tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN September 15, 2015 11:00am-1:01pm EDT
for turkey and the region. you cannot have this situation where you have turkey fighting the kurds. and not just the pkk. if you have been following what's been happening inside turkey it's not just the pkk or the youth wing who are being targeted but ordinary civilians as well. this will have repercussions, is having repercussions among kurds across the region. what needs to be done is somehow for the americans to use this leverage, as i said, to get the sides back at the table. because if you don't, i think the cooperation, the alliance between the united states and the ypg will not be sustainable either. you cannot have a situation where the americans are seen to be approving turkey's actions and continuing this alliance.
because at the end of the day, the pkk itself will start saying, you know, okay, if you want to go and get rod car and you need the ypg support, they are going to say if you continue to back turkey and its actions against us as well, we're not really sure we can do that. so i think there is a great tupbd here for the united states. i think it has leverage over turkey too. if it didn't, turkey, for instance, would not have opened the corridor to koe ban ya or end lock. and it prevail in ankara as well. that's a a hard assumption to make these days, unfortunately. and what happens after the elections will be key. indeed, whether we will have elections at all. if we do have elections and they are held free and fairly, the
question becomes what kind of government will we have? clearly a coalition between the ak and the mhp will be very, very unhelpful. so we'll have to hope, first of all, we do have these elections, they will be fair and free, that the hdp will be able to participate, the people in the southeast can go to the ballot box. what comes out of it will hopefully be a coalition. the ak will continue to be the top party. and it will somehow make a deal. they will cut losses and make a deal with the chp or maybe even the htp, though that's harder to imagine. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. we saw 1991, 2012. i'm going to talk about the elections and the current crisis. in fact, actually build on both
what was talked about. clearly things people to be spinning out of control as you look at the events in recent time. it is not just the violence we have seen between the pkk and the government. we have seen quite significant pkk attacks that have create said casualties among security forces. but the government is now responding, especially a government that is technically an hrubgz government. it is is not a party government. it is supposed to be somehow independent. you have seen this government is taking various strict actions. we saw the stuff that's going on in gisa. they have been under curfew.
they lifted it. then rein stated it. today the announcement that a whole great number of television stations that broadcast kurdish. one of the great aspects of the forms introduced after the peace process started that people could actually have television and radio stations and publish and broadcasting kurdish. you have newspapers being blocked. you can't read online anymore because they have been blocked without any kind of order by judge or by court. so you have essentially an escalating situation in turkey that is becoming more and more between -- i wouldn't say
between turks and kurds, though it is significantly between turbgs and kurds. but between the government and the president and a significant segment of the population. that's what it boils down to. i would say that at the root of this is essentially the failed election results of june 7th. for the first time since 2002 it lost its majority. i believe for two reasons. one is is because it was very clear that the president wanted to transform the turkish political system from a constitution system to maybe a french system. there was a great deal of resistance. this was not a kurdish/turkish issue. but it became a way for people to express their opposition to mr. add juan.
to make sure the occurredish body would cross the 10 threshold. two things we saw happening in these elections. one is is that a significant number of people called white turks, liberal turks who live in istanbul. those who wanted to make sure add juan doesn't get his majority for the kurdish party. the other reason is most of the conservative kurds who traditionally always voted for the akp, this time defected. and i think they have seemed to have defected for good. when you look at the kurdish historically, most of the kurds have always -- the declining percentage i would say voted for akp or predecessors, if you think about the other islamist parties that existed in the 1990s. but there was a break.
this 2015 elections was a case where we saw these conservative kurds change side. what's interesting of course is is these kurds are very closely aligned with mr. pwaou zani in the krg. despite his efforts to get the kurds to vote for add juan, they didn't. why didn't they do? i would say there's a one word answer for that and that is kobani. in kobani, when the turkish government made it clear they would love to see kobani fall to the hands of i.s. and be saved, that was a break for the kurds and turkey and add juan. in a way i think that is the breaking point when it comes to kurds and add juan. look, every reason why the kurds should be thankful to add juan. add juan has done more in pushing the ideas that kurds and
turks can live in one country, and a peace process. even if he did not mean to, if his heart was not in it as i think people now think is the case, the fact of the matter is the major threshold was crossed. that threshold was talking to the pkk, talking to the enemy. in that sense it's an important threshold. conservative kurds would have voted for mr. add juan and his party. he came on television with great glee made it clear he wanted koe ban cancer to fall. and the fact that the united states had shifted sides and helped the syrian kurds gave the kurds a great deal of
self-confidence. but once election results became obvious and mr. add juan, technically he's a constitutional president. he is not supposed to take part in elections, he did it. he basically took the turkish constitution and participated. which is all the more reason why this election result was devastating to him. because despite his personal involvement, he was campaigning for the akp saying he wanted 400 seats. he still lost. so this defeat is more his defeat than the akp defeat. people can say it was overshadowed by mr. add juan. so almost immediately he started to maneuver in which there would be another election. if you can't win this time,
maybe he hoped he would win a second time. he maneuvered the process in a way a that that is exactly what happened, that turned out. there will be a new election november 1st. in between we have now suddenly an increase in the violence between the state and the pkk. now that to me is quite puzzling in the sense that look from a pkk perspective there was absolutely no reason to escalate the process. here you have hdp into parliament. it has 80 seats in parliament. it has as many as the nationalist party that came in third. the nationalist lost to one member of parliament because they kicked him out. so hdp has more seats than the parliament. technically you would think any peace process, and if it's going
to have real legs to it, needs to be -- handle through parliament, through democrat lickly members of par la. . so why start the violence. the only thing one can assume is there is a way in which mr. add want has in mind, that's the hdb. this is a hypothesis. i haven't asked the pkk leadership and called them up on the phone and said is that what you're trying to do? but the point i'm trying to make is that given the logical situation in a way there are two culprits here. both add juan and pkk essentially benefit from this violence in the sense that if it undermines the hdp, and it is is between a rock and a hard place as they say in the states, it is
room to maneuver has been severely diminished by events, by -- now, by the way, doesn't necessarily mean the hdp has lost support. all polls indicate, to the extent that turkish polls are accurate. and i think they are this time. the same organizations predicted the previous election results, essentially predicting the same ruts, there will be changes in the election results. therefore it is quite possible that come november 1st, that the same result will emerge from the elections. that's one hypothesis. now, if the violence increases, if we saw yesterday, if this kind of violence calls for martial law, curfews,
essentially the breakdown of law and order in the southeast where hdp wins with overwhelming majority. the town of jess you, the town was just moved by the minister of the interior. she won her seat by 83% vote. this is not significant reservoirs of support. and i would suspect given the way the state has been behaving, a number of votes are going to increase. so the only way you can push hdp is make it impossible. if he loses another, a clean november 1st election, it will be two major defeats for him.
he can create a coalition. and we mentioned hdp is is one possibility. possibly the best way for him to both maintain control and go after the pkk. but if it goes -- if hdp is kept below the 10% threshold, then we have an arguments that you have in urban areas organize ld but not centralized occurredish youth groups that are going to take matters. that is a tkafrpbgous proposition for add juan. turkey is going to be amazingly unstable for turnish stability,
investment, tourism. you name it. add juan is a real gamble. for someone who doesn't believe in gambling, he is taking a huge gamble here and i don't understand why. as i said, the pkk is also the unknown and unclear actor here. this couldn't have come at a worse time, as angela merkel said, for the united states. clearly the pressure on the united states is increasing from the turkish side. this week was a major nato conference in which the turkish chief of staff came outdkne÷ sty and said we are fighting three terrorist organizations at the same time. isis, the pkk, and the ypg. it is the same organization that the united states is giving arms to. the ypg's air force, gun forces.
we are working with with the only group in syria we can work with to push back isis. this is actually becoming -- is going to get more severe and create serious dilemmas for the united states. let me stop here. >> great. thank you so much. i'm going to open this up for questions quite briefly. but first let me pose a question of my own. we're in washington, d.c. speaking to an american audience. the united states has dealt with less than democratic kurdish governments. it dealt with turkey dealing with the occurredish question. these aren't new problems. why does it matter for u.s. sps to resolve this upheaval in
turkey right now? >> the united states has been a steadfast ally when it comes to pkk of turkey. we have never veered from calling the pkk a terrorist organization. always supported the turks in their fight against the pkk. what is different this time is essentially isis. here we have different perceptions of isis if you want. for the united states, isis is the most important threat. it is more important than assad, as we know. it is more important than anything else. isis has to be pushed back, defeated, eliminated. and for that, that's number one priority. for the turkish government, the priorities are much more different. it is priority number three. priority number one are the kurds and assad. and i'm not sure which one comes first.
one can make an argument for which is more important. i suspect the kurds are for more important. they do not want to see the syrian kurds. it's something. there's another aspect which we haven't talked about yet. that's the relationship between the united states, turkey, and the kurdistan region in iraq. and in there you find that turkey and the krg are much more in line with each other. the turks support the krg, baghdad, oil exports. even despite america's displeasure. but the krg is also important to the united states. so the destabilization of the region is not good for the united states. moreover, fighting isis requires the kurds and the pkk are part of the pkk. complete attention. complete focus.
and this is undermining that. >> >> interesting. do you want to weigh in? >> i think that -- okay, the pkk is labeled a terrorist organization. but that doesn't alter the fact that it is is probably the most influential kurdish movement globally. so you have to deal with that. not only are they influential in turkey, they are influential in iran. they are influential obviously in syria. and they do have influence in iraqi kurdistan. which mr. owe banny is acutely aware of. it's a difficult balancing act. on the one hand to maintain the strategic relationship with turkey, which is key to his agenda, which is independence, and underpinned obviously by being able to sell his oil. and you can't do that without turkey's help.
but on the other hand, the fact that ordinary kurds are feeling angry about what turkey is doing to the pkk, the kurds and what isis is doing on the other. and the fact that the pkk seems to be the most effective fighting force against isis. so bearing all of that in mind, i think it's time to deal with the pkk. and i think, as i said in my little talk, that this is a great opportunity. and i think the fact of the pkk now having this experience of running an area inside syria is having a profound effect on them. it's civilianizing them, if you will. they're having to actually were run towns and deal with the issues of ordinary people. you might argue they already have that experience in turkey whether hdp is running municipalities. that is different people doing
it. it's the p can kk itself directly who is. so this is an opportunity. this will provide incentives for them to move a away from violent politics. but for that to happen, you need to have some kind of accommodation between them and turkey. and i think this could be a win-win. you could also factor in the iraqi kurds. because they need to find a way of cohabiting with them as well. and this is getting rather difficult. and this is where the americans, who have this leverage, because they are the primary protectors at this point to be able to somehow bring all of these sides together. i know it's a lot to ask for. but at least one should try. >> i have an international realistic perspective on the question question. when we think of political
ambitions, we look at eastern europe. the role of ukraine in air defense. take that consciousness and move it south, and you have another russian gee political in the middle east which it sees as kind of an underbelly in terms of the western expansionism. so essentially russian perception of its defense of its own territory also has a middle eastern dimension. the access is a national security issue for russia. now, in that context, russia's iran and turkey policies are quite similar to each other.
russia wants iran and turkey, not chaotic in the accepts that they are falling apart but not strong that they become impediments to russia is's reassertion of its own strategic interlap. russia, and to a certain substance, iran, have controlled the eastern region. when you, for example, retired not active because they won't tell you. retired military people, senior people, especially those who were in the field in the 1990s, they would plain about iran and how they interacted in the 1990s. the same is true for russia. so in that case pkk and the kurdish question, if it's unresolved, it destabilizes
turkey. a destabilized turkey is not good as a u.s. ally in terms of what the united states is going to do. that's why the united states has an interest in stabilizing turkey in that regard. >> great. thank you so much. so is i'm going to open this up to questions. i would ask that you identify yourself and any organization you're affiliated with. and i will insist there are questions involved. >> can you explain why some are i'm a turbg and they have
disappeared from turkey and all of them have been like, you know, taken away in favor of the democrat. thank you. >> i'm not sure i completely agree with your premise that they have somehow been removed. i mean, just recently laila zhanna came out and said she was willing to go on a hunger strike if need be for this violence to end. i'm not sure i completely understand your question. he's a talented politician. anyone familiar with the workings of the movement broadly speaking knows that in fact, individuals don't matter so much in the end. and this is a collective movement. and on the one hand, you have the people in europe, the hdp,
important in terms of raising money, organizing and public relations. and you have abdallah urge hand. the most puzzling question today is why he has been silenced. >> yes, sir? >> washington correspondent. i have two questions. either of you can answer. it's a two-fold question. the first one, as you all know, a lot of turkish and western experts before the elections, they encouraged people to vote for hdp believing that that will produce a more democratic turkey. i want to know what went wrong. why didn't you see a more democratic turkey. they fail to become more democratic. there's morin stability.
my second question, in the possibility of snap elections, why am i wrong to be that the turkish voters have only two bad choices. either vote for add juan, make him an absolute leader or vote the same way they did and produce the outcome we have. thank you. >> in response to your first question, why we had the unstable situation, it's clear. june 7th was a wonderful day of all of us in turkey. we have the kurdish party overcoming this terribly undemocratic, unfair threshold. yes, principlely with the votes of kurds but also like my mom, a hard-core sec lift lady who
voted for the hdp. i expected her to say because i hate erdogan so much. we must make sure he doesn't get his majority. this lady whose name i won't reveal. she's be upset. was saying, no, we can't keep the kurds out. we can't keep the kurds out of parliament. this is bad for our country. people understood two years after no conflict, peace is a great thing. mothers weren't having to find people in the army to make sure their sons wouldn't be placed in the southeast where they might die. people for the first time were tasting the fruits of peace. and they wanted that to move forward. it was a great opportunity. and if this government was sincere about solving the kurdish problem, they would have embraced this. because there was obviously now the public consensus is for moving forward.
this was an endorsement of the peace process. no. mr. erred juan said democracy working was a bad thing for democracy. now, i would -- i'm not sure i understand that beyond what we have all comes do realize that mr. erdogan wants absolute power and he was denied it. perhaps you want to answer the second question, ari? >> let me pick up -- look. people did not encourage people to vote hdp. outsiders have very little influence on how people vote in turkey. look, it was a very interesting election campaign. it was one of the more something election campaigns i have seen in turkey. even though the majority of the press was quite hostile to hdp.
because erdogan controls a significant amount of the press in turkey. but the answer is, i think, what you said, erdogan becomes more about him becoming president with all the powers of a presidential system. and everything else comes second. look, erdogan to a large extent is almost nickel cool right now. he's a great politician. never understatement him. however, i'm not sure people are capable of telling him what's going on in the country anymore. only wants to listen to people who agree with him. you can see by the way he maneuvered again they are mostly his choices.
they are all people related to him, people loyal to him, people who will essentially do exactly what he wants them to do. so you have essentially a system which has been created around him that essentially is a vacuum chamber. he only hears his own voice. it is is quite problematic. either you get the same results or you're going to get careless. i'm sorry. you're going to get the same results which will lead to chaos or you get erdogan, both of which are bad for turkey. who decides whether turkey goes through elections. it is not outsiders. it is the turkish government and turn iraq government. >> but it need not be chaos if you have a parliament. you have a coalition government, as in many democratic countries.
>> i agree. >> it is mr. erdogan's perception that it is chaos. >> right. look, erdogan does not want to see a chp/hdb coalition. he is afraid all the corruption charges will come up and be investigated. that's not good for him or his family. >> back there. >> i'm wondering why erdogan is so silent. given the next victories by iran coming and he will be allowed to access his family with it. do we expect erdogan to speak? and if so, what would he say? thank you.
>> he can decipher what he wants to say by reading between the lines instead of reading the actual text. i'm not one of them. so is take what i'm saying with a pinch of salt. basically in all conflict resolution processes, there's always this tennis match between agency and structure. basically influence of the individuals versus influence over the processes that are already ongoing. when the peace process goes well, it tends to strengthen the agency. people who get more influence as things go good.
but when things go more conflictual, the conflict assumes a life on its own and starts to get separated from from the individuals that are running the conflict. conflicts, by definition, are very unpredictable. when you start a war, you think it is going to end whenever you want. but it never ends whenever those people who start the war want it to end. so in that sense, erdogan i think is hibernating because he is walking on tightrope. between one, pkk leadership. that's increasingly seeing him, yes, relevant, yes, important, yes, he influential but nonetheless being in captivity. so what he is saying are things that are said in captivity. so they are actually taking a all of these.
erdogan knows this. so i think he's keeping silent because he knows if he asks pkk to drop arms, pkk probably won't do it. if he tells pkk to take up arms and fight, then he is going to lose the connection of the government and the turkish state and all the favors that come with it. essentially it's one of those periods where erdogan is withdrawing himself from the game. and, you know, waiting for the structure, the process to complete itself to reassert at a later time. >> let me asked one thing. he might be silent because the government won't let him talk? that to me is -- first of all, none of the hdp members have been able to visit him. the only people talk to him are people from the security
establishment. it's not as if they will come out and say this is what mr. erdogan said to us. clearly that is not going to have much ability. maybe he wants to be quiet. it's possible. but we don't know if this is him or it's the government that's keeping him quiet. from that perspective, you know -- >> (inaudible). i'm sorry. in the next week, the family members are going to be able to visit and talk with him. what do you expect him to say? that's the question. >> are you sure they're going to go? >> in turkish practice, if it is a bigger crisis. all citizens, all imprisoned people on those special days.
if they don't allow the family members to talk with him, then it means certainly different dynamics going on. >> i don't know if the family members are necessarily the right medium if you want for him to talk through. that's not who should be carrying the message. look, i'm speculating. i don't know. >> i have a question question on pkk's objective actually. can you please elaborate more on pkk? for example, hungary has a theory on what it is trying to do. it is they are targeting. when you look at the language,
it seems you agree. so what is it trying to do, pkk? what are they trying to do? and also is there any tactical changes in the attacks of pkk? for example, they are targeting more police officers. this is my observation. i'm not an expert on pkk. but there is a tactical change or structural change because of the youth movement mentioned? the objective of pkk and the tactics of pkk. >> the question is addressed to me, i presume? okay. well, obviously i'm not a pkk spokesperson. i can only speculate. but from what i observe, i think one needs to realize this is very closely linked to what's happening inside syria. and let's not forget that this escalation happened after the
attack happened in zurich. i would beg whoever makes that claim to provide evidence. in the minds of many kurds and clearly the pkk leadership as well, this was somehow connected to the state and it was a way of sending a very strong message about what was happening inside syria and that it was in fact, targeting what the pkk is achieving in syria. its alliance with the united states and the fact of, you know, turkey opening injure elect thereafter persuaded what this was all about. and the pkk is on the one hand saying to the turkish government, if you continue to try to undermine us, this is what we'll do. this is what we'll do. on the other hand, it is also
saying if you continue to undermine the kurdish inside turkey, and if you continue to under nine hdp, and this is where we agree, i will make turkey ungovernor bl for you. if you're going to play hardball with me, i'm going to play hardball with you. very few of us actually predicted this. we all seemed to believe when the pkk was bogged down in the fight against the islamic state, it could hardly open a second front against turkey. in a very ironic twist in a certain sense, america enabled it to do so because america rode to the rescue with its air support. which took a lot of pressure off the pkk on the ground and making it easier for them to do perhaps what they are doing today.
>> i think when we talk about tactics of pkk we have to keep in mind that splittering strategy, whether it's the pkk. when he was captured in 1999 the leadership said this. never again will the organization collapse after a leader is captured or killed. it is still the most influential of them. there is a certain degree of autonomy as well. so as a result of this, it's beneficial in the sense that when you want to completely play hardball in the sense that you have to create chaos that nobody can manage it, it works really well. but on the other hand, when you are trying to control that chaos as pkk itself, it is also very
difficult. it became obvious in two pipeline a attacks recently. when the one local branch basically said that, you know, we did this pipeline attack and hpg said we have no connection to the attack. we don't know who did it. and then several days later they agreed, oh, yeah, we did it. that splintering strategy has pluses and minuses as well. plus, when you want to create chaos, perfect environment. when you try to control these assets, it is impossible. so killing police. one thing, it is very easy to do so, especially when you're running a conflict and when you are trying to gain the upper hand in the psychological aspect of war. when there is a car crash, you call the police. there is a car crash. the police comes. you ambush them and kill them. it is very easy to do so.
it is easy for health services and firefighters as well. but what happened in last week is that the leadership started to publish directives to those local commands, do not target policemen that are off duty with their families. so that is one way of trying to bring the battle into a manageable phase. but once organizations started to splinter, you can't unsplinter them. because that autonomy is a sweet thing. you have this operational autonomy and operational free hand. it will be very difficult for centralized leadership to manage it altogether again. so i think police killings is part of the splintering strategy. and i don't think it's going to go away in the short-term. >> may i just add something? let's not forget what happened in october of last year when you had -- during the kobani riots,
if we could call them that. and it was down on erdogan to stop that. they say they uld only answer to erdogan. this may be part of the pkk strategy of making erdogan relevant again because they need to pull him out to stop it. so that might be part of the strategy, the pkk strategy of getting erdogan back into the picture by activating the youth movement that says it is only answerable to him. that's just a guess. >> yes, sir? >> thank you. jim hahn, president of the
american-turkish council. u.s. policy, particularly as far as syria is concerned. you were describing at the very beginning there were differences in the 1990s 2000s. one of the differences you did not elaborate on is provide comfort and security, which u.s. and other coalition forces provides for the kurds in the early 1990s. indeed it wasn't 2 million, 3 million, 4 million refugees which generated u.s. interest in syria. it was isis that did it. now we are reaping all the consequences of that. amberen spoke about the possibility of u.s. using its leverage effectively with respect to turkey. i wonder what are the dimensions of an effective u.s. policy with respect to the situation that
now exists not just u.s./turkey, u.s./iraq, u.s./iran. but with respect to refugees it will have some chance office consequence for the region. >> i will leave ari, the great middle east expert, to answer that one. >> i'm glad i don't have to answer questions here. i like being the moderator. >> should we sit here for a few days? look -- >> (inaudible). >> oh, for change in the policy? >> (inaudible). >> look, the american policy is very clear. there will not be direct american involvement in syria.
however, having said this, again, looking at the tea leaf, so to say, free bases means it's about hrat ya are closer to hrat qaa than the other two. so i suspect that the white house must be planning something much more military without ground troops. maybe special force. i don't know. but certainly you don't ask to open free basis just to send is six f-16s that we did. i think we are slowly prepositioning stuff for much more muscular. policy towards isis. again, for us, the focus is isis. there is no other concern. and whoever helps us on isis
will partner with. it happens to be the ypg, pyd, the most formidable force in terms of fighting isis. and we will continue to work with them provided this co cough any with turk tkwr and tturkey the pkk doesn't get in the way. they are thinking much bigger in terms of military involvement bringing more iraqi troops up. maybe this thing about organizing syrian resistance. but that's the limits to which the united states will go. it is also part of a deal with turkey and opening the bases is also sealing the border. that also is very important. already we are seeing reports that isis is having trouble
bringing people across the turkish border. the border is becoming a little bit more difficult to cross. so that's i think the extent of the american involvement for the future. they're going to bring in more more assets and more drones, more wherewithal. not just american, but probably british and french as well. but that's it. that's my -- what i can see u.s. doing. >> thank you. chp representative here in washington, d.c. very quick comment and question. just about the presidential debate in turkey. for our party, we have commissioned more than a dozen polls between december of last year and may of this year.
and even less than half of the akp voters are convinced that the presidential system in turkey is a good idea. so i think even no matter what the outcome of this election may be, i still think turkey is a good idea. it's a nonissue for a most of the turks in turkey. the one quick observation wanted to share. my questions about the u.s. policy towards pyd, we know they do get a lot of support from the u.s., but why the administration still won't grant a visa. thank you. >> listen, you should ask this to the white house. i don't know. the united states sometimes work in very mysterious ways. for a super power that cannot decide or cannot give a visa to a muslim because it may offend the turks, that's the only
reason i can think of. there is no other reason. i mean, we talk to them. >> so do the turks. >> so do the turks. for some reason. i have no idea. please, if you found out, if the white house tells you, tell me, because i want to know. mind you, i'm saying the white house, not the state department. you know this. >> university of maryland. i have kind of a followup question regarding the potential operations on isis and whether the election results could potentially change turkey's position on whom to support on the ground, because turkey so far couldn't come up with a strong alternative and simply pushed for equal partners. >> what's the question? >> what could possibly change after the election regarding -- let's say he has all the weapons he needs.
will we see a change in turkey's position as to whom to support for partners on the ground, considering there will be an increased number of air operations on isis? >> it's an interesting question, because if he feels confident, he might then pick up the peace process again. and of course we know that he is an incredibly flexible person. and he may indeed, you know, decide that the hdp needs to support the kinds of constitutional changes that mr. urjulon is seeking. would that in turn mean that turkey spatters parenting with the ypg, when it finally decides isis is a threat to itself more than anyone else, because we have a 900-kilometer border with
syria. that part i don't know, to be honest with you, whether what happens inside turkey, whether the peace process will be picked up again, will also be reflected in the relationship with the ypg. but if it's not, that peace process is going absolutely nowhere, that we can safely predict. >> i would say that the danger of this policy change would occur if the election results are an exact duplicate of what happened in june. in other words, if adwan loses again, that he may essential essentially -- not retaliate, but essentially change policy as a diversion, maybe also to push. one of the things that's a little bit disturbing, very disturbing i should say, when you look at the press that's sympathet sympathetic, it is amazingly
anti-western. and making the connection this constant barrage of -- this friend of mine wrote to me this morning and said she watched a documentary on turkish television about how germany is essentially providing arms to the pkk, all the equipment that pkk is using against turkish troops now all came from the united states, that the united states has trained them to put ieds. this kind of atmosphere is not necessarily conducive to, a, good decision-making, because i'm sure mr. adwan may believe this nonsense, and second, if the event that he's defeated again, it may be, this may be a place where he can change. but maybe not. it's too speculative of a
question. >> we're all focusing on mr. adwan and not looking closely enough at the army and the police in turkey. and i think that there is, in a very sort of odd kind of way, some degree of sympathy for i.s., to the extent that it seems like the only force capable of dealing with the pkk. and i've heard this from people who are very close to members of these security forces, the fact that they hear people within the security forces saying, good for i.s., good for them, they're going after these guys, they seem to be the only ones who are capable of teaching these kurds a lesson. and i find that extremely worrying. and it's something that you can define to some extent if you look at twitter. if you look at the followers of some of these i.s. people or their sympathizers, to me it was quite a shock to see that many of their followers were people
whose profile pictures wehad th gray wolf. you know, ultranationalist types who somehow connected. perhaps it's i guess a similar case of the balthis in iraq who somehow had an alliance of convenience with educatal qaeda because they had the same enemy. they're people we should be scrutinizing more carefully. now we're hearing more reports, and indeed you see it on youtube, of security personnel, who in the old days would have the droopy gray wolf mustache and now have the isis beard and mustache. that's scary and needs to be examined more closely.
>> hi. my question, if i am wrong, please correct me, you said that -- you mentioned about the army position. and you said that there is is no monolithic leadership. can you explain what you mean? >> no monolithic leadership of the pkk? no, i didn't say that. i said there is no monolithic leadership of the pkk. pkk used to have a very clear-cut leadership where urjalan was the clear-cut leadership. right now there's no monolithic leadership in the pkk has decisionmaki decisionmaking has splintered. i didn't say that for the army. >> thank you very much. i have a few comments and a question. my first comment is actually
just i think we need to underline one fact here, which i think is not touched upon very much. and this is the -- this is how the turkish government is eager to fight against isis. and against terrorism in general and also isis. the point that isis, some people can say good for isis just for going after pkk, but this is not a government policy. that's for sure, i need to underline this. and one fact is important, the peace process was started by of course the government, and also its counterpart, kurdish part. but one point we shouldn't
forget, the peace process was stopped by pkk itself. so it was not the turkish government first who said let's stop this, it's over, we're finished, but it was the pkk which announced it. and a few things about kobani. there is a general perception that turkey has not supported kobani. but also, i need to put one fact about this as well, which was not mentioned here, maybe some of us knew this, turkey has helped supporters to go to kobani and fight against isis. and there are other helps, assistance that turkey gives, especially for training and etc. so fighting isis is a priority,
it's very important. my question is a general one. there are some clues that i heard, but maybe we can comment on that, why do you think the pkk has chose, opted for stopping this peace process, and why it is starting violent acts? because it started just after search by pkk. thank you very much. >> i think i kind of elaborated on that at some length. i explained to you what i thought was the pkk's vantage point. but i really don't have much to add to that. >> let me just -- one important issue you brought up. the fact that the turkish
government allowed the beshmega to cross from northern iraq into kobani, you have to remember that that came much, much later, after the united states dropped supplies, after the united states started bombing. it was essentially an effort to show both -- to repair, if you want, a very significant problem that the government had created for itself in turkey. i mean, it was an attempt to show that yes, we're not against the kurds here, we're going to use the beshmega to help. but the time it came, the fight had already been stabilized, mostly by the united statesd í)h force. look, let me also remind you that mr. adwan was absolutely livid about american bombing of kobani to support the pyd, because if you remember, he came out and said something like,
what's in kobani? oil? gold? diamonds? and in a way, first of all the united states will only intervene when there's gold or diamonds. it was demeaning to american interests in the case. and maybe you know too, kobani was not a place that turkey wanted to defend. it allowed the beshmaga to come after world opinion and kurdish opinion. look, kobani was the main breaking point for turkish kurds, with respect to what happened with the beshmega, it was an operation to signal to the kurds who eventually defected from the akp, to stabilize that constituency. and it didn't work.
and as far as why the pkk started it, look, i think what she said, the perception of surge, but i think the pkk probably decided when in kobani that the turkeys were not serious about -- it's not just kobani, it's also about during the election process. if you remember, during the election process, i'm talking about june 7th, in the period coming to the june 7th election, both mr. adwan and the akp press went wild in terms of accusations against hkp, because they understood very correctly that hdp was the signal most important threat to akp getting its majority in parliament or not. you had essentially a government that was waging war on the kurdish party while at the same time engaged in a peace process. that contradiction is also one of the reasons why i think the pkk decided there was no hope. >> but even before that, as you
know, the government was building these armies, sort of forts, what could you call them, posts throughout the southeast, and also building these dams which were cutting off -- well, i mean, i'm not saying that's why the government was building dams, but as the pkk saw it, cutting off their roots and their sort of supply, logistical roots inside turkey, the pkk was unhappy and making a lot of noise about that. as you remember, there were p protests, deadly ones and people died. there was a lot of mutual distrust and the government would argue that even as they were discussing peace, the pkk was busy stockpiling weapons inside of turkey. obviously a lot of distrust between the sides.
so that's also a big problem, the lack of trust, which i think begs the question of why you don't have a third party as you did in oslo, to sort of monitor the peace process. >> we're running out of time. do we have time for one last question? i think i'll take my prerogative and ask the last question myself. since we only have five minutes, i'll pose it to all three of you and ask you to be relatively brief with the answers. i have a big picture question about where turkey is heading. there are two conflicting narratives about the june election. one is that the akp lost its majority for the first time. adwan did not get what he wanted from the election. the other is that the party still won 7 million plus more votes than any other party. the chp, extraordinarily, saw its percentage decrease. of which those narratives is the
more persuasive explanation for where turkey is heading? is there an opposition forming that could become turkey's next party? >> since you look at me, i'll just start. >> we'll start with you. >> that's actually the topic of my next article. i'm writing something on third party dynamics in turkey. it's a very long debate, so i'll just, you know, cut it short. but practically, when you look at turkish politics in crisis periods, such as during cold war, '70s, or 1990s, kurdish question, every crisis period election that produces a coalition, whichever party is the third becomes the ruling party in the next election, this
is an uninterrupted pattern that i've discovered. the other election's third party besides the first part. it's an interesting dynamic. i'm going to spare you from the explanation. but then what does that tell us? it tells us that one thing, that we have two third parties, one of them is the more coalition party, the other is more ideological. i think the big picture here is the main polarities in turkish politics are becoming more structurally established, in the sense that you have fixed center right party, fixed center left party, one turkish national party, one movement party, which i think if the proper political process continues, it's going to become the blueprint for turkish
elections for years to come. that's my answer. >> thank you. >> i think that if you look at turkey traditionally, you've always had a single party rule that's managed to push through reform in turkey, right? and that single party rule is traditionally always held by a center right party. and until the present, that was the up party. when you look at the demographics of turkey, any party that wants to rule alone needs the kurdish vote. that's the reality. so given that the akp or mr. adwan has totally alienated the kurds, how do you move forward, can you move forward? i am afraid to say i'm somewhat doubtful. i think what really needs to happen is for the akp to somehow shake off mr. adwan, put him back in his box, and then only i think can we move forward.
hopefully i'll be proven wrong. >> look, the problem in turkey is that the perennial opposition party, the republican people's party, has made significant changes of late. but somehow it has yet to figure out the way to connect with the bulk of the population. in turkey, the center left has always been very weak. historically, it's just this condition of the center left. so the center left has to figure out a new message, a new organization. but that will take a very, very long time. before that even happens, i actually think that there's another likelihood that we haven't talked about, and that is that the akp may splinter. we're seeing a great deal of opposition within the akp. the former president, who is
maybe moving in the direction of a new party, something new. so it's quite conceivable that especially if the next elections produce the same results as they did in june, that you will see new organization and the fractioning of the akp, primarily because i think mr. adwan has become so dominant and is essentially sucking up all the oxygen from the party, and that there is going to be reaction within the party. that's i think the most likely outcome. >> great. thank you. i think we're out of time at this point. but i really want to that thinkal all of our panelists for terrific presentations. join me in giving them a round of applause. [ applause ]
all persons having business before the honorable supreme court of the united states are admonished to draw near and give their attention. >> number 759, earnest miranda, petitioner, versus arizona. >> we'll hear arguments number 18, rowe against wade. >> madison is probably the most famous case this court ever decided. >> dred and harriet existed as
enslaved people here on land where slavery wasn't legally recognized. >> putting the brown decision into effect would take presidential orders and the presence of federal troops and marshals, and the courage of children. >> we wanted to pick cases that changed the direction and import of the court in society, and that also changed society. >> so she told them that they would have to have a search warrant. and she demanded to see the paper and to read it, see what it was. which they refused to do. so she grabbed it out of his hand to look at it. and thereafter, the police officer handcuffed her. >> i can't imagine a better way to bring the constitution to life than by telling the human
stories behind great supreme court cases. >> he boldly opposed the forced internment of japanese-americans during world war ii. after failing to report for relocation, he took his case all the way to the supreme court. >> quite often, many of our most famous decisions are ones the court took that were quite unpopular. >> if you had to pick one freedom that was the most essential to the functioning of a democracy, it has to be freedom of speech. >> let's go through a few cases that illustrate very dramatically and visually what it means to live in a society of 310 million different people who helped stick together because they believed in a rule of law. >> "landmark cases," an exploration of 12 historic
supreme court decisions and the human stories behind them. a new series on c-span, produced in cooperation with the national constitution center, debut be monday, october 5th, at 9:00 p.m. the u.s. senate is in session today, and law make lesser take another procedural vote on a measure disapproving of the iran agreement. that procedural vote is set for 6:00 p.m. eastern today. roll call rights that senators will have another chance to break a fill i buster and approve of the iran deal. but there's no expectation that the dynamic will change. republicans expect to follow the next round of iran votes with an anti-abortion legislation, though the majority whip, john corn inof texas, said last week gop senators had not decided which bills to bring up.
they have previously pledged to call a vote on a 20-week abortion plan. lawmakers plan to discuss legislation to ban funding from planned parenthood unless it agrees to stop performing abortions. live house coverage is on c-span. newsweek writes that president obama visited a high school in des moines, iowa. the story says, facing a possible government shutdown, the president criticized congressional republicans for delaying the budget which has to pass by september 30th to avoid a shutdown. the president said it doesn't matter if we care about education if we aren't putting money into education. he and education secretary arnie duncan took questions from parents and teachers in des moines.
>> it is great to be back in des moines. you know, i landed in the airport and saw the hampton inn there. i must have stayed there like a hundred days. i'm sure i've got some points or something. i can get a couple of free nights at the hampton inn. everybody have a seat. have a seat, relax. and i know it's september. so i know you guys are all about to be flooded with ads and calls from a bunch of folks who want this job. i just can't imagine what kind of person would put themselves through something like this. although i notice, i didn't know rashon was on the ballot. during the introduction here, the next president of the united states. we could not be prouder of
rashon, not just for the introduction, but for the inspiring story that he's told. i think it's an example of what our young people can do when they put their minds to it. i want to that think your principal. mike vucavich. where is mike? there he is. your superintendent, tom ahart, is here. where is tom? your mayor is here, who is a great friend. where is frank? he was here. he had to go to a city council meeting. he's missing out on the fun. iowa attorney general and a great friend of mine, tom miller. treasurer mike fitzgerald, a great supporter. and of course secretary of education arnie duncan for letting me crash his bus tour.
so i'm not going to give a long speech, because we want to spend most of the time taking questions from all of you. but i just wanted to explain that we came to north high school because you guys have done some great things over the past few years. making sure more students have laptops and ipads, more ap classes, improving test scores, and so you've become a great example for the whole country of what's possible. [ cheers and applause ] >> so we thought we would come to pay you a visit, talk with some of the students here in des moines, and your parents, because i know there's nothing that high schoolers love more than being in public with their mom and dad. that's what malia and sasha tell me all the time. you know, it was seven years ago this week that a financial crisis on wall street ended up
ushering in some really hard times on main street. but thanks to the incredible resilience and grit and hard work of the american people, we bounced back. we created 3.1 million new private sector jobs over the past five and a half years. we've helped more than 16 million people have the security of health insurance, many of them for the first time. hour high school graduation rate is the highest that it has ever been. [ cheers and applause ] >> and i should point out, by the way, if you want to see the brea best graduation rate in america, it's right here in iowa. [ cheers and applause ] >> so we've been investing in things that help to grow the middle class and help provide opportunity for every young person. but no 21st century economy
is -- nobody in the 21st century economy is going to be able to do what they want to do with their lives unless they've got a great education. . that's just the truth. by 2020, two out of three job openings are going to require some form of post-high school education. and it's an investment that pays off. partly it pays off because it empowers you, it gives you a sense of who you are and your hopes and your dreams. it helps to sharpen how you see the world and empowers you in all sorts of ways. it also has some practical ramifications. compared to a high school diploma, a degree from a two-year school could earn you an extra $10,000 a year. a four-year degree could earn
you a million dollars more over the course of your lifetime. that's how important education is in today's economy. just as higher education has never been more important, let's face it, it's also never been more expensive. that's why arnie and i have been working to try to make college and post-high-school education more affordable. we increased scholarships. we reformed our student loan system that funneled millions of taxpayer dollars into big banks. we said, let's cut out the middleman and give that money directly to student. we created a new tax credit of up to $2500 to help working families pay for tuition and books and fees. we're helping people cap their federal student loan payments at 10% of their income. so if you want to be a teacher, or you want to be a social worker, or some other profession that may not make a huge amount of money, you can still do that, knowing that you're not going to
go, you know -- you're still going to be able to afford to support yourself and your family while doing it. and we're fighting for two years of free community college for any student that's willing to work for it. [ cheers and applause ] >> the bottom line is that no young person in america should be priced out of college. they should not be priced out of an education. and i know that finding the right school for you, the best school for you, is a tough process. malia is going to through it right now. you guys are juggling deadlines and applications and personal statements. and some of you are in the back of your mind asking yourselves what you're planning to do for a career and what you want to do with your life. i think we should make that process easier. so a couple of things we've done that we're announcing during
arnie's bus tour, right now we're introducing something called college scorecard. a lot of the college ranking systems that you see, they reward schools just for spending more money or for rejecting more students. i think colleges should be focusing on affordability and providing good value. we created a database of college value. you can scroll through it to see which schools are more likely to graduate their students, are more likely to result in good jobs for those students, more likely to make sure that those students can pay off their student loans, and you can then use that information to make choices that are right for your future and right for your budget. and so you guys can go to collegescorecard.ed.gov. and we've already got half a
million visits since we launched this thing on saturday. so it's a valuable tool for students and parents as you're trying to make a decision about which school to go to. we're also simplifying the financial aid process. to give you more time as you make a decision. right now, about 2 million students don't claim the financial aid that they're eligible for. and part of it is, it's just complicated and time-consuming. so those young people are leaving money on the table. and there may be some young people here who are not aware of all the financial help you can get. so what we've done is shortened the federal student aid form down to about 20 minutes. it used to be about two, three times as long. and because only congress has the power to eliminate certain requirements, we're asking them to simplify it even further. the good news is it's got some good bipartisan support. in fact we've got a congressman here from virginia who traveled with us, congressman bobby scott. where is bobby?
there he is, way in the back there. [ cheers and applause ] >> he's working. he's a democrat. he's working with the republicans to see if we can further shorten and make this form simpler. today i'm also announcing that beginning next year, families will be able to fill out fasa even earlier, starting on october 1st, right around the time the college applications ramp up. that means you won't have to wait for months for your w-2s to arrive before you get started, so you can get a jump on the college application process. you'll know sooner how much aid you qualify for, you'll have more time to evaluate your options. we're also working with colleges and universities and scholarship programs to align their applications and their financial aid processes with this new fasa start date. so all these steps taken together should help hundreds of thousands more students pay for college. and i know that's important to you. i'm going to end my opening
remarks with a story from somebody who couldn't be here today, but graduated from here last year. and his name is nico green. you might remember nico from the polar bear basketball team. [ applause ] >> and the reason that i want to tell his story is, for the past few years, nico was homeless. as a junior and senior, he was grateful to mostly stay with his coach or his counselor. before that, he spent nights in shelters or church basements or in hotels with his mom, sometimes sleeping next to drug addicts or worse. and nico said, i've seen some terrible things, but i'm thankful for what i've been through because it's taught me to be strong. and being strong meant studying, meant keeping his eye on college, applying for and winning some scholarships.
last year he filled out his fasa, found out he qualified for thousands of dollars of federal and state aid. today, nico is a freshman at graceland university. he's studying accounting. he's still playing ball, hoping to make enough money one day to build a career and give back to the mom that he loves. [ cheers and applause ] >> so that's why we're here. that's what this is about. students like nico and rashon, and students like many of you who want to take that next step and have big dreams. we want you to know that we're there to help you achieve those dreams. we want to make sure that we're giving every student who is willing to put in the effort all the tools that they need in order to succeed. that's not just good for the students, by the way. that's also good for america. because this country was built
on the notion that it doesn't matter where you come from, what you look like, what your last name is. if you're willing to work hard, you can make it. and education is the key to making that future possible. that's how we grow this country. that's how we make it successful. and that's the incredible project, the great experiment in democracy that all of you are part of. with that, arnie and i are looking forward to taking your questions. thank you very much, everybody. [ applause ] >> can everybody hear me? is this working? all right. so here's how this is going to work. you raise your hand, and i'll call on you. we're going to go girl, boy, girl, boy, to make it fair. there should be people in the audience with microphones, so
wait until they get there. and introduce yourself, try to keep your question short enough that we can get as many questions in as possible. and contrary to what arnie said, he's going to get all the tough questions, and i just want the easy ones. all right? so let's see. who wants to go first? this young lady, she shot her hand up quick. right here. we need a microphone up here. all right. >> hi. my name is anjelica. and my question is for you. what do you believe the role of a teacher should be? >> what do i believe the role of teacher should be. that's a great question. when i think about my own life, some of you may know, my dad left when i was very young, so i really didn't know him. so i was raised by a single mom. and we didn't have a lot when we
were coming up, although my mom had this great love of learning. but she was a teenager when she had me. she was 18. and she was still going to school and working at the same time as she was raising me and then my sister. she was my first great teacher. and what she taught me was compassion, caring about other people. but she also taught me to be curious. and when you thii think back toe great teachers that i've had, it's not so much the facts that they've taught me, because i can get those from books. but it has been teachers who are able to spark in me a sense of curiosity, like, well, how does that work? why is that the way it is? somebody who has helped me want
to learn more. that to me is the role of a great teacher. somebody who can teach you to be so interested in the subject that you then start over time teaching yourself. and i'll bet there are a lot of great teachers here. part of the challenge i think for being a teacher is that sometimes students don't always appreciate good teachers, let's face it. because i think sometimes we think education is something that you just receive from somebody else, it's passive, they just kind of pour knowledge in here. but in fact good teaching is a conversation that you're having with somebody, where they're giving you you not just answers but also asking you questions and helping your brain get a workout and try to learn how to
figure things out yourself. and also, i think great teachers are somebody who are people who have confidence in you and have high expectations for you, and they see something in you where they get a sense of, you know what, you're important, and you can do amazing things. and when you feel that from a teacher, that a teacher really things you've got something in you that's worth saying or writing, those are the teachers that you remember. those are the teachers that inspire you. what do you think, arnie? >> i'll be quick. i think it's a really, really good answer. the only thing i would add is i think great teachers see things in students that they don't even see in themselves, and pull things out of you. someone like rashon, who talked publicly, mom was locked up. some people say, that's where you're going to go. other people see him as a future leader in the community. those are teachers i remember
from my childhood, who saw things in my that i didn't even recognize in myself, and helped bring that to life. >> great question. [ applause ] >> all right. i think it's the guys' turn now. let's see. that gentleman right back there. around the corner there. >> hi, my name is david nissen i'm a senior here. what's so funny? >> are you the dad that's embarrassing your daughters? >> maybe. it's a give and take. they embarrass me, i'm going to embarrass them. >> listen, i'm right there with you. >> okay. in your opinion, of all the next presidential candidates that are in line, which ones have the best ideas for education reform, to make it more affordable and accessible?
>> well, you know, i -- [ laughter ] >> i'm going to beg off this question a little bit. you know, i promise you, i'm generally going to give you straight answers. on this one i'm going to wiggle around a little bit. right now i'm going to try to stay out of the campaign season until -- partly because i can't keep track of all the candidates. so i'll wait until it's winnowed down a little bit beforive an opinion. but here's what i can say. that a society's values are reflected in where we put our time, our effort, our money. it is not sufficient for us to
say we care about education if we aren't actually putting resources into education. now, i am -- [ applause ] >> both arnie and i have got unsome guff sometimes even from our own party where people say money is not enough. it's important for us, if a school isn't teaching consistently kids so they can achieve, then we've got to change how we do things, in collaboration with teachers and principals and parents and students. we have to figure out out we make it work better. so a lot of the initiatives we've had in terms of increased accountability and encouraging
more creativivity and empowering teachers more, those don't cost money. but what we also know is that if science labs don't have the right equipment, then it's harder to teach science. if kids don't have access to broadband and laptops in their classrooms, then they're at a disadvantage to those kids who do. if you've got a school that doesn't have enough counselors, and so come time to apply for college, there aren't enough counselors to go around and kids aren't getting the best advice they need, then they may end up selling themselves short in terms of their ability to go to college. so resources do matter. and part of the reason i'm
making this point, so that when you're evaluating candidates, you pay attention to this, we're going to have a major debate in congress coming up, because the budget is supposed to be done by later this month. and so far congress has not come up with a budget. and there are some in the other party who are comfortable with keeping in place something called sequester, which is going to result in significant cuts over the next several years in the amount of federal support for education. and that's going to force them into either layoffs or kids not getting the kinds of support they need. it will have an effect on the education of students. so i just want everybody to be clear, without endorsing any particular candidate's ideas,
that if somebody's running for president, and they say they want to be the education president, it means two things. one is that you care about every student doing well, not just some, because whoever is president is the president for all people, not just some people, that's point number one. [ applause ] >> and point number two is that yew got to be willing to provide the resources, particularly for communities that may not have as much of a property tax base, so they can't always raise money on their own in order to help their students achieve. all right? anything you want to add on that? >> just very quickly, without getting into this candidate or that, you have about two dozen to choose from, and they all your vote. there are four questions i would like you to ask any candidate, republican, democrat, conservative, liberal, doesn't matter. one, what are you willing to do
to have more children have access to more high quality childhood education. that's the best investment we could make. two, what are you going to do to continue to increase our nation's high school graduation rate. and we're very proud, it's an ate all-time high, nowhere near where it needs to be. three, how can we not have students have to take remedial classes. fourth, we need to lead the world in college graduation rates. other countries have passed us by. if every candidate, you ask, what are your concrete goals for those four things, and what resources, to the president's point, are you willing to put behind that, our country would be a much stronger place. [ applause ] >> not to be a tag team here. here's one last thing. because -- i'm sorry, what was your name? anjelica asked a terrific question but what does it mean to be a great teacher.
if you hear a candidate say that the big problem with education is teachers, you should not vote for that person. [ cheers and applause ] >> because i -- it is a hard job. and it is the most important job we've got. and folks who go into teaching don't go into it for the money. they go into it because they're passionate about kids. that doesn't mean there aren't some bad teachers. and it doesn't mean we shouldn't hold teachers to high standards as well and continue to work in terms of professional development and recruitment and retention of great teachers. and there have been times where arnie and i have had some disagreements with the teachers'
unions on certain issues because we want to encourage experimentation. but the bottom line, though, is that you can measure how good a school is by whether or not it is respecting and engaging teachers in the classrooms so they are professionals and feeling good about what they're doing, and they're given freedom and are not just being forced to teach to a test. it's very important for us to then make sure that what we hear is just a bunch of teacher-bashing. i can't tell you who to vote for. at least not right now. later i will. [ laughter ] >> but i can tell you who to vote against, and that is somebody who decides that somehow teachers don't deserve the kind of respect and decent pay that they deserve. [ applause ] >> all right. let's see.
it's a young lady's turn. you right there in the brown sweater. go ahead. that's fine. >> i'm alina hicks. i'm a senior at roosevelt and an internal at the hillary clinton campaign. >> oh, okay. i guess i know who you're voting for. >> yes. and this was a sanders question but i'll make it more general. do you think it's possible or realistic for there to be free televisi tuition for college in the united states? >> i think that it is absolutely realistic for us to first of all have the first two years of community college free, because it's in my budget, and i know how to pay for it. and it would -- [ applause ] >> and essentially, if you close up some corporate tax loopholes that aren't growing the economy, and are just kind of a boondoggle, you take that money,
you can then help every state do what tennessee is already doing, because tennessee is already making community colleges free for the first two years. and what that does is then is, first of all, it helps young people who may not right now want to go get a four-year college education, but know that they still need some sort of technical training, or they want to get an associates degree. right away, that whole group, they now know they can get their education for free as long as they're working hard. but for those who are thinking about a four-year college education, they can also get their first two years at the community college, then transfer those credits to a four-year college, and they've just cut their overall college costs in half. so it would be good for everybody, whether you're going two years or four years. now, if we can get that done, then i think we can start building from there.
in the meantime, i do want to make insure, though, that everybody understands what we're talking about in terms of fasa. you have to fill out this form. and we are making it easier for you to do. you have no excuse. parents who are here, even if you didn't go to college, you need to nag your kids to make sure that this fasa form gets filled out so that you know the student aid that you may be entitled to. my grandma, she didn't go to college. even though she was probably the smartest person i knew. but she did know that you had to go to college and that you had to fill out this form. so i want everybody here to make sure that you stay focused on that, because there's more help already than a lot of people are aware of. and this college scorecard that
we talked about, collegescorecard.ed.gov, what that does is it allows you to take a look at the schools and see, how much debt do they have, are the students generally getting a job after they graduate. we're not just ranking here is the most prestigious school. we're giving you some news you can use here in evaluating whether the schools you're applying to actually deliver on their commitment. because a lot of times the students who get big student loans, debt, after they graduate, it's because we didn't think through where should they go, what should they be studying, what resources are available. and we want you to have as much information on the front end as possible in order to make a good choice. arnie? >> a quick test, that fasa form the president talked about, how much in grants and loans do we
give out each year? any guesses, at the federal level? how much is a lot? >> see, i didn't test you, you notice. that's the head of the education department. >> how much? 30,000? your thoughts? yes, sir. what's that? total. how much? 30 billion? any other guesses? all right. so very quickly, we give out $150 billion in grants and loans each year. >> that's real money. >> the president says we have a long way to go. we're trying to do more, trying to make community colleges free. we don't care whether your family has money or doesn't have money or where you live. if you work hard, $150 billion. it's the only form, 20 minutes, a half an hour, the only form that you will ever fill out in your life to give you access to $150 billion. >> you have to fill it out. all right.
this gentleman back here. i don't want to neglect the folks in the back here. >> how are you doing, mr. president? >> how are you, sir? >> good. my name is rudolph dawson. i'm a graduate from georgia. my concern is the historically black schools, a lot of pressure is being put on them in terms of they're not getting the budget they need to continue to educate people like myself. they are not getting the programs that they need to attract students that want higher pay. what can you do or what can your administration do or the next administration do to right the wrong that was done until the past and continues to be done to these universities? this college is a land grant college and hasn't been getting the money they need for agriculture like the university of georgia.
i would like to see some changes there. >> first of all, for those of you, because some of you -- we've got a lot of young people here. just to give you a little bit of history, the historically black colleges and universities arose at a time when obviously a lot of schools were segregated. and so african-american students couldn't attend a lot of the traditional state colleges and universities that had been set up. and many of them went on to become incredible educational institutions that produced some of our greatest thinkers. so morehouse college, howard, spellman, all across the country, particularly in the south, a lot of these historically back colleges and universities were really the
nurturer of an african-american middle class, many of whom then went on to become the civil rights pioneers that helped to lead to dr. king and to the civil rights movement and to all the history that i think you're aware of. a lot of those schools are still doing well. some of them have gotten smaller and are struggling, partly because of good news, the university of georgia isn't segregated anymore, for example, so it's good that african-american students or latino students have more diverse options. but they still serve an important role and so working with people like congressman bobby scott and others we've continued to provide some support to those schools, but one thing that arne and i have
been doing is saying "you have to step up your graduation rates" because there are some of those schools -- just like non-historically black colleges and universities -- who take in a lot of students but don't graduate those students and those students end up being stuck with debt and it's not a good deal for them. so we're working together. we've got a whole task force and commission that's just devoted to working with these schools to make sure that they've got the resources they need to continue to perform in a really important function, but that they're also stepping up their game so that kids who attend these universities and colleges, they're graduating on time and are able to then pursue the kind of careers that they need. anything you want to add on that? all right. let's see. it's a young lady's turn now. you know what? i need go up top. all right, that young lady in the striped shirt right there. i can barely see -- but -- this
is what happens when you get older, young people. [ laughter ] first time i came to iowa i had no gray hair. [ laughter ] i didn't. look at me now. >> hi, my name is abba, i'm a junior at lincoln high school on the south side of des moines. my question to you is -- i know you don't want to get involved with the presidential race at the moment but a candidate has said that they want to cut government spending to politically-biased colleges and i was wondering if, say, that would hurt the education system for those who depend on that or would it better the education as a whole? >> first of all, i didn't hear this candidate say that. i have no idea what that means. [ laughter ] i suspect he doesn't, either.
[ laughter ] [ applause ] look, the purpose of college is not just, as i said before, to transmit skills. it's also to widen your horizons. to make you a better citizen. to help you to evaluate information. to help you is make your way through the world. to help you be more creative. the way to do that is to create a space where a lot of ideas are presented and collide and people are having arguments and people
are testing each other's theories and over time people learn from each other because they're getting out of their own narrow point of view and having a broader point of view. so arne i'm sure has the same experience that i did which is when i went to college suddenly there were some folks who didn't think at all like me. and if i had an opinion about something they'd look at me and say "well, that's stupid." and then they'd describe how they saw the world and they might have had different sense of politics or they might have a different view about poverty or they might have a different perspective on race and sometimes their views would be infuriating to me. but it was because there was this space where you could interact with people who didn't agree with you and had different
back grounds than you that i then started testing my own assumptions. and sometimes i changed my mind. sometimes i realized, you know what? maybe i've been too narrow-minded. maybe i didn't take this into account. maybe i should see this person's perspective. so that's what college in part is all about -- the idea that you'd have somebody in government making a decision about what you should think ahead of time or what you should be taught and if it's not the right thought or idea or perspective or philosophy that that person would be -- that they wouldn't get funding runs contrary to everything we believe about education. [ applause ]
i mean, i guess that might new york the soviet union, but it doesn't work here. that's not who we are. that's not what we're about. now, one thing i do want to point out is it's not just sometimes folks who are mad that colleges are too liberal that have a problem. someti sometimes there are folks on college campuses who are liberal and maybe even agree with me on a bunch of issues who sometimes aren't listening to the other side. and that's a problem, too. i was just talking to a friend of mine about this, you know, i've heard some college campuses where they don't want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative. or they don't want to read a book if it has language that is
offensive to african-americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women. and, you know, i have to tell you, i don't agree with that, either. i don't agree that you, when you become students at colleges have to be coddled and protected from different points of view. you know, it -- [ applause ] i think that you should be able to -- you should -- [ laughter ] anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with them. but you shouldn't silence them by saying "you can't come because my -- i'm too sensitive to hear what you have to say." that's not the way we learn, either. what do you think, arne?
he said "amen." okay. afterno let's see. i think it's a guy's turn. this gentleman here with -- in the tie, you had your hand up a couple times. i didn't want you to feel neglected. you almost gave up and i wanted to make sure to call on you. hold on a second. wait for the mic. >> thank you. my name is james quinn, this is my wife tatiana and our daughter victoria. we've been saving for her college education for ten years and over that time the federal deductibility of 529 contributions has gone away. even though we can still get that deduction from iowa income taxes. it would be nice to see a little reward for saving rather than just making borrowing money get easier. [ applause ] >> i'm going to let arne hit this one because he is an expert
on our various segments. >> as a parent with two kids not quite this age, my wife and i are putting money actively into 529 and getting the federal government to support that more or encourage that would be fantastic and, again, this is something we have to work with through congress to do the right thing. but for families who are saving, some families starting kindergarten, first grade, we need to incentivize that and reward that. so great point. >> there was a time when the deductibility of student loans was more significant than it is today. wherever you make something tax deductible, that means that there's less money going into the treasury, that then means that either somebody has to pay for it with other taxes or the deficit grows or we spend less on something else. and this is part of why the
debate going on in congress right now about lifting the sequester is so important. it's a washington term, i hate the term. but essentially what congress did was it said "all right, we're just going to lop off spending at this level for the next decade." the problem is, of course, the population is going up. the economy is growing and so even though the deficit right now has been cut by two-thirds since i came into office, which is -- [ applause ] you wouldn't know that by listening to some of the candidates around here, but it has. if, in fact, sequester stays in place, not only our ability to spend for education or to help