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Erdogan: We have no Problems with our Relationship with Russia; Turkey Heads to Polls May 28 for Presidential Runoff; Ukraine's Zelenskyy Makes Surprise Appearance; China Hosts Summit of Central Asian Leaders; Speculation over who may one day Lead Luxury Brand, LVMH; CNN Talks to Turkish President Erdogan ahead of Runoff. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired May 19, 2023 - 11:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello and welcome to the second hour of this special edition of "Connect the World" with me Becky

Anderson live from Istanbul.

And the second half of my exclusive interview with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last hour you heard his response to allegations that

under his leadership Turkey has witnessed an erosion of democracy. Mr. Erdogan's controversial economic strategy and whether he is prepared to

reconcile with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

Well, this hour we take a look at the country's foreign policy specifically its relationship with the U.S. and Russia. Now Turkey is balancing its

relationship with Russia and Ukraine at Presidency war in Ukraine grinds on its President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Today he is in Saudi Arabia for the Arab League Summit in a bid to strengthen his country's ties with the Arab world. He thanked the Saudi

Crown Prince for supporting Ukraine but accused other Arab leaders of "Turning a blind eye to suffering caused by Russia".

Mr. Zelenskyy later heads to the G7 meeting in Japan; well, Mr. Zelenskyy courting the east and west convergence you can see right here in Istanbul,

two worlds split by the paused for a -- Turkey a key NATO ally is raising eyebrows by many believed not standing strong enough against Russia over

the Ukraine war.

Well, I asked President Erdogan about that in our exclusive interview first more of our discussion about the presidential election.


ANDERSON (on camera): On the eve of the first round, you told your supporters that the U.S. President had given instructions to "Topple" you.

Do you have any evidence to suggest that the U.S. President is meddling in these Turkish elections that he gave instructions to topple you?

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT: Mr. Biden statement to this effect before he was elected was recorded on TV unfortunately. And we listened to

his words on TV and we were upset. I spoke to him about it later at an international summit. And I told him that I was deeply upset by his

remarks, and that I didn't expect this from him.

ANDERSON (on camera): You called him out for calling you an autocrat in his election campaign before the U.S. elections. That is not the same as

suggesting that he is meddling in these elections and wants to topple you. Do you genuinely believe, as you suggested last Saturday that Joe Biden

wants to topple you?

ERDOGAN: 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 (on camera): So if re-elected, 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 (on camera): The U.S. would like Turkey to take a stronger stance against Russia, particularly with regard enforcing sanctions in April of

this year, the U.S. imposed sanctions on at least four Turkey based entities. It said were violating U.S. export controls and helping Russia's

war effort. President Erdogan is Turkey helping Russia evade sanctions. And will you abide by U.S. sanctions on Russia?

ERDOGAN: We have no problems with our relationship with Russia at the moment. And we are not at a point where we would impose sanctions on Russia

like the West has done. We are not bound by the Western sanctions. As Turkey we are a strong state and we have positive relations with Russia.

In terms of our foreign trade volumes, we've reached an ideal level with Russia. When you look at our tourism numbers, Russia is number one

unfortunately because of the latest statements by the main opposition party many tourists are going to other destinations.


I won't be a leader that makes the mistake of missing the tourists from Russia or Ukraine.

ANDERSON (on camera): 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 you to explain a little more what you mean there. Do you believe, for example, that the massive

military and financial aid going to Ukraine is a provocation?

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 the President.

ANDERSON (on camera): I joined the UN inspectors on one of the ships anchored of Istanbul just yesterday ahead of the decision to extend that

deal, it is such an important decision. And mediating that is a good example of the unique position that Turkey plays.

ERDOGAN: Becky, it's very important as to where we stand today. This is where we are this afternoon. Istanbul Convention was signed here, right

where we are seated. There used to be tables on which we have signed that convention. And this is where we have given a message to the rest of the

world. And the same thing was repeated here. We are still following the developments where we stand.

ANDERSON (on camera): Let's talk about the S-400 and the controversy that that has created the purchase of those from Russia the problems that that

is created for your relationship with Washington. It was the purchase of those S-400 systems that got Turkey expelled from the F-35 fighter jet


Do you still have any hope that you'll be able to acquire F-35 in the future or have you got to the point where you say we don't need them; we

will have our own domestic defense sector going forward. We don't need to buy from others.

ERDOGAN: During the Trump Presidency, the U.S. had a wrong approach regarding the S-400 why if we are a free democratic country taking part in

a liberal global market if I cannot purchase the defense system from the U.S. then it's the U.S. that pushes us to buy a different system from a

different country.

We couldn't purchase those systems from the United States. So that's why I bought the equivalent from Russia. And when the F-35s were not delivered to

us, we were very upset because we our NATO allies. Turkey is one of the most significant members of NATO. That's when we started looking at the


When we saw the attitude of the Americans about the F-35s we told them to at least provide us F-16s and the necessary parts. So we continue our

relations in a determined manner. There are some positive developments in that regard. I hope that these positive developments will continue.

ANDERSON (on camera): Are you ready to support Sweden's NATO membership?

ERDOGAN: As long as Sweden continues to allow the offshoots of terror groups in Turkey to roam free in Sweden, in the streets of Stockholm, we

cannot look favorably on Sweden's membership in NATO.

ANDERSON (on camera): President Erdogan, are you saying that you are not yet prepared to agree to Sweden's accession to NATO?

ERDOGAN: We're not ready for Sweden. We're not ready for Sweden right now. First, they need to solve this issue, because a NATO country should have a

strong stance when it comes to fighting terrorism. And they should not allow any terror groups to run freely in their streets against a NATO

country, because this is what makes NATO special.

ANDERSON (on camera): How do you see Turkey's relationship with this wider Middle East and Gulf region developing going forward?

ERDOGAN: There was a period when I was seriously upset, but that's in the past now. Right now, we see Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, all of

the Gulf Coast brotherly nations it's not right for us to remain at odds.


We've moved past that. We've started state visits to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, and after the elections, I hope relations will expand on the

political, military, commercial, cultural, and economic fronts. And we will take the necessary steps to improve our relations with the Gulf States.


ANDERSON: Well, a lot there and a lot to talk about. I'm joined now by Yusuf Erim he is Editor-at-Large for TRT World a public broadcaster -- in

English here in Turkey. You were listening to what was my exclusive interview there with President Erdogan?

Let's just concentrate on the relationship between Turkey and Russia because I think that's really important to explore at this point. Just

explain how tough this balancing act is for Turkey at this point?

YUSUF ERIM, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, TRT WORLD: It's a very tough balancing act, but a much needed balancing act. Because when we look at the relationship

between Turkey and Russia, it has a lot of safety nets. It's intertwined like two hands, so you can peel back one finger, there's still nine more

fingers holding that relationship in place.

You have about $30 billion bilateral trade you have energy, whether it is pipelines whether it would be natural gas oil, the nuclear power plant in -

- you have defense cooperation. You have almost 6 million tourists, one of the countries that send tourists the most truth yet, you have agriculture

imports, Russia is a big importer of agriculture.

ANDERSON: This of course, is the reason why Turkey did not sign up to Western sanctions. It can't afford to do it?

ERIM: It's mutually destructive for Turkey. Why would Turkey sanction a country where it's going to take on damage itself? You have $30 billion

bilateral trade who's going to compensate this?

ANDERSON: On the flip side, Turkey has condemned the invasion by Russia, of Ukraine; it has said it does not by any stretch of the imagination,

Russia's move into solving parts of Ukraine. No, indeed, Crimea, and it is sending military hardware drones, which are making a difference on the

battlefield in Ukraine.

ERIM: Well, let's not forget back in 2014, when much of the world was silent, or their reaction was definitely not as audible as it is now.

President Erdogan was heavily against the invasion of Crimea. And one of the things that he said, February 24th, when the Russian invasion started

was that if the world raised its voice more for Crimea we could have averted this.

I also think that the retirement of Angela Merkel in Germany was also a very important factor as well, because from the European side, she was the

balancing act while Erdogan was the balancing act in the south.

ANDERSON: So I think it's important to explain that sort of balancing act that Turkey is working here between its relationship with Ukraine and

Russia, because certainly in the West, there is a perception that President Erdogan and this is very leader led, of course, is cozying up to the

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

At this point, this is a NATO ally after and that is why NATO member, of course, second largest military is, in NATO that's why it's closeness to

what NATO is doing here is so important. We talked there about whether the Turkish President was prepared to green light the Swedish accession to

NATO. But he told me he's not prepared to do that at present.

ERIM: Well, there's a roadmap that was reached at the Madrid Summit, a memorandum of understanding was signed between trilateral the signed

between Sweden, Finland and Turkey. And that roadmap specifically states Turkey's expectations for Sweden's NATO membership.

And there are parts that they have not been able to live up to. I had a chance to talk with the Swedish Prime Minister back in November. And one of

the things I asked him was how you plan about going about being able to achieve this.

And he had talked about a new -- one of the things that he talked about was the extradition and saying that we don't have control over the courts, I

cannot order the courts, but we can prepare a legislation that the courts can interpret to be able to extradite certain individuals.

Now that goes into effect, I believe, June 1st. So it's going to be very important to see how the Swedish courts interpret that new legislation and

will achieve the results that satisfy Turkey's national security concern.

ANDERSON: Yes, and this is all predicated on the notion that President Erdogan, of course, will be making decisions post June 1st. We still don't

know whether he will win this runoff on Sunday, but the sort of betting is that he is likely to do so. But it's not in the camp completely.

So what can we expect on a foreign policy basis? Were the opposition to win do you expect to see much change where Kemal Kilicdaroglu to win this

election and to run Turkey going forward?


ERIM: Well, first of all, we need to see a divide between someone running an election campaign, and the realities and the mandates of the office of

the President of the Republic of Turkey. Very, very different things for example, the returning of refugees' repatriation of refugees, I mean, the

realities on the ground right now, international law would prohibit an immediate return of refugees.

ANDERSON: And that is what the opposition candidate has said he will do within two years; he wants to return nearly all of the mere 4 million

Syrian refugees to Syria?

ERIM: It is possible immediately? It's definitely not possible immediately. Could it be possible in two years? Well, that would depend on how the

diplomacy goes. And there are a lot of restrictions stopping that from happening.

If Erdogan felt that he could return refugees back in a safe and proper manner, he probably would have already by now. He understands that there is

pushback, domestically. He's not doing it because he can't do it properly, in a safe way, in line with international law. He's not going to send these

people into Syria into some type of Assad meat grinder.

ANDERSON: What we expect is to see a less leader lead more pragmatic approach to the relationship with Russia, where Kilicdaroglu to be running

Turkey going forward? That's not to say that Russia won't be supported from here because of course, they play such an important role in the economy.

We expect a perhaps slightly less combative relationship with the U.S. and perhaps more of a pro-NATO pro-EU stance. I do just want to play some last

sound from the interview that I did with President Erdogan yesterday because there is talk.

He's done very well his party has done very well in coalition in alliance in the parliamentary elections. Why he did get supermajority President

Erdogan is thinking about what to do with that was he to be President going forward? Have a listen to this?


ANDERSON: This is a very simple question. If re-elected, you've said that you want to completely overhaul the existing constitution introduced in the

1980s and modified since if you were to get the required parliamentary support, and you have significant seats in Parliament at present, not the

400 that you would need.

But you already have a coalition of 321 odd seats. If you were to get the required parliamentary support that could conceivably put you in play as

President, as I understand it, until 2033. Is that what you want?

ERDOGAN: If there are certain items we are lacking in the constitution, then we should get together as the parliament. 322 votes in the parliament

will not be enough, will not be adequate. But I'm hoping will consult with other parties to take the necessary steps without disturbing the people

without disturbing the nation.

ANDERSON: Give it an opportunity. Would you lead this country until 2033?

ERDOGAN: According to the current structure, the President can only be elected twice. The first term is already over. And this is the second one.

With the election of the second term, this process will conclude auspiciously.


ANDERSON: President Erdogan if reelected on Sunday, not expecting to do more than one more term. Who would lead his party going forward just out of


ERIM: Well, I think there are many candidates. There are a lot of very, very talented politicians that a party has a very deep bench. I don't want

to say names. But when we look at his current Cabinet of Ministers, there are many people that can lead going forward. The Foreign Minister is

someone that can lead going forward, the Defense Minister is someone that can lead going forward --

ANDERSON: And their family members, of course who will also very --

ERIM: There are family members who can be going forward, such by -- names been thrown around as someone who has wide appeal. There are people inside

the party organization, not in the government, but inside the party that are also waiting in the wings.

So that's something that will probably be talking more about after maybe the third year towards the last two years as someone who's being prepared

for the Erdogan period. But like parties very talented has a very talented group of politicians. So it's a very deep bench right now. It's hard to say

one person; there are at least 10 suitable candidates, and maybe even more.

ANDERSON: Could be a family affair though?

ERIM: Could quite possibly. I mean, he does have a lot of appeal. He's a man that can get votes from a very wide segment of voters. So he's

definitely probably something that could be considered but it would have to be of course asked to him. Is that something that he wants even? So, again,

I don't want to speculate on something five years down the line. This is Turkey, even tomorrow speculating and predicting is hard enough.


ANDERSON: The election Sunday night is the run off, the first ever presidential runoff here in Turkey. Youssef will be I'm sure, available to

us to provide some analysis on Sunday night. Do join us for that coverage.

And you can read more about my interview with President Erdogan and follow the Turkish elections in our Meanwhile in the Middle East newsletter,

there's a story up now focusing on what Mr. Erdogan is calling his special relationship with Vladimir Putin.

Newsletter drops three times a week; you can access it by scanning that QR code on the bottom of your screen. Right, may surprise visit to a high

profile meeting of Arab leaders. Ukraine's president attends the Arab League Summit coming face to face with at least one of Russia's biggest

allies that is after this.


ANDERSON: The Arab League meeting convened in Saudi Arabia today with two highly watched editions. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is there for the

first time since his country's brutal civil war resulted in an 11 year suspension, Assad voicing hopefully framed as a new era of Arab


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is also making an historic visit to the summit; Mr. Zelenskyy is telling Arab leaders that Russia is weak and

calling on them to help protect Ukrainians. We've got our crack team on coverage for you.

Jomana Karadsheh joins me with the reaction from Syrians to Assad's return in just a moment. First, let's get the latest from Nic Robertson, who is in

eastern Ukraine. Nic, what's the significance of President Zelenskyy's appearance at today's summit in Jeddah?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Is there and invitation of the Saudis the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. So I think it very

clearly tells us that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sees value in meeting with President Zelenskyy. He wants to position himself as a

regional power. He wants to position himself as a global diplomatic force.

He wants to position himself as a leader who might be able to do something to help bring peace between Russia and Ukraine. He has a relationship with

President Putin a personal relationship; their fortunes are bound in a similar way, in part because they both produce large amounts of oil.

But I think for President Zelenskyy what he gets here is a chance to disrupt a message of Putin's message that resonates quite well in the Arab

world that is, that this fight, Putin's fight is won against Western hegemony that it's Russia. That is the victim here that NATO is ganging up

on Russia.

And I think what we heard from President Zelenskyy today speaking in Jeddah where he said look, one third of my country has been taken away by an

invading force. How would you like it if that was you? The children of Ukraine are being taken to Russia.


How would you like it if that was, if there was watching children from your country going to a third country being educated in that other country

against their mother nation. So these were very emotive, appealing lines.

But it is the sort of long term play by Zelenskyy here to look at the bigger piece table going a long way forward, and recognizes that he's going

to need support of a lot of people in that room to get the deal, ultimate piece that he wants for Ukraine, and he mentioned there quite clearly.

And precisely the plight of Muslims in Ukraine, the Tatars who live in Crimea, who many of their leaders are, locked up by the Russians. So he

spoke about that that also would have resonated, perhaps more favorably for Ukraine.

But the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, his foreign minister was in Kyiv a couple of months ago. They've given hundreds of millions of dollars in

humanitarian aid, and they see a future in helping Ukraine out of this war.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is on the ground in eastern Ukraine. Nic, thank you. Jomana is here with me. The Syrian president is back in the fold after

years of killing and brutalizing his own people, what's been the reaction from Syrians?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, Becky, I think everyone realizes seeing Bashar al-Assad today at this meeting, arriving in Jeddah is very

much symbolic. You still don't have like a united Arab position when it comes to Syria and how they deal with Assad and Syria going forward.

But the image seeing a man whose regime is accused of some of the worst atrocities of our time, war crimes, crimes against humanity arriving to

getting the sort of welcome the red carpets and the handshakes.

You can imagine how victims of this regime are watching this in horror, really. Speaking to some Syrian activists, they're describing this as a

painful moment for them, shameful moment for the Arab world, and just terrifying.

ANDERSON: There is a huge --


KARADSHEH (voice over): Assad, are we burn the country felt his supporters, and the country burned. It was a regime's existential battle where no holds

were barred. Hundreds of thousands of lives lost maybe many more, and millions forced into a miserable existence far from home victims of a civil


Their pain was the world's to see atrocity so shocking, yet the world did little. 12 years on, Assad still denies attacking civilians and claims he

was fighting terrorism. Now the ruthless president who unleashed hell on his people with the help of his ally, Russia, is not only a free man. He's

now welcomed in some world capitals with red carpets and handshakes.

WAFA MOSTAFA, SYRIAN ACTIVIST, FATHER MISSING IN SYRIA: Defeat is something that you know, one, at some point must accept. But this is beyond any

conversation about defeat or when this is about, you know, this is about the man who is responsible for the pain and for the suffering that I've

been going through in the past 10 years.

KARADSHEH (voice over): Wafa Mostafa counts the days since she last saw her father, more than 3600 days of searching, waiting campaigning. Ali Mustafa

vanished into the black hole of the regime's prison system, one of more than 130,000 forcibly disappeared by the regime.

MOSTAFA: And living years of your life wandering every night before you go to sleep, if your own father is still alive or not, is something that, you

know, hard to explain and hard to describe, instead of normalizing Assad now after 12 years. They should have you know, hold him accountable for the

war crimes they've committed, for the war crimes that he is most importantly, for the war crimes he is still committing.

KARADSHEH (voice over): Bringing Bashar al-Assad back into the regional fold Arab leaders argues is for stability in the Middle East is for an end

to a refugee burden its neighbors say they no longer can bear. Those who survived his brutal battle for survival now face a new Middle East and new

reality where they fear they may be forced back to the horrors of Assad's regime.

NABIL AL OTHMAN, SYRIAN ACTIVIST, REFUGEE IN TURKEY: It's a monstrous regime in every sense of the word. We heard from many detainees what they

went through. I'm from Idlib, where he used chemical weapons and banned weaponry against us.

KARADSHEH (voice over): 27 year old Nabil Al Othman is a former rebel, now an activist like millions of other Syrians, he found safety in Turkey. But

with anti-immigrant sentiments on the rise and the fate of Syrian refugees now at the heart of the country's political debate, Syrians feel their safe

space is shrinking.

OTHMAN: Even if the whole world normalizes this regime, Syrians will never trust it. For me going back to this monstrous criminal was impossible. If I

return, I'll be sent straight to jail, torture and to my death. If they want to forcibly return me, I'll try to get to Europe.


KARADSHEH (voice over): For more than a decade, they begged the world to end their nightmare. But they were left to face it all alone, and now face

a world where their oppressor, got away with it.

MOSTAFA: They think that instead of welcoming Assad, to Riyadh, I think he should be welcome to the ICC. There is still this hope that that, you know,

my father will be free, I might be able to save him one day. But you know normalization feels like the end of everything. It feels like the end of

this hope. It feels like the end of, you know, what started in 2011. And it was like the end of my life.


KARADSHEH: And Becky, Syrians, we've spoken to say that Arab countries can do whatever they want neighboring countries can do whatever they want. They

want to normalize ties, it's up to them, but don't force us back to Syria. And their only hope right now is the West.

They said that is insisting that they will not normalize with the Assad regime that they will continue to shun Assad as a pariah where you have

individual states in Europe that are doing everything they can to try and hold him and his regime accountable for their crimes.

Of course, Russia has blocked the path to accountability and justice, but you've got European countries where they're using universal jurisdiction to

hold them accountable. But still this day as symbolic as this is, Syrians are telling us this is not just very painful for them to watch. It's very


What kind of message does this send to other countries to other autocratic leaders to those who are committing atrocities against their own people,

not only will you get away with it, but you will be welcomed back in this sort of victory lap that we're seeing today?

ANDERSON: Jomana Karadsheh on the story. Jomana, thank you. Well ahead on CNN more on President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's travels across multiple

continents this weak as he pushes for support ahead of Ukraine's widely anticipated counter offensive against Russia more on that after this.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson live from Istanbul in Turkey for you. Your headlines this hour, a

summit of Central Asian leaders is underway in China. And the Chinese President Xi Jinping was shown welcoming top officials from the region.

Beijing is looking to cement ties in countries seen as being close with Russia. This is G7 leaders hold their own summit in Japan countering China

said to be a big talking point there.


Well the death toll has risen to 14 in Italy's northern region of Emilia Romagna, which is reeling from the country's worst flooding in decades.

Several people remain missing and thousands are displaced. Well, authorities have issued a new red alert the highest level warning for

Saturday as the region braces for more rain.

For Myanmar's ruling military junta has imported at least a billion dollars in weapons and military equipment since the bloody coup of 2021. This

according to a new U.N. report that says much of the equipment and arms has come from individuals and businesses in Russia, China and in Singapore.

Well, after making an urgent appeal to Arab nations earlier today, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will keep his diplomacy tore alive

going to Japan to attend the G7 Summit. He is expected to push for further support ahead of Ukraine's widely anticipated counter offensive against


While the war in Ukraine is at the top of the agenda for what is this three day summit leaders from seven of the world's most powerful democracies.

Earlier today, they made a strong statement of unity in support of Ukraine by imposing fresh sanctions against Russia.

Mr. Zelenskyy is expected to address the group on Sunday. CNN's Marc Stewart is in Hiroshima in Japan. And Marc, we are learning that Joe Biden

has told his G7 allies that the U.S. will support joined F-16 training for the Ukrainians, this is a big deal.

Certainly the Ukrainians have been asking for F-16 or at least fighter jets since the beginning of this war, they haven't got what they want. But they

are sort of edging closer with this, with this training package. What more do we know on the part of the Americans?

MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right Becky, it is a big deal because President Biden in particular has been lukewarm about military support,

specifically air power. So the fact that he is saying, OK, we are going to stand behind this training for aerial assaults, if you will. That's pretty


Now, this will take place on fourth generation aircraft, not the most up to date models available, but that it is something it will likely take place

in Europe, not necessarily the United States. Although we are told that American forces, American air men and women will likely have some kind of

role in this training.

Now, when President Zelenskyy comes to, to Hiroshima this weekend, do not be surprised if he makes yet another pitch again, to get the F-16 military

aircraft. So when we talk about how the G7 is supporting Ukraine, there's obviously this military component. But as you just mentioned, there's also

this economic component in the form of sanctions.

And the sanctions that we saw today, this doubling down very targeted on things such as construction, transportation, manufacturing, business

services, all instrumental in components in funding the Russian war machine and the effort is to quash it. Also find it interesting today that the UK

said that it would block the import of Russian diamonds.

So it's really trying to find out these loopholes to make a broader economic statement, a broader economic show of force against Russian

efforts. And then of course, diplomacy, that can be difficult, but it's something that President Zelenskyy will likely bring up in many ways during

his discussions here at Hiroshima this weekend, Becky.

ANDERSON: Marc is on the ground on the story for you. Thank you. Well, some news just into CNN. Russia has just issued an arrest warrant for the

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan. He was behind the ICCs warrant for Vladimir Putin's arrest on war crimes charges for his war in


A second ICC warrant was also issued for a Russian official sentiment behind the deportation of Ukrainian children. Russia, of course does not

recognize the court's jurisdiction. Well, Iran is being condemned by international watchdogs after it executed three more men linked to recent

protests. Rights groups say they were denied due process and were executed to instill fear in anti-regime protesters.

Well, three were accused of killing three security officers in Isfahan during anti-government protests that rocked Iran last year after a young

woman died in the custody of the countries so called morality police. Well CNN's Nada Bashir joins me now from London with more, Nada?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, Becky, we have seen a pattern of persecution by the Iranian regime against voices critical of the regime and

in particular those individuals who took part in those anti-regime protests that was sparked back in September.


And of course now these three individuals, we've got them now Saleh Mirhashemi, Majid Kazemi and Saeed Yaqoubi, the latest victims of Iran's

violent, deadly crackdown on anti-regime voices. Now, as you said their state media alleges that these three individuals were arrested, detained,

and eventually executed alleged to have attacked and killed three security officers during protests last November.

But these are allegations that have been denied by family members. They have been denied by rights groups and watchdogs as well as observers

throughout the international community. And of course, we have seen executions in the past targeting those who took part in those anti-regime


This brings the total number of executions in relation to these protests in particular, to seven since they were sparked in September. Now there has

been outcry and warnings from rights groups we've heard from Amnesty International. They say that these three individuals will fast track

through the judicial process without due processing.

We've heard from Iran HR another watchdog based in Norway, which has been keeping a tally of these executions. They say that false confessions were

used against these three individuals in an attempt to justify their execution. And there has also been very vocal criticism from the U.S. State

Department. Take a listen.


VEDANT PATEL, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON: The execution of these men after what have been widely regarded as sham trials would be an

affront to human rights and basic dignity in Iran and everywhere.

It is clear from this episode that the Iranian regime has learned nothing from the protests that began with another death, the death of Mahsa Amini

in September of last year. We once again urge Iran's leadership to stop the killing, stop the sham trials and respect people's human rights.


BASHIR: Now, Becky, over the course of the last year, we have seen a real uptick in the use of the death penalty by the Iranian regime in general.

According to write scripts, at least 580 people have been executed or were executed in the last year; many of them after those protests took place and

began in September.

And there is of course, a real concern that the intent here by the regime by the government is an attempt to quell to stifle and suppress any

critical voices in Iran. Becky?

ANDERSON: Nada, thank you. We are back after a very quick break, you're watching "Connect the World" with me live from Istanbul in Turkey. Stay

with us.


ANDERSON: Well, the CEO and Founder of the luxury brand LVMH, Bernard Arnault remains the driving force behind the nearly $500 billion company.

You heard me right, $500 billion Company. But many wonder which of his five kids will take the reins one day. Well, CNN's Melissa Bell takes a look at

the family dynamic and why it bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain hit TV show. Have a look at this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's on the floor Tom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Explain what he's doing, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's losing, terrifyingly -- It's like if Santa Claus was a Hitman.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A magnate and Patriot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love you. But you are not serious people.

BELL (voice over): Preparing his succession as carefully as he built his empire. Not Logan Rory. But the real world's richest man 74 year old

Bernard Arnault worth more than $230 billion having built the world's biggest luxury goods company, all the while very personally raising,

educating and evaluating his five potential successors.

BERNARD ARNAULT, CHAIRMAN & CEO, LOUIS VUITTON MOET HENNESSY: I think my group is controlled by my own family. So instead of looking every day at

the stock market, I look for the next 10 years.

BELL (voice over): All five of Arnault children work for their father. 48 year old Delphine, the Chair of Christian Dior, her brother 45 year old

Antoine, who is CEO of the holding company of Christian Dior and the three children from Arnault's second marriage.

31 year old Alexandre, who's an Executive Vice President of Tiffany's, 28 year old Frederic who runs Tag Heuer and the youngest 24 year old Jean, the

Director of Development and Marketing at Louis Vuitton's watches division.

RAPHAELLE BACQUE, AUTHOR, "SUCCESSIONS: MONEY, BLOOD AND TEARS": He is at once an attentive father, a good father, but also a merciless boss, so the

children had to work hard. He has a fairly clear idea of their qualities and their weaknesses. And when the moment comes, we'll be able to choose.

BELL (voice over): The $500 billion LVMH dominates the world of fashion with some of its biggest names like Christian Dior, and Louis Vuitton. It

was built through ruthless acquisition and like -- diverse with vineyards, hotels, restaurants, and newspapers. But it is in the treatment of their

children, that the fictional and real characters diverge far from fostering discord.

Arnault has ensured short harmony, but with a cold eye on business nonetheless. The stakes are huge, the value of the company but also the

power that it brings. Like Logan Roy, Bernard Arnault has cultivated his relationships with the powerful acquiring a vast media empire and making

LVMH a symbol in France. Its headquarters stormed by protesters only last month. But while Arnault has sought to protect his children, he's also made

it clear what he expects of them.

ANTOINE ARNAULT, CEO, CHRISTIAN DIOR SE: Of course we understand the level of responsibility that is ours. The way we see things is that my father is

super healthy and going to work 10, 15, 20, 25 years. His five children are now working together in different parts of the group, but we're very close.

BELL (voice over): An empire carefully built and ultimately soon up for grabs, but so far without the family drama. Melissa Bell, CNN Paris.


ANDERSON: We are taking a very short break. But stay with us, more after this short break.



ANDERSON: Well, it's the back end of "Connect the World"; I'll see you with Zain Asher. I'll be talking about my exclusive interview with the Turkish

president with her in the next album. Before we close out this show, some final thoughts on what is an unprecedented moment in Turkish history with

the first ever run off presidential election now just nine days away.

My exclusive interview with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; Jomana Karadsheh back with me now Jomana, what happens in Turkey doesn't stay in

Turkey? And that's why this presidential race and this election are so consequential. What struck you most about what you are seeing and hearing

here in Turkey at present?

KARADSHEH: I mean, I think Becky the most interesting thing about all this is going into these elections, President Erdogan seemed at his weakest

seemed that this was the moment the opposition was going to be able to finally unseat Recep Tayyip Erdogan after 20 years in power. And he emerged

from this much stronger, as you probably saw in your interview with him. He's very confident right now; he still has the support of about 50 percent

of the country.

So I think this is a moment for the opposition to really question their strategy question what went wrong? Did they have the wrong candidate? Are

they going to prepare for the next election, because there is an overwhelming desire for change even amongst the supporters of the


ANDERSON: That's right. And they were offering an alternative vision not just economic vision. But vision for Turkey as a democracy which they say

has been eroded under the stewardship of President Erdogan when you see the lack of independence for many of these state institutions here and the and

the media ownership and the coverage which is so skewed towards the president and his AKP party.

You can see where they're at, we expected people to be voting on the economy that the swinging cost of living crisis here on the impact of the

earthquakes, both psychological and physical, and indeed on this erosion of democracy or this creeping authoritarianism as some people call it. But

you're right; the opposition just hasn't cut through.

KARADSHEH: And this was always the question is Kilicdaroglu the right guy? And is this the right time for change? You know, how it is at times of

crisis sometimes people would want to turn to sort of what they know, they want that steady sort of leadership that they have known.


And this is what we heard from a lot of people in the earthquake. So when we went there, Becky, the expectation was people are angry. And that this

potentially would be the earthquake that brings President Erdogan down. But instead in his strongholds when we went there, and we witnessed the fact

that the government didn't waste a moment there, they began rebuilding.

Again, showing people that if there's anyone who's going to be able to help them, get their homes back, it is going to be the man whose legacy is one

of a construction boom in this country. And you saw that it did work, and it did pay off.

The question is now what happens next is President Erdogan going to try and reach out to the rest of the population. Are we going to see more of the


ANDERSON: 40 over 49 percent of the population voted for him last round, 44 percent for the opposition candidate and 87 percent official turnout

number. If nothing else, this is a really well supported democratic process. You know, Turks get out and use their vote. Thank you. That's it

from us in Istanbul. Thank you for joining us. "One World" with Zain Asher is up next.