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Israel-Gaza Conflict; Turkish Presidential Election

Aired July 23, 2014 - 11:47   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Welcome back. Tonight, CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, is live for you from just outside the airport in Ankara

in Turkey, a country that has in the past played a very big role in bridging international divides.

I want to tackle the story of Israel and Gaza, an increasingly depressing picture on the ground, and one that I came here to Ankara today

to discuss with the prime minister here. Just to give you a sort of reset on this, Turkey and Qatar have been brokering -- or certainly trying to

broker some sort of cease-fire initiative in talking to the Hamas side of the Israel-Hamas divide. Clearly, Egypt and others have been working on

the Israeli-Hamas side --


ANDERSON: -- ground in Gaza, and alluding to their operation there. And in reference to the Egyptian president -- and again, this was

reiterating a statement that he had made earlier on -- he suggests that the president is a tyrant, certainly in alluding to the way that he is

mediating efforts on this conflict.

A very wide-ranging interview, and that will run in our show in full tomorrow. So, do stand by for that.

As I said, the presidency is forthcoming. This will be the first time that the Turkish have elected a president here. In the past, it's been a

largely ceremonial role. And Erdogan, of course, one of the contenders.

The office is currently limited to two five-year terms. The president's responsibilities include calling meetings of the Turkish Grand

National Assembly, appointing the prime minister, ratifying treaties, and appointing members of the constitutional court.

Mr. Erdogan has been interested in strengthening the power base of the president. A quick look for you at the electoral process before we move

on. This is the first time, as I say, voters get a directly-elected president. Voters choose between three candidates in the first round of

polling, which is August the 10th. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent, as in many other parts of the world, a run-off is to be held on

August the 24th.

On Tuesday, we spoke to Selahattin Demirtas, who is one of the other candidates. And today joining me is Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who is the other

candidate, the other contender, the former secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Countries.

And sir, we thank you for joining us. And before we talk about your vision for the president here, and Turkey's future going forward, you'll

have heard my conversation -- part of my conversation with the Turkish prime minister. I want you just to assess to your mind the situation on

the ground in Gaza today.

EKMELEDDIN IHSANOGLU, TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think the situation in Gaza today, yesterday, and always has been a tragedy, and

we -- what we need to do now is to cease fire and to start a truce.

I think the Security Council has to work hard on ensuring cease-fire and to help these people who are being shelled and using unproportionate

(sic) power against them. There's a humanitarian tragedy in Gaza, and we should help these people. We should stop war. We should cease fire.

And members of the Security Council -- OIC has members, non-permanent members in the Security Council. I think non-permanent and permanent

members of the Security Council should cooperate to cease fire.


IHSANOGLU: Then we also need to help to send humanitarian aid. But don't forget that the main process should start -- the peace process should

be re-initiated, should be helped, and we have to find a solution for this problem. If we don't solve this problem, we have seen this --

ANDERSON: All right, sir.

IHSANOGLU: -- same scenario in 2008 and 09. We need not to repeat this again.

ANDERSON: Can I ask you whether you stand by -- sorry, sir, with respect. Can I ask you whether you stand by the prime minister, here,

efforts alongside Qatar to create some sort of dialogue with Hamas and try and broker a cease-fire which would satisfy both Hamas and, perhaps, the

people of Gaza on one side, with the Israelis on the other?

IHSANOGLU: Well, I think there's a need for negotiation, there is a need for intermediate role between Hamas and -- I remember in 2000 -- in

December 2006, I was the first one to ensure cease-fire between fighting Hamas and Fattah, on the 19th of December, 2006. They really need to

negotiate, they need the help to mediate between different parts. I think this mediation will help. Peace should be encouraged.

ANDERSON: Right. What role, if you were to be elected president, here -- what role do you want Turkey to play on the international stage?

IHSANOGLU: I think first of all, we should come back to the old principle of our foreign policy, not to interfere in internal matters of

others. We should have a constructive dialogue with our neighbors, with our allies, with our friends all over the world, and we should initiate

projects of cooperation for security and for peace and security in the Middle East.

We should really help the Middle East to overcome its hurdles, and the internal fight that we see now in Syria and in Iraq, and also --



IHSANOGLU: -- we need to help the peace process and Palestine.

ANDERSON: Let me ask you this.


IHSANOGLU: As for our foreign policy, we have --

ANDERSON: And I asked the others, the third candidate yesterday, Selahattin Demirtas --

IHSANOGLU: -- to have a dynamic --

ANDERSON: Sorry, sir. Let me -- let me -- I think our communications aren't great.

IHSANOGLU: -- for Turkish union.

ANDERSON: Let me put this question to you, and I appreciate your thoughts. I asked Selahattin Demirtas yesterday whether if he were not to

win in the first round, and indeed, if he were to come third, whether he would throw his weight behind Mr. Erdogan, for example, in a second round

of voting. He said absolutely not. He was categorical about that.

If, sir, you were to come third in this presidential vote, would you ask your supporters to throw their weight behind either of the other two


IHSANOGLU: Well, I think our expectation is to win the race in the first round, so everything is according that. We are not calculating for a

run-off. I think it's very clear we are getting greater support from all over the places. People are looking for a new voice, for a new policy

guidelines. They don't want fight, polarization of society.

The don't want -- not only want a peace in the area, we want a peace at home, and we do not want tension in the society. We need to high -- to

build up high --

ANDERSON: All right. With --

IHSANOGLU: -- standards of democracy, parliamentarian democracy and human rights, and supremacy of law. This is what we're looking for, and I

think people in Turkey are supporting us.

ANDERSON: And with that, we're going to have to thank you very much, indeed, sir.


IHSANOGLU: So we are going to win.

ANDERSON: We are at the top of the hour, we must take a break. Thank you, sir, for joining us. And that is CONNECT THE WORLD, a shortened

version tonight, from here in Turkey.