Return to Transcripts main page

FAREED ZAKARIA GPS

Federal Agents Clash With Protesters In Portland; Are Russia, China And Iran Trying To Meddle In 2020 U.S. Elections?; Which Economies Will Emerge Stronger From COVID-19?; Germany's Response Has Been Mirror Image Of America's; Turkey Converts Hagia Sophia Back To Mosque. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired July 26, 2020 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:00:00]

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria, coming to you live from New York.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA: Today on the show, Portland, Oregon. Federal agents in violent nightly clashes with protesters. Now President Trump says he could send 75,000 agents around the country. Is this an abuse of power or does the president have the right to restore order?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Frankly, we have no choice but to get involved.

ZAKARIA: I'll discuss with former Homeland Security chiefs Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson.

And Russia meddled in the 2016 election. That is a fact. The questions are, are they doing it again in 2020? And is China at it as well? I'll talk to the experts.

Then Paris has the Eiffel Tower. London has Big Ben. And Istanbul has the Hagia Sophia. What did President Erdogan do to Turkey's top tourist attraction that has many people upset, including the Pope? Find out later in the show.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA: But first, here's my take. We should not really be shocked by Donald Trump's admission in an interview with Chris Wallace that he might not accept the results of the November election. Afterall he said that before the 2016 election as well. But the situation now is far more dangerous.

For months Trump has been unleashing forces that come November could cost tens of millions of Americans to be convinced that the election was rigged. So, even if Trump leaves office in January, voluntarily or not, he will leave behind a political climate that could verge on civil war. Trump is an avid fan of conspiracy theories to begin. His political

rise started with one. The notion that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. He has embraced the most noxious peddler of falsehoods Alex Jones. Trump and his associates have been stoking the QAnon movement which imagines a battle between the president and a deep state of high- ranking officials and liberal elites who practice child torture and satanic worship. Yes, check it out.

All these instincts are now being channeled into one idea, one great conspiracy, that the November vote will be rigged. Now, some take comfort from the polls, believing Joe Biden will win with a large enough margin to make all these concerns irrelevant. Maybe. But it is also quite possible that things will get very messy in November. Assuming we are still in the midst of a pandemic, all 50 states will have instituted new measures relating to voting from social distancing rules to mail-in ballots.

Norm Ornstein writes in the "Atlantic," "The combination of fewer polling places because of the pandemic, the need to space out voters in lines, and fewer poll workers could turn November 3rd into a disaster that spirals into January."

Imagine that on the night of November 3rd, backed up polling sites turn away voters and several states have large enough stacks of mail- in ballots that they cannot announce their results immediately. Imagine that some procedures or ballots are contested. Imagine that this ends up in courts around the country.

Now by December 8th, each state is supposed to decide which party's slate of electors will cast that state's electoral votes, reflecting the official ballot tally. But what if that tally is unclear or disputed?

Jarod Cohen, the author of "Accidental Presidents," points out that the election of 2020 could prove to be a toxic combination of the elections of 1876 and 2000. In 1876 four states faced serious allegation of irregularity or fraud and the situation was resolved by a backroom deal. In 2000 a dispute over Florida's ballots led to the Supreme Court intervening and an unprecedented and highly controversial move settling the election in favor of George W. Bush.

But what happens this fall will take place in the midst of the most polarized political climate in a century and with the hyper-accelerant of social media. Now add to this scenario the most worrisome element, the conspiracy theorists who have already been peddling fear and suspicion of the establishment and specifically warning that the election will be rigged. If Trump's prospects worsen as November approaches, his attacks are likely to get more outlandish.

He has already claimed in the past that large numbers of undocumented immigrants, out-of-state residents and dead people were voting for the Democrats with no proof.

[10:05:05]

He recently insisted there is zero chance mail-in ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent because mailboxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged. He says millions of mail-in ballots will be from foreign countries. None of these charges are backed up with proof.

Americans like conspiracy theories. It's a country suspicious of centralized power and these theories help people make sense of the world. We all dislike the idea of chaos and chance. We prefer to see patterns, causes and villains. These tendencies exist on the left as well whether it's Oliver Stone's portrayal of the JFK assassination or the belief that Russia hacked into voting machines in 2016 and changed the tallies, but there is an important difference between the 2020 candidates. Trump revels in conspiracy theories. Joe Biden does not.

One of America's greatest legacies to the world has been the peaceful transfer of political power. When John Adams left the White House in 1801 and Thomas Jefferson was sworn in as his successor, it marked the first time in modern history that political power changed hands between two rival parties competing in an election. It is that precious legacy that Donald Trump is endangering with his conspiracy mongering about rigged election.

For more go to CNN go and watch my recent special, "DONALD TRUMP'S CONSPIRACY THEORIES," or read my "Washington Post" column. And let's get started.

The protests that erupted across the U.S. in the wake of the killing of George Floyd have been dissipating but not in Portland, Oregon. For almost 60 nights now citizens have come out to protest racism and police brutality. Over that time some protesters have become violent and there have been acts of vandalism, including fires set and anti- police graffiti scrawled on a federal building.

Several weeks ago President Trump not happy with the unrest sent in federal agents. Video has since emerged of these feds shooting a protester in the head with rubber bullets, beating others, and pulling another into an unmarked van. Trump has since said he could send 75,000 such agents across to cities in the country to counter crime and unrest he says.

Is it Trump's right or is it federal overreach?

Joining me now are two former secretaries of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson.

Jeh Johnson, let me begin by asking you, what as far as you can tell is the situation in Portland and did it require federal agents?

JEH JOHNSON, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Fareed, you're right. That in Portland, there have been enduring, consistent demonstrations in the aftermath of George Floyd unlike most other cities. And it has continued, for the most part, peaceful. And whether or not that warrants deploying large-scale federal law enforcement, I think, is a very, very difficult question.

The White House invoked a provision entitled 40 of the United States code that says the secretary of Homeland Security has the general ongoing authority to protect federal buildings. That is clear enough. That is done principally through these federal protective service, which Janet and I know well, but beyond that, deploying large-scale federal law enforcement to the streets of Portland, I think, one has to ask, is it could be unduly provocative and actually make matters worse.

And I think once you do that, you begin to get unquestionable federal ground. Janet and I could probably come up with very compelling circumstances to deploy federal law enforcement to a major U.S. city to protect civil rights or to enforce federal law, but this seems to be a real challenge to me, particularly if the mayor and the governor and local law enforcement are not requesting it.

ZAKARIA: Janet Napolitano, that seems to be the crucial issue here. You were governor, governor of Arizona and former secretary of Homeland Security. Is this a kind of usurpation of state authority? What does it tell you that no local leader has asked for this?

JANET NAPOLITANO, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I think this is so concerning to send in large numbers of federal agents in full battle gear, as it were. Over not just the consent but over the actual objection of local and state leaders. And from what I can tell the protests in Portland were actually dying down somewhat until the feds showed up.

[10:10:05]

And then that created a heightened response by the protesters and all of a sudden we have this kind of cycle going on with the huge tactics like tear gas and rubber bullets and the like. It's not the reason the Department of Homeland Security was created. That's for sure.

ZAKARIA: Jeh Johnson, you're a distinguished lawyer. What is the constitutional circumstance on this? Because President Trump now says he could do it in dozens of other cities. As far as I can tell, there's no violence. I mean, this is conjuring up some kind of state of lawlessness in America that doesn't exist.

Can the president, in a sense, define an emergency and then act on what he describes as a self-defined emergency?

JOHNSON: Fareed, I think that is fact-dependent. And from what I can see, the facts don't really exist here. First and foremost, the mayor, the police chief, is principally responsible for public safety. And if they're not requesting federal help, then that calls into question what they are doing. If, in fact, there is a systematic violation of federal civil rights going on. Say, for example, these agents are arresting people on less than probable cause, that is hugely problematic and may, indeed, violate federal law.

As a general matter, federal law enforcement can protect federal civil rights, can pursue violations of federal law, but I just don't see that the circumstances exist in these cities. Up until now, it has been adequate for local law enforcement. And often with the help of the National Guard to address any security concerns in the aftermath of George Floyd. ZAKARIA: Janet, you mentioned, you know, this was not why the

Department of Homeland Security was created. Former Senator Barbara Boxer has an op-ed in the "Washington Post" where she says, basically, maybe this was a mistake to create this super agency within the federal government that has this kind of power. There are others who have argued, you know, forget about defunding the police, let's dismantle the Department of Homeland Security.

I know it would be, in a sense, acting against your former department, but, you know, why does it exist? I mean, isn't part of the American tradition that we've never had a kind of Ministry of the Interior the way that a lot of countries with strong states have had?

NAPOLITANO: Well, that's correct. We haven't had a Ministry of Interior. And that was actually debated when the department was created. But, you know, the functions of the department are many. It's counterterrorism, cyber security, it's disaster response and others. But it was not created to be kind of a free-wheeling federal police force to be used in cities across the United States at the whim of the president and the now acting secretary. And it hasn't been used in that way in the past.

You know, I think one of the things this reflects is that the lack of leadership, you know, at the department, you know, who are, you know, mission driven, not politics driven.

ZAKARIA: Jeh Johnson, should this be -- should the law be rewritten? Should, you know, were Joe Biden come into the Oval Office, should the department be revamped in some way?

JOHNSON: Well, to the extent Senator Boxer is saying it is inherently unwieldy to have within one Cabinet level department FEMA and a whole collection of border security federal law enforcement agencies, I would respectfully disagree. I believe that with competent, attentive leadership, that can and should be done.

If we are upset at what is happening right now in Portland and elsewhere, as Janet notes, then I think the answer there is to change the policy, to change the mission. And if that doesn't happen, then you change the leaders who are directing the missions and promulgating the policies.

During the Vietnam War, for example, very few advocated that you deconstruct the Department of Defense or after Abu Ghraib. The answer is change the policy. And if that doesn't work, change the leaders.

ZAKARIA: Jeh Johnson, Janet Napolitano, pleasure to have you on. Thank you.

NAPOLITANO: Thank you, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, it is 100 days until the election here in America. We'll talk about how Russia and China are thinking about the vote.

[10:15:01] Are they both trying to meddle this time?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAKARIA: On Friday, America's counterintelligence official warned that not only was Russia trying to meddle in the 2020 election but China and Iran are, too. So what exactly is going on and what do we need to know about it?

Joining me now are Laura Rosenberger and Nina Jankowicz. Laura is a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. and Nina is a disinformation fellow at the Wilson Center and has a new book out, "How to Lose the Information War."

[10:20:02]

Nina, you argued that we misconceived the nature of Russia's disinformation and you have as proof a fascinating example of an anti- Trump rally that involves the musical "Les Mis." Explain.

NINA JANKOWICZ, DISINFORMATION FELLOW, WILSON CENTER: Yes, so I think we all think that disinformation is about cut and dry fakes but that couldn't be farther from the truth. What Russia does is manipulate our emotions. It uses preexisting grievances and fissures in our society and amplifies them to pit us against one another on both sides of the political spectrum.

So in my book I discuss this flash mob where this was unsealed in the 2018 criminal complaint during the Russia investigation that talked about the Internet Research Agency and the IAR used $80 worth of Facebook ads to support a pro-Trump "Les Mis" flash mob where people singing songs, parodies from "Les Mis" about impeaching President Trump outside of the White House on July 4th, 2017.

So after the presidential election, Russia was continuing to interfere. Continuing to drive these fissures, make them even larger in our society, pit us against one another so that people start to disengage as Russia floods the zone with disinformation, various narratives, all of these things. People don't want to participate in democracy. That's what disinformation is really about. Really denigrating the democratic system, which is great for Moscow.

Moscow wants us to be so occupied by our affairs here at home that we're ignoring its adventurism in Syria, in Ukraine, and Putin can point to that to his own people and say, is that the sort of democracy you want? No, you want the authoritarianism that I've given you for the past 20-plus years.

ZAKARIA: That is fascinating.

Now, Laura, when you look at this Chinese authoritarianism is on the rise, in a sense, there's a greater confidence. You talk about the Wolf warriors in your book. But the goals seem very different.

LAURA ROSENBERGER, SENIOR FELLOW, GERMAN MARSHALL FUND OF THE U.S.: Yes, that's right, Fareed. I think whereas Russia is really looking to engage in chaos and destruction, as Nina laid out, China's goals are much more about shaping the external environment in a way that's in its favor and cultivating individuals or narratives that it thinks are positive about the Chinese Communist Party.

Now, it uses some of the same tactics that we see from Russia and increasingly I think it's beginning to learn from Russian tactics but it uses those to different ends. So let me just give a couple of examples. We do see the Chinese party state, its officials and media engaging in information manipulation. Some of this is traditionally really aimed at amplifying and creating positive narratives about the Chinese Communist Party and suppressing unwanted narratives. Things that are negative about China.

We have seen during COVID-19 an evolution of a more assertive practice, this Wolf warrior diplomacy that you mentioned, around Chinese officials and media outlets, taking a much more assertive posture online, directly denigrating the United States, criticizing its handling of COVID-19, criticizing democracy as unable to deal with today's challenges. And I think that's about a few things.

The first is that, number one, you know, some of the failures at home, we are providing a little bit of a right target surface just as we do to Russia. But I think a lot of this for Chinese officials is actually about deflecting blame from their own initial mishandling of the virus. And it's about a good example and a good moment where they believe they can hold up Chinese authoritarianism by the Chinese Communist Party as a model in contrast to democracy that seems to be, you know, in their telling of it, mishandling many problems.

ZAKARIA: So it's very interesting to me, it seems, because it sounds like on the one hand you have China that is rising and trying to shape norms, make people aware of its influence, and Russia, on the decline, essentially nihilistic. And so I wonder if there's -- is there a strategy to handle both or does one have to have different strategies for each one? What do you think, Nina?

JANCOWICZ: Well, I always advocate for the fact that we need to invest in the root causes of disinformation. Reeling those root causes. So whether it's coming from China, Iran, Russia or even domestic disinformation which certainly has been proliferating during the COVID-19 crisis, we need to invest in a better information environment. That means giving people the tools that they need to navigate this flow of information.

Investing in media and digital literacy, not only for school-age children but for voters as well. And in addition to that, investing in journalism as a public good. You know, the United States only spends about $3 per person per year on our corporation for public broadcasting. In comparison to other democracies around the world, that is slim to none. It is embarrassing, frankly.

[10:25:05]

And it makes us less resilient because where there is a vacuum, certainly we've seen local news vacuums proliferating recently, that is where disinformation is able to step in and fill that vacuum, fill that vacuum with narratives and information that, frankly, are not only a threat to our national security, they're a threat to public health these days as well. So those are the long-term investments that I would make to counter any sort of disinformation whether foreign or domestic.

ZAKARIA: Laura, any quick additions or would you do it differently?

ROSENBERGER: No, I completely agree with Nina. And I'll just add a couple of things there. The first is that I think a pull back from U.S. global leadership in general has provided a bit of a vacuum for China to assert its ability to shape global norms and to cultivate these partnerships.

But as Nina mentioned, we see as well from with Russia with its own adventurism. And I think the last bit is, and this really builds on Nina's point about media literacy, is I think in general we need to build resilience in our societies against a lot of these tactics.

There are certainly a lot of things that we need to do that deal with, you know, going more directly at Moscow and at Beijing from a foreign policy and national security perspective. But a lot of this really is about building the resiliency in our own society to ensure that these tactics don't take hold.

ZAKARIA: Nina, Laura, really fascinating conversation. Thank you very much.

JANCOWICZ: Thanks so much.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, the pandemic has damaged some nations quite deeply economically, but which nations will rise above COVID and thrive? The surprising answers from Ruchir Sharma when we return.

[10:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAKARIA: The World Bank says the global economy will contract by more than 5 percent in 2020, thanks to the pandemic. Advanced economies have the most to lose, shrinking up to 7 percent but the question many are asking is, which nations are set to win in the new world?

Morgan Stanley Investment Management's Ruchir Sharma has the answers. His latest book is 'The 10 rules of Successful Nations.' Ruchir, you have a somewhat unexpected winner, I would say but in the sense that you say that really if that was a gold medal, it would go to Germany. Why?

RUCHIR SHARMA, CHIEF GLOBAL STRATEGIST, MORGAN STANLEY INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT: Well Fareed, if you really look at how countries have handled this pandemic, I think that also all the major powers, Germany would come out tops in terms of it's a mirror image in many ways of America.

The governments there also coordinated at the central and the state level. You have a very popular leader who has unified the nation and that's why I think that Germany emerges really as the winner. It sort of also tells you about how important the state's capacity has become in this post-COVID world, when you're dealing with a crisis like this.

ZAKARIA: So when you look at Germany's debt compared to other countries, would you point out as the Germans spent in 2008-2009 but as is their historic pattern, they then saved in the good years and so their debt position looks very different today, right?

SHARMA: Exactly, so I think this is the notion which has been forgotten by many people which is that the entire idea of having stimulus and running up government bids should be when you have a major downtown. What most governments including like United States unfortunately have done is that they keep on running deficits even in the good times.

But I think what Germany has shown to us is that you save in the good times and when you have a crisis, that's when you spend. So therefore in fact one of the largest stimulus in the world has been enacted by Germany partially because it had saved before this crisis and even after the crisis is over, it will have one of the lowest government debt to GDP levels among all the developed countries.

ZAKARIA: The country that I'm most impressed by in terms of its response to COVID is Taiwan just if you were to do it on purely on the response to COVID, Taiwan right next to China, millions of Chinese tourists. It has under I think, certainly under a dozen deaths. You find Taiwan also on the economic side is going to be a winner, why?

SHARMA: Because of its tech prowess. I don't - I don't think people sort of give Taiwan enough credit for that that it's got some of the best Tech companies in the world and the amount it spends on research and development, that goes into technology is about the highest of any country in the world as a share of its economy and today Taiwan has possibly the most precious commodity which is semi-conductors.

Taiwan has some of the most sophisticated Tech and semiconductor plants in the world, so I'm really impressed by Taiwan's Tech prowess. It's really also been the gold medalist of growth. There are very few nations in the world, possibility only South Korea which have been able to consistently grow at a rapid pace for many decades and Taiwan is about the only other nation which has been able to do so.

So therefore, I think Taiwan is a real winner in this environment of greater digitization.

ZAKARIA: You have an unusual country on the list which is Russia. Can you explain why - I don't think of Russia's succeeding in the post- COVID era, what stood out for you?

SHARMA: Well, I think that what's interesting about Russia is not so much the growth angle but just the fact completely by coincidence and fortuitously, the environment that we're moving in of much greater deglobalization, of countries trying to sort of get much more self- reliant and not that dependent on foreign capital to grow.

[10:35:00] Putin had been preparing for this kind of environment. He has been

scarred by the 98 Russian default crisis and then once again by the kind of sanctions which were imposed in Russia in 2014 after what happened in Ukraine. So I think that what Putin has really sort of tried to do is to create fortress Russia.

So if you look at Putin in terms of what he's done with its government debt, it's reliance on foreign debt, to try and grow, there at today nearly 100 developing countries in the world that are going to the IMF and other agencies, looking for help, looking for assistance because they've been so badly exposed in this crisis with too much debt, too much external vulnerability.

And here is Putin who has been building fortress Russia by almost cutting Russia off from the rest of the world and making it much more self-reliant.

ZAKARIA: All right, there's one country of course notably, absent from your list Ruchir. We don't have a lot of time so give me a very quick sense of why America didn't make it.

SHARMA: Well, I've always been very bullish on America. In fact, I think it's a comeback nation but unfortunately, in this pandemic, the government's response has been exposed a lot, the lack of coordination between so many states in terms of what's going on and the other part is the amount of debt that America keeps on accumulating.

And they think that because they have their own currency, they can print as much as they want. You know, that's a bit of a fallacy because when you're try and print so much money and you have so much debt and so much government involvement, it undermines the productivity of the economy.

So I think that America is sort of stretching it a bit, even though it has some of the best Tech companies in the world, which play into this environment so well but it's extensive debt and the way it's handled this crisis. Going back to the opening segment where we spoke about Germany, how different the responses have been is what sort of leaves me a bit less impressed about America than I've been in the past.

ZAKARIA: Ruchir Sharma, always a pleasure to hear your insights and your research. Come back soon.

SHARMA: Thanks, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, Pope Francis says he's deeply saddened by the recent events at Turkey's top tourist attraction. He's not alone. What is going on at the Hagia Sophia? That story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAKARIA: Roughly 1500 years since it was built, Istanbul's magnificent Hagia Sophia has spent almost a millennium as a church, almost 500 years as a mosque and the last 86 years as a secular space. On Friday, Turkey's top tourist attraction officially returns to its role as a mosque when it held Muslim prayers once again.

It's a development that has garnered widespread condemnation. Why? Joining me now is Mustafa Akyol. He's a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and opinion writer for The New York Times. Mustafa, first, let me get - make sure I have the pronunciation right. We all say Hagia Sophia but in Turkish you'd say Haya Sophia, right?

MUSTAFA AKYOL, SENIOR FELLOW AT THE CATO INSTITUTE: In Turkey it's called Ayah Sophia which is a Turkified version of the original name.

ZAKARIA: Why is it become a cultural war in Turkey? This issue of Erdogan's promise. It seems quite symbolic.

AKYOL: It is. I mean this was a dream for Turkey's conservatives and Islamists for decades because they perceived the decision to convert Hagia Sophia into a museum during the Ataturk era as a secular attack on their religious tradition. Ataturk's secularism had some excesses indeed.

But you know turning it, Hagia Sophia into a museum probably wasn't an excess because the building is not just a mosque. As you said, it served as five centuries as a mosque but before that it was built by Christians, served as the world's greatest cathedral for nine centuries so building had both religious traditions and in its status as a museum, when you enter, you would see both of those heritages.

You would see it's funny calligraphy, name of God, Muhammad - Prophet Muhammad and you would see Christ and Mary. Unfortunately now apart that Christian heritage will be largely concealed behind curtains and Muslims will enjoy the building. I'm not offended with that as a Muslim myself but I think it's unfair to the Christians.

That's why people like me in Turkey, a small minority have argued for years that if we going to reopen Hagia Sophia, we should open it for both communities. Muslims can pray on Friday. Christians can have mass on Sunday. That pluralistic vision and it had some precedence in early Islam by the way.

That would be a better pluralistic solution but unfortunately, pluralism is not what is driving President Erdogan's political narrative and agenda today.

ZAKARIA: So talk about that political narrative and agenda because is it as extreme as a desire to really expunge Turkey's secular tradition? I mean, for some of these conservative supporters of President Erdogan, the whole idea is that Ataturk made a mistake and that the period of Ataturk's liberalization and secularization of Turkey should be ended and should be regarded as a brief phase in our larger kind of Ottoman Islamic Turkish history.

AKYOL: Oh indeed, they do speak of a parentheses in Turkish history that began with Ataturk but now is being closed by Erdogan and let's be fair. I mean, Erdogan, the era before Erdogan, the Ataturk legacy had some problems including a fierce nationalism that actually didn't help the Christian minority. But on certain issues the secular idea was good.

[10:45:00]

And now we're seeing not an explicit rejection of secularism but a gradual toning down of it and the assertion of Islam and Muslimness in the public space and also in the language of taking the country back. The word conquest is very often used. Istanbul is being reconquered again and other Muslims in Turkey worry that this is not helpful either for Turkey itself or for the broader image of Islam and the world.

Interestingly, Erdogan himself was until two years ago saying that if we convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque, we might face into anti-Muslim bigotry around the world. That was when he was opposing the move, when it was asked by more conservative Islamists.

But he changed his mind, perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Erdogan is growingly facing an Islamic opposition to his policies as well. There are new - two new parties founded by his former ministers, criticizing him heavily for totalitarianism and corruption and the Hagia Sophia move came at this point.

Apparently it is a way to call the religious conservatives back to the flag again and its leader which is President Erdogan.

ZAKARIA: Give us a sense of how to understand Turkey today, you know because 25 years ago, I would say that the way people particularly in the West understood Turkey was, it was a secular and a rare example of a secular Muslim country. It was a member of NATO, a loyal ally of Washington's, followed the West lead, followed Washington's lead.

It now seems different along every dimension. It is pursuing its own independent foreign policy, often in defiance of Washington. It is becoming more Islamic and less secular. What does the future hold for Turkey?

AKYOL: Well, there are two options. One is that President Erdogan direction will define Turkey in the decades ahead. In that sense Turkey will be just reversing its tradition of hegemony. Before Erdogan, the secular class in Turkey was hegemonic, they banned the head scarf so they've made some mistakes actually which built a grudge among the religious conservatives.

And in his earlier years when I supported him, President Erdogan was just saying that we're not bringing a new hegemony, we're just bringing equality and freedom for everybody else. 10 years ago he political narrative was quite different, much more inclusive. It included economic progress, reforms for everybody, Kurds, minorities and so on and so forth.

But gradually, he retreated back to his ideological camp and now his narrative is he's making Turkey great and Muslim again as I call it and that political idea is defined by one leader behind which every patriot should line and that is in that sense a totalitarian view. If Turkey's lucky, this will go down in history as a reaction to the

excesses of Kemalism, Ataturk's heritage at the end of which Turkey will be more plural. I hope that or it will define the decades ahead and in that sense Turkey will be unfortunately, a prime example of what you call illiberal democracy, where ballots are there, elections are happening but freedoms are curbed. Freedom to speech and freedom of religion as well.

ZAKARIA: Mustafa, pleasure to have you on. Always fascinating to hear your perspective. Thank you so much.

AKYOL: Thank you, Fareed. It's my pleasure.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, the civil rights hero John Lewis was once bloodied when he wanted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Today his body makes one final trip across the span. I will bring you some hope in humanity. Some wise words from John Lewis from an interview with me, a year ago, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:50:00]

ZAKARIA: More than half a century ago, a young activist named John Lewis was brutally beaten as he peacefully marched across the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama. That bridge became a symbol of the civil rights movement and a place Mr. Lewis who died of cancer last week returned to again and again throughout his life.

Today his casket makes a final trip across that bridge. I wanted to share my own tribute to the late great Congressman. I sat down with him in his congressional office, last year. He was passionate and proud. He talked about growing up, battling in justice. He is the clear conscience - he was a clear conscience of Congress and the embodiment of American leadership at its best.

In that interview, I asked him about how he overcame fear and suffering to advance the cause of civil rights. His words are really his legacy so listen in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: There's a line you used that - and it's also in your - in your memoirs. It's also a line Martin Luther King used in his great speech. That unearned suffering is redemptive. The idea that unearned suffering is redemptive, I mean that, does that come to you from the Bible, from your spiritual background?

[10:55:00]

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): It come to me from the Bible, from the teaching of Jesus, but it also come from the teaching of Dr. King and Gandhi. That you come to that point where you believe in something that is so right. It's so necessary that you're prepared to die for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Thank you John Lewis for always teaching us what is right and what is necessary and thanks to all of you for being part of my program, this week. I will see you next week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: I'm Brian Stelter and this is a Special Edition of RELIABLE SOURCES. Let's go live to Selma, Alabama on a landmark day for the United States from what was once Bloody Sunday, today a blessed Sunday. This is a day when the life of Congressman John Lewis will be commemorated in the city that was written into the history of civil rights partly by Lewis and partly with his blood.

In just a few minutes Lewis will take his final journey across this bridge, the Edmund Pettus Bridge perhaps one day to be renamed to the John Lewis Bridge. We're going to be seeing a horse-drawn wagon carrying his body, travelling alone across the bridge where it will be met by Alabama state troopers who will be there to salute him.

They mark in contrast of course from these scenes from 1965 when Lewis and other marchers were brutalized by forces there on that other side of the bridge. Today, we are going to see this horse-drawn wagon we're going to see this first, this journey from Selma to Montgomery. And we'll go live to Montgomery in just a few minutes but want to start today in Selma as we await a short service that will take place at Brown Chapel and then a short drive through the streets of Selma, to the bridge on your screen.

Let's begin with CNN's Martin Savidge. He is in Selma at the bridge joined by a couple of folks who decided to travel quite a distance to be there today. Marty.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They did in fact, Brian, come a long way. One of them is actually local, one has come far. Let me start with the woman who has come far. You're Kenzie Bond (ph) and you came over almost 1000 miles from Texas to be here.

KENZIE BOND (ph): Yes, over two days.

SAVIDGE: What was so important that brought you here? Why did John Lewis mean so much?

BOND (ph): I wanted to meet him my entire life and it's really just because he was a man of such strong conviction.