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U.S. President Donald Trump defending his eldest son in a series of tweets; Trump approval ratings drop; Iranian-American sentenced for spying in Iran; France offers help in mediation; Coaliton want Al Jazeera shut down; Turkey celebrates anniversary of failed coup attempt; United Arab Emirates' heritage; Roger Federer wins eighth Wimbledon singles title; Maryam Mirzakhani dead at 40-years-old. 11:00-12p ET

Aired July 16, 2017 - 11:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN NEWS STREAM SHOW HOST: Beefing up the White House legal team, U.S. President Donald Trump had some firepower as the scandal

over alleged Russia ties refuses to die. We look at who is who in this story and who knew what and when. That's next.

Also, some tough talk as we look at Turkey's year of controversy and the crackdown after a coup attempt.

And later, Wimbledon serves up a record for Roger Federer, an eighth men's single title. We are live at the tournament this hour.

Good evening. Just after 7:00 in the U.A.E. This is "Connect the World's" Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi for you. We begin with U.S. President Donald

Trump on the defensive, pushing back against accusations that his eldest son Donald Trump Jr. did anything wrong by meeting with Russia nationals

last year.

Now that meeting was set up on the premise of getting damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump sent out a flurry of early morning tweets

complaining about news coverage and rehashing attacks on his former opponents like this one, quote, Hillary Clinton can illegally get the

questions to the debate and delete 33,000 e-mails, but my son Don is being scorned by the fake news media.

We know now that at least eight people were at what was this controversial meeting including a Russian American lobbyist who once served in the Soviet

military. CNN's Jim Sciutto kicks this off with more on him at Washington.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort included more people

beyond the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, a source familiar with the circumstances tells CNN. Russian American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin told

several media outlets that he was also in the meeting.

Akhmetshin told reporters for the "New York Times" and "Washington Post that he is a veteran in the Soviet army. In a March letter to the Justice

Department Senate Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley described Akhmetshin as, quote, someone with ties to Russian intelligence, someone alleged to

have conducted political disinformation campaigns as part of a pro-Russia lobbying effort.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Plainly this Russian attorney, this other third party if they were present, they were there to both deliver a

message as well to receive a message and plainly Moscow understood only too well that this is conduct that the Trump campaign would really appreciate.

SCIUTTO: Akhmetshin denied any intelligence links to the "Washington Post" saying, quote, at no time have I ever worked for the Russian government or

any of its agencies. I was not an intelligence officer, never. He also told "The Post" he was born in Russia and became a U.S. citizen in 2009.

Akhmetshin's lobbying effort which he did on behalf of the Russian lawyer, Veselnitskata, was aimed at repealing the Magnitsky Act which sanctions

Russians accused of human rights abuses. A complaint filed against him with the Department of Justice claims that effort was on behalf of the Kremlin.

He has also been accused according to court papers filed in New York in 2015 of hacking on behalf of one company into the computer systems of a

rival company to steal confidential information in a business dispute. The company, IMR, withdrew the accusation soon after without providing a

reason. In an earlier related case, he denied a similar accusation saying in an affidavit, quote, I am not a computer specialist and I am not capable

of hacking.

In addition to his lobbying work, Akhmetshin was well known in Washington for being connected to very powerful people in Russia both in the business

world there and in government. And one more note, though he was born in Russia, then the Soviet Union, he emigrated to the U.S. and is now a U.S.

citizen. And as a U.S. citizen he can be subpoenaed to testify before the investigating committees on the Hill. Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.


ANDERSON: Well, one of President Trump's attorneys insists the meeting was legal and calls it understandable during the heat of a campaign, this as

Democrats call for the participants in the meeting to testify before Congress. Here is what Attorney Kay Sekulow

[11:05:00] said a short time ago followed by Mark Warner, the top Democrat on what is the Senate committee leading the Russia investigation.


JAY SEKULOW, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: The legality was the meeting and what took place legal or not, we of course, as almost every legal

expert says it's not illegal, and then you're trying to put a moral ethical aspect to it. And it's easy to do that in 20/20 hindsight but not when

you're in the middle of a campaign.

Again, I'm not a campaign lawyer. I wasn't a campaign lawyer, but meetings were taking place as Donald Trump, Jr. said 15, 20 minutes apart, this one

went even shorter. So, I think everybody that's looking backwards and say would have, should have, could have, and Donald Trump, Jr. said he would

have done some things differently.

But to go back a year later and say this is what should have happened when the meeting itself was 20 minutes and a series of meetings that took place

for days and days and months, I don't think that's fair to Donald Trump, Jr., to Jared Kushner or to Manafort for that matter because no one was in

the situation of that kind of campaigning in the middle of a presidential election.

There is a lot of meetings and a lot of discussions about opposition research coming on all sides, Republican, Democrat and independent.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: What we do know is Donald Trump, Jr. did not tell the truth a variety of times. At first he said this meeting was

only about Russia immigration policies and adoptions. Then he said there were only three or four people. Now we know there are many more people.

We know this was a meeting that was specifically about in black and white, a part of the Russian government's effort to discredit Clinton and help

Trump. So, I'm not sure why we would take anybody in this senior level of the Trump administration at their word. That's why it's so important we're

going to get a chance to question these individuals and try to actually nail down the truth.


ANDERSON: Right. OK. Well, this is all playing out as a new poll shows President Trump with record low approval ratings and the White House brings

on a new attorney to oversee the response to the Russia investigation. Let's bring in Larry Sabato who is director of The Center for Politics at

the University of Virginia. How is what we are learning about the alleged ties to Russia by the Trump administration -- how is that information

affecting, if at all, Donald Trump's support among his Republican base?

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CENTER FOR POLITICS: That's a great question because it is true as of this morning a big new poll from

ABC and the "Washington Post" shows Trump at the lowest point ever at the six-month mark since polls have been taken beginning in the 1930s.

Thirty-six percent of Americans support him. Nearly 60 percent disapprove of his performance in office. So it's a terrible position for a new

president to be in. How does the Russia investigation affect Republicans? Hardly at all. His support has dropped just two points from earlier in the

spring among Republicans and it was already in the 80s. So, this has not affected his base and more generally it has not affected Republicans, 90

percent of whom voted for him last November.

ANDERSON: Which means what going forward?

SABATO: Here is what it means, practically speaking, this is keeping him afloat. Independents have now very strongly turned off to Trump and

Democrats are around the 10 percent mark in supporting Donald Trump, which is way below usual for the opposition party. I think if you look at the big

picture you can see that because Republicans support Trump so strongly and the House and the Senate are both controlled by Republicans, the Republican

leadership in the House and Senate and most of the rank and file members don't feel they can deviate from Trump's programs. They feel they have to

support them otherwise they might get opposition in their party primary the next time around.

ANDERSON: For those of our viewers who don't watch American politics and the machinations of American politics as closely as you do, Larry, what

could change that scenario?

SABATO: I think criminal charges. If they're forthcoming from the Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And we have no idea what he's going to say or even

when his investigation will be wrapped up. It's probably going to take quite some time in part because the stories keep changing from the Trump

campaign and administration. So, you have to keep up with the stories and then analyze and investigate them.

[11:10:00] ANDERSON: In your time watching American politics, have you ever known anything like this?

SABATO: Yes, Watergate, Richard Nixon's great scandal that played out over two years and resulted in his resignation. I am not saying that Russia-gate

is the same as Watergate. There are some similarities, there are actually more differences, but I think if you're looking for a precedent the only

one in modern American history post World War II is Watergate.

ANDERSON: With that we're going to leave it there. It is always a pleasure having you on, sir. Thank you.

It's still unclear what exactly happened at that meeting and when President Trump found out about it. CNN's Tom Foreman takes a look back now at how

events unfolded around the now infamous Trump Tower meeting. Have a look.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Late spring 2016, Hillary Clinton is on a roll, polls have her far ahead of Donald Trump, a White House endorsement

is just days away, then June 3rd, an intriguing e-mail arrives for Donald Trump junior from a music promoter for a Russian Azeri pop star offering

information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father, claiming to be part of a Russian

government effort to help Trump win.

I love it, the candidate's son responds. June 7th, a meeting is set to discuss the matter with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Four hours

later a big announcement.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week and we're going to be discussing all

of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you're going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.

FOREMAN: Two days later, June 9th at Trump Tower, Donald, Jr., Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign official Paul Manafort have their

meeting with Veselnitskaya for the promised dirt on Clinton. But Donald, Jr. now says it was a waste of time.

DONALD TRUMP, JR., PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ELDEST SON: I think I wanted to hear it out but really it went nowhere and it was apparent that that wasn't what

the meeting was actually about.

FOREMAN: His father who is also at Trump Tower that afternoon (INAUDIBLE) Clinton with a tweet that same day, where are your 33,000 e-mails that you

deleted? June 15th, I cyber security firm announces a major hack of Democratic National Committee computers and blames the Russians.

A week later, Trump finally rolls out that major speech he promises, once again talking about Clinton's e-mails but offering no new information.

TRUMP: Well, we may not know what's in those deleted e-mails. Our enemies probably know every single one of them.

FOREMAN: Mid-July, the Republican convention, Trump is now officially the nominee. His campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, dismissing all allegations

of ties to Russia.

PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: No, there are not. It's absurd. You know, there is no basis to it.

FOREMAN: July 22nd, WikiLeaks posts nearly 20,000 e-mails from Democratic committee computers, some embarrassing and damaging to the party and its

candidate. Yet, on CNN's "State of the Union." Donald Jr. dismisses Democratic howls about Russian interference.

TRUMP, JR.: Well, it just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I mean, they'll say anything to be able to win this. I mean, this is time and

time again, lie after lie.

FOREMAN: And a few days later, Donald Trump says this.

TRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.

FOREMAN: Investigators have to look at all these points on the timeline and many more details while the Trump team keeps saying it's all just a

coincidence, and critics keep saying it looks like collusion. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


ANDERSON: Well, the former FBI director James Comey is putting pen to paper and writing a new book. That book will detail his experiences in

public office. We're told Comey was heading up the investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia until he was abruptly

fired in May. CNN's Brian Stelter talked about Comey's upcoming book with CNN's Ana Cabrera.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: He's going out actually pitching the book and he's probably going to have the deal in the next few days. This is going to

get interest from all the big publishing houses. You think about James Comey and the story he may be able to tell, according to the "Times" this

is not just going to be a you tell all.

This is going to be a bigger book about his entire life's work, his career and the big moments he has faced, decisions in his career, but all it takes

is a few pages or few chapters about what happened with President Trump to get publishing houses very interested. So, it's sort of a no-brainer move

by him,

[11:15:00] but up until then we haven't heard about a book deal. He'll be out shopping this now.


ANDERSON: The White House said Comey was fired because President Trump lost confidence in him. Mr. Trump later said Comey's role in the Russia

investigation was a factor.

Roger Federer has just won his record setting eighth Wimbledon Singles title. Federer made history by beating Croatia's Marin Cilic, 6-3, 6-1, 6-

4. The 35-year-old now the oldest men's singles champion at Wimbledon in the open era.

This victory comes five years after Federer's last singles title at Wimbledon. It's his 19th career major. A live report later this hour from

the all England club.

Right ahead, we all know what weapons look like around this part of the world but right now, this may be one of the most powerful of them all, the

war for the Arab mind, just ahead.


ANDERSON: Well, for those of you just joining us, you are very welcome. You're watching CNN, this is "Connect the World" with me, Becky Anderson.

Eighteen minutes past 7:00 here in the U.A.E. Now, Iran has sentenced an unidentified Iranian-American to 10 years in prison for spying. Few details

available. Iran not even saying if it was a man or a woman.

Well the U.S. State Department is calling for the immediate release of all U.S. citizens unjustly detained in Iran. Separately, the brother of Iranian

president Hassan Rouhani has been arrested. Hossein Fereidoun is seen here with the Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. He is accused of

financial irregularities and can be released on bail as the investigation continues.

Well, foreign minister Zarif sat down earlier with CNN's Fareed Zakaria for what was an exclusive interview. Fareed asked him about U.S. President's

Donald Trump's foreign policy, specifically his trip to Saudi Arabia where Mr. Trump accused Iran of giving safe harbor and financial backing to

terrorists. Here is part of that conversation.


MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, FOREIGN MINISTER OF IRAN: All I can say is it's a misplaced and misguided policy. We know where the terrorists are coming

from. We know those who attacked the World Trade Center were citizens of which countries in the region. I can tell you none of them came from Iran.

None of the people who engaged in acts of terrorism since 2001 came from Iran. Most of them came from U.S. allies.

I believe the ideology that is being spread by -- unfortunately by our neighbors in Saudi Arabia throughout the world is responsible for hatred,

for extremism and for fanaticism that is bringing

[11:20:00] such a dark page of people who have nothing to do with a Islam into our region and even beyond our region. Look at ISIS, look at Nusra,

look at Al-Qaeda, look at other terrorist organizations, all of them -- none of them have anything to do with Iran. All of them receive not only

their ideology but their financial assistance, their weapons, their arms from others who call themselves U.S. allies.


ANDERSON: Iranian foreign minister speaking to Fareed earlier. Now, this is a thermo nuclear blast, an earth-shattering detonation of galactic heat

and force. And this is its diplomatic equivalent, the fight between Qatar and its neighbors. But now look, France wants to get into the mix. Its

foreign minister in both Qatar and Saudi Arabia this weekend hoping to find a solution between the two sides. That's after this --

Washington's top foreign affairs man Rex Tillerson touching down all over this region last week. He just couldn't score one. Get it? Well, among the

biggest issues still hanging over everyone, al-Jazeera Arabic Qatar boasts about it fighting censorship with Saudi-led coalition that it plays hosts

to terrorists. That's why viewer grabbed this -- your remote, and try to tune into it there. You won't see it. The English and Arabic channels on TV

and the web are blocked.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh got access inside the network that changed news in this part of the world forever. It was a couple of weeks ago and this is

what she learned.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From airing the first interview with Osama bin Laden after 9/11, to introducing heated political debate shows to

the Arab world, al Jazeera Arabic has been a polarizing force. At its new multi-million dollar headquarters in Doha it might seem like business as

usual, but the Qatar funded news network is at the heart of the diplomatic crisis in the gulf with the Saudi-led block demanding its closure.

Yasser Abu Hilala has been with the network for 20 years and for the past three years from the Arabic news channel. He believes al Jazeera changed

the media landscape of a region once dominated by state run TV channels. Critics accuse al Jazeera Arabic as being a platform for hate speech and

sectarian incitement.

YASSER ABU HILALA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, AL JAZEERA ARABIC (through translator): One of al Jazeera's qualities is that it expressed the

alternative opinion. Before al Jazeera it was only the opinion of governments. They do not want the other opinion, whatever that opposition


KARADSHEH: It was the network's coverage of the 2011 Arab spring that made it a thorn in the side of Arab regimes. Al Jazeera were seen by critics as

more sympathetic to the views of the Muslim Brotherhood in places like Egypt, a political part now found in several Arab states.

LINA KHATIB, MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA PROGRAMME, CHATHAM HOUSE: But this is certainly a platform for Qatar's political allies, the Muslim

Brotherhood is one such ally and the Muslim Brotherhood is seen by U.A.E. in particular as the country's biggest political enemy.

KARADSHEH: Abu Hilala rejects the criticism. He says they treat the Muslim Brotherhood like any other political entity in the Arab world.

HILALA (trough translator): It was believed that al Jazeera because of its coverage of the Arab spring in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, by documenting

what was happening and broadcasting it that it encouraged people to revolt. Did al Jazeera create the Arab spring or did it document it? This is a

question for history.

KARADSHEH: Qatar says the demand to shutdown al Jazeera is, quote, out of the question. The call to shutter the network does not distinguish between

its various services, including al Jazeera English which analysts say is a different channel, more focused on global affairs. No one knows how this

crisis will end but many feel that demands to silence a media organization set a dangerous precedent in a region where freedom of the press is still

heavily restricted. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Doha.


ANDERSON: But will Qatar's news network keeps making the news itself, so too does its airline. It's got a case of some one-sided love over in the

states. To learn much more about that, CNN's very own Zahraa al Khalisi has done the legwork for you

[11:25:00] all the facts on CNN All the latest world news headlines are just ahead. Plus, the Turkish government marks the

anniversary of its victory over an attempted coup. How the events of last year are still having a major impact on the country.


ANDERSON: You're watching "Connect the World." The Trump stories at this hour. The U.S. President Donald Trump is defending his eldest son's meeting

with a Russian lawyer in a series of tweets implying a double standard in coverage by the media. A meeting that took place last summer under the

premise of getting damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron marking the 75th anniversary of the Vel Dhiv, a Nazi-

directed mass roundup of Jews by the French police during World War II.

The polls are open in Venezuela where the opposition is holding an unofficial and symbolic referendum on President Nicolas Maduro's plans to

elect a new legislative super body and rewrite the constitution. Mr. Maduro says the poll lacks legitimacy and insists the constitution needs updating

to confront the country's crippling economic crisis.

Roger Feder has won a record setting eighth Wimbledon singles title. He beat Croatia's Marin Cilic, 6-3, 6-1, 64. This victory comes five years

after Federer's last singles title at Wimbledon.

Turkey marking one year since a failed coup. The president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke before huge crowds in both Istanbul and in Ankara. About 250

people were killed fighting against his overthrow last year. The government's state of emergency is still in effect and so is its crackdown.

One year on and it seems Mr. Erdogan is in no mood to lighten up. He is still talking tough even about beheading people. When I spoke to Mr.

Erdogan in the days after the coup, his first interview about what happened. Listen to what he said back then about introducing the death



ANDERSON: Will you join me at the presidential complex in Istanbul. I've got the first opportunity to sit down with President Erdogan of Turkey

since the July 15th

[11:30:00] attempted coup here in his country.

The death penalty has become an issue, something that people are talking about here in the wake of this attempted coup and you have said should it

be the will of the people, that you would discuss the opportunity to reintroduce the death penalty should everybody agree to that. Is that

something you stand by? Because the issue of the death penalty here would clearly inform what is going on in Greece with those eight soldiers and

would clearly inform what is going on with Gulen in the United States. Your thoughts?

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): In the face of these incidents where 208 people were killed, civilians were

killed, the citizens have voiced a request. They asked for death penalty repeatedly. So my question is that do you have the death penalty in the

U.S.? Yes. In Russia? Yes. In China? Yes.

Well, European nations, no, they don't have it. And we -- the administrations before us actually abolished death penalty in the E.U.

(INAUDIBLE) talks so that we would be allowed to become a member. Now, but this issue can now be taken into the agenda of the parliament, it can be

discussed there.

Of course, we previously abolished it, our administration, but we can always go back and reintroduce it. If the parliament takes that decision,

then that's the decision that comes.

ANDERSON: Do you think that's likely?

ERDOGAN (through translator): It can be. The people now have the opinion after so many terrorist incidents that these terrorists should be killed.

That's what the people think.


ANDERSON: My interview with President Erdogan who, again, backed the death penalty in his remarks today. So, how has Turkey been changed by all of

this? I want to bring in Soner Cagaptay, he is the author of the book "The New Sultan, Erdogan And The Crisis of Modern Turkey." He is also director

of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, with us from our Washington bureau. And we appreciate your time.

I want to take you back to the 15th of July, 2016. How did -- what happened that day helped him form the subsequent events and discourse that we have

seen and heard in Turkey since then?

SONER CAGAPTAY, DIRECTOR, TURKISH RESEARCH PROGRAM, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE: Although the coup attempt was successfully and thankfully it was a

nefarious attempt, although it was successfully and thankfully thwarted, Turkey has not unfortunately become more free or more democratic, this is

because President Erdogan who already had a habit of demonizing electorates that were unlikely to vote for him before the coup has following the coup

used the state of emergency given to him to prosecute and persecute his opponents.

So, for the half of Turkey that supports Erdogan, mostly a conservative half composed of many people he has lifted out of poverty, Erdogan's bright

side. Things are good. They live in a country where their leader provides them with tolerance and rights and liberties, but for the other half, most

of the liberal leftist secular half which opposes Erdogan, it has become increasingly authoritarian following the coup because Erdogan has used the

new powers to crack down on these constituencies, jail more dissidents, lock up journalists.

And unfortunately therefore, I think Turkey is compartmentalizing into two halves, a pro-Erdogan half which thinks their country is purely democratic

and the anti-Erdogan half which thinks that it is becoming an authoritarian place and very difficult to live in.

ANDERSON: Is this a new sultan and what do you mean by that? I'm referring of course to the title of your book.

CAGAPTAY: Right. So, as I explained in my book "The New Sultan" I think what Erdogan is doing is he is eliminating what used to be a secular system

in Turkey which discriminated against citizens who were pious and religious such as the family to Erdogan. He was born in 1954 to a poor pious

immigrant family in Istanbul and people like his family were given second class treatment for decades.

Erdogan has now come to power. He has become the most unassailable Turkish politician since modern Turkey was established by Ataturk in 1923. He's

turned the tables upside down. But ironically and unfortunately, now the new Turkey of Erdogan, this new sultan, discriminates against citizens who

do not wear religion on their sleeve. So Turkey went from having one form of discrimination to having yet another one and that's not sustainable

[11:35:00] as I argue in "The New Sultan" because it's a democracy where you have half the people who love the leader but the other half of course

oppose him. And there is no way the other half of Turkey that opposes Erdogan will fold under him. That is why going forward I think he's going

to have to make a difficult choice of either ending democracy or of course facing massive dissent.

ANDERSON: Well, let's just draw some comparables here. You have a clearly highly polarized population, the results of the referendum back in what was

it, March, clearly showed that as you do and saw as you have, and we saw in the likes of the U.K. and indeed with the U.S. back in the election of

November 2016.

So, if you're suggesting that there will come a time when the Turkish president will make a decision between democracy and not, you might suggest

the same of two other countries that would absolutely defend themselves as living by the rules of democracy.

CAGAPTAY: That's a good question, Becky. I think that what's going on in Turkey, the reason why my book is titled "The New Sultan" because in my

view Erdogan has sort of become the new Ataturk, the founder of Turkey who tried to shape Turkey in his own image as a secular western European place.

Erdogan in my view is another, Ataturk. He doesn't share Ataturk's values, just his message.

He wants to shape the society top down as a conservative middle eastern place. There is nothing wrong with that except half of the country embraces

that agenda and the other half does no not and he has a democratic mandate to govern. So, it's OK for him to have that vision but I think the time has

passed for the Ataturk model.

ANDERSON: Right. OK. And as you speak and this is fascinating stuff, we were looking --.

CAGAPTAY: Thank you.

ANDERSON: -- we were looking at pictures of tens of thousands of people on the recent march, the opposition march. What, if anything, was achieved by

the hundreds of thousands of people who hit the streets on that march?

CAGAPTAY: So, a lot of people had started to think that Turkey's authoritarian tilt unfortunately was making it impossible for the half of

the country that opposes Erdogan to challenge him democratically. The opposition march was a really good sign in that regard, that Turkey's

opposition is alive and kicking.

I don't think we should rule out Turkey's democracy yet. I think this country has had free and fair elections longer than has had Spain. The

problem with the opposition is that although it's very big, it's nearly as large as the pro-Erdogan constituency in the country, it is composed of

disparate groups. You have Turkish and Kurdish nationalists, seculars and conservatives and liberals and they don't really have a charismatic leader.

Erdogan has become the new Ataturk. He represents the leadership of the conservative side of the Turkey. The problem of course is that the real

Ataturk, the secular Ataturk is dead. And I think unless you see a charismatic leader like Erdogan that comes up from the opposition side,

unites the disparate groups around the platform of a forward vision, liberal agenda for Turkey, it's going to be a tall order for the opposition

to unseat him at the ballot box.

ANDERSON: With that we're going to leave it there.

CAGAPTAY: Thank you.

ANDERSON: I always appreciate having you on, sir. We will do it again. Thank you very much --

CAGAPTAY: A pleasure. Thank you for having me.

ANDERSON: -- from Washington today. Thank you.

Live from Abu Dhabi you're watching "Connect the World." Here is a pop quiz for you. What do these four places stretching from Eritrea to Iran have in

common? The answer up next.


ANDERSON: Well, just before the break we asked you what these four places have in common. Well, it's not just how stunning they are. They are all, in

fact, recent entries of UNESCO's list of world heritage sites from this part of the world. There's Hebron in the Palestinian territories, home of

the Cave of the Patriarchs, sacred to the Jews, Christians and Muslims. It's inclusion in Israel which then cut its UNESCO contribution by a

million dollars protesting what it calls a politically motivated move.

The art deco architecture of the Eritran capital Asmara is also in the world spotlight. Further east, the desert city of Yazd in Iran once a silk

road hub, and to wrap it all up, the third century Turkish ruins and marbles quarries of Aphrodisias. Well definitely some new spots then going

on the bucket list, right, but you don't always have to venture too far from home to find a unique destination.

Take the U.A.E.'s very own Garden City Al Ain, home to the country's first and only Unesco World Heritage Site. I caught up with the man tasked with

preserving its past, Mohammed Al Mubarak recently. Look at this.


ANDERSON: Abu Dhabi, a city of world class hotels, super cars, everything money can buy.

But here it only takes an hour's drive to go back centuries.

This is the Al Ain Oasis, a collection of working date farms all connected by what is this ancient falaj irrigation system. Today, it's not only a

refuge for those escaping the grueling heat, but also a place to come and learn about Emirati heritage. Heritage this man, Mohammed Al Mubarak is

tasked to preserve and protect.

It is U.A.E.'s first Unesco World Heritage site. Why is it important to preserve a site like this?

MOHAMMED AL MUBARAK, CHAIRMAN, ABU DHABI TOURISM & CULTURE AUTHORITY: History is what defines us. You know, the late Sheikh Zaid once said if you

do not know your history, you don't know your present, you don't know your future.

ANDERSON: Just a short drive away lies another cultural gem. Qasr Al Muwaiji, a fort built to protect the oasis more than 100 hundreds years ago

that's today home to a modern exhibition on the rich history of the U.A.E.

AL MUBRAK: You see in front of us is a video Sheikh Zayed driving his car in the deserts of Abu Dhabi and you can only imagine him driving around and

seeing the future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His name is Zaid.

AL MUBARAK: Sheikh Zaid is educated by the world, by the world around him, by the people around him. Oral history in the Arab world is extremely

important. So, you can just imagine Sheikh Zaid went from one town to other, from one desert to the other, sat down with people, talked about

stories of the past, talked about what defines them, talked about what's going to make them better and he took all that knowledge. He understood it.

He harnessed it and then he thought of the future.

[11:45:00] We didn't want to build something to tell the story that completely overpowers the actual fort. So we built this invisible

structure, this glass structure that is in the central part of the actual fort where you can see the beauty of the fort 360 and in this day and age,

technology plays a huge role. This is t only way you can talk to the youth.

So we use technology in telling the story of the past, whether it's through your iPhone, whether it's through you iPad, whether it's through immersive

experiences with digital screens and marrying the old and new, comes up with a strong story for future generations. Whether it is our local museums

or even international museums like the Louvre or the Guggenheim, we are bringing world cultures together and we're telling the story of the world.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about the Louvre. When will it open?

AL MUBARAK: That's the million dollar question. I like to -- this is going to be a birthday gift to the world where people from all over the world

will visit this museum, learn about how we're all interconnected and it being a birthday present, I have to keep it a surprise, but it's very, very

soon. I can keep you with that. You will hear very good news very soon.

ANDERSON: Sooner rather than later, this year rather than next?

AL MUBARAK: A lot sooner, 2017 is a good year.

ANDERSON: Are you disappointed this project has to some extent been steeped in as much controversy as it has like (INAUDIBLE) issues about

migrant workers and the conditions they've worked on and at times about the actual delivery date, does that upset you?

AL MUBARAK: You know, here is Abu Dhabi we have extremely strong labor laws that protect workers and, you know, we make sure in any of our sites

that they are treated in the best way possible. Unfortunately, some contractors or some subcontractors don't deal with that and we have to come

hard and we are doing that as we speak.

So, I think a lot of people have seen the negative and have not seen the positive. How much effort that we continue to showcase and continue to do

to make sure that every single worker gets what she or he deserves. They are a big reason for the growth of Abu Dhabi.

ANDERSON: To those who say that a brand such as the Louvre which sort of personifies the kind of western culture and identity for art isn't a good

fit for a region like this and a culture like this, you say what?

AL MUBARAK: I say absolutely not. The Louvre has been a fantastic partner, a partner that's in its past have always showcased the history of the world

not just of the west. And I think what we're doing at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, it being a universal museum, I think for the first time we're going to show

how the west and the east come together and how they're connected.

This museum more than anything will give a message of peace, of connectivity, of closeness to each other. And this is something that Abu

Dhabi is very excited about and we're excited to showcase that to the world.

ANDERSON: How significant a role will arts and culture play in what is a post oil diversified economy for the U.A.E.?

AL MUBARAK: It plays a big role. (INAUDIBLE) I mean, to give you a small example, less than 10 years ago the idea of having curators, isographers

(ph), restorators, archeologists, excavators, the list goes on, was unheard of here. Now, you have an abundance of them. I have several curators

between the Guggenheim and the Zaid National Museum in the north are U.A.E. nationals that have been educated in this field and right now are working

on the spot, they're being baptized by fire.

And I think it's special because this is what we talk about as special and cultural job creation.

ANDERSON: One of the misperceptions that might frustrate you perhaps more than any other when people don't know about U.A.E. and this region think

about it, is one of intolerance.

AL MUBARAK: We are an accepting society. Around 15 years ago we started the excavations of Sir Bani Yas and we found a monastery that dates back to

the seventh century and it's just stunning. With the coming of Islam in the late seventh century, eighth century, the church and the mosque functioned

collectively together and it blossomed. These are great messages for our youth. The message of acceptance, message that in the best periods of our

time, we basically function together.

ANDERSON: If you had one message to the international community about what is going on here in the U.A.E. and its vision for the future through the

prism of culture and heritage at a time when the roiling headlines are break down of the GCC, Qatar crisis

[11:50:00] we're next for this, the gulf region, what would your message be?

AL MUBARAK: People from all over the world and especially from the Arab world and from the Gulf Abu Dhabi is going to tell you about your past,

it's going to tell you about your present within its museums, within its cultural sites and because of that you are going to become a better person.

We're all interconnected, you know. Our neighbors from Saudi, our history is their history and their history is our history, you know, our neighbors

in Bahrain and Kuwait. This is one history.

ANDERSON: And in Qatar, too.

AL MUBARAK: Yes, this is one history. Absolutely. It's one history that we share and it's only going to get us closer together.



ANDERSON: You're with "Connect the World." I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back. It is 52 minutes past the hour here. Back to what has been the

breaking news of the past hour also, Roger Federer, winning his record eighth Wimbledon men's single title. Let's get you straight to Ravi Ubha at

the all England club. Ravi, we overuse the word "historic" but Federer's success really deserves that label and he made it look so easy.

RAVI UBHA, CNN TENNIS COMMENTATOR: He sure did, Becky. I mean, he is very inspiring. He's been doing that for a couple of decades now. He beat Marin

Cilic, the Coratian, in straight sets 6-3, 6-1, 6-4, in under two hours. And you have to consider that Cilic was considered a very dangerous


He beat Federer at the 2014 U.S. Open and last year also held match points here against him in the quarterfinals, but there did seem to be an injury

for Cilic. He took a medical time out for a foot problem in the second set. He was also weeping into his towel at one stage in the second set. So, I

don't think he was able to give 10 percent in his final and that's so disappointing playing on the biggest stage of them all, just behind me, on

center court.

But as for Federer, a remarkable comeback because last year he took six months off. He wanted to recover from a knee injury, came back at the

Australian Open, he wins that title. He wins here also and now he has 19 grand slam titles.

And you know, the way that he's playing, Becky, and then you look at the state of some of his rivals, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, I think there

is a very good shot he could get to number 20 as soon as the U.S. Open in a couple months. So, just a tremendous performance -- a tremendous tournament

for Federer. He didn't drop a set the entire way. Another Wimbledon title for him.

ANDERSON: Remarkable stuff. Not drop a single set all the way through. Amazing. My goodness. All right, Ravi, thank you for that. Down in

southwest London for you.

In today's Parting Shots, a final farewell to a towering figure, Iranian born mathematician, Maryam Mirzakhani, the first and only female winner of

the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics, often compared to the Nobel Prize. She passed away Saturday after a hard fought battle

with cancer. Stamford University, where she was a professor acknowledged her many contributions to the science community not just through her work,

but also as a role model, saying Maryam was a brilliant mathematical theorist and also a humble person who accepted honors only with the hope

that it might

[11:55:00] encourage others to follow her path.

Iran's president tweeted a tribute of his nation's beloved daughter along with photos of her with and without a veil calling her a creative scientist

and a gracious human being who lifted Iran's name in the global scientific community. And for more on the most influential figures and exponentially

important news give us your undivided attention by using the facebook site

I'm Becky Anderson. That was "Connect the World." from the team here and with those working with us around the world, good evening. Thank you for

watching. CNN continues after this short break.