his domestic agenda in recent days, White House officials say there will be a major portion of the

State of the Union dedicated to the war on ISIS. In recent days, the White House has revamped its effort for countering ISIS terrorists on social

media, and after Paris and San Bernadino top aides say defeating ISIS will be an overarching issue of the president's final year in office.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


ANDERSON: Well, as you would expect, our coverage of President Obama's final State of the Union Address begins at 6:00 a.m. Wednesday here

in Abu Dhabi. For our viewers in London, that is 2:00 a.m. And if you miss that, you can watch the replay a few hours later, 2:00 p.m Abu Dhabi

time. That will be a more reasonable 10:00 a.m. in London. That is all right here on CNN.

We are in Abu Dhabi, as you know. This is Connect the World. Coming up, find out why some people here in the UAE choose to cycle to work, today

at least. We'll have the details just ahead.


ANDERSON: Well, some healthy inspiration for your Parting Shots this evening. Thinking about getting around the Gulf in lavish super cars or

gas guzzling four by fours might come to mind, but today was actually the second annual cycle to workday here in the UAE. Have a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're here with me in my home this morning. And I'm going to get myself ready.

And here's to breakfast, cheers.

Couple things just to check before you go out on your bike. Make sure obviously everything's in place and everything's safe and sound. Biggest

thing you want to check is make sure your tires are pumped up, make sure those are working. And just check your brakes, make sure everything is

running on those.

There we go. And we're ready to cycle to work.

About 4 kilometer journey, so not too exertion. Should be good fun.

One of the benefits we have of having such beautiful roads in Dubai is when you do ride, the road conditions are absolutely perfect.

It's good for your health. It's good for the environment. It's good for the planet. I think the more of us that do it, the more the

governments around the world will take heed in fact that a lot of us want to do it and put implementation into place that make it more and more cycle

paths available for us.

Here we are arriving safely at work on National Cycle to Work Day.

I'm Stuart Howardson (ph) and those were my Parting Shots.


ANDERSON: Well, you can follow the stories that the team is working on throughout the day by going to the Facebook page, We'll stick that up on the site after the show. And get in touch, tweet me me @beckycnn.

That was Connect the World. From the team here, it's a very good evening. Thank you for watching. CNN of course continues after this very

short break, so don't go away.