On GPS this Sunday at 10a.m. ET/PT, we've got a blockbuster U.N. General Assembly show for you with must-see conversations with three key global players. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the most transformational Turkish leader since Kemal Ataturk, and he’s fast becoming the region’s great powerbroker, straddling East & West. Also on the show, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso tells us how he plans to fix the euro. And, finally, a look at how the Kremlin sees the world with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Erdogan on Israel
Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Here's what's being said - and this is upsetting to hear. They say that Palestine is bombing and disturbing the people of Israel and many Israelis have been killed. I'm very clear in my remarks; I would like to see accurate statistics of how many Israelis have been killed by the bombs thrown by Palestinians or with the rockets that were launched by them. 10, 20, 100, 200? How many? Please document it. Let us know.
But on the other hand, we know that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were killed. Only as a result of the Gaza attack, thousands of people were killed. These are very clear remarks.
The Israeli people are only resorting back to the issue of genocide in history. And using that genocide, they are always acting as if they are the victims all the time. We said, for that, go ask Germany to pay its dues and they have. So Germany has paid and is still paying its dues to Israel.
But neither Turkey nor the Muslims in the region have such a problem. They have never exerted such cruelty on Israel. But Israel is very cruel in that regard. It shows no mercy.
Erdogan on shifting alliances
Fareed Zakaria: The question, though, that many people have is, are you taking Turkey down a different path than it's been on since the time of Ataturk? Are you taking it on a foreign policy that will be not pro-Western anymore, that does not see its historical destiny with the West, that is more Islamic, that is more populist? When you go to Cairo now, you have become a rock star. There are big photographs and posters of you because of your embrace of the Palestinian position. Is this a new populist Islamist Turkish foreign policy?
Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Mr. Zakaria, I'm not a rock star, I'm a politician. But I can say very clearly that, look, everything that the Western world does is not necessarily right. We work on adopting the science of the West. We work on adopting whatever has been developed and whatever is beautiful in the West. But let's not forget, there are really beautiful things in the East, as well. Do not leave the Eastern parts of the world aside.
We are always running after science, after intellect. We seek out knowledge from whichever part of the world that is most advanced. Then we extract and adopt it.
Erdogan on President Obama
Fareed Zakaria: You've had a lot of dealings with President Obama. How does he strike you as a leader on the world stage?
Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Personally, Barack Obama is someone I really like. And vis-a-vis his policies and his implementations, I want him to be much more successful. When he assumed the office, there was a huge economic difficulty on his shoulders. Had he surmounted those economic difficulties, he would have been much more relieved today.
And at that point, in the general elections that are going to be held in about 400 days, I wish him the best of luck, because I've had the chance to get to know him better, one way or the other. Whether it be our mutual and bilateral talks, whether it be our talks on the phone many times, we're very frequent, actually, even more frequent than we've ever been before.
From a strategic partnership to a model partnership, Turkey and the United States have taken relations to a much higher level. I don't know who the Republican candidates will be, but, of course, we shall always respect the choices of the American people, because the relations between America and Turkey, whether the Democrats or the Republicans have been in office, have always been very positive.