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Quest Means Business
Lachlan Murdoch Takes Over Fox, News Corp; US Official: White House To Announce New Ukraine Aid; Microsoft Windows 11 To Include Co-Pilot AI Service; Otto Group To Use Boston Dynamics Robots In Warehouses; President And Madam Zelenskyy Arrive At White House; Call To Earth: Uganda; Interview With Hungarian Foreign Minister On Russia's War On Ukraine; Turkish Airlines, Top International Carrier, Still Looking To Grow. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired September 21, 2023 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": An hour left of trading on Wall Street, the markets remain very unhappy after
yesterday's Fed decision.
The Dow is off almost the lowest point of the day, we'll see how much further down it goes over the last hour. The triple stack shows us similar
sorts of unease and unhappiness. And in fact, arguably, if you look bearing in mind, the NASDAQ lost two percent yesterday, another one-and-a-half
percent off today, so clearly, the market is giving pause and pause for thought.
The events that we are looking at in the next hour: Rupert Murdoch steps down from News Corp and Fox. He makes way for his eldest son, Lachlan.
President Zelenskyy is due at the White House very shortly. President Biden is expected to unveil a new aid package to Ukraine. You see the White House
there. We will be with it when it happens.
And Hungary's Foreign Minister tells me the prospect for your peace in Ukraine gets worse every day.
As you can tell, we have a very busy hour ahead. We are live in New York. It's Thursday, September the 21st. I'm Richard Quest and throughout the
hour, of course, I mean business.
Rupert Murdoch announced today he is stepping down, relinquishing the chair of both Fox and News Corp. He is 92 years old, but it is the end of a
seven-decade career when he steps down in November, and the companies hold their annual shareholder meetings.
And it is now clear his eldest son, Lachlan, is to take over both companies inheriting some of the world's most recognized news brands, of course, Fox,
"The Wall Street Journal," and "The New York Post" here in the United States. News Corp owns British newspapers like "The Times" and the tabloid,
"The Sun," and indeed in Australia, of course, the national paper, "The Australian," along with other properties.
and with all those outlets Rupert Murdoch has redefined the media landscape. His papers, magazines, TV networks, have attracted massive
viewers, readers, and controversy.
CNN's Anna Stewart reports.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (voice over): A media legend and self-made billionaire, Rupert Murdoch's career began more than 60 years ago, when his
father died, leaving him control of a local Australian newspaper company.
From that, he built a media empire and reshaped the TV business, especially with the launch of the Fox Broadcast Network and later, the Fox News
RUPERT MURDOCH, EXECUTIVE CHAIR, NEWS CORP: How delighted I am that we've now reached this moment when we can firmly announce the starting of a Fox
News Channel and a much greater effort on the buildup of Fox News in every area.
STEWART (voice over): In the UK, his "Sun" tabloid urged support for Brexit. Years earlier, British politicians admitted openly courting his
DAVID CAMERON, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And I think on all sides of the House, there's a bit of a need for a hand-on-heart, we all did too much
cozying up to Rupert Murdoch.
STEWART (voice over): In the United States, properties like Fox News, "The Wall Street Journal," and "The New York Post" made him a conservative
Initially opposed to Donald Trump's campaign, Murdoch's relationship with the former president warmed up and eventually grew quite close.
MURDOCH: The commander-in-chief and the president of the United States, my friend, Donald J. Trump.
STEWART (voice over): The two men reportedly talked on the phone frequently, giving Murdoch a direct line to the Oval Office.
But Murdoch's rise to the top wasn't without stumbles. In 2011, a phone hacking scandal led him to close the British tabloid "News of the World."
The powerful businessman was called before Parliament.
MURDOCH: This is the most humble day of my life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything I've done in my life, I've done for my children.
STEWART: Much like the TV show, "Succession" he inspired, he very publicly prepared his sons, Lachlan and James, to helm his multibillion
In 2017, he made an industry shaking deal selling most of 21st Century Fox to Disney for $71 billion, a deal Trump praised.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I know that the president spoke with Rupert Murdoch earlier today and congratulated
STEWART (voice over): That close relationship was not without costs though. Fox News paying more than $787 million to settle legal claims from
Dominion Voting Systems over 2020 US election lies.
JUSTIN NELSON, COUNSEL FOR DOMINION VOTING SYSTEMS: The truth matters. Lies have consequences.
STEWART (voice over):With his son Lachlan now running Fox, Murdoch leaves behind a leaner, more focused empire and he is not fully stepping back. He
is transitioning to a role of Chairman Emeritus. He remains in robust health and expects to be engaged daily with the news and ideas.
Anna Stewart, CNN, London.
QUEST: Rupert Murdoch's parting letter shows he is as zealous as ever writing: "Elites have an open contempt for those who are not in their
rarefied class." And he then accused most of the media of being ". in cahoots with the elites" in pursuing political narratives, instead of the
William D. Cohan is the founding partner of Puck who recently wrote the Murdoch family's grip on Fox is unhealthy for US democracy.
William is with me now.
Good to see you, sir.
I mean, there's two sides to this, isn't there? There's the statement of the obvious, the man is in his 90s. He has to go sometime. He has to
retire, and then there is arguably the question of how much behind the throne he will pull the strings of Lachlan.
WILLIAM D. COHAN, FOUNDING PARTNER, PUCK: Well, Richard, first, it's always great to be with you.
I mean, Rupert Murdoch is not Logan, Roy, he is still alive. You said he's in good health. He's 92. So this, of course, was inevitable that at some
point, he would step back from being the chairman of these two companies and let Lachlan have that role, but he is obviously not going away.
He is obviously not going to, you know, hit a beach somewhere. He may get married again, but he is obviously going to continue to be a very powerful
and dominant force behind these assets, which he has built over 60 or 70 years.
So you know, until he dies, I don't think we're going to see the kind of succession battle that we saw in the TV show.
QUEST: Right. And that, of course, is because the trust, the trust -- the family trust, gives four equal shares to the four principal children.
COHAN: Exactly. And until that happens, it's Rupert who controls the voting shares of both companies and basically has absolute control. He's
sort of an absolute monarch over these two companies and you can see that every day in the way these two companies are run.
QUEST: Now, as somebody who has covered the Murdoch empire in some shape or form since the mid-1980s, every single one of his acquisitions, "The
Times" when he had to give various undertakings to the House of Commons, Sky when he had to give things; Fox, even taking US citizenship, so he
could buy US television local stations.
The man has been a tour de force, but he's always sort of had at the heart of it, he says he loves news.
COHAN: Well, he's not only been a tour de force in his acquisitions, Richard, he's also been a tour de force as a fabulous seller. He's a
He sold the 21st Century Fox assets to Disney at a huge price, $71.3 billion after a bidding war where Comcast also came part of it. He sold Sky
to Comcast, again, at a brilliant stroke where he looked like he was going to buy it, and then decided to become a seller.
So you know, he's made a fortune for himself, even at the idea of putting together what became Fox Business News and Fox News, the network from a
string of television stations that were owned by other entrepreneurs was a brilliant stroke when it first happened.
QUEST: So Lachlan, has he got the Murdoch touch? Has he got the genius? He is certainly an extremely competent administrator of the assets, but
does he have the touch?
COHAN: I mean, he hasn't really had a chance to show what he's got. Maybe he will have a chance now, but I'm telling you what his father dies and
it's James and Lachlan and Elizabeth, and the other child lined up, I think we may see a dramatic change in these assets and who owns them and the way
We won't know but that's what a lot of people are beginning to start to think here.
QUEST: And a break up -- a break -- I mean, because of course, James is by no means at one with the others, with Rupert and Lachlan on the
COHAN: Yes. I think we could see an outright sale of Fox and News Corp. I think we could also see an outright, especially at Fox, a change in
direction in the way they cover what they cover and the kind of people they put on the air. Absolutely, and Lachlan won't be able to do anything to
QUEST: William, good to see you, sir. Co-founder of Puck and one of the most powerful new media assets I'd venture to suggest when talking about
the media, essential reading for those of us in the business and others. Thank you, sir. I'm grateful.
We have president -- well, President Zelenskyy is due to arrive at the White House very shortly. We going to take you to a quick break, because
when it happens, I want to be there, so do you and we will be.
QUEST: There is the White House getting ready. President Zelenskyy is expected to arrive there any moment now, 3:15, which is a couple of minutes
The Ukrainian president has spent the day in Washington, on Capitol Hill meeting members of Congress. Following talks with senators, he thanked the
American public for their support.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: The United States, of course, the people of America really supported us from the first days of full scale
war and now, together with us and we spoke about everything about support, about the situation on the battlefield, about our plans. I can't share with
the media all the details, but I think we have very strong dialogue with senators.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The president and members of the Pentagon, and soon, of course, as I said, he'll be at the White House when President Biden plans to announce
a new aid package for Ukraine, all of which is tenuous time for the wider coalition as Ukraine's diplomatic spat with its close ally, Poland
Poland now says it will stop delivering new weapons to Ukraine as it voices anger over Ukrainian grain imports that undercut Polish farmers.
The Polish journalist, Michal Sznajder in Warsaw is with me, from our sister network TVN24. Good to see you, sir, as always, and Jeremy Diamond
is in Washington, and watching over matters there.
And so I want to start, Jeremy, I am just going to come to you first, if I may. Biden putting forward another aid package at a time when the latest
polls show that Americans are pretty evenly split on whether more aid should be given.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly right and President Biden is certainly hoping to get more money from Congress as
He has put in a request for $24 billion of additional funding for Ukraine, which seems like an uphill battle at this moment. You know, when you think
about the last time that Volodymyr Zelenskyy was in Washington, it was nine months ago and it was under very different circumstances. The House was
controlled by Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited Zelenskyy to deliver a primetime address to a joint session of Congress. There was
pretty strong support for Ukraine.
Now, the Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy barely wants to be seen in public with Zelenskyy as members of his Republican caucus are calling into
question the need for additional financial support and military aid to Ukraine. And as those polls show that, in particular, Republican voters
seem wary of providing Ukraine with additional funding.
Now, against that backdrop, President Biden is nonetheless approving $325 million of additional aid using his presidential drawdown authority for
Ukraine. This aid is going to include new air defense capabilities, as well as additional cluster munitions, which the president first approved to
Ukraine earlier this summer.
Despite that though, Zelenskyy is not getting everything that he wants, Richard. He has asked for those ATACMS, those long-range missile systems.
He is not getting those at this moment. But the White House says that they're not entirely off the table for potentially a future date.
QUEST: Now, we are just a few seconds away from him actually arriving there. Michal, I just quickly turn to you and I'll interrupt once we see
the president, if I may.
How is this relationship with Poland gotten so bad, to the point where Poland is now saying we're not sending any more weapons.
MICHAL SZNAJDER, SENIOR ANCHOR, TVN24: Good evening, Richard. Thank you very much for the invitation.
I would say that the most crucial aspect right now is, of course, the grain. We do remember what happened in the middle of 2022 and the beginning
of this year, when there was an influx of Ukrainian grains to Poland, which did in fact hurt the farmer -- the Polish farmers and the Polish
So there is an argument to be to be made, that the government indeed has to protect the livelihood of Polish farmers and the stability of the Polish
agriculture market that did hurt the farmers and what is significant right now, whatever you are hearing from Poland right now, whatever is happening
is political and that is connected to the upcoming election. That election will take place on October 15th, so that's two weeks from now.
And a majority of the Polish farmers, they vote for Law and Justice. Yet in the past months, years, there has been some friction, some dissatisfaction
from the farmers and Law and Justice simply needs to retain those votes and show the farming community we are fighting for you. We are protecting you.
Also the government is --
QUEST: Where do the Poles stand at the moment on the election? If it was held tomorrow, would Law and Justice win?
SZNAJDER: Law and Justice is expected to win this election, but the crucial question is will Law and Justice have an independent majority? Will
Law and Justice be able to govern on its own?
So if the election took place tomorrow, I have the most recent poll in front of me, and there, Law and Justice would receive 31-and-a-half percent
of the votes. And the biggest opposition entity, which is the Civic Coalition would receive some 28 percent of the votes.
So, if you sum up Law and Justice and they are perhaps not natural, but obvious coalition partner, the Konfederacja Party, should such a coalition
even be created, that's another matter, but according to this poll, Law and Justice would be unable to form a government, to form a majority.
QUEST: All right, let's stay with politics on that side, Jeremy Diamond in Washington. You've just been hearing the, rightly, the Polish political
aspects of, but there are also of course elections in the United States in the next year and I guess that as long as the right wing of the Republican
Party continue to push McCarthy, it will be more difficult for a long standing aid package to continually over many months into an election --
through the primary season and then into the general election.
DIAMOND: Yes. I mean, it certainly will be, but the Biden administration is maintaining a pretty strong and perhaps even surprising degree of
optimism that they can maintain support for Ukraine in Congress, and I think that's in part due to the fact that there are some creative ways to
go about getting funding for Ukraine.
First of all, you have to keep in mind that in the Senate, even Republicans, the majority of them remain very strongly supportive of
providing this funding for Ukraine and within the House, even the Republicans, a majority still do support that funding. It's because House
Republicans have such a narrow majority that just the fact that the most right wing of the Republican members of the House, the fact that they
oppose that additional funding makes it tricky.
But if you lump it in with other additional -- other funding sources, other funding packages, there are creative ways to make sure that this funding
still gets done. So I think that there is a likelihood that the support will continue.
But I think the question is, as you talk about politics, and the elections, how does this play out in 2024? Can President Biden and President Zelenskyy
himself as he makes his appeal directly to the American public, can they make the case to Americans that that there are broader implications for
Ukraine? A message that we have heard, of course, from President Biden in the past, but to try and make it real for Americans who are dealing with --
still dealing with high prices, who have a lot of other concerns to make it real for them that this war in Ukraine matters to them as well, especially
when you have someone like Donald Trump and other Republican candidates for president arguing that this is not America's war and that the US shouldn't
QUEST: Okay, I get that, but as Michal has just been saying, I mean, surely, Jeremy, when you've got even the closest ally sort of not -- well,
backing off to some extent, because of a political pressure, actually, no to you, Michal, I'll come to you. Is it likely, Michal, that once the
election is over, Poland sort of ramps back up again, and comes back firmly behind Ukraine?
SZNAJDER: That is possible. Of course, the question is who will win the election because just as -- if it's okay for me to repeat myself, right now
in Poland, everything is political. Everything is connected to the campaign.
For example, a recent survey shows that some two-thirds of the Polish people approve of the way Ukrainians are becoming part of the Polish
society in the labor market, and some seventy, eighty percent still say that Poland needs to help Ukraine.
But there is an increasing number of people who are saying that maybe the help, well, it should not be so generous, maybe it should be connected to
some sort of conditions, some sort of limitations. Simply put, there seems to be a slightly lower level of enthusiasm, but generally speaking, there
is support for backing Ukraine.
On the other hand, I mentioned the polling, the surveys that are being made in Poland and what is extremely interesting, at least in my opinion, is
that between eight and 14 percent of the Polish voters, they are swing voters. We don't know who they will support on October 15th, and this is
also interesting, among that group of undecided voters, the lack of support for Ukraine is higher than in the public that already has made up their
So we must remember that whatever the Polish politicians are saying, they are aware of the fact that this approach towards Ukraine might prove to be
a significant factor in this whole electoral process in the decision making process, or at least way more important than one might think.
QUEST: Michal in Warsaw, Jeremy in Washington, I thank you both. Many thanks for joining us.
And now to what I would describe as Sod's law of television. So we've been -- we're going to take a short break. We've been waiting for some time for
President Zelenskyy to arrive and you'll see the two presidents and we'll show you it when it happens.
The Sod's law of television, it will happen as soon as I say, that's next.
QUEST: Microsoft has just unveiled some new plans and features for Windows 11 and that includes a new generative AI service. It's called Co-
Pilot. It will run across multiple devices grabbing information from your PC and mobile phones.
Microsoft increased its embrace of AI after a $10 billion investment in ChatGPT.
AI's integration is everywhere. Boston Dynamics for instance, the robot maker, now with Otto Group, one of the world's biggest e-commerce
retailers. The two signed a deal, Spot and Stretch, those are the names, will be deployed in dozens of auto facilities over the next two years.
The first time the robots have been deployed on such a large scale. Rob Playter is the CEO of Boston Dynamics.
Rob, it is always good to see you. I will apologize in advance, sir, if I need to interrupt you, because President Zelenskyy is at the White House.
It's the nature of the beast, as I'm sure you understand.
And so robots and AI are now everywhere. Do we fully understand the range?
ROB PLAYTER, CEO, BOSTON DYNAMICS: I think the range is just beginning. Robots with both mobility and intelligence I think could change almost
everything, but we're really still at the beginning, I think of a journey.
QUEST: You see you've got two sides of it. You've got the AI in terms of, if you're just online. But what I love about Boston Dynamics is you
actually turn all that into something physical that actually has to move and do a real job in a warehouse, which is what Otto has done for you.
PLAYTER: Yes, we call that athletic intelligence. So the ability to move around and actually move stuff for a customer like Otto, that's our first
customer that's bought two fleets of different robots, Spot for doing predictive maintenance and Stretch for moving things in the warehouse. And
so we're really excited about that combination.
QUEST: I was listening to an interview with some of the CEOs some month ago, and who basically said AI will be in every part of every bit of
coding, every bit of software and it is just a question of how one does it and does it responsibly.
I mean, isn't it now, the thing wherever anybody is?
PLAYTER: You know, I think AI will enhance our ability to talk to these robots. It will make the robots understand their role (ph) better. But it's
not completely infiltrated yet. There's a lot of stuff we're doing with traditional robotics techniques, where the AI, you know, might influence in
the future. But that remains to be seen.
QUEST: And as for the Massachusetts bill, "an act to ensure the responsible use of advanced robotic technologies," as it rather
portentously says, now you support this?
QUEST: And you support it, even though it might, in some way in the future, hamper you?
PLAYTER: Well, the robot business we think has great potential but only if people trust these robots. And we're sending out products in the world that
have unprecedented mobility. And their ability to come into our places of work and even our homes.
And so, are people going to trust it?
We think there needs to be regulation around the safe use of these robots so that people embrace it and adopt it into their daily lives. Yes, this
might -- you know, there's defense applications; that's not our primary concern right now. We're really interested in growing business and
QUEST: What's the hardest part of getting a robot to do something that a human would do?
And I don't just mean the programming of it; I mean, the actual physical movement to get it as close as possible to human movement?
PLAYTER: You know, dealing with uncertainty is sort of the trick these days. If you have a very controlled environment, robots can handle it. But
we're trying to build robots that can adapt and work in places that already exist.
And humans are great at that; that's what intelligence is about, making a robot so that it can adapt and deal with changing in color or different
sizes of an object or maybe it moves different placement. That stuff is trivial for a human. That's what we're working on for the robot.
And that means the motions aren't the same every single time; they're always adjusting and always adapting.
QUEST: It's fascinating. Sir, I'm grateful to have had you on the program. Thank you very much.
PLAYTER: Thanks for having me back, Richard.
QUEST: I feel like it's not over until the opera singer wails.
We're still waiting for President Zelenskyy. You think you're waiting, imagine if you had to stand there like that, like those guards or those
Marines, waiting for the president. There doesn't even seem to be a sign of his car coming up the porticos at the front.
But we will be there and you'll see it, I promise you. I don't know; apparently, we might be there, coming even sooner than we think. President
Zelenskyy is expected at the White House very shortly.
Why is he there?
He's there to give an update to President Biden, who he has seen several times by the way in recent weeks, whether at G meetings or individual
meetings. But here you now see. So there you have the president and the first lady.
And they're waiting, of course, for President Zelenskyy. The trick for President Biden now is how to put together a package of aid for Ukraine at
a time when there's dwindling -- actually I will not say dwindling support, I will say there's Ukraine fatigue. Let's watch the pictures as clearly
president Zelenskyy is now about to arrive.
QUEST: There you have the two first ladies and President Biden and (INAUDIBLE) meeting. There'll be a short photo, I assume, where we will see
all four of them.
But the goal here is for President Biden to shore up the support because Zelenskyy was on Capitol Hill. And there you will have heard two different
stories. You will have heard the difficulties that leader McCarthy will have getting through further aid.
But in other meetings with like, Chuck Schumer or senator Mitch McConnell, who are strong supporters of Ukraine, he will be telling him, don't worry,
all will be well. We will make sure that you get what you need.
And now, because, of course, although Congress approves, it all starts here at the White House. It starts with the president and how he will put
together a package of support that he knows they can get through Congress.
What will happen over the next few minutes?
Well, they'll go to the White House. They will go to the Oval Office. We're expecting them potentially to see them walk along the colonnade toward the
Oval Office. There there'll be the usual sit-down and maybe some questions. We'll have to wait to hear that because, that is what we call tape turn.
And that won't be shown to us live. So the next pictures we'll see will be the two presidents walking into the Oval Office.
It's a busy day ahead. And we'll hear it all, see it all right here.
QUEST: In Uganda, loss of habitat and urbanization are endangering the country's national bird, the gray crowned crane. One man is on a decades
long mission to reverse that trend.
QUEST: We do appear to be having some problem with that, I apologize for that.
QUEST: I think I can see presidents walking along colonnades. They're moving toward -- there you see President Biden and President Zelenskyy
walking at the White House to the colonnade, heading into the Oval Office.
And thereafter, the next thing we will see will be the spray of them talking. I think there'll be some answering of questions there. Certainly
the press will throw a huge heap of questions at President Biden, about what he thinks he can get through Congress.
And the question of Ukraine fatigue which, we always, to a larger extent knew was going to exist. But we will cover a short break and there'll be
more in a moment.
QUEST: QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, the Hungarian foreign minister says the prospects for peace in Ukraine are getting worse every day. told me his
country respects territorial integrity and it sees the reality of war every day. I asked the minister about signs of diminishing global support for
PETER SZIJJARTO, HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The oldest one including kind of Ukraine fatigue in European parliaments, national parliaments or here in
the United States, this is a proof that the circumstances for peace are not going to improve.
This is a major debate in Europe between us and those who don't think peace should come now, saying that, day by day on the battlefield, the situation
should improve from the perspective of the people.
But this is not the case. Today, circumstances for peace are much better than tomorrow. They were much better yesterday but still they're better
than tomorrow. And day after tomorrow, they will be much worse than tomorrow.
QUEST: But what does peace look like?
Now you and I can go backwards and forward on whether that means the pre- Donetsk line, the pre-Crimea and 2014, what does a peace look like in your view?
SZIJJARTO: All right. I think we should go step-by-step because, first, the goal should be to save the lives of the people. Because, every day this
war goes on, this demands lives of additional people, including Hungarians, unfortunately.
There's a Hungarian community in Ukraine; members of which are being conscripted to the army deployed to the front line and unfortunately like
So we should stop the war first.
SZIJJARTO: Then get Ukrainians and Russians to negotiate a peace deal. Of course, it will not take place without the United States. United States
must be there. United States must be part of a set of guarantees to ensure that the peace is sustainable.
We have --
QUEST: But can Russia be seen to have made any territorial advances or gains?
Because, if that is the case, then, you would agree, Minister, de facto we're saying, that might has won.
SZIJJARTO: That's why I think some principals must be very stable. And this must be the territorial integrity and sovereignty. That must be
respected in case of all countries of the world, territorial integrity and sovereignty must be respected. This must be a baseline. But the war must be
QUEST: That baseline that you talk about, of course, that's the difficult bit.
SZIJJARTO: It is, for sure.
QUEST: Anyone can say there should be peace.
Do you believe -- is it a Hungarian position that Russia should withdraw completely from the eastern part of Ukraine and Crimea?
SZIJJARTO: Our position is, once again, that not only regarding Ukraine but regarding all the countries of the world, that territorial integrity
and sovereignty must be respected.
So because if you don't respect that, then you encourage other countries - -
QUEST: But your refusal to define the territory is what makes other people say that they're wishy washy; they don't really believe it. They believe
that Putin can keep Crimea.
They believe they can keep Donetsk.
SZIJJARTO: But we've never, never recognized, never recognized occupation of any territory of Ukraine. Europe never did so, we never did so. So we
should not open questions which have never been opened, you know.
QUEST: How serious is this breach, do you think?
I mean, you've got the U.S. president saying, we must battle on, that Ukraine must, you know, we must continue to support Ukraine. And yet we've
got a winter coming up, where somewhere like Hungary, you will be once again be faced with an energy crisis.
SZIJJARTO: Hopefully not.
QUEST: But the potential is there.
SZIJJARTO: Look, the delivery line for gas is not coming through Ukraine anymore to Hungary, because we're delivering gas through Turkiye, Bulgaria
and Serbia. It gives us the security of the supply of gas.
When it comes to oil, the supplies come through Ukraine. Now Ukraine increased transit fee around five times, which is not fair. But for us,
what is most important is the security of supply is there.
Now I can say we've done our best in order to make our energy supply safe. Our gas storages are almost full. They ensure, for the upcoming months,
even without delivery, which we hope will not happen, we're safe.
QUEST: There will be those saying that President Putin in Moscow is just watching with glee as the Western allies start fighting each other
metaphorically, start arguing about money.
Can McCarthy get another aid package through when his own party doesn't want it?
You've got Poland now sort of saying, whoa, you've got yourself. And the only person who's looking and laughing is Putin.
SZIJJARTO: I don't think we should frustrate ourselves, looking at each other through the viewpoint of others. We should look at ourselves from the
viewpoint of our national interest. I do believe it's not only the natural interest of Hungary, it's all the other European countries; this war need
to be stopped because this war takes place in Europe.
European people are dying, European infrastructure is being destructed (sic). So it maybe different from the other side of the ocean, a couple
thousands of kilometers away.
From here it's geopolitics but, from there, this is the daily reality. We see the torn apart families, we have received more than a million refugees,
we have more than 5,000 Ukrainian kids enrolled in schools and kindergartens of Hungary, who don't have their fathers with them because
they stayed in Ukraine; hopefully, still alive.
So for us, the war is a daily reality, a daily suffering. All European people are paying the price for it. So for us, it's not geopolitics. First,
we have to make step by step. First, stop it and think how to move forward.
QUEST: Is President Zelenskyy a bad diplomat?
A poor -- I mean, he got everybody together initially. But now he's managing to piss off some of the very countries that he needs to keep on
SZIJJARTO: Look, let's leave it to the Ukrainians to decide whether he's a good or bad diplomat. That's fighting for his own country. Who would do
anything different? So he's fighting for his own country.
SZIJJARTO: We have to understand him, whether he's a good or bad diplomat or making good or bad news. Look, if he gave back the rights to the
Hungarian minority in Ukraine, the rights which have been taken away from them since 2015, step-by-step, that would ease our relationship to him as
well or to Ukraine. I don't know why he's not doing it.
But there must be --
QUEST: Well, we can't be adding more things to the table. I understand the position of Hungary vis-a-vis the population but that's exactly the sort of
issue that ends up fighting.
SZIJJARTO: What do you mean?
QUEST: Well, minority populations in other countries have been the traditional touchstone, even indeed in this war in Ukraine, for others to
say, we're coming to protect our own people.
SZIJJARTO: Look, we protect them with legal means. And I think all countries would and should and do that. There are 150,000 Hungarians there.
The diminishing of their rights did not start with President Zelenskyy, it started back in 2015.
And I can not tell you the number of meetings that I had with the actual foreign ministers of Ukraine asking them not to do it. We could be friends,
we could be allies but the fact that they've taken away all the rights of the Hungarian minority, when it comes to access to mother tongue,
education, media, culture, whatever.
That makes conflicts between the two of us.
Now the next question comes, whether we agree with the accession talks to the European Union to be started with Ukraine. And if they don't give back
the rights to the Hungarians, we will be a very complicated situation. Knowing minority rights of the national minorities, respect of it is a very
important European issue.
QUEST: The Hungarian foreign minister talking to me earlier.
Turkish Airlines flies to 120 countries from Istanbul. And now it's looking to expand its reach, specifically into the United States. But it's doing so
with one aim, not just to connect people across the Istanbul hub but to take people into Turkiye.
I asked the chairman how important the expansion in the U.S. is to the carrier's mission to bring more people to Turkiye.
AHMET BOLAT, CHAIRMAN, TURKISH AIRLINES: It was one of the most significant part of the world in our network, the U.S. And also, whole
America continent is very important for us. And of course, Asia.
And we are flying here 12 destinations and 139 frequencies per week right now. And we're flying to five times to New York City, four to JFK and one
to Newark. And the aircrafts are full. And we are planning to put additional one, maybe next summer.
QUEST: Do you have the aircraft?
Because, everybody -- everybody wants aircraft, aircraft are delayed, engines are delayed.
How badly is delayed aircraft hitting your expansion?
BOLAT: If everybody has the same constraints, then it's easier to find solutions. Here, the issue is how to utilize the available aircraft in the
most profitable way. That's really the issue.
And this year my management team showed that they can handle this problem. And next year, of course, this GTF engine problem will continue but we
believe they will solve this in the next two or three years.
QUEST: When do you expect to do the next big order?
BOLAT: In fact, we are discussing with the manufacturers right now; they're not after the airlines. So our airlines are after the
manufacturers. And I don't like that scenario. When the manufacturers are after the airlines, that's the scenario we like most.
QUEST: You have a different philosophy for the role of the airline than other CEOs of national carriers. I think I can best sum it up by saying you
see your principal goal to bring people to Turkiye?
QUEST: Is that correct?
BOLAT: It took nearly 20 years to build this airline. And one of the main factors for success was network. We have the largest international network
right now. So our principal goal was, until now, to connect people. So anybody coming to Istanbul airport, by the way.
BOLAT: Now it's ranking number eight in terms of the crowdedness and size and capacity, right now. And next year, probably it will be fifth or
So connect anybody coming to Istanbul airport, we can connect him to his next destination on average less than 2.5 hours. We have a huge network
with several frequencies per day. So we have the best connecting position as Turkiye.
QUEST: But that's not your goal.
BOLAT: That was our goal. We will continue.
But if you look at it, how many more cities, how many more destinations can we add?
It will be limited. Maybe in 10 years, it will be around 50. Now the more important thing is, you see now we question, in last two years, what is the
role of Turkish airline in Turkish economy?
This year, Turkish Airlines' contribution to Turkish economy will be $56 billion. In 10 years, with the 7 percent growth, Turkish Airlines'
contribution to Turkish economy will be around $150 billion, three times more.
How will we achieve that?
You see we're growing two times but the contribution is growing three times. Our focus from now on will be people who come to Turkiye to visit.
These are the people who are ready to pay more for our tickets. And these are the people who'll spend more in Turkiye.
QUEST: Now you got something there, that really puts it into perspective, right?
QUEST: What is it?
BOLAT: This is actually, in fact, if you look at it 12 years ago, "National Geographic" made a story out of it. These is called Stone Hills.
These are the temples built 12,000 years before today, 12,000, which is 7,000 years before pyramids were built, 12,000.
This is the beginning of the human civilization, Richard. These guys, you know, our ancestors, 12,000 years ago, suddenly, they became architects.
They built temples. This is weighing 16 tons. This is like one hour from Istanbul. It took 25 years to unearth (ph) this and it will take another
100 years to complete full project.
QUEST: On my next visit, can I come and have a look?
BOLAT: Please. Please.
QUEST: I feel a visit.
We will have a profitable moment after the break.
QUEST: In the 1980s, I was a trainee and I doorstepped Rupert Murdoch, who was doing an interview at the BBC.
I said, "Please, Mr. Murdoch, can I have an interview for our training program?
And he looked at me and he laughed. Meanwhile, my bosses were horrified.
And he looked at me and he said, "The number of journalists I employ, if I can't do an interview for a training program, then what worth am I?"
And he did the interview. Never forgot it. He's not the sort of person you interviewed very often. When you did you remembered it afterwards. That's
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight.