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Erdogan Wins Third Decade Of Presidency In Turkey Election; Russia Launches Massive Drone Attack On Kyiv; Biden And McCarthy Reach Tentative Deal On U.S. Debt Ceiling; Sudanese Refugees Reliving Horrors Of War; Using AI to Develop Antibiotics; Orcas Tear Hole in Boat Off the Iberian Coast. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired May 29, 2023 - 01:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. Appreciate your company. Coming up here on CNN Newsroom. Erdogan extends his rule. The Turkish president sec to enter his third decade in power after a tense runoff election.

Kyiv under attack, Russia launching its biggest drone attack yet on the Ukrainian capitals Sunday. And now we're hearing reports of even more explosions around the city. Plus, when whales attack why experts think killer whales have started wrecking boats off the coast of Spain.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN Newsroom with Michael Holmes.

HOLMES: And we begin in Turkey where supporters of Recep Tayyip Erdogan are celebrating his election to an unprecedented third term as president after a highly contested runoff vote.

Thousands of people carrying banners waving flags outside the Presidential complex in Ankara Sunday night after Erdogan's victory was announced. With almost all the votes now counted, the results show Erdogan's won just over 52 percent of Sunday's vote, defeating opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu who received almost 48 percent.

Erdogan told his supporters one of the government's main priorities would be fighting his country's rampant inflation. Here's more of what he had to say.


RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): We are not the only winners. The winner is. The winner is all parts of our society. Our democracy is the winner.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES: At his party headquarters, the opposition leader told his supporters the fight for what he called real democracy is not over.


KEMAL KILICDAROGLU, TURKISH OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): We will continue to fight until we have established a real democracy in our country. And we will continue to be the vanguard of the struggle. My greatest sorrow is about the difficulties awaiting our country. But I want you to know that we will be the first to stand up to the problems.


HOLMES: Now the victory means President Erdogan will stretch his rule into a third decades. CNN's Nada Bashir with more now on the election from Istanbul.


NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voiceover): Cheese of triumph, a declaration of victory, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan secure yet another term in office. After a closely fought one off election on Sunday, Erdogan of the incumbent AK Party came away with just over 52 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. A comfortable win in the face of what many analysts believed to be his biggest political challenge in over two decades.

BASHIR (on camera): So here outside the AK Party headquarters in Istanbul, you can see the crowds behind me, thousands of President Erdogan supporters have gathered to celebrate his election victory and there is a real sense of jubilation of triumph here. These are some of his most ardent supporters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We love him very much. He's our father, our grandfather, our everything. We voted for him because we trust him. You love him very much. We are always with him.

BASHIR (voiceover): In the opposition camp, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of an Alliance of Opposition Party fell by more than 2 million votes behind Erdogan. A bitter blow to a once optimistic coalition hopeful for change in Turkey.

KILICDAROGLU (through translator): In this election the will of the people to change an authoritarian government within here despite all the pressures.

BASHIR: The challenges ahead for the president or many chief among them the economy. Turkey is in the depths of a severe cost of living crisis, with soaring inflation and a plummeting lira caused in large part by Erdogan's own unorthodox monetary policies.

Meanwhile, anger of the state's poor preparation and chaotic response to February's devastating earthquake is still raw. With more than 50,000 people killed and millions more displaced by the disaster. On the global stage, Turkey strongman has cemented the country's place as an influential power broker in the region. Sometimes at the cost of straining relations with the West.


But at home, his leadership has stoked fears over the future of democracy in Turkey.

Over recent years, Irwin has doubled down on crushing dissent, centralizing his grip on state power, and ensuring his near total influence over the country's media. Despite criticism, supporters maintain that this is a win for political stability. For opponents however, Sunday's result has only deepened fears that the country could be heading ever closer towards authoritarian territory. Nada Bashir, CNN, Istanbul.


HOLMES: Congratulations and best wishes for President Erdogan pouring in from leaders around the world. The U.S. President Joe Biden saying he wants to keep working together as NATO allies on bilateral issues and shared global challenges. The British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says he looks forward to continuing what he called strong collaboration from trade to tackling security threats as NATO allies. President of the E.U. Commission Ursula von der Leyen said it is of strategic importance for both the E.U. and Turkey to work on advancing their relationship for the benefit of their people. And the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he's counting on quote, the further strengthening of the strategic partnership as well as the strengthening of cooperation for the security and stability of Europe.

President Erdogan's victory was also celebrated by Palestinians across Gaza.

And he held impromptu street parties holding Turkish flags and distributing sweets with Erdogan's name. Under Erdogan, Ankara has supported a two-state solution for the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Some residents say they are hopeful as he takes over once again.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Erdogan's victory gave us hope it will be a prosperous middle east under a government headed by Erdogan. We rejoice at the same time as Palestinians living in the Palestinian occupied land we felt sad about our national situation as we have not had either a parliament or a presidential election for over 18 years.


HOLMES: Joining me now Soner Cagaptay is the director of the Turkish research program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He's also the author of "A Sultan in Autumn: Erdogan's Faces Turkeys Uncontainable Forces." It's always good to see you, Soner. Now you said before the run off that Turkey under Erdogan had been a how you said it was a democracy that had fallen under an autocrat, rather than an autocracy. Now this wasn't a crushing victory. But how Erdogan's when change that phrase in your mind in in terms of him feeling emboldened perhaps.

SONER CAGAPTAY, DIR., TURKISH RESEARCH PROGRAM, WASHINGTON INST. FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: I think we're coming to an inflection point and President Erdogan's career elections in Turkey were free and are still free. But the race has become so unfair that it is really hard to speak of this as a purely democratic victory.

President Erdogan benefited from incumbency advantages. He has complete control of institutions and information flow, for instance, in the campaign season, Erdogan's campaign freely spread fake news, fake videos and fake pamphlets alleging of course, a lie, that opposition candidate coalition is backed by terrorists.

Now, typically, a board in Turkey would ban any such fake news spreading but the board's reporting Erdogan, of course, did not take any action. That's the first part.

The second part is Erdogan's complete control of the information flow. Opposition candidate Kilicdaroglu was not allowed to make a case that, of course, is not backed by terrorists. And I think that was a huge advantage for President Erdogan.

So I would say, whereas until recently, I was of the analytical view that Turkey was a democracy that has fallen under an autocrat. I think we can now say that Turkey has moved from being an illiberal European democracy to becoming an Eurasian autocracy as of these elections.

HOLMES: You mentioned Kilicdaroglu, he was far from an charismatic figure as an opposition leader. But you know, when you talk more broadly about what Erdogan's done, how effectively did he new to opposition in Turkey more broadly, of course, he's more appealing, more popular opponent was barred from even running.

CAGAPTAY: That too, Erdogan handpicked his opponent. The more popular candidate Istanbul Mayor Imamoglu, who would have defeated Erdogan a landslide was not allowed to run. Courts, again, loyal to Erdogan, slapped a case against Mayor Imamoglu, suggesting that if he ran he'll be barred from politics as well as lose his current job as Istanbul's mayor that eliminated him, and left Erdogan with a weaker opponent.


Now, yes, President Erdogan has incumbency advantages control of institutions information flow, but opposition candidate Kilicdaroglu also did not really run an inspiring campaign. I don't think he put -- he put together a team to convince the voters that Turkey had problems and he could fix them, where he and his team better than Erdogan would if he was elected president.

HOLMES: Right. CAGAPTAY: I think that's a gamble on which President Erdogan came up stronger. The electorate seems to have faith in him. Notwithstanding the various problems associated with his administration, as the leader get that can govern Turkey more effectively.

HOLMES: How has Irwin fundamentally changed Turkey politically and socially already? I mean, how different is modern Turkey today under Erdogan compared to the vision of Kemal Kilicdaroglu and how much more might have changed in the next few years.

CAGAPTAY: In some ways, it's changed quite a bit. The founder of modern Turkey Ataturk had a vision. He was also a Jacobean (ph) top down politician who uses cash as Turkey's founder and Liberator after World War I, of course, to shape Turkey in his own image as a secular Europe facing and Western society.

Erdogan shares none of these values. He wants Turkey to be in his own image shaped as a socially conservative, politically Islamist and internationally Middle Eastern nation.

Now, we could argue that Erdogan has had some success in this regard. But while Erdogan, of course, is Turkey's elected president, he nowhere has the cachet that President -- Ataturk had who found that Turkey. And secondly, I think everyone, of course, has Ataturk's vision. He also believes in top down social engineering. So I call him an anti-Ataturk, meaning he does not share Ataturk values. He has the opposite values but he believes in the same social engineering.

The problem with this kind of top down Jacobean (ph) social engineering is that I think the time for that in Turkey or elsewhere has passed. And that is why President Erdogan has had some success, shaping Turkey's his own image, he controls institutions, public policy, educational curriculum, but half of Turkey still does not want to be like him or fold under his power.

So I think that kind of leaves us in a country that is split that has elected Erdogan for another five-year term. When he finishes his job in office, Erdogan would have run Turkey for 25 years that is longer than Mustafa Kemal Ataturk or any other president in the country's modern history.

HOLMES: Yes, yes. I've asked him when he put it that way. Soner Cagaptay, I'm going to leave it there, unfortunately. Appreciate it. Thank you so much.

CAGAPTAY: My pleasure. Thank you.

HOLMES: Ukrainian officials have reported explosions in and around the Russian occupied cities Berdiansk and Mariupol. They say at least five strikes targeted Russian positions in Berdiansk on Sunday, and one official says the explosions in Mariupol cause casualties but gave no details.

Kyiv's mayor says that more explosions have been reported across the Ukrainian capitol in recent hours. So far, no reports of injuries and the mayor wrote on Telegram, quote, the air defense is at work. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military says Russia launched one of its largest drone attacks yet on Sunday. It coincided with Kyiv's day the anniversary of the city's founding more than 1,500 years ago.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Today, our country went through one of the largest Russian attacks by Russia hits 54 drones at a time. Almost all of them were shut down. Almost.

Throughout its history, Kyiv has seen various atrocities from invaders. It has survived them all. And it will survive the rushes. Russia will only face defeat and even hundreds of Shaheds will not save it from this. They will only enlarge Russia's disgrace.


HOLMES: CNN Fred Pleitgen now he is in Kyiv with more on the latest attacks.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNTIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): While the Ukrainians are calling this one of the largest attacks using those Iranian made Shahed drones since Russia started its full on invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian military is saying that a 59 Shaheds that were launched towards its territory, they were able to take out 58 so that's obviously a pretty big success rate there for the Ukrainian military and its ever improving the air defense.

Certainly, the bulk of those drones seem to be directed at the Kyiv region, the Kyiv and surrounding region. And there was some damage that was caused. There were two people who were killed. There were a lot of buildings that were damaged as well. Most of that the authorities say came from falling debris. Also there were some drone parts apparently found are near a warehouse that had also sustained some damage as well.


There was also some pretty dramatic video that came out from the Chernihiv region that's in the north of Ukraine with border guards. They're saying that they fired into the sky when they saw and heard those Shahed drones approaching. I mentioned take one of them down using small arms fire.

President Zelenskyy of Ukraine, he came out and he praised the forces that are fighting against those drones fighting against missiles as well the air defense forces he called them heroes here in Ukraine for keeping so many people on the ground safe.

At the same time, the Ukrainians pretty angry at the Iranians for giving those drones to the Russians in fact and adviser to Ukraine's presidential administration, he came out and he warned the Iranians that there could be retaliation. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kyiv.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES: Turning our attention to Washington now where U.S. President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are racing to sell a tentative debt ceiling agreement to Congress, that urgent push as the clock ticks on June 5th, marking the day the government will start to run out of cash, which means if the deal isn't secured, the U.S. could default on its debt for the first time ever. The President urging lawmakers to pass the agreement.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: We've got good news. We've got -- spoke with Speaker McCarthy. And we've reached a bipartisan budget agreement. Now we're ready to move to the full Congress.


HOLMES: McCarthy has released the text of the 99-page bill. And here's some of what we know so far, the deal is set to raise the debt ceiling for two years, increase spending on defense and veterans issues and impose some new work requirements on federal food assistance programs. But already, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pushing back.

Republican Lauren Boebert was among those who tweeted her opposition saying quote, voters deserve better than this and said she can be counted as a no on the deal. Some Democrats also expressing concerns.


PRAMILA JAYAPAL, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: It is really unfortunate that the President opened the door to this. And while at the end of the day, you know, perhaps this will because of the exemptions, perhaps it will be OK. I can't commit to that. I really don't know. And our caucus and it's not just the progressives across the ideological spectrum, including problem solvers. By the way, people feel that this is bad policy.


HOLMES: CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is following developments. And she has more now for us from the White House.


PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER (on camera): President Biden announced on Sunday that the White House and House Republicans have finalized in agreement on the debt ceiling in hopes of averting a debt default later in June.

Now, President Biden said that this was good news and heralded McCarthy for negotiating in good faith. And he also spelled out the consequences should there be a default of the catastrophic consequences that would impose on the economy but President Biden also acknowledging that in an attempt to avert that and send this over to Congress, not everyone got what they want. So this will be important in the coming days as both members of Congress in both parties review the legislative text. But President Biden was also having to answer to questions about whether he should have negotiated sooner. The position from the White House since early this year has been that they would not negotiate on the debt ceiling. But President Biden saying that he is was not doing that, but rather negotiating on spending cuts.

And so that is part of the spin that both the White House and Republicans will be giving in the coming days as they tried to get both parties on board with this in a very short amount of time. It wasn't only reaching the agreement, but also now looking at the legislative text getting a -- for a House vote on the floor as well as the Senate.

Now, President Biden when he spoke to reporters earlier on Sunday, said that he was confident that this was going to reach his desk and at the time so that there would -- there was no sticking points after a long 48 hours. But still a long road ahead, ahead of that June 5th date where U.S. Treasury will run out of funds. Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, the White House.


HOLMES: Still to come on CNN Newsroom, Nigeria swears in a new president in the coming hours. We'll take you to Lagos for a look at the promise's Bola Tinubu's making and the challenges he will face carrying them out.

Plus, AI can make music fake photos and videos but now it's being used to create new medicine. I speak with an expert using the powerful technology to fight a drug resistant superbug.



HOLMES: Spain's conservatives made big gains in local elections this weekend and even a losing candidate is calling the results a tsunami by the opposition. Conservative swept away ruling Socialist Party candidates in nine of the 12 provinces where voters went to the polls. The People's Party is now set to control key provinces, including Valencia, Aragon, the Balearic Islands and Extremadura, among others, that also one mares races in big cities, including Valencia and Seville, and an absolute majority in Madrid. It's a stark wake up call for the nation's ruling socialists who face national elections in December.

Nigeria, as Bola Tinubu has called for national unity amid deep social divisions and other endemic problems, but now he'll have a chance to try to achieve it. Tinubu is set to be sworn in as Nigeria's president in the coming hours. CNN's Stephanie Busari is in Lagos for us with a profile of the next leader of Africa's most populous nation.


STEPHANIE BUSARI, SENIOR AFRICA EDITOR (voiceover): He's the man on a so called room revolution. Bola Ahmed Tinubu is poised to become Nigeria's president on Wednesday, promising to clean up Africa's largest economy.

But that's only one of the challenges he faces. His first is slightly more immediate, illegal one from the country's opposition. Tinubu from the ruling APC Party may have been declared the winner back in March, but many have criticized the election for voting irregularities, violence and attempts to disenfranchise voters.

BOLA AHMED TINUBU, NEWLY ELECTED NIGERIAN PRESIDENT: Those who didn't support me as that you will not allow the disappointment of this moment to keep you from realizing the story national progress we can make by working together.

BUSARI (on camera): Former two time governor, Tinubu has long harbored ambitions to roll Nigeria, but it will be a challenge of a lifetime to unite a fractured nation, fix an economy on life support and tackle spiraling insecurity.

BUSARI (voiceover): Nigeria's total debt stands at more than $103 billion. And some analysts say the incoming president must get to grips with this urgently.

ROLAKE AKINKURGE-FILANI, CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER, MIXTRA AFRICA: Is now really a focus on the structural aspects of building sustainable economic development. How are we going to plug some of the inefficiencies and end the waste stages in the system.

BUSARI: But that's not all. The countries grappled with violence, insurgency and crime, leaving some wondering which way forward.

AKINKURGE-FILANI: One of the challenges of Nigerian societies here is there still huge polarization between the ultra-rich and the super poor and in some ways successive governments have lost the social contract with the majority of the population.


BUSARI: Nigeria also faces a multitude of social problems, including inadequate access to education and health care, widespread poverty and gender inequality. And expectations are high, that Tinubu will hit the ground running.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe this future, and I believe it will be is a is fitting for the position.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We really don't need a government coming and saying they're going to give us all the job. We just need a government that puts things in place for us to achieve what we can naturally achieve us as very strong willed people.

BUSARI: As he assumed office, Tinubu was work to provide real solutions to these pressing problems, and only time will tell if he can live up to the aspirations of the Nigerian people. Stephanie Busari, CNN, Lagos.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES: Gunfire rang out Sunday on the streets of Sudan's embattled Capital one day before his shaky ceasefire expires. Khartoum residents trapped in the conflict say both warring sides have repeatedly violated the seven day truce they negotiated in Saudi Arabia more than a week ago now. Right now there is no engraved agreement to extend the ceasefire when it does expire on Monday.

The U.N. says the fighting that erupted in April between Sudan's armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces has displaced almost 1.4 million people, almost 350,000 of them have fled to neighboring Chad, Egypt or Ethiopia.

The U.N. also says there are increasing reports of gender and domestic violence among the displaced, particularly among those who have remained inside Sudan.

Many of the Sudanese who have fled their country are living a nightmare they have suffered before. And most of them are women and young children of course, who have left behind other family members. CNN's Larry Madowo traveled with the U.N. into eastern Chad, to meet some of the refugees from Sudan sudden and devastating conflict.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In just a month and a half, the Sudan conflict has quickly spilled over into a regional refugee crisis. The people who are crossing into Egypt and Chad in Central African Republic, and the U.N. says there's more than 300,000 of them are mostly people who don't have any other options. They're not the ones who are dual nationality or the foreigners who could get evacuated from Khartoum in the capital, or who could make their way to Port Sudan. And then across the Red Sea to Jeddah, and we didn't we've done the trip with some of the privileged few who could get those chances.

These are the poorest and most vulnerable, who, for some of them, the ones I mentioned Eastern Chad, have been displaced more than once and now they've had to cross the border because the level of violence has been unprecedented.

MADOWO (voiceover): The kids cry constantly. The adults look weary of war. The paint faces here a reminder of the horrors that drove them out of Sudan. At this refugee camp across the border in Chad, sadness stalks almost everyone.

As fighting intensified in Sudan's Western Darfur region, they had to run or risk getting killed. Koubra Abdullah left so suddenly, that her son got lost in the chaos.

KOUBRA ABDULLAH, SUDANESE REFUGEE IN CHAD (through translator): My brother is still back there. I heard he was injured. I was forced to come to Chad to seek safety.

MADOWO: Would you go back to Sudan?

ABDULLAH (through translator): No, no. The only reason I will go back is to bring my child and my brother here. There has been too much insecurity for too long.

MADOWO (voiceover): Because of decades of conflict in Sudan, many of these refugees had already been internally displaced several times. Mastiura Ishakh is 22 but hasn't known a permanent home for most of her life.

MASTIURA ISHAKH, SUDANESE REFUGEE IN CHAD (through translator): I'm worried about all the people we left behind, especially my mother who could not cross the border. I keep asking myself how I can get out of Chad.

MADOWO: I noticed that mostly women and children here where are the men from Sudan.

ISHAKH (through translator): The men orders to take the children and cross the border so they can stay behind to defend themselves and our property if necessary.

MADOWO (voiceover): The UN's refugee agency says close to 90 percent of new arrivals in Chad from Sudan are women and children, many so traumatized, but they will need a lot of support to heal.

MADOWO: We had expected to meet refugees as they arrived in the border town of Qumran (ph) right across from Sudan. But just before we arrived, it was hit by rocket. That is where refugees are being moved away from border towns to places like this and Gaga.

MADOWO (voiceover): CNN traveled with USAID Administrator Samantha Power to Eastern Chad. The U.S. is giving more than $100 million to support the over 1 million people displaced by the war across Sudan and in neighboring countries.


SAMANTHA POWER, USAID ADMINISTRATOR: We met one woman whose eye had been gouged basically with somebody just attacking her and she's seeking medical care here in Chad.

Horrific violence, which triggers for so many of these people also memories of previous horrific violence.

MADOWO: It's a full circle moment for her. She was in Chad in 2004 writing in the "New Yorker" about Sudanese civilians fleeing the Janjaweed militia in Darfur.

POWER: You talk to them, you feel like you are in a time warp because they are describing Janjaweed coming in with their knives and their machetes killing people, raping women.

MADOWO: Is it surreal for you being here, hearing these stories when you heard them 20 years ago as a reporter?

POWER: Well, I feel lucky this time at least to be working at USAID, at a big developed humanitarian agency. At least there's something I can do. But fundamentally there is no substitute for the root causes getting addressed, for these two warring generals to put their own power grab aside and put the interests of these people who are fleeing, sometimes for the fifth time in their lives.

MADOWO: Chad, one of the world's poorest countries, had about 400,000 Sudanese refugees before this latest surge.

PATRICK AHOUANSOU, DEPUTY REPRESENTATIVE UNHCR CHAD: We need to collectively, you know, work with all the actions in support of the government of Chad to ensure that, you know, resources are mobilized to address the urgent needs of the refugees.

MADOWO: These are the innocent victims of a deadly power struggle in Sudan. The poor and most vulnerable who have nowhere to go, just another chapter in a life of hardship.

The one thing I heard again and again from all the people I met in eastern Chad is that they don't care which general wins the war in Sudan. They just want peace, they want the same thing you and I want, a chance to rebuild their lives, a chance at a dignified way to raise their families.

And after so many decades of conflict, so many people who have not seen peace, have not had a permanent home, they were hoping that there was a chance for a return to civilian transition, and then it's been aborted. And now this one hope if the two warring generals can be brought back to the table, that they can agree to rededicate themselves to that path to civilian-led government in Sudan.

Larry Madowo, CNN -- Nairobi.


HOLMES: Still to come here on the program, new military recruits are getting ready for Ukraine's long awaited counteroffensive. We will have a report from central Ukraine when we get back.



HOLMES: All right. Let's recap our top story just now.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won Sunday's runoff vote, extending his rule into a third decade.

Crowds of Erdogan supporters gathering in cities across the country to celebrate his win over the opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

Preliminary results show Erdogan received more than 52 percent of the vote, his opponent nearly 48 percent. In his victory speech, Erdogan promised to tackle the country's rampant inflation and heal the wounds from February's devastating earthquake which killed tens of thousands of people.

World leaders including the U.S. President Joe Biden have already congratulated Erdogan on the win.

Here is CNN's Richard Quest now with more on what President Erdogan's win will mean internationally.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN EDITOR AT LARGE: The next time Erdogan sits down with the others he is in a much, much stronger position. Not only because rightly or wrongly his electorate has just given him a mandate but Biden is about to go into a brutal election where the whole U.S. will turn inwards, if not protectionist, certainly domestic focused. And Biden can't afford to suddenly piss off Erdogan, to put it crudely.

Then you've got even the U.K. next year will go into an election. You've got Germany that is in recession. You've got higher interest rates, and slower growth in all the major economies.

And so, President Erdogan not unreasonably sits down from a position of strength. He does not have to worry for the time being.


HOLMES: Richard Quest, reporting there from Antalya in Turkey.

Turning now to the Ukraine where explosions have been reported around the capital Kyiv for the second day in a row. On Sunday, Russia launched a wave of nearly 60 Iranian drones across the country, most of those targeting Kyiv. Officials say all but one were shot down.

Now it comes as the country's long awaited counteroffensive is expected to begin any day now.

CNN's Sam Kiley traveled to meet with some of the new recruits.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These are new recruits training. They could be on the front line in a couple of weeks.

In training, mistakes are harmless.

What happened to you?

MAKSIM, UKRAINIAN RECRUIT: I got hit in the face with a pellet.

KILEY: How long have you been doing this training?

MAKSIM: Two months. I recently joined the army. So for now, I'm here for two months training.

KILEY: What do you think about the coming offensive, do you want to get involved?

MAKSIM: Yes, I do.

KILEY: You're not worried?

MAKSIM: I think we're going to win.

KILEY: These are young men, they've been having quite a lot of fun running around in the woods, and sometimes things get quite funny. But ultimately, this business is deadly serious.

These recruits could be weeks away from combat. Pretend war turning to this where death is all too real.


He's not breathing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not breathing.

KILEY: Wounded veteran Colonel Oleksandr Piskun (ph) runs the training.

COLONEL OLEKSANDR PISKUN, NATIONAL GUARD: I know what it's like to lose loved ones. But this is war and there is no other choice. Of course, once the unite goes into action, some of these guys will die. They are all aware of that.

KILEY: That experience is hard won. Oleksandr came face to face with a Russian who shot him in Bakhmut last week.

What would you say to young volunteers or conscripts joining now?

PISKUN: That you have to be prepared for anything. To be prepared for the good and the bad.

KILEY: The hospital has got plans for dealing with Ukraine's offensive, which is expected this summer.

IHOR, UKRAINIAN ARMY: They will be tough to force back. Hard. They won't give up territory that easily. It's going to be a big fight.


KILEY: Colonel Piskun knows that this will not be as last memorial service. This military cemetery has space to grow. Soldiers are confronted with grim truth here, that many young men are forever entombed in this parade of graves.

Sam Kiley, CNN -- in Kurury (ph).

Still to come, it is being called the next frontier of drug discovery by some experts. I speak with a scientist using artificial intelligence to discover new medicines.

You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HOLMES: Now amid a host of unnerving and controversial ways artificial intelligence is being put to use, medical researchers are using its powers for good. AI has helped them discover a new type of antibiotics for potential use against a superbug previously resistant to other treatments.

Experts have been looking for a way to combat the bug which can cause dangerous blood and respiratory infections. With a recent study finding one in four patients died within a month of being diagnosed.

Now researchers in Canada worked with MIT and Harvard to develop nearly 500 compounds that could block its effects. AI was able to sift through thousands of molecules in record time to deliver the best candidate for the job.

It's not the first time AI has been used in the field, but what used to take months or even years to test samples can now just take days.

Jonathan Stokes is one of the researchers of that study. He's also an assistant professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at McMaster University. Great to have you with us, Professor.

Just to set the scene, briefly give us a sense, first of all, of how bad this particular superbug and others like it is? I mean, how dangerous, how urgent the need for a way to combat it?

JONATHAN STOKES, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, MCMASTER UNIVERSITY: Yes. Acinetobacter baumannii, that's the name of the pathogen we were interested in. And it is a significant clinical challenge. And it tends to live in hospital settings.

And it is challenging for a number of reasons. First, it likes to live on surfaces for quite prolonged duration. It is really hard to sterilize.

And the other reason it's a challenge is because it likes to take up DNA from its environment. And you could imagine if you're a bacterium living in a hospital, oftentimes those pieces of DNA are going to encode antibiotic resistance (INAUDIBLE).

HOLMES: Right.

STOKES: So we often isolates the Acinetobacter that are resistant to most if not all clinical antibiotics. And what makes it even worse is it's quite virulent and it can cause a wide array of infections.

The pulmonary infections, so pneumonia, meningitis, wound infections, bacteremia so blood infections.


HOLMES: It's pretty nasty, and potentially deadly. So it's a matter of urgency. How then did AI help in the process of finding a solution?

I mean, I heard a great line. I heard you say elsewhere that drug discovery is not so much looking for a needle in a haystack but a needle in a stack of needles. So how then does AI development change that hunt for the right needle?

STOKES: So in typical approach, what conventional drug screening looks like is we have a vast collection of chemicals. You know, hundreds of thousands to a couple million, let's say.

And then we systematically test those in the laboratory to see which ones have the activity that we want, and which ones do not. You would imagine that this is an expensive and time consuming laborious process.

So the goal with artificial intelligence is to help us more rationally select which chemicals we want to test, thereby reducing the total number of experiments we have to perform in a laboratory. And ideally that will help us get to the medicines that we desire significantly faster, and for less money.

Yh1: Yes. And you have said that we are in -- well into an era of AI augmented drug discovery. How much of a sea change might this be? Is this the quantum leap it seems to be in reducing the timeframe and getting the job done quicker?

STOKES: I think it is an important tool and a very powerful tool, in an ever growing set of tools that scientists used to help us discover new drugs.

I think it has unique power in helping us prioritize which chemicals on which to focus in order to cure or treat some disease. But it, in and of itself will not all of our drug discovering problems. That has to be leverage appropriately and in synergy with existing biological methods that we often use typically for other drug discovery problems.

HOLMES: Presumably this sort of massive speeding up of the process, I mean, it's going to have a lot of other benefits, isn't it? It will lead to cheaper drugs, I would imagine as well?

STOKES: I believe so as well. I think that the application of artificial intelligence and drug discovery is going to do two things primarily.

First, it's going to accelerate the rate at which we can discover new clinical medicines, and two as you alluded to, it's going to hopefully decrease the cost, thereby making medicines more equitably accessible to all of those who need them.

HOLMES: See, the thing with things like AI too is the speed of advancement compounds on itself. I mean where do you see AI and what your work is in, I don't know, ten years?

STOKES: It is so hard to predict because the technologies are developing so rapidly. But in a perfect world, I would like to see the appropriate use, let's say, of artificial intelligence approaches at every stage of the drug development process.

So that's not only in early drug discovery, but I'm also talking about late preclinical work, helping us prioritize what molecules might be, you know, more or less toxic in patients. Which ones are more likely to progress through the entirety of the clinical development process without running into common hurdles.

HOLMES: It's an important new arrow in the quiver, that's for sure, and we hear so much that's negative about A.I. This seems to be really positive.

We've got to leave it there. Professor Jonathan Stokes, thank you so much, great work.

STOKES: Thank you very much.

HOLMES: Well there's something in the water at one of Italy's most iconic sites. Officials in Venice shared this video showing - you can see it there. Fluorescent green water that appeared in the city's Grand Canal early on Sunday.

Authorities have collected water samples, they are hoping surveillance video will offer some clues. It was first spotted via the famed rialto bridge, but slowly spread.

Several theories have spread online, some speculating it's a type of algae, others say it's a dye or other substance that was illegally dumped.

It all comes as the city is hosting a boating event aimed at raising awareness about the local environment. Coincidence -- maybe not.

Still ahead, scientists are confused, sailors are scared, ships are sinking and killer whales -- are they to blame? We'll explain when we come back.



HOLMES: Scientists are trying to figure out why orcas have been attacking and in some cases sinking boats off the coast of southern Spain. Now, just a few days ago a group of orcas slammed into one sailboat, damaging the rudder and tearing a hole in the bottom.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, like all of it.


HOLMES: Spanish authorities towed that ship back to port. Now, orcas have caused three boats to sink since last year, and there have been other recent attacks as well.

Spanish authorities now warning sailors to leave the area immediately if they see any odd behavior.

All right, I'm joined now by Andrew Trites. He's a professor at the University of British Columbia's Institute for Oceans and Fisheries. It's great to have you on this. According to an orca monitoring group, there were 50 interactions with

boats in that particular area between July and November, 2020. In 2022, there were 207.

So, it's increasing. They're not in significant numbers. Why do you think it's happening?

ANDREW TRITES, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA INSTITUTE FOR OCEANS AND FISHERIES: Well, there's a few theories. The first starts off with it's revenge, that one female was injured and she has encouraged others to engage in a very risky behavior. Which first, I think is very, very unlikely, because it brings no benefit to the other killer whales to be engaging in something where they risk getting injured.

The most likely explanation is that it simply is bad behavior and I think for these killer whales, that they're treating these boats almost like it is a bumper car carnival ride.

They're coming in, they are able to slam their bodies against the boat, rub against them, turn it, stop it from moving with their teeth, onto the rudder, even being pulled behind if they want.

And it's a behavior that has started in May of 2020. Has spread to at least two pods, and now I think we're up to 15 out of the 40 animals are doing this.

HOLMES: Yes. And one claim was that they seem to be teaching each other to do it. Why would they be doing that? Because it's fun?

TRITES: I think it comes down to fun. They're getting pleasure out of this, a benefit. I think it's a tactile sense.

In terms of teaching, I think killer whales are very good at observing what others are doing and coming in and replicating it. Undoubtedly, they're coming in with a lot of glee, vocalizing, a lot of excitement. And it's being reinforced as they all get in on the action.

HOLMES: It's fascinating. I mean, they -- so the workers are instigating the interactions. But of course, humans impact orcas. What do we do that harms the most? I mean, if this was something that came from them being annoyed, what do we do them?

TRITES: Well, this is a group that specializes in eating blue fin tuna. And there's lots of concern about how much tuna is left, are they getting enough. You know, this population is now taking tuna off the lines of fishermen.

And so that's probably the biggest threat to them. They are an endangered population.

The other stress that they have to deal with is the constant noise of boats. However, for them to be targeting sailboats, which are not fishing for tuna are pretty silent compared to these other boat. If they are taking out their stress and frustrations, they're targeting the wrong boats. HOLMES: Yes. Yes, really. I mean obviously, if you're in one of these

boats, it's a pretty terrifying experience. Is there any way to, you know, discourage the orcas?

TRITES: You, know I really feel for the people on board. It's only when you get up close to a killer whale you realize just how extremely powerful and fast, you cannot out-sail a killer whale.


TRITES: I think the only thing they can do is set to become as boring as possible, stop moving. And that may be very hard to do when you feel you're being attacked.

But killer whales have never killed a person. They don't eat people. They are coming in to engage with these boats. And unfortunately, in some cases by ripping off the rudders, it has resulted in water getting in and sinking some of the boats.

HOLMES: As long as they're having fun, I suppose. They are very smart. We do know this. They're very -- they're very intelligent animals.

We're right out of time, but this is a fascinating discussion. Andrew Trites, I really appreciate you coming on and talking to us about it. Because yes, that's the thing, interesting. Thank you.

TRITES: Yes, my pleasure, thank you.

HOLMES: All right. Before we go, China is celebrating the return of Ya Ya, the giant panda to Beijing. The bear had been quarantining in Shanghai since April, after spending decades in the U.S.

Beijing's zoo says that she is adjusting to a new environment. She won't be shown to the public, at least not for now.

Before she returned, many people in China believe she was being mistreated in America. Her return is now being celebrated on Chinese social media, becoming a trending topic with millions of searches.

And the London Zoo, this is an animal segment, isn't it, has a special program aimed at connecting arachnophobes with what they hate, arachnophobes -- well that's a spider story. Arachnophobes -- it's spotlighting its friendly spider program to help people overcome their intense fear of spiders -- which is what happens when things get thrown into the rundown (ph).

First, the zoo teaches people about the eight legged crawlers and gives them a short hypnotherapy session. After that, well, the true test, they have to walk through the zoo's spider tunnel and handle them.

Oh yes, good luck with that. It's not over until they can hold a very large and very hairy spider. The zoo says it has -- its course has a success rate of 90 percent, which is pretty good. They ought to come to Australia, they're that big down there and they attack boats.

Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @HolmesCNN.

Stick around, my colleague Laila Harrak, who likes arachnids, will continue our coverage after the break.