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INSTRUCTOR: Associate Professor Ioannis N. Grigoriadis, Bilkent University

Course Description

Turkey is a country that has attracted the interest of scholars, analysts and travelers alike because of its position between Europe and Asia, its strategic and economic potential and cultural heritage. Its Ottoman legacy and the experience of Westernization under the Ataturk reform have provided one of the most interesting and complex cases of modernization and reform. The case of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi-AKP) has sparked long discussions about democratization and its agency, the compatibility of Islam and democracy and Turkey’s role as a model for the Middle East and the Islamic world at large. Recent developments have cast doubt on whether Turkey still aspires to be an integral part of the West or is interested instead in carving an independent role in regional and global politics. Its domestic political configuration offers opportunities to discuss crucial domestic political issues, such as nationalism, secularism, democratization, state-society relations. Meanwhile, the debate on the decline of US global hegemony and the West in general and the rise of emerging powers into global politics has shed new light on Turkey’s ambitions to play a pivotal role in regional and global politics. While Turkey’s Ottoman legacy and record of economic and political reform have at times served as grounds for this, its relations with the West, the United States, Russia, the European Union and its neighbours have been extensively debated. Using themes such as historical legacy, comparative politics, political economy, international relations and domestic governance, this course will provide insights into key issues of domestic and international politics of Turkey.

 Course Aims

This course aims to explore the main themes of the politics of contemporary Turkey, by focusing on crucial domestic and foreign policy issues. The state, the military, civil society, political economy, political Islam, political parties, constitution, minorities and democratization experience are among the topics to be explored and compared. It also aims to examine Turkey’s regional and global role from the point of view of foreign policy, history and identity. Turkey’s relations with the United States, the European Union, Russia, the emerging powers and its neighbours have been influenced by history, identity politics and foreign policy strategies.