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CONNECT THE WORLD
UK and EU Breakthrough on Brexit; Facebook and Cambridge Analytica Under Fire; Syrian President Assad Drives to War-Torn Neighborhoods; Turkey Raises Flag in Syrian Kurdish City; Saudi Crown Prince to Meet Trump on Tuesday. Aired 11-12n ET
Aired March 19, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, welcome this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi where the time is just after 7:00
in the evening here.
We begin though with breaking news from Brussels. The European Union and the United Kingdom say they have made a decisive step towards Brexit.
After a weekend of intense talks EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, announced that the two sides have reached a transition deal for Britain's
withdrawal from the EU. To break this down for us, CNN's Bianca Nobilo and international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson joining us down from London.
Let's start with you Bianca. What are the details as you understand them? And who scores the big wins?
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN LONDON: The details as we have them are that both negotiating team have agreed on a transition deal. That then has to get
the sign off from the EU 27 later this week. But there's been wins on both aides. So, the first win is the EU's. That's the fact that the transition
period has been agreed to end at the end of December 2020. That's a few months shy of when the U.K. wanted it to end. That's a win in the EU's
corner. Another win for the EU is the fact that European citizens will have the same right if they arrive during the transition period in Britain
as if they arrived before then. That was quite contentious and something that the Brexiteers were fighting back against in the U.K.
But then the U.K. did score points today but managing to agree that Britain would be allowed to negotiate and strike trade deals during that transition
period. Which would then come into force after transition is over -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Nic, the pound sterling certainly getting a bump from this news. Any clarity at this point, was always likely to help prop up U.K. assets,
which has struggled since this Brexit referendum. We haven't seen the sort of warm relations that we are seeing today since these negotiations began.
How big a breakthrough is this? And what does what we are learning today about the future for the U.K. and Europe suggest?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, business canting hard from this. They have been exceptionally worried that this
process is dragging out. This agreement today in essence, should have been in place about six months ago. In essence, this agreement today is about
moving from phase one, which is the terms of the divorce, to phase two, negotiating the future relationship. That should have happened some days
ago. The reality is for both sides that time is running out. And for the European Union who holds many of the cards here that gives them a stronger
hand with Britain.
And we been able to see the narrative through this whole process. So far is that Britain has had to concede ground. For example, the rights of EU
citizens and their families perhaps who come to live here during the transition period. Britain had said from the very beginning, no, you need
to be living in Britain before the transition period to have any rights. They've backed down now step by step but pretty much completely.
When we look forward, there is still one major hurdle, and that really reared its head again today and this is the border of Northern Ireland.
And the European Union has said we've got a fallback position that we will default to if we can't get agreement. And that's because there isn't
really a lot of faith in the negotiations so far. There's a recognition that some of the political parties, particularly in the north of Ireland
that back Theresa May antithetical to the European Union's views on this. Where does that leave Britain on this particular issue? The agreement
today said that the rough wording that Britain had agreed to before that the European says is a backstop must now have some legislative language
around it in case over the next nine months or so there cannot be agreements. That is still a huge issue to surmount for the British
ANDERSON: This, Bianca, a transition deal as Nic talks about the sort of challenges ahead, just how difficult the next nine months will this be?
And what are the deal breakers that we should watch out for?
NOBILO: I mean, hugely, hugely difficult. And the time frame for this to be achieved is compressed by the week that they didn't make progress.
That's why it was essential that progress was made today because they've already been kicking the can down the road for quite some time.
[11:05:00] So, it's likely to be really challenging. And something I would also flag which will make this harder for Parliament and Theresa May's
government to pass, certainly with the Brexiteers in the U.K., is the fact that originally the British government framed this as an implementation
period. Meaning that the relationship between U.K. and the EU would be changing over that period of time so Britain would be regaining more
sovereignty or something like that. We've heard today it's going to be a status quo transition period, which has been welcomed by the business
community in the U.K. But is of course, not what was promised initially. So, that's also a shift. It's not an implementation period, as far as I
can see. Even though discussions will be continuing about that future relationship. But it is in fact a status quo transition. It's going to be
very, very difficult for the Prime Minister and Ireland is the issue.
ANDERSON: Yes, and Bianca, sorry to interrupt. Those who have been watching this sort day-by-day, minute-by-minute as you have will be across
what's going on and your analysis is fantastic. Nic, for those who don't watch this on a minute-by-minute, day-by-day basis, it sounds like there's
an awful lot of technical language there. Step back for a moment, if you will. What does this ultimately mean for the U.K. and Europe and beyond?
ROBERTSON: Well, one of the sort of clever pieces of today's agreement, because obviously, both sides do want to make this work. They have said
that. The tensions are increasing. You know, when you come to things like the fallback position on Northern Ireland, you know, both sides think that
the other one isn't sort of playing fair or understanding their positions.
One of the things that looked good today was in the document that's been produced -- this draft document -- there are areas that are shaded green,
areas that are shaded yellow and areas that are still in neutral text. The green is what's been agreed. The yellow is sort of we're getting there.
So, when you look at the document itself, you can see actually, you know, there is some progress to be made, you can see the gaps, large gaps that
need to be filled in. But I think for those that are watching this from a distance is it's basically tune in later in the year because all of this,
each step, does come down to the wire. And each time it comes down to the wire, it's the British position that tends to sort of have to weaken, if
you will, or change a little. Because, again, the European Union is the one that sort of has the time here. Britain's called for this and it's
worse for Britain if they manage to drop out of this without some substantial agreement. Now they seem to be on the better footing there.
ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in London as is Bianca, keeping an eye on what is an incredibly important story. To both of you, thank you.
Lawmakers in Britain and the United States are demanding answers from Facebook and a company known as Cambridge Analytica. A data firm that
allegedly weaponized private information harvested from Facebook users to try to influence elections. Cambridge Analytica helped Donald Trump's
campaign and the company has been under investigation in the U.K. for months for possible involvement in the leave EU movement as well, something
we 've just been discussing. Well, now the European Parliament is also promising a full investigation.
We're following this story from both sides of the Atlantic tonight because it is both sides of the Atlantic where the story resonates enormously. Isa
Soares is in London, Samuel Burke is in Miami, in Florida. Let's start with you, Samuel. And let me just repeat what I just said. A data firm
that allegedly weaponized private information harvested from Facebook users to try to influence elections is what is being investigated at present.
What's the response from Facebook here? Certainly, a drop of over 6 percent today in its shares, billions of dollars of personal fortune for
the CEO Mark Zuckerberg up in smoke. What's their response and just how damaging is this?
SAMUEL BURKE, WELL, CNN TECH, TECHNOLOGY AND BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Facebook shares down more than 6 percent. Mark Zuckerberg has lost almost
$4 billion today. That's of course in stock price, not in cash. But, Becky, what this all comes down to is a personality test on Facebook. Many
of us have taken those but a company -- or rather a professor -- took that data and basically was able to access not just the information of the
people who took that test but also their friends. So even though Becky Anderson didn't take that test, because Becky is friends with me on
Facebook, this professor got her information. Take a listen to what the whistleblower, Christopher Wiley, told our colleagues at Channel 4 news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WILEY, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICAL WHISTLEBLOWER: Imagine I go and ask you, I say, hey, if I give you $1, $2, could you fill out this survey for me?
Just do it on this app. You say fine. Right? I don't just capture what the responses are, I capture all of the information about you from
[11:10:00] But also, this app then crawls through your social network and captures all of that data also. So, by you filling out my survey, I
capture 300 records on average. And so, that means that all of a sudden, I only need to engage 50,000, 70,000, 100,000 people to get a really big data
set really quickly. And it scales really quickly. We were able to get upwards of 50 million plus Facebook records in the span of a couple months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURKE: So, Becky, what a "New York Times" report alleges is that information was taken by a professor, given to Cambridge Analytica and
Facebook says that it was the handing over of that data was against their policies. Not the fact that it was collected, and your friend's
information collected. Facebook says they'll do whatever they can to get that data back but they're aware of that report saying there are copies of
this data not in the professor's hands.
ANDERSON: Stand by. And Isa, what do we then know about this company? The world is not new to Cambridge Analytica. We know that. So, what do we
know about them? And what's the fallout here?
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I met them when I interviewed the CEO, Alexander Nix, Becky, back in 2016. About six days or so before the U.S.
Presidential election. And I interviewed him for with that very purpose. I called it actually online -- you can find it -- Donald Trump's mind
readers. Because that's exactly how they were pitching themselves. They believe they could create a profile of every single adult in the United
States using advertising, using their Facebook, as Samuel is saying, from what you buy, what you eat, where you shop, what programs you watch on tv.
And with that information, Becky, they could pretty much get which way you were going to vote. But also, and critically, they could actually create
political adverts and advertising exactly to target the right audience. Now Facebook, Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, has denied
using Facebook data. This is what he had to say only last month here at a committee -- Becky.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER NIX, CEO CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA: We don't work Facebook data. We don't have Facebook data. We do use Facebook as a platform to advertise as
do all brands and most of agencies -- all agencies I should say. And we use Facebook as a means to gather data, so we roll out surveys on Facebook
that the public can engage with if they elect to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: So, they just do political advertising. That's what he said last month. Europe, here in the U.K. as well, they are asking for more
questions for him to come back to Parliament committee to answer some more questions they have. They believe they didn't get clear answers from him.
And Antonio Tajani, the European president, also put out a statement today saying they've got many questions that need to be answered regards
Cambridge Analytica. If we can bring up the statement.
He said, allegations of misuse of Facebook user data is unacceptable violation of our citizens' privacy rights. The European Parliament will
investigate fully, calling digital platforms to account.
So, Becky, what we've had from Alexander Nix, who was behind the leave EU campaign, although he has denied by numerous occasions, behind Donald
Trump, supported by Donald Trump, multi-million dollars behind him, he said we just crunch data to create a profile from you. But from what this
whistleblower is saying, Becky, it's more than a data crunching, it's a data grab.
ANDERSON: Chris Wiley, the whistleblower here, Samuel says this isn't something new. He says the company did know about this. Facebook has
known about this since 2015. I think I'm right in saying the irony is, it seems at least, Facebook have closed down his social media at this point,
both his Facebook and his Instagram as, far as I understand it. I guess the big question is this, we are all aware that we have been commoditized
in this era of the internet and social media. What has Facebook done wrong? What, if anything, is illegal here? And how will they or should
BURKE: Of course, this gets back to this theme that we have said over and over on this network networks when reporting on free social networks. If
the product is free, you are the product. And what this does is again put Facebook, Becky, in the very uncomfortable position of once again not only
having to defend their role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, it calls into question whether they even understand their own platform and its
own power. Remember that Mark Zuckerberg at first literally said, well, it's just laughable the fact that Facebook could have somehow been involved
in this Russia tie-up, United States election. Couldn't be.
[11:15:00] Which really doesn't make a lot of sense when you think about they're going around telling all their advertisers this is the most
powerful platform. Once again, we're trying to see did Facebook really understand the power of their own platform and a simple personality quiz,
which obviously really wasn't that simple.
SOARES: And Becky, can I just chip in to that as well?
ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely.
SOARES: We were talking about the United States of course but you mentioned the leave EU, of course, that led to Brexit. U.K. privacy laws
here in the U.K. are extremely stringent as you well know. So, you wouldn't be surprised to hear many people right here in the U.K. actually
saying I'm going to quit Facebook, I 've had enough. This is just the ultimate test for them. Many people here are really up in arms and
spitting feathers at the thought their private lives could have been used by Cambridge Analytica.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Stick with it, guys. There is more to come on this. Thank you.
Elections can provide moments of uncertainty. Where the people defy the polls and surprise the politicians. Not, though, in Russia. Vladimir
Putin will serve six more years as Russia's President, winning Sunday's election in overwhelming fashion with more than 76 percent of the vote. He
declared victory in front of what was a raucous crowd. Even though he is barred from running again there is already talk he may try to change the
Constitution to hold onto power.
With more on the election and what to look for next in Russian politics, let's bring in our CNN international correspondent, Frederik Pleitgen, who
is in Moscow for you. We always talk about sort of, you know, dog bites man on this. The news was not that Vladimir Putin won this, the news would
have been should he have not won this election of course. How significant is this election and its result? The turnout, the overwhelming support
that he clearly got from Russians and what does it mean? What are the consequences for Russia in the immediate to sort of midterm?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it means that Russia's going to have six years of the same, another six
years of the policies of Vladimir Putin. He's already announced most of the things he wants to do here in Russia are really internal politics. He
said he wants to move the economy forward. He also says he wants to do more in terms of health care as well.
But of course, also on an international stage, it will mean more of the same as well. And it was interesting to see, I was at that event yesterday
where Vladimir Putin then thanked everybody. He said that this was a show of unity for Russia. Said that Russia was going to move forward. And only
a few minutes later he went into a press event and started talking about the Sergei Skripal case. So, he moved very quickly from celebrating which,
you know, everyone said is an historic election victory to then going back to business as usual and that means confrontation with western nations,
with the United States and with European nations as well. Saying that the Sergei Skripal case, the Brits need to provide some sort of evidence saying
that it was absolutely implausible that all this would have been a military grade nerve agent. The Skripals would have been dead immediately if in
fact it was a military grade nerve agent. Saying that Russia had nothing to do with it. And I think you're going to see more of that. You're going
to see a very strong President, a strong leader. There are some who are saying that maybe towards the end of this term he might become something
like a lame-duck. Certainly, there is absolutely no sign that that could be the case at this point in time. He seems someone who really has a very
clear agenda. Who wants to make sure that Russia is strong on the international stage and at the same time, obviously, he has domestic agenda
as well. When he says he wants to forward the economy especially and things like health care also here for Russians inside this country --
ANDERSON: Frederik Pleitgen is in Moscow for you. The start of a new era or a continuation of old, as it were.
Coming up next, he is accused of using chemical weapons to murder his own people, but the Syrian government wants to see its president as an ordinary
guy. The kind of guy who drives himself around. We look at those two very different Assads. Up next.
[11:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: We are connecting a world ever more defined by strongmen, it seems, the likes of Putin, Assad, Erdogan. We are getting to all of them
this hour. Now to the battlefield that is Syria and this extraordinary and also very ordinary video of its strong man. President Bashar al-Assad
taking the wheel, taking charge. Make no mistake, he's put out this video for a reason. It is a PR move, just not the kind we often see. A relaxed
looking, casually dressed Mr. Assad taking a Sunday drive in a regular car. His destination -- Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of his capital that he has been
bombing and bombing hard.
We'll get you more on this and the state of the war with CNN's Ben Wedeman. He is over in Lebanon a country with a very long border, of course, we
Syria that hundreds of thousands of refugees have poured over. And Ben, as we just pause to consider these images of Bashar al-Assad at the wheel of a
Honda Civic, looking normal, driving around on a weekend afternoon, just reminders of how horrific the fighting has been in Eastern Ghouta, to the
point that he -- Bashar al-Assad has been accused of using chlorine gas there.
BEN WEDEMAN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed. It was on the 21st of August 2013, when according to the United Nations, the Syrian
military used sarin gas and killed hundreds of people there. And during the recent fighting well over a thousand people killed. There have been
reports that the Syrian military used chlorine gas as well. Certainly, the reality of what's going on in Ghouta, compared to this bizarre video put
out by the Syrian presidency, where he's driving a Honda, a normal car, not an armored car. He doesn't have any security. It's most bizarre. But
before we run this report, we must warn our viewers that some of the images in this report can be disturbing.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): President Bashar al-Assad is at the wheel. We're going to the Ghouta to see the situation, he says. Driving through what
appears to be traffic without an apparent security escort on his way to the Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus.
Under siege for years, for a month now the scene of a government offensive to crush this rebel-held pocket. According to the United Nations, more
than a thousand civilians have been killed, tens of thousands have fled to government-held areas.
God willing anything that can be liberated without fighting is best, he says, let's not forget they're civilians and we must preserve their lives.
[11:25:00] It's a surreal work of propaganda, the Syrian every man on a day trip to the ruins of his realm. His bodyguards reappear when he meets
people who greet him with kisses and chants. With our souls in blood we sacrifice ourselves for you, Bashar. In seven years nearly half a million
Syrians have been sacrificed in a war far from over. Many killed by a government that has showered its opponents with barrel bombs and into
Eastern Ghouta in 2013 chemical weapons.
Meeting with commanders he gives instructions to avoid civilian casualties because, he says, maybe the terrorists are hiding behind the civilians.
The Syrian government has always framed its fight against the armed opposition as an existential struggle between order and chaos.
The battle is bigger than Syria, Assad tells the troops. You're waging a battle for the world. Every bullet you fire to kill a terrorist, you're
changing the world order.
And while the Syrian president basked in the cheers of his troops Sunday, the bloodshed carried on. According to the Syrian American Medical
Society, during Assad's day out, government forces subjected the Ghouta to intense bombardment, killing 28 people, including four children and five
WEDEMAN: And the fighting continues today in the Eastern Ghouta. I think really what this video shows or wants to show is that Bashar al-Assad can
drive unprotected from the heart of his capital into a battlefield essentially. He just wants to show that he's the man behind the wheel when
it comes to Syria -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Ben, I want to get a map up here for everybody who's watching. We've been in Eastern Ghouta so far towards the bottom left of the screen.
Let's bring this map up. We want to look way up north now to Afrin on the Turkish border. This is fresh video from there. And viewers look
carefully, the flag there Turkish. The chants you can hear Turkish. Those guns, Turkish. The field commander or some of these Turkish back forces
say those guns weren't needed, that they took the city without firing a shot. What happened in Afrin as you understand it?
WEDEMAN: My understanding is that indeed according to also FSA, Free Syrian Army fighters we spoke to that more or less the Kurdish forces
pulled out of the city without much of a fight. Perhaps they realized that the Turks will pulverize the place if they stayed put. And keep in mind
that there are hundreds of thousands of civilians in Afrin as well and that the fight -- the Turks were joined by Arab Syrian soldiers, many of them
quite hostile to the Kurds. In fact, they made a point of ripping down all YPG flags, any statues that were associated with Kurdish heroes. So,
there's -- many people are worried that what is afoot in the Turkish occupied parts of northern Syria may be the beginning of ethnic cleansing.
And therefore, the YPG has said that they are going to fight a guerrilla warfare against Turkish and affiliated Syrian forces to drive them out of
that part of the country -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Very messy situation. Ben, thank you. We're going to get a lot more on that key Turkish victory with the president's spokesman soon,
talking about a battle won but a war very much under way. That news coming up.
[11:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: Announcing a major win with a nod to the past. Turkish soldiers hold their national flag dedicating their victory in the fight against
Kurdish forces to the victims of the battle of Gallipoli in World War I. And the site of this Turkish win, a battered and bloodied Syria. Where for
the past seven years major world powers jostled for power, territory and influence to devastating effects. And we have followed it all the way for
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. Welcome back, 7:30 in the UAE.
If victory is about strategy, victory parties are all about symbolism, it seems. It doesn't get clearer than this. A bullet poked statue of a
Kurdish hero, torn down and left line headfirst in the dirt. Just 24 hours after Turkish back forces rolled into the center of town. We bring you
Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for the Turkish presidency and he joins me now from Ankara. Mr. Kalin, this win in Afrin is something Turkey will want to
celebrate. How do you respond to critics like the EU's top diplomat who said today that she was, quote, worried about it? Saying international
efforts in Syria should be about de-escalation, not escalation.
IBRAHIM, KALIN SPOKESMAN FOR TURKISH PRESIDENT: Well, we have conducted this operation basically to clear the Afrin area from PYD, YPG terrorist.
Who are PKK Syria branch and the PKK is listed as a terrorist objection in Turkey, the EU and the United States. So those who are sincere and
consistent about the fight against terrorism should be supporting Turkey in its effort to clear its borders from this terrorist elements.
[11:35:00] In regard to some concerns or issues raised when we began the operation about avoiding civilian casualties, et cetera, we've been very
careful with that. I think our record is very clear as we did with the Euphrates shield operation about a year and half ago. We have cleared
about 2,000 square kilometer area from dire terrorists. And we did the same in Afrin and have avoided civilian casualties. Especially if you
compare civilian casualties in the operations in Mosul, Raqqah and other places. And you look at the pictures before and after the liberation of
the cities, I think our record is very clear. And we've been very transparent from the very beginning about the aims of this operation.
ANDERSON: There were very few civilians indeed when these troops rolled in. We've been talking to people that were on the ground. An awful lot of
looting for example. The U.N. Human Rights Council said it had received reports of opposition fighters looting the homes and businesses of people
who have fled. CNN spoke to the photographer who took photos of this. He said he saw at least hundreds of opposition forces looting in the city
center, taking everything in his words, even pigeons. This clearly is not a few bad apples according to witness accounts like his. What's your
understanding of the situation on the ground?
KALIN: Well, we take these reports seriously. We are looking into the incidents. Apparently, they have happened. Some groups probably did not
follow the orders that were given by their commanders. We are looking into this very seriously because our main aim in the Afrin operation is and has
been from the very beginning to bring safety and security to those people living in Afrin. We have never forced anyone to leave the city. In fact,
it was YPG/PYD terrorists that were blocking people from leaving the city because they wanted to use them as live human shields. That has now been
avoided because the terrorists fled, the PYD/YPG terrorist. In the meantime, in the areas that were cleared from PYD/YP, we've been providing
humanitarian aid through the Turkish Red Crescent. And we have also provided other type of humanitarian aid in other parts of Afrin towards
both Aleppo and towards Hassakeh. So that work will continue. But we are looking into those incidents very closely and necessary measures obviously
will be taken.
ANDERSON: There's been much talk of giving Afrin back to its, quote, real owners. It's a Kurdish city, isn't it? How are you going to reassure
hundreds of thousands of civilians they can go back home when they and we witnessed these such things.
KALIN: Well, first of all, we have to make a very clear distinction between PYD/YPG terrorists and the Kurds. We don't have anything against
the Kurds. In fact, we have supported the Kurds in Syria, in Iraq and elsewhere. In fact, it was our president who raised the issue of Kurdish
rights long before the Syrian were. Long before anybody even talked about Syrian Kurds with Chobani. Other places when we had good relations with
President Bashar al-Assad.
I see a lot of commentary, especially in the Western media mixing up PYD/YPG and the Kurds. It's like saying almost Muslims are Daesh. You
know, you make a very clear distinction between ISIS and the majority of Muslims. You have to make the same distinction between PYD/YPG, PKK and
the Kurds. As far as the people in Afrin are concerned, many had to flee because of the oppression that they were under of the PYD/YPG. I'll give
you an example. When we liberated Jarabulus, Azaz area to the Euphrates shield operation, 140,000 people returned to their homes.
This never happened anywhere else in Syria during the seven-year war. Because they felt safe and, in those cities, now, they're running their own
businesses. There is no ISIS there, and there is no PYD/PKK. And there are no regime forces there. So, we would like to see the same happening
there. In fact, it's happening already near the Turkish border. And you will see in the following days the same thing will happen in the Afrin
city. Those who had to flee will go back and we will provide safety for them.
ANDERSON: OK. All right. Well, we've heard what you said, even though we hear witness accounts from Kurds who fear ethnic cleansing going forward.
Look, we are seeing, it seems, an emboldening Turkey in the --
KALIN: Ethnic cleansing, who has done ethnic cleansing? That's an outrageous claim.
ANDERSON: I'm saying you hear reports from Kurds on the ground that they fear ethnic cleansing to which you say what?
[11:40:00] KALIN: Well, to the contrary. In fact, there are Kurds fighting within the FSA, Free Syrian Army, that entered the city of Afrin.
There are many Kurds. That's the problem. Unfortunately for some commentators in the Western media, any Kurd who is not a PKK is not a Kurd.
They write about the PYD/YPG as if they are the only or sole representatives of the Kurds. That's not true at all. In fact, there are
hundreds of, hundreds of thousands of Kurds who do not subscribe to PKK's Marxist-Leninist ideologies. One of the ironies of modern history that the
United States, unfortunately, has chosen a Marxist-Leninist organization as its ally in Syria. They made proposals in the past both to the Obama and
to Trump administration, that in fact, the fight against ISIS can be done with other forces including non-PKK Kurds, Arabs, Turk, and many other
ANDERSON: Let me ask you, it does to many seem as if we are seeing an emboldened Turkey in the region. What is the plan at this point? Will you
push towards Manbij?
KALIN: We have reached an agreement with U.S. officials over the last three, four weeks we had a very intense diplomatic traffic with Secretary
Tillerson coming, even though he is now on the way out, General McMaster, President Trump's national security adviser. In our briefings we have
agreed on a main framework for the Manbij area to be evacuated so that the PYD/YPG elements will move to the east of Euphrates. This is something
that again we discussed with the Obama administration two and a half years ago. We've been discussing with our counterparts and because Manbij in a
Kurdish city. It's primarily largely an Arab city. Maybe it had some significance tactically speaking for the Raqqa operation. But the Raqqa
operation is over and Daesh or ISIS has been largely eliminated in those area. So, there is no reason for them to stay there. Because they pose --
they're only 30 kilometers away, by the way, from the Turkish border. And they're using all these areas as training grounds as they did in Afrin. If
you look at the pictures, all the small military headquarters and weapons caches, et cetera. In fact, they were trying to turn Afrin into a second
counter mountain where they train their terrorists. Obviously, we cannot allow that to happen right at our border. And so, we have asked the U.S.
officials to move the PYD/YPG out of Manbij to the east of Euphrates. So that those areas can be secured by, again, the local people. We can do it
together with the U.S. FSA can do it, or other local people can do it in the city.
ANDERSON: OK, I hear what you're saying. Let me put this to you finally. There is a school of thought that sees Russia as to a certain extent
allowing Turkey to win in Afrin as a way of bringing Ankara in Washington into conflict. I want to get your analysis of that and how far Turkey is
willing to strain ties with Washington, with the U.S. over your desire to stamp out this, as you call it, Kurdish terrorism.
KALIN: Well, there are two sides to your question. I think one is that when we conduct this operation, Afrin operation, obviously we coordinated
with Russia, with Iran but also with the Americans because, you know, we have conducted air operation there, our soldiers were on the ground. You
have to coordinate these things obviously, so that you avoid any accidents or clashes.
Number two, we have also coordinated our Euphrates shield operation with international coalition primarily with the United States. So, when you do
these things you have to coordinate. So, coordination with Russia doesn't mean you turn your back to your other allies. We don't see foreign policy
as a zero-sum game.
To the contrary, as we have worked closely with the international coalition, during the Euphrates shield operation, we work with the Russians
in the Afrin operation because the Americans are not in that part of Syria. The larger question about Turkish/U.S. relations and Turkish/Russia
relations, they are not alternative to one another. But we have two main issues with the U.S. at the moment.
One is the U.S. support for PYD/YPG again I repeat which is PKK Syria branch. This is a terrorist organization that has been conducting this war
against Turkey for the last 34 years. Obviously, we cannot understand how our ally, our strategic partner, the United States can work with a
terrorist group like that. Number two is the Gulenist network in the U.S., those who are responsible for the July 15 coupe attempt in 2016 here in
Turkey and we have raised all these issues, these two issues primarily to address as spoilers in our relationship. We want to improve relations
obviously, but we would like to see some concrete action to address our security concerns. As far as our relationship with Russia or with Iran or
with other regional countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, EU, et cetera, we don't see this as a zero-sum game.
[11:45:00] It's a 360-degree foreign policy perspective that we are trying to apply.
ANDERSON: And we will continue to discuss this in the days, weeks and months to come. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. Viewers, we
will right back after this.
ANDERSON: From soaring ties to soaring ambitions, the Saudi Crown Prince heading to Washington for the start of what is a two-week charm offensive.
Things to watch. Just what type of Saudi-U.S. to counter Iran's influence is in the making. The catastrophic Yemen war also likely to surface, as is
the continuing damaging golf crisis with Qatar and of course business interests in the Crown Prince's grand plans for economic reform will also
loom large when he meets Donald Trump on Tuesday. CNN's emerging markets editor and my colleague John Defterios has a story for you.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: He is the young heir to the throne with grand plans, the man known by his initials, MBS, wants to wean
Saudi Arabia off oil and create the world's largest sovereign wealth fund. His master plan hinges in part on a successful, if slightly delayed IPO for
state oil behemoth Saudi Aramco. A record $2 trillion valuation is the target to create the world's most valuable company. Hong Kong, London and
New York are all rolling out the red carpet to win over Aramco and the Prince. But the minister of energy told me he has serious reservations
about taking a public on Wall Street.
KHALID AL-FALIH, MINSTER OF ENERGY, SAUDI ARABIA: I would say litigation and liability are a big concern in the U.S. We've seen five IOC companies
being sued for frivolous climate change allegations and quite frankly, Saudi Aramco is too big and too important for the kingdom to be subjected
to the kind risk.
DEFTERIOS: His young boss is both determined and unconventional, one-week welcoming global investors to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh and then
touring the same gilded venue into a jail for Saudi billionaires. The forceful crackdown on corruption took down investor Prince Alwaleed bin
Talal the former head of the National Guard and scores of others, while clawing back $100 billion for the state.
[00:50:00] Senior members of his team insist it was a necessary purge.
MOHAMMED AL TUWAIJIN, MINISTER OF ECONOMY AND PLANNING, SAUDI ARABIA: The local community is extremely positive around the crackdown. Friends and
investors of Saudi Arabia are talking positively about it.
DEFTERIOS: Politically MBS has forged a tight bond with the U.S. president, nurtured by Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. Saudi
Arabia was the President's first overseas trip where he signed defense contracts worth over $100 billion. He topped it off with this ominous pose
alongside the King of Saudi Arabia and the president of Egypt.
Now with Rex Tillerson out of the picture as secretary of state, MBS will also want to focus on his Middle East security priorities, most notably the
isolation of Iran. And this is where strategists suggest the Crown Prince and the U.S. President can aim for complete alignment. John Defterios CNN
Money Abu Dhabi.
ANDERSON: That's right we are in Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, a new movie has a young girl terminally ill become a super hero.
That is helping change how people think about gender in Africa. That story up next.
ANDERSON: Your parting shots tonight. Something many of us have dreamed of at some point, having super powers and being able to fix or make right
what's wrong in the world. Well, that's basically the storyline behind what is an inspiring new film which wowed judges at last month at last
month's Berlin festival and teaches all of us a thing or two about appreciating the little things in life.
LIKARION WAINAINA, KENYAN FILMMAKER: "Supa Modo," this is a story of a 9- year-old girl suffering from a terminal illness. She has a few months to live and it's basically the story of how people react to that. The more we
developed the story with the writers, the more we found the purpose to do this movie.
A lot of issues, and agendas, especially in Africa, we cannot lie. And here we have a girl who is inspired and she's not subject to what society
thinks she should be doing. And that's what we wanted to weave into our story.
There is also a lot of Kenyan element, which is my main primary goal. We want a film about the Kenyan lifestyle, how it was and how I hope it can
be. It felt like a sense of community was lost with a lot of modern towns. In modern place assumes a little poverty, those to happen, these people are
poor, but they do not wallow in it. That's the important thing that people need to know about Africa. We do not wallow in pity, we continue being
happy with whatever we have, and that's what I really wanted to present.
ANDERSON: And you can always follow the stories that the team is working on throughout the day. By going to our Facebook page where you can see the
video of Syrian president Assad driving out. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.