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Connect the World
Third-Place Finisher Emerges as Potential Kingmaker; Supreme Election Council: Erdogan 49.51 Percent Kemal Kilicdaroglu 44.88 Percent; Zelenskyy Seeks Fighter Jet "Coalition" after Talks with UK PM; Former Turkish Ambassador on Global Significance of Election; Gaza Residents Describe Devastating Israeli Airstrikes; Presidential Runoff Election to be Held May 28. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired May 15, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNNI HOST: Hello and welcome to a special edition of "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson live from Istanbul. It is six
o'clock in the evening here where for the first time in its history, Turkey's presidential candidates will head for eight momentous run off
Taking the world we'll have to wait about two weeks to find out who wins this country's pivotal Presidential election. Turkey's Supreme Election
Council announcing a runoff will take place on May the 28th after no candidate crossed the 50 percent threshold needed for outright victory.
What we do know now is that, with nearly all votes counted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan leads his main challenger opposition coalition candidate
Kemal Kilicdaroglu by nearly 5 percent. Pre-election polls had shown the opposition leader with a slight lead.
Well, a third candidate Ultra-nationalists Sinan Ogan got just over 5 percent of the vote and supporters could prove crucial to securing victory
for one of these candidates in the runoff he has yet to endorse either candidate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SINAN OGAN, TURKISH ATA ALLIANCE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It seems that the elections will go to the second round, and Turkish nationalists and
communists will be the determinant of the runoff. At this time, we are not saying that we will support one party or the other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, the right wing ancestral alliance candidate is staunchly nationalist anti-immigrant and anti-Kurdish. He is a former lawmaker with
the ultra-nationalist National Movement Party the MHP which was allied with Erdogan's -- for this election.
But Ogan was expelled from the party back in 2017 when the Head of the Nationalist Movement Party backed Erdogan's referendum to transform Turkey
from a parliamentary system to an executive presidency. Regardless of who he throws his weight behind, analysts tell CNN his voters will likely lean
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAGIP SOYLU, TURKEYS BUREAU CHIEF, MIDDLE EAST EYE: The likely to vote for Erdogan because cholesterol is an indirect alliance with the Kurdish
Nationalist at the Turkish Parliament. And, you know, the Turkish Nationals don't want to basically vote for a candidate that is in direct alliance
with the Kurdish Nationalists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, I'm joined now by the third place finisher in this election Sinan Ogan of ATA Alliance. It is good to have you with us from Ankara this
evening. Will you back a candidate and if so, what will your conditions be? What will we be asking for in return? Let's be quite clear about this.
OGAN: Thank you. It is Sinan Ogan. Also I am not anti-Kurdish I am Anti- Terror. Our conditions are primarily all the terror organizations should be fought against the migration to meet immigrants should be sent back. And
what we present is also related to how the government should be run? How the state should be run? For example, the first four conditions of the
Constitution should not be changed.
ANDERSON: Let's just dig down on what you've just talked about here. In the lead up to yesterday's vote, you had said that the Turkish Government
should consider sending Syrian refugees back. And I quote by force if necessary your critics will say forceful repatriation is against
international humanitarian law. Do you agree with that? What's your response?
OGAN: Of course, American police, if they would catch Turkish illegal immigrants, whatever they do that's what we're going to do. How much -- how
democratic is what American police would do in a case of an illegal immigrant, that's how we're going to deal with it too? Of course also all
the actions Americans take to take the Mexican illegal immigrants back, we're going to take the same actions for the Afghani immigrants and Syrian
ANDERSON: OK, let's talk about the Syrian immigrants. The Syrian refugees here, whose status is unclear as we move through this election process, the
current government here has a voluntary repatriation program for Syrian refugees.
They say they are trying to return as many back home as possible. And do you agree with that voluntary program? Or are you saying all refugees must
go home? And if that's the case, what concrete steps are you calling for in return, for example, in backing either one of these candidates?
OGAN: I agree with thesis that they should be sent back certainly that's what we're supporting.
ANDERSON: You told Reuters today, and I quote you here, I think the elections had to run off because the opposition is not giving enough
confidence to the voters; the opposition cannot reassure people that they can solve Turkey's problems.
I'd say the opposition is the one that was most affected by the February 6th, earthquakes. If we take the current results, Mr. Erdogan will win if
he gets 1 percent extra support? Are you going to throw your weight behind Mr. Erdogan?
OGAN: We're going to decide this with consultation. We have four parties in this ancestry alliance. And we had consultations with these four party
leaders. And of course, these consultations will continue.
And we're going to decide as a result and when we have a decision, of course, we're going to offer it to both sides. It could be Erdogan or it
could be Kilicdaroglu, that we don't have a clear decision at the moment.
ANDERSON: Mr. Erdogan admits Kilicdaroglu are both in Kurdistan with pro- Kurdish parties. Let's be clear. You have said that you won't join any coalition. You've said you've got certain red lines for supporting a
candidate such as and I quote, you have fighting terrorism. And you've just explained that in this interview as well. Is that your way of saying you
will not endorse any candidate whose alliance includes pro-Kurdish parties?
OGAN: It is not correct to define it as Kurdish parties. We are saying the parties who don't have a distance, who don't put a distance between
themselves and terror organizations. What we're thinking is all the political parties should exclude terror organizations. We don't have to
give our support to either of the parties. There's no such rule.
ANDERSON: Your critics will say that you bundle all Kurds under the banner of terrorism. Do you have a simplistic approach to this subject because
certainly your critics would suggest that?
OGAN: This is not a correct criticism. For us a terrorist is different. Of course a Kurdish person is different. Kurdish -- any other ethnicity is
different, for example, in American Senate, Senator in American Senate, if they -- could they say or I'm supported by ISIS, or they could they attend
a funeral of an ISIS terror member? However they would consider it that's how we consider it too.
ANDERSON: I just wonder what those who voted for you care about most. Is it clear to you got 5 percent or just over 5 percent of the vote, both these
leading candidates who will go into a runoff could do with those votes?
So I just asked you again, what is it clear what those who voted for you care about most? And can you be sure that if you are to endorse another
candidate, that your voters those who voted for you will actually migrate to that candidate?
OGAN: Our electorate is very bonded with us. And of course, wherever we learn to them will come with us, of course are based electorates wouldn't
vote for those other candidates because Erdogan was Islamist candidates and Kilicdaroglu was the leftist candidates but who is voting for us is --
Turks. And of course, that's why we got their vote. They consider us as a younger leader, and we understand world better today.
ANDERSON: Someone describing you as a kingmaker, others a tiebreaker? However, you might describe yourself, what do you want out of this result,
OGAN: Yes. Of course, when we first started this race, we thought we need to be either the government when the government or we're going to be the
kingmaker and we are at that status. Political parties like HDP or -- we want those candidates to not to rely on parties that have no distance
between terrorist groups, and we succeeded in that.
ANDERSON: Sinan Ogan and I apologize for mispronouncing your name at the beginning of this. I appreciate your time. Thank you very much indeed for
joining us important interview at an extremely important time in Turkish political history as it were.
We very much appreciate your time. Thank you, sir. Sinan Ogan, joining us live here on "Connect the World". Jomana Karadsheh, my colleague back with
me this hour what did you make of what you just heard?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very interesting, Becky. I mean, he sounds like he is going to use this time to try and get whatever
concessions he wants to try and get whatever commitments he wants to try and get.
I mean, he's saying that his electorate, this 5 percent, more than 5 percent that he got, will follow him whatever he decides if he decides to
endorse anyone in this race. But the question is, will they do that or not? You know, because it is a combination of disenchanted nationalists.
And you've also got the protests, those people who are very unhappy with the choice of the opposition going with Kemal Kilicdaroglu. So we'll have
to wait and see how this goes in the next few weeks? But definitely, Tiebreaker, Kingmaker, whatever you want to call him. These votes are going
to be significant for both sides.
ANDERSON: How's this election result in the first instance going down? Let's just give our viewers a sense of what the front pages are telling us
today. And you know what happens in this next what 13 day period?
KARADSHEH: I mean look, Becky, you know, everyone is trying to put a different I mean, everyone's looking at it very differently, right?
KARADSHEH: Right, so you've got the pro-government, pro-Erdogan newspapers basically coming out and describing this as a win for the President. You
know, you've got this, in this Yeni Safak, that Pro-Erdogan newspaper, you know, Erdogan clearly ahead, right?
And then you've got the opposition newspaper -- saying basically, that, you know this is a movie, we've seen this movie before that they're alleging
that there was manipulation of the votes here. And then you've got another pro-Erdogan newspaper -- saying that we've crushed them in parliament now
time for the presidency, essentially saying that they will.
He will do this now that he's gotten the majority. He says he's gone in Parliament, Daily Sabah pro-Erdogan of course, pro-government's here,
highlighting here that President Erdogan has gotten 2.5 million more votes.
ANDERSON: That's a significant number, pull it as it is. That is a significant number two and a half million more votes in an election where
the incumbent was challenged significantly by the state of this economy by an earthquake back in February 6th which has killed 50,000 and displaced
hundreds of thousands of people who when you look at the heat map, on who voted for whom, and from where President Erdogan got the vote from the
earthquake affected zones,
KARADSHEH: Absolutely. And look Becky, he has been at his weakest yet he has managed to still get about 50 percent of the country's vote. He still
has that support. I mean, we were in the earthquake zone over the past week, we spoke to people there.
And it was really interesting, because initially, people were expecting this earthquake and the initial slow response and disastrous response by
the government could bring down his government when we went there.
And we saw that the government, President Erdogan moved really fast to try and win back the support of the people in these areas. Re-construction
already taking place houses being handed over to people so I mean, you have a pretty much half the country that believes in his vision for this country
and believe that only he can lead them.
ANDERSON: And for our viewers sake, there'll be wondering, you know, how things would change on a sort of, you know, outward facing Turkey
perspective from either of these candidates? I think it's fair to say were the opposition to win at this stage.
And it's looking less likely, you'd see a more pro-Western more pro- European position, a very similar position when it comes to Russia and the Ukraine war, but this sort of mediation role is walking a very fine line
between the two. And it has to be said there's a across the board pretty anti-U.S. position here from people whoever they vote for.
So I think on the sort of, you know, on the outward facing Turkey side, we'll see an awful lot of change. It's the economic story here and what
happens when the sort of reconstruction which will be really important to observe.
Thank you. Always a pleasure! Up next here, political allies walking like old friends in the English countryside but did the sun shine on what the
Ukrainian war President has been seeking for months more on that is after this.
ANDERSON: We need more time but not too much, those the words of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as his country prepares for what is a highly
anticipated counter offensive against the Russians. Our face-to-face talks earlier with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the Ukrainian leader
announced that he wants to create a fighter jet coalition as he describes it. Well for his part Mr. Sunak discuss a fighter pilot program instead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: One thing we will be doing starting actually, relatively soon is training of Ukrainian pilots. And that's
something that we've discussed today, we're ready to implement those plans in relatively short order, which will mean that we're training Ukrainian
citizens to become absolutely combat ready aircraft pilots. And particularly whether it comes to NATO tactics as well because that's an
important part of the long term relationship between our countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, Mr. Zelenskyy's unannounced visit to Britain follows weekend meetings across Europe drumming up support as Russia faces setbacks
in the field. I want to bring in CNN's Sam Kiley live from Ukraine. Sam, just describe where we are at in this conflict. We hear the appeal for this
fighter jet coalition.
Let's be quite frank about this. We've been hearing appeals from the Ukrainians for fighter jets for this entire 18 months, near 18 month
conflict now, but where are we at? What do they need and what are they going to get at this point?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So for the time being there is a focus of fighting with a Ukrainian counter attack Becky as you
know, around the town of Bakhmut, that where the Ukrainians have enjoyed some success, pushing back the Russian military and the Russian mercenary
forces of Wagner.
But elsewhere in the country since the fall of last year, the battle lines have barely moved as the Russians have been digging in preparing for a much
vaunted Ukrainian offensive. Now the Ukrainians have been building up their capabilities with more and more NATO weapons, more air defensives, lately
the Storm Shadow missiles or cruise missiles supplied by the United Kingdom.
Other killer drones are capable of reaching deep behind the Russian front line in order to try to break the logistics spine of the Russian operation.
Psychological operations now being conducted including by President Zelenskyy with his soon, not so soon, quite soon, type hints at when this
offensive might start. But really what the Ukrainians are doing is mustering as much support as they possibly can in the form of modern high
tech, NATO type equipment and NATO type maneuver warfare.
A lot of big units have been trained up to do maneuver warfare rather than the Soviet meat grinder mass attack that the Russians have been using,
ahead of this moment when they're hoping they'll be able to launch an offensive probably in multiple different directions, certainly trying to
use the element of surprise in order to break the frontline of the Russians.
And as you were alluding in your last hour or two, there has been the latest reporting or latest claims from, you take the Ukrainian intelligence
saying that they don't believe the Russians have it in them anymore for significant defensive or offensive operations.
That may well be because over the last few months, they've really been digging in, particularly in the south of the country where there's a strong
expectation that ultimately the Ukrainians will want to be pushed through the southern front line and aim down towards the Crimean peninsula, Becky.
ANDERSON: Just to be clear, is it clear when this counter offensive will start?
KILEY: No, it's extremely opaque. There is extreme difficulty for the international media to get anywhere near any military units anywhere near
any frontline locations.
They're being extremely secretive in order to keep the Russians guessing. They're flooding the internet and social media with all kinds of
disinformation claiming or fake accounts claiming, fake victories, fake maps being published, all intended to rattle the Russians as much as
Now no doubt there is a lot of planning, shared planning, shared intelligence going on with NATO, a lot of advice going in, but this will be
a Ukrainian decision and they are playing their cards very, very close to their chest.
And you'll remember Becky, back in last year, when we were all down, I was down in Kherson because we imagined a big attack going in there and it went
in in fact, in Kharkiv and they liberated a large amount of territory pretty quickly. Later in November, they liberated Kherson, so we can expect
a lot of substitutes and faint movements, I think.
ANDERSON: Sam Kiley is on the ground in southeastern Ukraine. Thanks, Sam. Well, more on our top story in a few moments from here in Istanbul, we take
in a view of the world stage and ask what these elections truly mean for Turkey as a global power that is after this.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson. You're watching "Connect the World" live from Istanbul where the time is half past six in the evening.
This is our special continued coverage of Turkey's presidential elections. Your headlines this hour, the United Arab Emirates have invited Syrian
President Bashar Al Assad to attend the UN's COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai.
That invitation comes as Arab countries moved to rebuild diplomatic relations with Syria. Earlier this month, the Arab League agreed to readmit
Syria after an 11 year absence, despite repeated objections from the U.S. over President Assad's brutal regime.
Aid groups warn of extensive damage after one of the strongest cyclones on record in the north Indian Ocean ripped through parts of Myanmar and
Bangladesh. Wind gusts from Cyclone Mocha blew the roofs of buildings uprooted trees and knocked down power lines on Sunday.
Report say at least three people were killed and many, many were injured, but the full extent of that story is not yet known since many communication
lines are down. A hospital in Sudan's capital is being damaged amid fighting between rival factions there. Images appear to show flames and
smoke at the East Nile Hospital in Khartoum.
Military Rapid Support Forces, the RSF say the building was hitting airstrikes. They're blaming Sudan's military, the SAF for the attack. The
army says it was targeting weapons and ammunition.
Well, returning to our top story from here in Istanbul. And the main opposition candidate in Turkey's election says that he will fight until the
end, and I quote him there. Preliminary results show that Kemal Kilicdaroglu took just under 45 percent of the vote.
That was compared to just fewer than 50 percent for the incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. And that is, according to the Chairman of Turkey
Supreme Election Council, that is the official board here, of course. Now, since neither candidate is likely to cross that 50 percent threshold, a
runoff is now set to take place in two weeks' time, we will get a final confirmation of the numbers on Friday.
But certainly it is a runoff that we are looking at now on May the 28th. The ramifications of this contest won't just be confined, of course, to
Turkey. To talk more about what this election means, in a global sense, let's bring in Mithat Rende, the Former Turkish Ambassador to Qatar, as
well as Former OECD Executive Committee Chairman, it's good to have you with us.
Let's start with the region as we're going to take a kind of wider look at where Turkey stands and may go going forward under whoever's leadership we
have here as president. I started this part of the show by talking about the rehabilitation of President Bashar Al Assad.
Rehabilitation by the Syrian President by the Arab League, he's been invited by the UAE, for example, to attend the COP28 conference in Dubai in
December. Where does Turkey stand with regard Syria at present, and the wider region here? You are ambassador in Qatar, for example, at a time when
Turkey was one of Qatar's few friends during the block aid time. So just give me a regional perspective going forward?
MITHAT RENDE, THE FORMER TURKISH AMBASSADOR TO QATAR: Well, recently, there was a policy shift on the part of the ruling government and the president
towards the Middle East. And there was a clear effort to normalize relations with the United Arab Emirates with Saudi Arabia and Egypt and
And they achieved a great deal in trying to normalize, but other countries were quite hesitant to speed up the process. They waited until the
elections have been. Because they just, they were expecting a kind of change, a new beginning in Turkey. And so they thought that they should
take it to--
ANDERSON: A new beginning being, a new president.
RENDE: A new president, a new beginning. And also they thought that the new beginning would also bring new device, newly devised policies towards the
Middle East. As regards Syria, of course, probably you are aware of the Russian efforts together with the Iranians to bring together the Turkish
leadership with the Syrian leadership.
And also, it was not possible because of the lack of trust. There is definitely a trust gap between the two countries and the other side
demanded the return of Turkish forces.
ANDERSON: Let's be quite clear about this run-off election. I think as things stand at the moment, if you were a betting man, and I was a betting
woman probably suggest that President Erdogan has the advantage going into this runoff election?
Certainly, as far as the numbers are concerned, it'll really depend on whom, you know where that sort of where those swing voters might be going
forward. But let's just, if you've got an Erdogan leadership going forward, you know, if you've got the incumbent who continues for another five years,
is anything going to change in this region?
RENDE: Yes, yes, I would, I would say yes. But first of all, it's clear that the, that there is a victory on the part of the nationalist --
although they have not been able to reach the threshold of 50 percent. So President Erdogan will do his utmost and will use all his political tools
and the tools available to make it and extent his presidency.
ANDERSON: We were looking at the potential rehabilitation of Turkey's sort of relations with the EU certainly a more pro-Western stance from the
opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu where President Erdogan to win this in two weeks' time, where do you see relations with the West going?
RENDE: Not, I don't see much, definitely the opposition leader and his team, they promised to improve relations with the West and with the
European Union. And in order to do so they promised also to do their homework, which means the independence of judiciary, the rule of law,
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, for freedom of the media and expression.
So what the European Union is expecting from Turkey? The opposition team promise to do, to do so. Well, I don't expect maybe President Erdogan to
make such promises because of the very system, the executive presidential system.
ANDERSON: Do you already expect to see the end of the erosion of democratic institutions and democracy under President Erdogan?
RENDE: Well, because also it's, I'm concerned about the composition of the new parliament. Certain figures were on the fringes of the political life,
who have been now MPs, Member of Parliament. And some of them are hardcore Islamist, and this is why I'm also concerned about the composition.
So if, if there would be no separation of power between the presidential and the executive powers and the legislative power, and the judicial power,
then we might be in trouble as regards to the quality of our democracy.
ANDERSON: And that is, that's a serious possibility at this point. Finally, Washington, Ankara's relations with Washington, it was only Saturday, the
day before this election, that President Erdogan was accusing Joe Biden, U.S. president of trying to topple him.
This was in relation to some comments Joe Biden made when he was a candidate. It's interesting to see that Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the opposition
leader here has been described as somewhat of a Joe Biden, you know, compared to Erdogan who is oftentimes described by others as a bit of a
Donald Trump. Again, relations with Washington, do you expect any fundamental changes whoever leads this country going forward?
RENDE: I think, done in this case, as regards to relations with Washington, both leaders are the opposition leader and the president, they, they will
make an effort to promote relations to improve. And the interest of both countries in fact, and they are aware that with the strained relations,
Turkey has not done much and they couldn't achieve much.
ANDERSON: Despite the somewhat anti-U.S. position taken by so many people of whatever their political or ideological divide here in Turkey.
RENDE: Yes, definitely. And I think the not the National Security Adviser, but --Abraham Cullen, who plays the national security adviser was sent to
Washington before the elections. And they met, he met his interlocutors and counterparts, and I think it was well received by Washington, that probably
he made some promises.
And he was very optimistic about the future of bilateral relations. So let's see what comes out of it. But definitely, we have to wait. And I
think, by the way, the opposition during these two weeks before the 28th of May; they have to be really creative and try to do something.
They need something new in order to convince during this two weeks, the voters to vote for them. Apparently they will continue fighting as they
said, but they need to be creative. They need to do something new.
ANDERSON: It felt like it was theirs to lose. And frankly, it looks as if they'll lose it. It's good to have you sir.
RENDE: Pleasure is mine.
RENDE: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Still ahead, we go inside Gaza, where the disruption from last week's clashes with Israel have some wondering if their leaders are even
trying to make a chance of lasting peace.
ANDERSON: Well, this is a Somber Day for the Palestinian people. They are marking the 75th anniversary of what they call al- Nakba, or the
catastrophe. And that is when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their land when the State of Israel was formed.
And this is all that is left of Palestinian villages in Israel today. Rubble and ruins were once the community was thriving and for the first
time the U.N. is marking al- Nakba this year. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says Israel should be suspended from the U.N. if it
does not agree to the formation of a Palestinian state.
Ben Wedeman is in Gaza City today where this is also a day of cleaning up and rebuilding off the last week clashes between Israel and Islamic Jihad.
Ben, you're on the ground two days into what has been sold as a ceasefire. Just describe what people are telling you and how they are coping with
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky, we are 35 hours almost into this ceasefire. So far, it's holding. There was one
incident yesterday where a rocket was fired from Northern Israel. But according to officials here, it was a technical malfunction. Life is
getting back to normal, schools have resumed. The markets are open. But nobody here is really under the impression that this is any more than just
a temporary period of calm.
WEDEMAN (voice over): Broken cinder blocks and twisted metal, all that's left of an apartment building once home to more than 40 people. Saturday
afternoon a call came from someone identified himself as Rami from the Israeli military. Leave the building now, we're going to bomb it, he told -
Don't bomb the whole building, Hasam (ph) pleaded, just hit the apartment of the guilty person. There are disabled people here. Once the building was
empty, it was bombed. No one was killed or injured. Between you and me, I thought he was joking, Hasam told me; I didn't expect the house with
disabled people would be destroyed impossibly.
Reached for comment, the Israeli military didn't go into specifics, merely claiming they struck command and control centers used by Islamic Jihad for
the planning of terrorist activities against Israel. Building residents insisted they didn't know who the target was. Whoever it might have been,
this is the result.
Dozens of people left without a roof over their heads. We need a home says, -- the rest we can get, but 45 people now need a home. Our neighbor --is in
shock. We don't have a bed to sleep on. We don't have clothing to wear, he says, we've lost everything.
With only scattered ceasefire violations, calm has returned for now. Gaza's markets are open again. For the more than 2 million residents cooped up in
this narrow strip of land, there is no expectation of lasting peace.
56-year-old --, a butcher has lived through all Gaza's woes. The conflict he says will continue until the Judgment Day. Armed struggle isn't the
priority for most here; they're weary of it all.
Not just me, all Palestinians are tired, says Saied (ph), the government worker. Me, you, all of us, people worry about their children about their
homes, faded as they are trying to find their way through this never ending vortex of sporadic violence.
WEDEMAN: And this was the third major outbreak of hostilities between Israel and Islamic militants here in Gaza in the last three years since
2005 when Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip, there have been 15 major Israeli operations here. It's only a matter of time, Becky, before the
ANDERSON: Yes, Ben, thank you. Well, even though things do at least in calm in Gaza today, that is not the case in the West Bank. The Palestinian
health ministry says that Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians during raid in Nablus. The Red Crescent says one Palestinian was killed and
another is in critical condition of being shot.
Islamic Jihad there say the man who was killed was a member of the group. The Israeli Defense Forces have not commented. Well, these events provide
some illustration of the long running mistrust between the two sides. And Arab News asked YouGov to survey Palestinians about what they want from
their leaders and indeed, from the peace process loosely termed.
They spoke to 953 Palestinians living in the Palestinian territories; half don't trust their leaders to make peace with Israel. Almost half say
neither Hamas nor Fattah represent them and two thirds say they don't trust the Israeli government to make a lasting peace deal.
I'm joined now by one of these people behind that hole, or at least the person who commissioned the poll Faisal Abbas, the Editor-in-Chief of Arab
News. And I just want 953 people, it's not a huge amount, but it's a survey and nonetheless, what are you taking out of it? What do you think that
survey achieved for you?
FAISAL ABBAS, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, ARAB NEWS: Oh, thank you. Thank you for the question, Becky, it was very important to hear the voices of Palestinians.
It seems to us working in the media that everybody speaks on the Palestinian behalf apart from the actual Palestinians. So as you've seen
from the numbers earlier, the people have spoken, there is a huge percentage.
63 percent of Palestinians believed neither Fattah nor Hamas represent them. Clearly, that's an indicator that people have had enough of politics
and want actual results, although they have as if the numbers show very little trust in their government to actually deliver that piece.
That's only over shadowed by the lack of trust in the Israeli government's ability to deliver a piece particularly this government, spearheaded by
Benjamin Netanyahu, and the ultra-Right Wing government. 86 percent of Palestinians do not believe peace is attainable with this Israeli
So this is a very clear indicator that, you know, for the average Palestinian as per the data, they want results and less politics.
ANDERSON: Yes, as Palestinians don't trust their leaders to make peace with Israel, you get a sense that they just don't trust their leader's full stop
at this point. They have no opportunity to vote those that leadership out because they are not offered the opportunity for a vote at this point. Is
it clear that there is an alternative, you know, a credible alternative there for, the sort of Palestinians, the man and woman on the street that
you've been talking to?
ABBAS: Well, this is the interesting part, Becky; it seems to me that people are fed up of the usual or the attempts. I mean, one of the
definitions of insanity is trying the same thing and expecting a different result. This is particularly where the study becomes interesting. 80
percent of Palestinians polled show that they welcome the Chinese recent initiative.
If you remember, just after Beijing successfully delivered the Saudi Iranian rapprochement, they did make an offer to negotiate or to propose a
peace deal between the Palestinians and Israelis and the overwhelming majority of Palestinians polled.
80 percent welcomed that initiative. And the other parts of course, the other part of that equation is the U.S. has been voted the least trusted as
a fair mediator, again given you know the perceived bias in among Palestinians for U.S. foreign policy, as well as the previous failed
So it seems to me from the data that there is the only hope lies probably in unusual solutions.
ANDERSON: Faisal, it's good to have you, always a pleasure. We'll have you back. Faisal Abbas is the Editor-in-Chief of Arab News. I'm in Istanbul; we
are doing special continued coverage of the Turkish elections for you. It is ten to seven in the evening here, we'll be back after this.
ANDERSON: The world's cement industry is among the biggest polluters in the world it accounts for up to 8 percent of carbon dioxide emissions according
to the National Academy of Sciences. Well, carbon free alternative is being developed by scientists in Abu Dhabi that could bring big environmental
benefits and a new series called "Bold Pursuits". Christina MacFarlane is meeting the scientists with big ambitions to change the world.
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): This -- sanctuary on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi is a sight to behold. But it sits in one of the
saltiest bodies of water in the world. That's why I'm meeting Scientist Kemal Celik here.
MACFARLANE (on camera): Hi, Kemal.
KEMAL CELIK, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF CIVIL AND URBAN ENGINEERING NYU, NAU DHABI: Hi, Christina, welcome. How are you?
MACFARLANE (on camera): Thank you. Good to see you.
CELIK: Good to see you too.
MACFARLANE (on camera): Thank you very much.
MACFARLANE (voice over): He's taking me out into the Arabian Gulf. He's looking for new and innovative ways to make cement, a key ingredient in the
construction industry and the major environmental polluter.
MACFARLANE (on camera): Wow that looks very clean actually. But this is in fact very salty.
CELIK: So in terms of concentration, I can tell it is 40 gram per liter. So it is really salty. After water is desalinated, that concentration increase
about two times or about three times.
MACFARLANE (voice over): Water desalination involves turning that salty water from the ocean into drinkable water. The seawater goes through big
processing plants, and the leftover salt called brine is pumped back into the ocean.
MACFARLANE (on camera): So this is a real problem.
CELIK: It's a real problem. But we have solution for that. We make use of this salty water and make an environment --.
MACFARLANE (voice over): Back in his NYU Abu Dhabi lab, Kemal has been conducting scientific experiments on this salty brine.
CELIK: We need to decarbonize the cement industry because it is responsible for 8 percent of the human made co2 emissions.
MACFARLANE (voice over): He found it contains high concentrations of magnesium, a compound that does not produce co2.
CELIK: So, what we are doing is using this reject brine from the dissemination plan and apply very simple chemistry. We are adding cost
efficient chemical admixture. And then do steering process and centrifugation which means we are separating the solid, liquid and using
the solid part to make cement. This is this finished product.
MACFARLANE (on camera): This is this?
CELIK: This is this after one day.
MACFARLANE (voice over): Now Kemal is looking to a future beyond his lab.
CELIK: We have not applied this material in the industry. So right now we are in the proof of concept stages and once we are able to prove our
concept and produce large amount of material, we will be able to apply in the industry.
MACFARLANE (voice over): When he does, Kemal says his discovery should help the environment in two ways, less salty brine being dumped into our oceans,
and new cement with a lower carbon footprint, Christina MacFarlane, CNN.
ANDERSON: We are broadcasting from Istanbul today covering the Turkish presidential election, a reminder of our top story this hour. The Turkish
President Tayyip Erdogan is officially heading for a runoff on May the 28th. He failed to reach the required 50 percent thresholds that he needed
to win outright on Sunday.
But preliminary results show that he leads with just over 49.5 percent of the vote while his main challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu has just under 45
percent. Vote counting is nearly officially complete. We expect that run off, May the 28th. Thank you for joining us. We will continue to bring you
special coverage of Turkey's 2023 presidential and parliamentary race only on CNN.