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Hamas: All Palestinian Factions Participating in Resistance; Eastern Ukraine on Edge as it Awaits Counteroffensive; Trump Found Liable for Sexual Assault; Trump Found Liable for Sexual Abuse, Carroll Awarded $5M; Erdogan's Foreign Policy; Health Ministry in Gaza: Seven Killed in Wednesday Strikes. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired May 10, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello and welcome to "Connect the World". I'm Christina Macfarlane in for Becky
Anderson. Coming up this hour, siren sounding in Tel Aviv as other Israeli cities, as hundreds of rockets is fired from Gaza.
It comes up to Israel carried out strikes against what it says are Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza for a second straight day on Wednesday. Political
turmoil intensifies in Pakistan with Former Prime Minister Imran Khan now indicted on a corruption charge. His supporters have been clashing with
security forces since his arrest on Tuesday and there is no sign of letting up.
Trump accused the E. Jean Carroll speaking out after a jury in New York found the Former U.S. President liable for sexual abuse and defamation. He
has been ordered to pay $5 million in damages. Carroll calls the verdict a victory for her and all victims of abuse.
Israelis running for cover positions in Gaza targeted in a second day of increasingly dangerous outbreak of violence along the Israel Gaza border.
Israel's military says 270 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel today. This is how it looked earlier in a video shot by CNN photographer.
We're waiting for information on injuries and damage from Israel. The barrage of rockets fire comes after Israel's military targeted what it says
is Islamic Jihad operatives and infrastructure in Gaza.
Israel saying it hit more than 40 rockets and mortar launches. Health officials in Gaza report for Palestinians killed in today's strikes. 15
were killed in strikes Tuesday. Well, Hadas Gold joins us now live from Jerusalem. And Hadas, this is a situation escalating quickly tell us more
of what you know?
HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, the situation is definitely continuing to escalate after a strange sort of more than 24 hour period of
tense quiet because after those initial Israeli airstrikes that happened the night before last in the middle of the night targeting those three
senior commanders of Islamic Jihad.
But also killing at least 10 other civilians as that we know of. There was an expectation that there would be a big reaction and soon but that
reaction did not come until this afternoon. Now it has been a pretty big reaction at least 270 rockets the Israeli military saying have been fired
from Gaza into Israel even as far as Tel Aviv.
Typically, firing rockets towards Tel Aviv is sort of reserved by the militants for a big moment for a big message being sent. Typically the
communities around closer to the Gaza Strip are what are targeted. But today there have been several sirens going off in the Tel Aviv area as well
as rockets being fired to the main city of Israel.
We have not yet heard of any injuries as a direct result of this rocket fire. Some people have been reported being injured while running to
shelters. There have been some damages reported to buildings but so far, no physical injuries.
It's a different story, of course, in Gaza, where the Israeli military is saying that it's targeting at least 53 targets in the Gaza Strip. This is
including Islamic Jihad. It says weapons manufacturing sites and the like and also says it's been targeting what it says are militants preparing to
launch rockets or launch anti-tank missiles towards Israelis or Israeli troops.
But we are hearing just in the last few minutes of more casualties in Gaza. According to the Ministry of Health there, at least 22 people have been
killed so far. Five of them are children. Four of those children were killed in that initial airstrike night before last one child at least has
been killed today.
We are still awaiting further commentary from the Israelis on reports of the civilians killed. They are saying that they're looking into those
reports. A spokesperson for the IDF saying that some of the casualties maybe from the 65 rockets that they believe fell short in Gaza but we do
know of at least as I said before, 10 civilians, including those four children who were killed as a result of those initial airstrikes night
What's interesting also is the role that Hamas is playing because so much of this has been focused on Islamic Jihad the senior commanders killed were
from the Iranian back militant group Islamic Jihad which is the smaller of the two militant groups in Gaza.
But Hamas, the main military group that runs Gaza has been standing by Islamic Jihad issuing joint statements alongside them? And actually the
Israeli military had been taking pains to saying they're just targeting Islamic Jihad.
They you know, they're not trying to necessarily get Hamas involved here, but Hamas issued actually a statement soon after the IDF saying that they
were just talking Islamic Jihad they didn't think Hamas was getting involved saying that they are a part of this that they are a part of firing
In terms of ceasefire efforts the Egyptian state media is reporting intensive efforts are underway to try to bring forward any sort of
ceasefire, but we have not yet heard from the Palestinian or Israeli sides that any sort of major steps have been taken towards calming the situation
MACFARLANE: Yes, that is an important point regarding Hamas. Hadas Gold though the latest live for us from Jerusalem thanks Hadas. Ukraine's
military says it has chased hundreds of Russian fighters from an area in the southern outskirts of Bakhmut.
Russia claims it is pushing deeper into Bakhmut Northwestern and Western outskirts. That city of course, is seeing some of the most intense fighting
since the start of the war. The Head of the Wagner Group says he lost 500 fighters because Russian forces fled.
A Ukrainian military spokesman says "There is no shortage of shells, but a shortage of people". Let's get back to CNN's Nic Robertson, who's following
all of this from Eastern Ukraine and Nic, this signifies a massive development for Ukrainian in Bakhmut, a region that's been contested for
months. Do we have any indication as to how this happened?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's a very positive development from the Ukrainians perspective, it wasn't quite anticipated.
We found that out when we were talking to an officer who'd been involved in the fight.
And he said they'd intercepted Russian communications, the Russian saying amongst themselves, they were surprised that they were forced into losing
ground. The Ukrainian officers saying this sort of unexpected advance that they were able to take they committed a lot of men to the fight and had
hoped to be able to push the Russians back, but did perhaps better than expected.
So now consolidating when you try to figure out why and where the Ukrainians are, obviously right now trying to figure out why they got this
success, how they can replicate it? How it could be used elsewhere? Could this be part of a future counter offensive?
I don't think they take what Yevgeny Prigozhin says at face value. But I think what they can see is that there is disarray. Prigozhin blames the
Russian army for pulling back on his flank. The Russians are now saying they're putting more people into the north and they're in the west of
The hard reality is Ukraine has made gains that it's struggled for a long time now to be able to make. But it is interesting going along maybe 20
miles or 20 kilometers 12 miles or so back from the frontlines back from places like Bakhmut talking to the population there.
We so often see what's happening at the frontlines. But what's really interesting is the sort of level of fear level of anticipation about this
much talked about counter offensive, just a little back from those frontlines.
ROBERTSON (voice over): A few miles from Ukraine's Eastern front life are well sort of normal, although it's not outside of war. Who needs this much
ROBERTSON (on camera): Thank you very much. Thank you. She gave me a nice woolly hat to keep me warm.
ROBERTSON (voice over): People are friendly, not frozen in fear, even though they feel it. We don't know what's happening 30 minutes from now she
says, let alone an hour. No worries shown in the town park either. Workers trim the grass as artillery shells tear up not so distant fields. Showing
fear it seems is an abandoned indulgence air raid warnings passe now.
ROBERTSON (on camera): The sirens have become such a background part of people's lives here living through the war. They don't even respond or take
notice -- war is just ever present, pervaded through people's lives.
ROBERTSON (voice over): Outside of town, even closer to the front. This elderly couple nonchalantly tells us their home was shelled last month. He
even jokes, it's boring when there's no shooting. Both though hopeful Ukraine's coming counter-offensive will end their suffering.
We believe Ukraine will go in there and beat the well his wife says further on pensioners in Navy is more worried about his weeds than the war. We
don't understand anything about the counter offensive he says we just hope for our Ukraine for our defense.
Where and when the counter offensive may begin is one of the wars best kept secret so far. The mystery is exactly what Ukraine wants. Keep Russia
guessing stretch their supply lines, sap troop morale, Ukraine's victory rides on surprise.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Driving around near the front lines here you can hear some shuffling in the distance, and you can see plenty of soldiers
around. But what you don't get a sense of is any big build up for a counter offensive.
ROBERTSON (voice over): Farmers here are counting on their troop's success. Sowing crops in fields they want to harvest and fall. Mykola (ph) hopes the
counter offensive will secure his land, but says he knows some of the soldiers around here knows how hard the fight will be knows it will be a
ROBERTSON: And there were casualties on the Ukrainian side in the fight for Bakhmut as there were on the Russian side, the Ukrainians say that the
casualties are much higher on the Russian side. But really right now this is a moment where the Ukrainian government can look and see and they've
tested and know better how and when and where this much talked about counter-offensive may take place?
MACFARLANE: Nic Robertson there live from Eastern Ukraine excellent reporting. Nic, thank you! And we want to note to the passing of someone
who helped show the world what was happening in Ukraine. French Video Journalists Arman Soldin have been covering the conflict since its early
days working from the trenches and keeping his camera rolling while taking fire and sending back incredible images like this one.
Soldin's employer the -- France Press says he was killed in a rocket -- a Russian rocket attack near Bakhmut on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel
Macron praise Soldin's courage to establish facts and inform. Arman Soldin was 32 years old.
Now Pakistan is on edge after Former Prime Minister Imran Khan was indicted earlier on a corruption charge. His supporters have been clashing with
security forces since his arrest on Tuesday in a separate corruption case.
This video shows a public radio station burning after protesters stormed the building. The Pakistani government is calling on the army to crack down
on the unrest. I'm joined now by another Former Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, from Islamabad.
Sir, thank you so much for your time today. First of all, I just like to address the claims by Khan Supporters that say that he has been subjected
to abduction and torture while being held in custody, can you confirm that he has been treated fairly and has been taken into custody?
SHAHID KHAQAN ABBASI, PML PARTY MEMBER: I have no direct knowledge. But from my own experience, with this particular institution that arrested him
is called "The National Accountability Bureau". There is no physical doctor they're aware of and this was the same institution that Mr. Khan used to
suppress his political opponents.
And this time he was given, as far as I know, many opportunities to appear before the investigation agencies to answer questions. If he does not
appear, then they have the right to rescue. I've been through over hundreds of these investigations. I'm aware of what the process is.
MACFARLANE: Yes. But now his case is being heard today in a police headquarters behind closed doors rather than in a courtroom. Why has that
been necessary? And what guarantees can you make that this will be a fair trial?
ABBASI: The trial is much later. Right now they have to investigate the crime. And since he's accused of -- I think a very serious crime then he
has to answer the questions that -- he has for him. As I said, this is a routine matter. There's nothing unusual about this.
They only rescue when you do not join the investigation, Mr. Khan received several opportunities, but did not join the investigation and they were
compelled to arrest him. Mr. Khan, on the other hand, arrested almost all his political opponents and used to publicly declare that he arrested such
and such person.
And many of us were arrested without any charges without any serious investigation. So I do not wish him any ill here. But he had many
opportunities to do away with this particular law, which he did not. And unfortunately, is being lifted up against the same laws that he used
MACFARLANE: You say that this has been carried out in a normal manner, but I think the scenes of which Khan was arrested yesterday have shocked many
people. I mean, 30 to 50 paramilitary officers smashing windows forcing him from a building into a trap. I mean it was that a proportional response to
the corruption charges that are leveled against him?
ABBASI: No, that's the way the police will arrest, if you do not appear there. And if you hide -- Mr. Khan had court orders for arrest and he hid
in his house for over a week with the many of his supporters outside and throwing firebombs as police.
I was arrested on a road by about over hundred paramilitary and police personnel. So unfortunately, you know, there has been -- there is a
tradition of heavy handedness by the police in such matters, but just Mr. Khan could have just joint investigation and come out and coated arrest
with -- political leader in Pakistan.
MACFARLANE: The result of that arrest is now being seen on the streets, in cities across Pakistan. You know, a rising violence, anger on the streets.
I mean, you are in government, you know, more than anyone that your country is facing severe economic political crisis right now. Should it have not
been your responsibility to ensure that the arrest of Imran Khan did not lead to the scenes that and we are now seeing the spiraling chaos unfolding
across your country?
ABBASI: If you defy the law if you defy the courts, you do not join investigations of very serious corruption, and then the state has the
responsibility to arrest you. Mr. Khan, as I said, just voted arrest and faced whatever accusations there were, which is what we did? And yes--
MACFARLANE: Understood. This is now not just about Mr. Khan; this is about the situation that is unfolding in your country. The turmoil we're seeing
on the streets, the violence, and at this point, I mean, there are concerns that this could continue in perpetuity. I mean, do you not share those
concerns of what is happening as a result of this arrest?
ABBASI: I'm concerned that the attempts to destroy public property and private property, this is not acceptable. And the state has the
responsibility to step in, and quell this violence. No state can accept such violence.
And violence for what, for a person who is accused of corruption and has to join investigation and did not show up? As I said, every opposition
political leader in Mr. Imran Khan's style was arrested some of us several times, put in jail.
You know, subjected to these trials, I'm still appealing into trying to harvest is issued against me, and publicly accepted that he had made those
cases. So I don't -- this is not a question of wishing him some -- like I said, but he must face the law. He has to respond to the law in the
MACFARLANE: You're saying this, and then is business as usual in Pakistan. I want to get your perspective on the military, because on April of this
year, you actually warned that the current economic and political turmoil within Pakistan was so dire that it could lead to military intervention,
I mean, given the scenes that we're now seeing the outbreaks we're seeing across the country, is that risk very real now the risk of perhaps martial
law being imposed? What are your feelings about that now?
ABBASI: Look, it's not business as usual in Pakistan. There is a political leader, a major political leader, who has attempted to defy the law. He's
been arrested, but there's been violence on the streets. And that was has to go away. It should not lead to the release or the non-prosecution of Mr.
Mr. Khan should be prosecuted, not prosecuted, like we were right? I'm with him on that he needs to be prosecuted. As far as the military is concerned,
I have said that the conditions economic conditions that Mr. Imran Khan and which have continued those effects have continued in this government are
cause enough and events like yesterday or cause enough have been caused enough in the past for military intervention. And I hope that will not
I think that's the worst scenario in this situation, but all of us will behave responsibly. Mr. Khan has to ask his supporters to not to resort to
destruction of public and private property and not attack the law enforcement agencies. I think he's unfortunately -- he has a responsibility
to say that and do that.
MACFARLANE: Yes. Well, we will wait to see what the outcome of yesterday's events will be. And we thank you very much for coming on and giving us your
perspective. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi appreciate it. Thank you.
ABBASI: Thank you.
MACFARLANE: All right, still to come, we'll get the reaction after Donald Trump is found liable for sexually assaulting E. Jean Carroll and it's
ordered to pay her millions of dollars. Plus what Carroll herself said here on CNN the day after her victory in court.
MACFARLANE: Welcome back, embattled Congressman George Santos is in U.S. Federal custody and is expected to appear in court in a few hours to face a
series of stunning allegations. The U.S. Justice Department has unsealed a 13 count indictment against the New York Republican including charges of
wire fraud, money laundering, and theft of public funds and making false statements to the U.S. House.
Prosecutors say Santos solicited campaign funds under false pretenses then use the money for personal expenses like designer clothes. He's also
accused of fraudulently applying for COVID related unemployment benefits. Now E. Jean Carroll has won her civil lawsuit against former U.S. President
A federal jury in New York found Trump liable for sexually assaulting Carroll and defaming her by denying her claims. He has been ordered to pay
her $5 million. Carroll says it's not about the money but about getting her name back. CNN's Poppy Harlow interview Carroll earlier and asked how the
response has been to the verdict.
E. JEAN CARROLL, WON CIVIL LAWSUIT AGAINST DONALD TRUMP: There are no words. There are no words. I just now saw the headlines. I'm really sort of
taking in the moment. And the overwhelming flood of a lot of hate. That's part of it. But an overwhelming amount of relief and joy, and the feeling
of at last and the surge, there's a sort of feeling a victory that lasts somebody has held him accountable in a courtroom. Thanks for Robbie
Katherine. So it's such a mash overwhelming emotions. It's hard to put into words.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What about appeals we heard the President say they'll appeal? Our Paula Reid, with her brilliant legal analysis on
the program earlier talked about that that's going to be a tough appeal to make. And what would the grounds be when the Trump team didn't present a
defense and he didn't step foot in that courtroom your perspective?
ROBERTA KAPLAN, CARROLLS' LAWYER: So Donald Trump on the tape say that the judge here Judge Kaplan, no relation to me, went out of his way to be
unfair. The actually the opposite is true. Judge Kaplan in this case went out of his way to be fair to Donald Trump, he gave him multiple
opportunities to show up in that courtroom and testify.
And Donald Trump decided not to. There are no issues in this case on appeal. They'll make them but there are no serious issues on this appeal.
And your colleague is absolutely right.
MACFARLANE: Well CNN's Paula Reid has more now. And what led up to Tuesday's verdict and how the jury's decision is playing out across the
PAULA REID, SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): E. Jean Carroll was all smiles walking out of a Manhattan federal courthouse
Tuesday. Afterward jury awarded her $5 million in her defamation case against former President Donald Trump.
In a statement, Carroll saying this victory is not just for me, but for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed.
NATASHA STOYNOFF, FORMER PEOPLE MAGAZINE WRITER AND DONALD TRUMP ACCUSER: It's really hard to come forward about these things. And especially hard
when the man you're talking about is very powerful.
REID (voice over): Natasha Stoynoff and Jessica Leeds both testified during the trial about their alleged altercations with Trump, which he denies. And
they both praised this verdict.
STOYNOFF: When I heard the verdict today, I felt nothing is more powerful than the truth. I am very pleased for Jean.
JESSICA LEEDS, DONALD TRUMP ACCUSER: I'm very pleased for the whole situation.
REID (voice over): Trump responded to the verdict by posting this video to social media.
DONALD TRUMP, 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This was a very unfair trial. That's all you have to say. This was a very unfair
REID (voice over): The civil trial lasted 10 days with a jury deliberating just under three hours. Trump has denied all wrongdoing and said he didn't
even know Carroll.
TRUMP: I have no idea who this woman is.
REID (voice over): However, he made these comments during his pre-trial deposition played for the jury.
TRUMP: Thinks she's a whack job. She's not my type.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you're saying there is Ms. Carroll fabricated her claim that you sexually assaulted her?
TRUMP: Yes, totally, hundred percent.
REID (voice over): That's the only time the jury heard from Trump during the trial. Other than clips from the infamous Access Hollywood tape that
surfaced right before the 2016 presidential election. Carroll's team used that now infamous video to establish Trump having a pattern of this kind of
behavior, playing portions again, during closing arguments.
TRUMP: You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss, I don't even wait. And when
you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's what you said.
TRUMP: Well, historically, that's true with stars. Not always but largely true unfortunately, fortunately.
REID (voice over): Trump's attorneys calling his loss a result of politics.
JOE TACOPINA, TRUMP ATTORNEY: He's firming his belief, as many people are that he cannot get a fair trial in New York City.
REID (voice over): Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, also criticized the verdict.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I think the New York legal system is off the rails when it comes to Donald Trump.
REID (voice over): But Republican Senator Mitt Romney didn't hold back.
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I hope the jury of the American people reach the same conclusion about Donald Trump. He just is not suited to be president
of United States.
MACFARLANE: And one quick programming note. CNN will host a town hall this week with Donald Trump live from New Hampshire, the former President and
2024 Republican presidential candidate will take questions from CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins. Be sure to tune into that Wednesday, May 10, 8 p.m. in New
Hampshire Thursday, 8 a.m. in Hong Kong, right here on CNN.
And ahead of defining elections, many voters see Turkey's president as strengthening the company's country's position on the global stage. We'll
be examining his development of foreign policy coming up next.
MACFARLANE: Welcome back to "Connect the World" with me. Christina MacFarlane. This Sunday Turkey goes to the polls and what is one of the
most highly anticipated elections of the year. Turkey's struggling economy has eroded incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan's popularity and allowed
opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu to put up a strong fight.
But despite domestic challenges during his time, President Erdogan became very assertive in strengthening Turkey's role on the world stage and
expanding its foreign policy and influence beyond the region, launching military interventions in Libya and Syria, and renewing ties with Gulf
nations while courting Russia and China that can sometimes come at the cost of jeopardizing Turkish relations with other countries. Jomana Karadsheh
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Turkey closed down this waterway to Russian warships when the war in Ukraine started. And it is
through here the Bosphorus Strait that Ukrainian grain now flows to the world. It was Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ultimate balancing
act, a stamp some describe as Pro Ukrainian without being anti-Russian that allowed him to play mediator and help broker a key grain deal between
turkeys warring Black Sea neighbors, unlocking Ukrainian grain exports and helping to avert a global hunger crisis.
Over the years Turkish foreign policy has come to resemble the country's president. It's combative with a personal touch. Erdogan has carved out a
central role for himself and his country on the world stage. He meted out soft power with Turkish soap operas and launched a spree of diplomatic
missions in capitals long ignored by the West.
Erdogan back that with large investments in a growing defense industry that's made Turkey one of the world's top drone manufacturers. This key
NATO member has had an uneasy alliance with its western partners Erdogan's leverage NATO membership for domestically important issues. Most recently,
he's held up Sweden's accession to NATO in an attempt to secure cooperation from the Nordic nation on groups Turkey considers terrorists.
Turkey's ongoing economic crisis has forced some diplomatic U-turns that were once unthinkable. Erdogan mended ties with oil rich regional foes,
bringing in billions of dollars of investment and much needed hot currency. Turkish foreign policy under Erdogan has been full of dramatic twists and
turns, crises that may at times have been exacerbated by the president's personality.
But at the heart of these disagreements with allies, our national interest that will remain unchanged, no matter that emerges victorious in these most
consequential of elections for a country that wields power and influence far beyond its borders. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN.
MACFARLANE: Well, joining me now is Sinan Ulgen, a Senior Fellow with Carnegie Europe in Brussels. Thank you for joining us. Thank you for your
time. We know that foreign policy is not really seen as a leading consideration, often within Turkey. But at the end of the day, Erdogan has
had some major foreign policy achievements, especially with the grain deal. Do you think Kilicdaroglu will be as effective as Erdogan has proved to be?
SINAN ULGEN, SENIOR FELLOW, CARNEGIE EUROPE: Well, Kilicdaroglu, of course has little experience compared to Erdogan, who has been running the country
for the past 20 years. However, when you look at what Kilicdaroglu has promised, he has promised a different sort of foreign policy for Turkey.
Firstly, he wants to reassert Turkey's relationship with the West. The criticism being that over the Erdogan-- Turkeys perception as a country in
terms of its place in the world has become more ambiguous. Secondly, he wants to bring institution driven foreign policy with the weight of the
foreign ministry, as opposed to Erdogan where it's really about him and the presidency that has called the shots.
And thirdly, he wants to back this effort with democratic reforms at home. So overall, it's a very different understanding of foreign policy that may
emerge if the opposition wins.
MACFARLANE: And regarding NATO in particular, we've seen how Erdogan has used Turkey's power and NATO to leverage decisions to his own advantage.
We're seeing that at the moment with Sweden's the debate over Sweden's a session. What the opposition, do you think take the same approach and be as
obstructive as Erdogan has proved to be?
ULGEN: Well, the opposition viewpoint on this would be that decision making regarding foreign policy here with regard to Sweden, for instance, will be
much more based on the influence and input of institutions. And as a result of which Turkey will become a more predictable foreign policy.
On Sweden, the opposition viewpoint is that as long as Sweden does a bit more in terms of addressing Turkey's concern with regard to the
effectiveness of the enforcement within Sweden, against these entities, the opposition is ready to green light the accession of Sweden. And in this
particular case, it is more likely to happen before the summit of NATO in July.
MACFARLANE: Interesting. And we've seen also how Erdogan has improved Turkey's relations with the Gulf States after years of hostility ---.Why
did he reverse his stance with the Gulf states? And why is he in court?
ULGEN: Well, fundamentally, there are two reasons why we've seen this policy, foreign policy reversal or recalibration. The first one is that
after 10 years, and here we're talking about the last decade from the start of the Arab Spring till the end of the decade of foreign policy,
The calculus in Ankara has been that this ultimately proved to inimical to Turkey's interest in the region. It has created tension with many of the
countries in the region. And therefore there was a need to redress the situation and would therefore since the start of 2021, efforts to normalize
relations, and some of this has succeeded, particularly with the United Arab Emirates, to a lesser extent with Saudi with Israel.
And now there's an effort to do the same with Egypt and even with Syria. That's the first reason. The second reason in the particularly concerning
Gulf countries is there's an expectation that these countries could help with the -- economy that's now under duress, in terms of financial
investments. So those are the two motivations while we've seen this recalibration of foreign policy with a focus on the Gulf.
MACFARLANE: We know that Erdogan has had a very hostile stance really with regard to the west. But Kilicdaroglu seems to have signaled a warmer
relationship and has made clear he will move forward with other partners if it suits the national interests.
In a video posted on Twitter, he said he would look to revive the historic Silk Road to connect to China, even if that upsets the United States. Just
take a listen to this quick sound bite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEMEL KILICDAROGLU, TURKEY PRESIDENTIAL OPPOSITION CANDIDATE: In short, let the West and China worry. Let us go about our business. This project is a
project where everyone will win, we will say here you go, sits at the table with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: What did you make of what was said there and what that signals to, you know, the United States for instance?
ULGEN: Well, actually, this is very much in parallel with an existing initiative, which is called the middle corridor that actually links Turkey
to China. And this has the geostrategic importance nowadays of allowing all the countries in Central Asia to access Western markets without passing
through Russia, because there's an alternative corridor for them, which is Northern Corridor.
So in that sense, today, it's become quite relevant. And Kilicdaroglu actually when he made this, he also said very clearly that this could be
conditional on China reversing it's also on the reverse, which is something very new for the Turkey side, because so far Turkey has remained relatively
silent about the tragedy of --. So in that sense, I think there this is this is a realistic assessment.
MACFARLANE: Sinan Ulgen, it's fascinating to have your insight on this. Obviously, very, very interesting leads to come from wherever this
selection will fall on many different fronts, especially on the foreign front. We appreciate you taking the time to break it down for us. Thank
ULGEN: Thank you so much.
MACFARLANE: And we are taking a very short break. "Connect the World" will continue after this, stay with us.
MACFARLANE: We're back with a new proposal from U.S. health officials. They say all women at average risk of breast cancer should start screening at
the age of 40 instead of 50. The Preventive Services Task Force says earlier screening reduces the risk of dying from the disease.
There's an update from his 2016 recommendation when the taskforce proposed that biannual mammograms should start at 50. Breast cancer is the second
most common cancer among women in the U.S. death rates are at the highest for black women.
And before we let you go, an update on our top story this hour. Palestinian health officials now say seven people were killed in the second day of
Israeli airstrikes in Gaza including a child. Israel says it is targeting Islamic Jihad operatives and infrastructure. Its military says 270 rockets
were fired towards Israel after today's strikes.
Israel reports three of them fell in populated areas. Thank you so much for joining us that was "Connect the World". Stay tuned for "Marketplace Middle
East" up after this quick break.
ELENI GIOKOS, HOST, MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST: From glittering skyscrapers to Ancient Wonders, the Middle East is home to some of the most iconic
destinations on the planet. And more and more people are coming here to experience the region and it's culture for themselves.
GIOKOS (on camera): I'm Eleni Giokos, and this month we're coming to you from the Arabian travel markets in Dubai. And this is "Marketplace Middle
GIOKOS (voice over): For 30 years, the Arabian Travel Market has brought together travel professionals from around the world to discuss trends and
innovation in the industry. The event hosted 7000 visitors in its first year. Fast forward to 2022, it attracted more than three times that number.
It's just one example of the growth in the region's tourism sector.
In the last decades, the Middle East has seen the opening of the iconic Burj Al Arab in Dubai, the Kingdom center in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi Sheikh
Zayed Grand Mosque, the Museum of Islamic art in Qatar and Bahrain's World Trade Center, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the National Museum of Oman, and
the Israel building in Saudi. The number of international arrivals to the region nearly doubled between 2004 and 2019.
SANDRA CARVAO, CHIEF OF MARKET INTELLIGENCE AND COMPETITIVENESS, UNWTO: It's a region where the economy is very much oil based. And we have seen
that destinations long ago have defined tourism as one of the priorities and one of their priorities in diversifying the economy. We've seen that in
terms of investing in infrastructure, in air capacity in development of products, strong marketing, strong positioning.
GIOKOS (voice over): And then came the COVID-19 pandemic. As travel numbers dropped drastically worldwide, countries in the region geared up to
mitigate the impact on tourism.
CARVAO: What happened in the Middle East is first of all, we saw an earlier recovery with many destinations, also opening up earlier facilitating entry
earlier. And I think a good example is probably the Emirates, which in terms of income generated by tourism became formed in 2022.
GIOKOS (voice over): The U.N. World Tourism Organization says the region has experienced a rebound.
CARVAO: The Middle East destinations recovered around 90 percent of all their number of visitor's pre -COVID, which is really an amazing level. If
you compare the world it's the best performing region again, and we are seeing actually the first region to have a full quarter of positive results
compared to pre-pandemic.
GIOKOS (voice over): Bahrain is one of the country's surpassing expectations.
GIOKOS (on camera): This is beautiful.
GIOKOS (voice over): Tourism revenues reached nearly $4 billion in 2022, 50 percent more than the original targets.
GIOKOS (on camera): And look at that. You're going to get your name on this, fantastic.
GIOKOS (voice over): I sat down with the country's Minister of Tourism, Fatima Al Sairafi to find out the secret to Bahrain's impressive growth in
FATIMA AL SAIRAFI, MINISTER OF TOURISM, KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN: We were surprised, pleasantly surprised. And I still remember because we were just
talking out of COVID. Many people from the industries were like, you know, you should think about lowering the targets. It's quite an ambitious one
and we insistent in the --Bahrain. No, we are going to set the targets very ambitiously; we're going to have aggressive targets. And we're going to
work very hard with the private sector to meet them.
GIOKOS (on camera): So who's visiting from where and what are they doing?
SAIRAFI: So the way we introduce the strategy is, we identified 14 target markets. And part of the 14 target markets is obviously the GCC countries,
as well as a few countries in Europe, mainly Italy, Spain, Germany. We also have the United Kingdom.
And when you look at Asia, you have one of the biggest target markets, which is India. When you look at India, Bahrain is known to be a host of
weddings for the Indian markets. You can also tap into the many opportunities that Bahrain has when it comes to business traveling as well.
It doesn't only link to the Asian market, but it also links to the European market as well.
GIOKOS (on camera): You've opened up an office in Europe as well, look; the competition is heating up in this region. It doesn't matter who I talk to,
you know, everyone's got a unique and beautiful selling point and offering. How do you position yourself in that environment?
SAIRAFI: There are, there is a lot of competition in the region, especially when it comes to the GCC, we actually see it as an opportunity. And one of
the key things that we did differently in Bahrain is we started promoting Bahrain and the countries in the region as one destination.
So when you have travelers that sail from Europe visiting behind, they also have an opportunity through Bahrain to visit other countries in the GCC as
well. So ideally, they spend three or four days in Bahrain, and they move on to their journey to visit Saudi as well, which enriches their
And we found out that when we adopted that strategy, we found out that there's more interest from tourists to actually visit the region so it kind
of gives you the idea how countries are actually interdependent when it comes to increasing the tourism numbers.
GIOKOS (on camera): Welcome back. As we delve into the region's tourism sector, it's hard not to think about the Middle East, the archaeological
and historical sites. So let's take a look to see how the region is not only building skyscrapers, but also tapping into its heritage.
GIOKOS (voice over): From the pyramids of Egypt, to Petra and Al Ula. Arab countries are home to nearly 8 percent of UNESCO's heritage sites.
CARVAO: Heritage in the Middle East is obviously one of the pillars of tourism development also have cultural identity and that cannot be
dissociated. So tourism is not only one of the tools that you can use for preservation, but also of promotion, tourists are changing. So they want to
have those local experiences. They want to know the cultural heritage of the country, which in the region also has an immense potential to grow and
GIOKOS (voice over): Jordan is home to one of the region's most famous monuments, the rose city of Petra; nearly 200,000 people visited the site
in January and February. That's about 20 percent of the total number of visitors to the kingdom, with tourism increased by 135 percent in the first
two months of 2023, compared to the same period last year.
ABDELRAZZAK ARABIYAT, MANAGING DIRECTOR, JORDAN TOURISM BOARD: Capacity has now become a challenge for Jordan, it's a good problem to talk about, but
at the same time are losing opportunities.
GIOKOS (on camera): Absolutely.
ARABIYAT: So we're not focusing on one place. So if you just promote Petra as a one single destination, definitely, this will be we have over tourism,
so you create more activities, more events, so people will live more than one night in one place. So they can move within the country.
GIOKOS (on camera): But you need to increase your offerings, right? Do you need more hotels? You need more tour guides? You need a lot more of
everything. What kind of investment do you require at the stage?
ARABIYAT: These days it's a great opportunity for the investors to come to Georgia and invest in hotels, three, four star hotels. We need more bus
transportation; we don't have enough, now we have a big demand. So it's a good opportunity for investment.
GIOKOS (voice over): When it comes to developments and investment around heritage sites, Saudi Arabia is making history. The Kingdom only opened its
doors to non-religious tourism a few years ago. Its ultimate goal is for tourism to account for more than 10 percent of its GDP.
And over $1 trillion will be invested in the sector over the next decade. 185,000 people visited the ancient sites of Al Ula in 2022; the forecast
for 2023 is 250,000. It is a reflection of the investment of both the area's infrastructure and its people.
PHILLIP JONES, CHIEF TOURISM OFFICER, ROYAL COMMISSION FOR AL ULA: What we've been able to do is invest several billion dollars in building out a
destination, building airports, building roads, building hotels, restaurants, attractions across the destination. We already had all the
natural beauty, we had the natural assets, we had to build the manmade assets.
And so that's what we've done is we developing the tourism ecosystem. We also have a program called Hamaya, which we're training about 2500 locals
to be ambassadors for the destination in a way that is, you know, authentic, but also allowing them to preserve and protect their heritage
and to then to share it with a global audience.
And then we're opening a hospitality school in a little bit to make sure we are preparing the young Saudi men and women for jobs in the tourism
industry for the next generation.
GIOKOS (voice over): And the next generation will also have plenty of jobs to choose from at the Diriyah project servicing around the 18th century
district of --. The $17 billion mixed use development includes residences, retail, restaurants, and cultural attractions, more than 38 hotel operators
are participating in the project. And all the development will be constructed in keeping with the look and feel of the heritage sites.
KIRAN HASLAM, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, DIRIYAH GATE DEVELOPMENT AUTHOR: We have a huge responsibility to secure and look after those locations and
make sure that multiple generations can enjoy them for what they truly are. We spend a lot of time looking after and curating that UNESCO World
Heritage Site and making sure that whatever we do is always sympathetic to what it was hundreds of years ago.
And with that you see this new city that's being developed, but it's not a new city with skyscrapers. It's a new city that's paying homage to nudge
the architecture. It's mud brick construction, it's human scale.
GIOKOS (voice over): So whether it's diversifying their tourism offerings, involving the local community or being mindful of authentic construction,
there are many ways the Middle East can ensure that sites of the past attract visitors of the future, ensuring that an already burgeoning sector
continues to thrive.
GIOKOS: Well, thanks so much for joining us for this edition of "Marketplace Middle East". If you want to see more of the stories that we
cover on this program, you can check out our website. From me Eleni Giokos, Arabian travel markets in Dubai. I will see you next time.