Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

Recep Erdogan Sits Down For One-On-One Interview Ahead Of Runoff. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 19, 2023 - 06:30   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Turkey's democracy, Erdogan has been in power for 20 years now. He won reelection that would only go even further. But on Sunday, he failed to to secure 50 percent of the vote in the general election against the opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Throughout Erdogan's presidency, he's faced criticism for consolidating power and silencing his political rivals, often putting them behind bars. He's also fostered close ties with the Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran.

CNN's International Becky Anderson is here with us live with her exclusive interview with President Erdogan. I mean, this is so fascinating to hear him talk, especially as he is now fighting for his political survival. What did he tell you?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, there has been no love lost between successive U.S. administrations and President Erdogan, over his more than 20-year role as the Turkish leader and his relationship with Joe Biden is no exception.

Back in 2020, then presidential candidate Joe Biden called the Turkish leader, an autocrat. He criticized his policy towards the Kurds. And he said at the time, he would support the Turkish opposition in trying to unseat him now to an increasingly nationalistic Turkish population. Anti-Americanism plays well with a crowd here. And the Turkish President knows that.

At a rally on Saturday, calling out Joe Biden accusing him of trying to topple him in a wide-ranging interview that I had with the Turkish President. We discussed and asked him to explain.


ANDERSON: Do you genuinely believe, as you suggested last Saturday, that Joe Biden wants to topple you?

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT: How could someone who is going into a runoff election instead of completing the election in the first round, be a dictator? That is the reality. We have an alliance with 322 MPs in Parliament, and the leader of this alliance is going to go for the runoffs in the first position. What kind of a dictator is that?

ANDERSON: So if reelected, are you saying that you will work with the Biden Administration, you can work with the Biden Administration.

ERDOGAN: Without a doubt, I will work with Mr. Biden. And if Biden goes, then I will work with whoever replaces him as well.

ANDERSON: You've said that you don't agree with the attitude of the West towards Russia with regard the Ukraine conflict that the West follows a policy based on provocation. I just want to get your sense of where you believe the West perhaps is going wrong here. Is this military and financial aid that we see at present a provocation to your mind?

ERDOGAN: The West is not leading a very balanced approach. You need a balanced approach towards a country such as Russia, which would have been a much more fortunate approach. For example, the Black Sea Green Corridor Initiative. We are not only considering the interests and the needs of the Western countries, but also that of the African nations. This Green Corridor Initiative has been extended for another two months beginning on the 18th of May. How do you think it was possible. It was possible because of our special relationship with President Putin.


ANDERSON: This relationship really vexes Washington. If President Erdogan is reelected, Washington is going to really have to work out how it deals with him. Let's remember, he's a longtime NATO ally, NATO member, of course, they've condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and they have said that they support the return of all Ukrainian territory, including Crimea, but Russia is an incredibly important economic partner for Turkey at this point, while Turkey's economy is in such dire straits, $62 billion annually of trade and tourism and energy.

So it's -- this is a really difficult balancing act to a certain extent for Turkey, when it comes to Russia, and Ukraine. But also for Washington and just to be quite clear, Turkey holds the sort of keys as it were to Sweden's accession to NATO at present. And in that interview, the president says that he isn't ready for Sweden to join NATO and I quote him here, he says, While offshoots of Turkish terror groups roam freely on the streets of Stockholm. That is an allegation that Sweden refutes, but Washington and the rest of the Western allies really want that Swedish accession.

President Erdogan sits on it at present and he told me, he's not ready to vote them in. Kaitlan?


COLLINS: Yes, and the White House said publicly on that they want whoever wins to win, they want it to be fair election. But obviously if you talk to them privately, they wouldn't be too sad if there was an Erdogan loss here. Fascinating interview. Becky Anderson, thank you.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN HOST: Fascinating interview indeed. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen with a warning to bank CEOs of severe economic consequences if the debt ceiling is not addressed. Tell you what else she told them.

COLLINS: The Supreme Court also just handed a major win to social media companies. We have the details on the latest ruling ahead.


HARLOW: Well, this just in. We're hearing from the White House, that President Biden will leave a dinner with his fellow G7 leaders early to go to his hotel for a briefing on the latest on the debt ceiling talks. This comes after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen held critical talks with more than two dozen bank CEOs in Washington yesterday.


Yellen stressed the need for Congress to agree to raise the debt limit before the U.S. runs out of money to pay its bills and therefore, default. And by the way, that could be as soon as June 1st.

Joining us Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans, this meeting comes as news is coming out of some cautious progress, this negotiations.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And yesterday, Janet Yellen with all those bank CEOs, she's been working in the phones, right? They all are -- she's sort of preaching to the choir there that this could be very dangerous. She said her failure to raise or suspend that debt limit would be catastrophic for the financial system as well as American families and businesses. It's what she has been saying for so long. And all those people in the room do it.

Two dozen bank executives there in that room. And they also talked about banking stability, which I think is a really the other important part of this story. Because look, if we were to default even quickly on our debt, and you had a couple of ratings, agencies downgrade, downgrade U.S. debt, these banks that are holding U.S. debt wouldn't be able to hold it anymore. It would have to -- it would be just I mean, the second tier knocked down will be just awful.

COLLINS: So they've got to get this figured out. They really do. And it's just remarkable. I mean, Biden is leaving a dinner with G7 leaders early. The White House just confirming that from Karine Jean- Pierre, the press secretary because he has to go to his hotel early to get a briefing on from his team on what's going on with these talks and how they're progressing.

I think we've probably heard the most optimistic view so far from Kevin McCarthy yesterday. But as you were saying on your show this morning, they're still very far apart when it comes to actual substance with her going to agree on something.

ROMANS: Yes. OK. So they're probably I'm sure they're in Japan, looking at the Daily Treasury cash balance, which has now fallen to $68 billion from $90 billion. Do you ever look at your --

HARLOW: $90 billion yesterday?

ROMANS: Yes. Do you ever look at your bank account to see how much is there? Well, there's only --

COLLINS: It never says $90 billion.

ROMANS: Right, right. OK. But only the money is coming out. The money is only coming out. And so they've got a lot of work to do. So, how do they get to? Yes, I guess is the question work requirements for some of these safety net programs. Senator Biden has voted for that before. So maybe there's some common ground there, unspent COVID-19 aid for some states, maybe that could be pulled back and energy permitting reform. That's where there could be some compromise, everything else though, they're still far apart.

COLLINS: Yes. And as progressives have said, we vote for President Biden or Senator Biden --

ROMANS: Exactly.

COLLINS: President Biden when it comes to those votes he took on the worker card --

HARLOW: And they've sort of undone a lot of those 1996 work requirements for a while now. See what happens. Christine, thank you. Keep checking.

ROMANS: The bank account --

HARLOW: The coffers of the country.

COLLINS: Let me know when mine says 90 million. The Supreme Court has just handed a major victory to two social media companies in two lawsuits that legal experts have warned could have upended the Internet. The families of people who were killed in terrorist attacks in Istanbul and Paris had sued Twitter and Google claiming that the company's aided and abetted ISIS by failing to prevent violent groups from using their platforms.

Earlier this year, CNN's Jessica Schneider spoke to the parents of the only American who was killed in Paris. They told her why they took on this legal fight.


BEATRIZ GONZALEZ, DAUGHTER WAS KILLED IN A 2015 ISIS ATTACK IN PARIS: We continue in this fight. Because we seeking justice, nothing is going to give me back my daughter, but at least that is something good is going to be accomplished.


COLLINS: The Supreme Court did not agree with that they actually unanimously rejected those claims. CNN's Ariane de Vogue joins us now. Ariane, obviously, you know the Supreme Court better than anyone. And essentially what they're saying is that these companies are not liable, they believe for the content that is on their platforms.

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Right. This morning, these online media companies, they're really relieved because these companies sought to hold them accountable for some of that third party content that appeared on their platforms that critics said look might have helped terrorism here. And this is all a part of this bigger push, we've seen going on, saying that these social media companies, they need to be more regulated.

And here, you saw like a flood of so-called friend of the court briefs. flooding the Supreme Court on this issue, but a unanimous court in this Twitter case, they came back and they said look, you cannot use these anti-terrorism laws. And basically that's because there wasn't a close enough nexus between the actual terrorist act and Twitter.

Twitter was serving here more as a bystander, the court said, Here's what Justice Clarence Thomas said for a unanimous court. He said, it might be that bad actors like ISIS are able to use platforms like defendants for illegal and sometimes terrible ends. But the same could be said of cell phones, emails, or the Internet generally, right there. What the court is saying is it is not willing to go there and to hold up with these families were challenging.


COLLINS: Yes, not willing to go there yet, but of course we've just seen how ever present this issue is with the presence of social media. Ariane de Vogue. Thank you for that.

VOGUE: Thanks.

COLLINS: OK, it is the fastest-growing sport in America, Pickleball. We're honored to be joined by the number one female player in the country. And guess what? She's just 16-years-old.



HARLOW: A 16-year-old American phenom is the top ranked women's pickleball player in the world. And she has been described as the face of America's fastest-growing sport. Anna Leigh Waters is coming off a triple crown effort in North Carolina, where she scored wins in the women's singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles events. She is now set to compete in another tournament in Atlanta this weekend. And she joins us now. Anna Leigh, we're so happy to have you here. How are you feeling about this weekend?

ANNA LEIGH WATERS, 16-YEAR-OLD RANKED WORLD'S 1 PICKLEBALL PLAYER: I'm super excited for this weekend, especially after two weeks ago in North Carolina coming home with the Triple Crown. So, I'm hoping to repeat that this weekend.

HARLOW: We have a good feeling that you will be able to do that this weekend. Can you talk to us about why on earth everyone is talking about pickleball? What is so special about it? WATERS: There's a lot of special things about pickleball. I feel like the main reasons that it's just kind of taken off is because it's like a family sport, you can go out there with your whole family and your five-year-old can play pickleball. And your 80-year-old grandfather can also play pickleball. So it's just a really fun thing.

HARLOW: I love that.

WATERS: All ages can really do together. It's also a really social sport. So, I feel like anybody who just wants to start playing pickleball. Well, to your local park, I don't even think you need a paddle or you need to know the rules. You really don't just because when you go to those parks, pickleball players are so inviting. And they really just teach you everything about the game and you become close friends with your pickleballers.

COLLINS: And it really has grown so much in popularity, I feel like everyone's talking about it now. COVID, of course helps that, I think because it was a way people could be outdoors exercise, would still be distanced from one another. It was popular in retirement communities before that, but now we've seen how popular it is. And one of the best parts is you were one of the youngest or you're the youngest professional pickleball champion in history.

So what you -- how did you get started? When did you get started?

WATERS: So, I got started like with one late 2017. My grandfather actually taught me how to play pickleball. And from there, I just kind of did it as a fun thing, my mom started at the same time, immediately. And about a year later -- a year and a half later, I started playing pro with my mom, as well. So, I started playing pro around 12, so about four years now. But it's just been amazing. I say that, like the only good thing that came out of COVID was that, pickleball kind of blew up, because I did see that huge jump in pickleball. And it's kind of cool because I kind of grew up as a sport grew up. So, we're kind of doing it together.

COLLINS: Not bad.

HARLOW: So, what's the goal? What's the ultimate goal beyond another triple crown this weekend?

WATERS: I would say, so my first goal was the Triple Crown. Now I'm going to say my goal is to get a medal in the Olympics.

COLLINS: Love it.

HARLOW: Love that. So it's an Olympic sport.

WATERS: Not yet, not yet, but we're getting there.

COLLINS: You're getting there. All right. Congratulations, only a matter of time. Anna Leigh, thank you so much for joining us and good luck this weekend.

WATERS: Thank you so much. COLLINS: I'm going to remember that moment when it does become an Olympic sport.

HARLOW: I know what did you do at age 16? I certainly wasn't the best in anything.

COLLINS: Triple Crown like, what a pickleball player.

HARLOW: Congrats, Anna Leigh. OK, cruises are making a big post-COVID comeback. We'll show you the new data ahead.




HARLOW: The love boat, love for cruises is back after COVID nearly destroyed the industry. Cruise travel is now full steam ahead. New data from Bank of America suggests cruise ships are now even outpacing some other forms of vacation travel. Why? Our business reporter Nathaniel Meyersohn is here with us. What's up?

NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: So, let's look at the cruise passenger numbers the last few years. 2019 about 30 million people went on cruises. That number plunged to 6 million during the pandemic in 2020. 5 million passengers in 2021. Then we saw rebound in 2022, 20 million passengers. 2023, an estimated 32 million people are expected to grow on cruises, that's higher than the 2019 pre-pandemic number.

We also see cruises -- spending on cruises start to outpace airlines, this red number. And then Port Miami which is the largest, it's the cruise capital of the world. About 68,000 people went on cruises and April is a record day. So cruises are back.

COLLINS: So, it's kind of surprising because I feel like when this was -- they were at those lows. Obviously, it was because of COVID people weren't traveling as much, but the fact that they have made this resurgent -- resurgence, what does that attributed to, is it amazing ads, how are they getting people to come back?

MEYERSOHN: The boomers are back. The boomers are cruising. So the average age of a cruise passenger is 47. People over 60 make up 33 percent of all cruise passengers. 32 percent ages 40 to 59. And here we have millennials and Gen Z, they make about 35 percent of cruise passengers.

The cruises are trying to win millennials and Gen Z, but it's really the boomers that are back and it's not just cruises that are back. People are traveling. They're going to restaurants. Airbnb saw record bookings. Delta is expecting a record summer. Folks are back. We're not buying furniture and electronics, the stuff we got early in the pandemic, but we're going to Taylor Swift concerts, and we're going on cruises.

HARLOW: Some of us get to go to Taylor Swift.

COLLINS: I can attest, it is worth all of the money. It's like the price of a cruise ship to go to. Nathaniel Meyersohn, thank you for that. And CNN This Morning continues right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The G7 Summit will soon be welcoming us special surprise guest Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very dramatic in-person appeal almost certainly for more powerful weapons as Ukraine works to regain.