Our Member Muzaffer Kutlay and Her Project Team Nominated For Prestigious Higher Education Award

Our member Muzaffer Kutlay and her Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) COMPASS project team have been shortlisted for the International Collaboration of the Year at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2021, widely known as ‘the Oscars of Higher Education’

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) COMPASS project, hosted by the University of Kent in partnership with the University of Cambridge (UK), ADA University (Azerbaijan), Belarusian State University (Belarus), TNU (Tajikistan) and the University of World Economy and Diplomacy (Uzbekistan), has been shortlisted for the International Collaboration of the Year at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2021.

The GCRF COMPASS project works with higher education institutions (HEIs) from former Soviet Republics to develop global partnerships and more sustainable learning capacities through resilience in the face of adversity and crisis. Led by Professor Elena Korosteleva, in partnership with Dr Siddharth Saxena (COI, Cambridge), Rosalind Beeching (Project Manager, Kent) and Prajakti Kalra (Research & Communication Officer, Cambridge), the GCRF COMPASS consortium involves six Research Institutions, 24 members of staff and 100 affiliates. For its success it owes especially to the younger generation of scholars including the PSA Turkish Politics Specialist Group member Dr Muzaffer Kutlay, as well as Dr Irina Petrova, Dr Diana Kudaibergenova and Dr Anastasiya Kudlenko for their incredible enthusiasm, dedication and scholarship.

The project has been recognised by the judge’s panel of THE Awards 2021 for its creative collaborations, imaginative communication of research results, and tremendous achievements in difficult circumstances of war, conflict, uprisings, Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supported by its International Advisory Board of policymakers, practitioners and academics across the globe, GCRF COMPASS fosters excellence through successful research integration, policy impact and community engagement. Despite the complex challenges both in the UK and the region, the project team, represented in the region by national team leads – Nargiz Ismayilova; Artsiom Nazaranka; Munira Shahidi and Ulugbeck Hasanov – has built close relationships, resulting in new research projects, international training schools for Early Career Scholars, Future Leaders Policy Forums, academic workshops and seminars and signature conferences. The result has been educational partnerships and the project outputs have informed peace and reconciliation between former adversaries and investing in a more sustainable future for the region and beyond.

The project team helped its partners, both in the UK and the region, to nurture signature specialisms to become global hubs in resilience (Kent and Cambridge), migration (Belarus), connectivity (Azerbaijan), regional security (Uzbekistan) and cultural diplomacy (Tajikistan). The project has produced 9 monographs and edited volumes; 6 Special Issues; over 100 journal articles and policy briefs.

The THE Awards 2021 ceremony takes place on 25 November 2021.

VIDEO: Turkish Politics Specialist Group Virtual Book Launch Event with Dr Ayşe Güneş and Dr Çağlar Ezikoğlu

PSA Turkish Politics Specialist Group has hosted its first virtual book launch event in which Dr Ayse Güneş and Dr Çağlar Ezikoğlu presented their new books on Turkish politics. Now, their presentations are available to view online.

This event took place on the 30th of June, 2021.

Dr Ayşe Güneş (Bartın University) gave a presentation on her book “International Human Rights Law and Crimes Against Women in Turkey”. Her book was discussed by Dr Elvira Dominguez-Redondo (Middlesex University).

Dr Çağlar Ezikoğlu (Çankırı Karatekin University)  gave a presentation on his new book “the Logic of Political Survival in Turkey: the Case of AKP”. His book was discussed by  Dr Natalie Martin (University of Nottingham).

The presentations were followed by feedback from discussants and a Q&A session.

Turkish Politics Specialist Group Virtual Book Launch Event with Dr Ayşe Güneş and Dr Çağlar Ezikoğlu

PSA Turkish Politics Specialist Group is inviting you to its first virtual book launch event in which Dr Ayse Güneş and Dr Çağlar Ezikoğlu will present their timely books on Turkish Politics.

The event is on 30 June 2021, 14:00 – 15:45 BST, and will take place on Zoom. 

Dr Ayşe Güneş (Bartın University) will present her book “International Human Rights Law and Crimes Against Women in Turkey”.

Her book will be discussed by Dr Elvira Dominguez-Redondo (Middlesex University).

Dr Çağlar Ezikoğlu (Çankırı Karatekin University) will present his new book “the Logic of Political Survival in Turkey: the Case of AKP”.

His book will be discussed by  Dr Natalie Martin (University of Nottingham).

The presentations will be followed by feedback from discussants and a Q&A session.

Registration for the event can be made on Eventbrite.

PSA 2021: The Schedule of Panels Organised by the Turkish Politics Specialist Group

The PSA 2021 Annual Conference is starting on Monday, in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast and SAGE Publishing. This years theme “Resilience, Expertise and Hope” focuses on our ability to “adapt and respond in the wake of fundamental disruption” and aims to create a better understanding of issues like the global economy, global ecosystems and the climate, public health, international security.

As the Turkish Politics Specialist Group we have organised multiple panels that dominantly focus on foreign policy, power-society relations, and the electoral dynamics of Turkey.

Here is the whole list of our panels:

MONday 29th March 09:30-11:00 

Panel 120: The Changing Dynamics of Power and Society in Turkey Today

Chair: Matthew Whiting (University of Reading)

9:30 am – 9:45 am

Understanding the Moral Economy of State-Civil Society Relationships: Islam, Women’s NGOs and Rights-Based Advocacy in Turkey

Dr. Nazlı Kazanoğlu (Koç University) and Dr. Markus Ketola (Edinburgh University)

9:45 am – 10:00 am

Grassroots Familialism? Conservative Civil Society Organizations and the Politics of Family in Turkey Under AKP Rule

Dr. Sevgi Adak (Aga Khan University, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations)

10:00 am – 10:15 am

Rescaling and Bordering: Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Turkey’s Kurdish Regions

Dr. Imren Borsuk Eroglu (EUME-EUROPE IN THE MIDDLE EAST-MIDDLE EAST IN EUROPE) and Mr. Diren Tas (Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich)

10:15 am – 10:30 am

Biopolitics of Security and National Security Vetting Practices in Turkey

Dr. Seckin Sertdemir Ozdemir (University of Turku)

10:30 am – 10:45 am

Refugee Evictions and the Spread of Refugee-Native Clashes: Evidence from Turkey

Dr. Kerim Can Kavakli (Bocconi University)

Monday 29th March 11:15-12:45 

Panel 220: Turkey’s Foreign Policy

Chair: Yaprak Gürsoy (Aston University)

11:15 am – 11:30 am

Explaining China’s Influence in Turkey

Dr. Eyüp Ersoy (Ahi Evran University)

11:30 am – 11:45 am

Emotions and Foreign Policy Change: An Alternative Affective Account of Turkey-KRG Relations

Dr. Asli Ilgıt (Cukurova University) and  Dr. Özlem Pusane (Isik University)

11:45 am – 12:00am

From De-Europeanization to Anti-Westernism: Turkish Foreign Policy in Flux

Prof. Alper Kaliber (Altinbas University)

12:00 pm – 12:15 pm

Leftist Migrant Workers and Political Activism: Turkish Workers’ Associations in Germany

Ms. Irem Yildirim (McGill University)

Monday 29th March 13:00-14:45 

Panel 320: Populist Rule and Opposition in Turkey: Mobilization, Policies and Strategies

Chair: Ms. Tuğçe Erçetin (İstanbul Bilgi University) and Ms. Begüm Zorlu (City, University of London)

1:00 pm – 1:15 pm

Understanding the “we-ness” in Populism: From Leaders to Voters”

Ms. Tuğçe Erçetin (İstanbul Bilgi University)

1:15 pm – 1:30 pm

The New Populism in Turkey: The Marriage of Islamism and Nationalism under AKP Rule

Dr. Çağlar Ezikoğlu (Çankırı Karatekin University)

1:30 pm – 1:45 pm

Populist Alliances: The Increasing Convergence of the Governments of Turkey and Venezuela

Ms. Begüm Zorlu (City, University of London)

1:45 pm – 2:00 pm

Anti-Populism in Turkey: Its Roots and Current Embodiments

Dr. Toygar Sinan Baykan (Kırklareli University)

2:00 pm – 2:15 pm

Defeating Populists: The Case of 2019 Elections

Dr. Seda Demiralp (Isik University) and Dr. Evren Balta (Özyeğin University)

Monday 29th March 15:45-17:15 

Panel 420: Turning COVID-19 into a Political Opportunity: Policy and Propaganda in

Chair: Prof. Rabia Karakaya Polat (Isik University)

3:45 pm – 4:00 pm

Foreign aid during the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from Turkey

Mr. Bugra Güngör (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies)

4:00 pm – 4:15 pm

The AKP’s Anti-Westernism in Turkey’s Covid-19 Response

 Dr. Çağlar Ezikoğlu (Çankırı Karatekin University)

4:15 pm4:30 pm

The Media Representation of Coronavirus as a Tool of Discredit and Praise: The Cases of Sözcü and Sabah

Dr. Begüm Burak (French Institute of Anatolian Studies)

4:30 pm4:45 pm

Responding to the Covid-19 Pandemic: Turkey’s Public Bank Actions and Crisis Management

Dr. Ali Riza Gungen (York University)

4:45 pm– 5:00 pm

Repercussions of the Covid-19 on Turkish Politics

Dr. Jülide Karakoç (Altınbaş University) Dr. Duygu Ersoy (Altınbaş University), Dr. Tuba Turan (University of Essex)

Tuesday 30th March 11:15-12:45

Panel 620: Elections and Turkey’s Political Regime 

Chairs: Dr. Natalie Martin (University of Nottingham) and Ms. Zeynep Özge Iğdır (Sabancı University)

11:15 am – 11:30am

Centre-Periphery Clash within the Context of Turkish Modernization: Sociological Phenomenon or Institutional Change

Mr. Fırat Efe (University of Wroclaw)

11:30 am – 11:45 am

Measuring Political Polarization in Turkey: Religion, Identity, and Space

Dr. Fırat Gündem (Dokuz Eylül University)

11:45 am – 12:00 pm

Politics of Electoral Reform in Turkey: Actors, Motivations, Success and Failure

Ms. Zeynep Özge Iğdır (Sabancı University)

12:00 pm – 12:15 pm

Twitter Usage and Electoral Success: The Case of 2019 Turkish Local Elections

Dr. Ugur Ozdemir (University of Edinburgh) and  Mr. Berke Çaplı (University of Edinburgh)

12:15 pm – 12:30 pm

The securitisation of news in Turkey: Journalism as political opposition

Dr. Natalie Martin (University of Nottingham)


You can find the Conference schedule here: https://psa21.exordo.com/programme/at-a-glance

You can find the Conference website here: https://psa21.venu-iq.com/ 

Our Member Begüm Burak Launches A Youtube Channel on Ottoman-Turkish History

Our member Begüm Burak has launched a Youtube channel on Ottoman-Turkish History through which she presents literature review and academic comments on Ottoman-Turkish History. She has commented to us that with this channel she aims to reach to young scholars studying Turkish politics in particular.

About Begüm Burak

Begüm Burak is an Istanbul-based independent researcher. In 2015, Ms. Burak got her PhD degree. The main areas of her academic interest include Turkish Politics, Civil-Military Relations in Turkey, Secularism Discussions in Turkey, Discourse Analysis Methodology, Media-Politics Relations and Political Culture.

Between 2010 and 2015, during her occupation as a research assistant, she got engaged in short-term academic activities in Italy, United Kingdom, Bosnia and Spain. In 2018, she became one of the founding members of http://ilkmade.com. She currently writes in her own blog in English and for some web sites besides writing columns regularly for two Turkish websites.

In this latest video Burak discusses the National Independence War and the foundation of the Turkish Republic.

You can follow Begüm on Twitter and see some of her academic work on Academia.

Joint Call for Papers: The Covid-19 pandemic across Europe: responses, challenges and lessons (learned)

Photo by Jeffrey Czum on Pexels.com

The German Politics, Greek Politics, French Politics, Italian Politics, Nordic Politics and Turkish Politics Specialist Groups of the PSA invite paper proposals for joint panels which seek to explore the first reactions to the economic and political challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic by governments across Europe. Papers discussing the EU response and implications for EU member states are also of interest to this call. We welcome single case studies, comparative papers, and theoretical explorations. The joint panels have the objective of bringing together different perspectives and to create a dialogue between the involved Specialist Groups.
The Covid-19 pandemic found Europe still recovering from a decade of crisis including the Eurozone crisis, the migration crisis and Brexit. Governments across Europe reacted in different ways to the pandemic, but they were all challenged on multiple fronts: public health and health systems, the lockdown of economic, social and cultural life, new on-line working patterns and on-line education, restriction of civil liberties, and closure of borders are just a few examples. This call is looking for papers discussing policies across Europe in response to the Covid-19 emergency and their implementation. What lessons can be learned about crisis management from the different national responses? What has been the role of experts and of evidence informed policymaking? How has the political landscape of different countries been affected by the new crisis? What future avenues for research has this universal crisis opened-up for political science?

Please address all enquiries and e-mail your paper proposal (paper title, 200-word max abstract, institutional affiliation and full contact details) to our Panel Convenors, Matthew Whiting (M.Whiting.1@bham.ac.uk) and Yaprak Gürsoy (y.gursoy@aston.ac.uk). until 28 September 2020.

We specifically encourage doctoral students and early career researchers to contribute to the joint panel.

Applicants will be notified whether they have been included in the joint panel proposals ahead of the final PSA deadline.

Full details of the conference can be found on the PSA website here

Call for Papers for Panels on All Aspects of Turkish Politics

Photo by Levent Simsek on Pexels.com

The PSA’s Annual International Conference 2021 will be held in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast, (School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy, and Politics) and Visit Belfast.

The 2021 PSA Annual International Conference is planned as a hybrid conference which blends the digital world and physical world together to produce the opportunities and interactions of a physical conference, with the added accessibility of an online conference.

Once again this year the Turkish Politics Specialist Group will be organising four panels for the conference. If you would like to be considered for inclusion on one of these panels, please send a 200-word abstract to Matthew Whiting (M.Whiting.1@bham.ac.uk) and Yaprak Gürsoy (y.gursoy@aston.ac.uk).

Deadline for paper proposals: Tuesday, 28 September 2020

Full details of the conference can be found on the PSA website here

Yaprak Gürsoy on Turkey’s Covid19 Response

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Yaprak Gürsoy has written a timely article to the PSA Blog on Turkey’s Covid19 response.

In her article she investigates Turkey’s record in fighting against COVID-19 and traces the political developments since the beginning of the outbreak.

We are republishing her article in our blog.

1_CEgybfUijfp-f_nt2YiTYQ.jpgYaprak Gürsoy



It is undeniable that we are undergoing unprecedented global change with the COVID-19 pandemic and these will have unpredictable political consequences for years to come. What will the winds of change bring to Turkey and to its personalistic regime?

There are two ways to answer this question. One way is to look at Turkey’s record in fighting against COVID-19 and the other is tracing political developments since the beginning of the outbreak. In both counts, Turkey appears to be quite stable. But looks can be deceiving. High tides under water have been kept at bay so far, however, 18 years of rule by the AKP has cultivated its simmering opposition that will only grow in time.

Measures against COVID-19

Turkey has had a total of just over 186,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of 22nd June, making it the 11th most affected country in the world. Despite the high number of confirmed cases, its death rate remains significantly lower than other European countries, including countries like France and Belgium that appear to have fewer cases. Comparing the absolute number of confirmed cases across different countries is fraught with difficulties and all caveats around these figures need be kept in mind. Still# the relative success of Turkey begs clarification.

There is no simple explanation for lower death rates. There are still many unknowns about the nature of the virus that might explain Turkey’s statistics from a medical perspective. Certainly, Turkey’s demographics are in its favour – only eight percent of its population is over the age of 65 and most do not stay in care homes. Compare this to the EU average of 20% elderly population, or even higher in badly affected Italy, or consider the fact that in April alone official COVID-19 deaths in care homes in the UK were nearly twice as much as overall deaths in Turkey.

What of more short-term factors that were within the control of political leaders, notably when and to what extent to go into lockdown? Turkey’s approach to lockdown lies somewhere in the middle of a ‘restrictive-liberal’ continuum. It shut down schools and imposed a full curfew on the elderly and on children. It has also introduced a full lockdown on weekends and holidays. But if you were a Turkish citizen between the age of 20 and 65 or if you were working, it has been more or less business as usual, at least during the weekdays. Given this mixed approach that prioritised the economy, it is probably unlikely that curfew measures were what made the difference in death rates in Turkey.

Rather than lockdown, it would seem that Turkey’s success might be more to do with its healthcare system that was relatively well-placed to deal with the crisis. The number of Intensive Care Unit beds in Turkey is four times more than Italy and nearly eight times more than the UK. This is, in part, down to the policies of the government in the past years. Some of these earlier policies, such as building city hospitals, have been controversial because they rest on neoliberal principles and reflect the extent of crony capitalism in Turkey. But in the combat against coronavirus, they have provided the capacity to admit suspected patients immediately, even before test results, and start aggressive treatment, even with the controversial drug of hydroxychloroquine. Also contact-tracing was introduced very quickly that tests patients within a day and notifies and monitors those with whom suspected cases have been in touch.

No matter where the real reason for Turkey’s low death rates lies, the government has been able to capitalise on the pandemic, increase its prestige abroad through supplying medical aid and tout the comparatively low death rates as a success. Although this trend can be reversed with the easing of lockdown measures and a new spike in cases, Ankara has managed to hold firm against the winds of change thanks to its seeming success in containing the virus so far.

Recent Political Developments

One of the major political consequences of the outbreak globally has been the way personal liberties had to be curtailed. The pandemic has led to illiberal policies everywhere with more than 80 countries declaring a state of emergency. Leaders are taking the opportunity to grab more power even in well-established democracies and it is unclear whether and when liberties will be returned to people.

Turkey has not been an exception to this global drift. Some of the political decisions that were made during the pandemic reflect earlier trends, mixed with new opportunities. For instance, around 90,000 convicts were granted an amnesty to prevent the spread of the virus in jails but political prisoners were exempted from the pardon.  Opposition local governments in Istanbul and Ankara were forbidden from accepting donations from citizens to raise funds and distribute supplies to those who were in need. Five elected heads of local districts from the main Kurdish political party (HDP) were removed from office and the impunity of lawmakers were lifted paving the way for the prosecution of HDP MPs.

Centralising power by the ruling AKP and efforts to side-line political opposition are not new in Turkey. Although they might have been accelerated with the outbreak, they have also produced renewed opposition and initiatives, bringing in the potential of change amid seeming stability. For instance, there has been a cabinet crisis over the way curfew was initially introduced, which points at possible future fissures within the AKP government.  There also seems to be an increase in the popularity of recently founded AKP-splinter partiesA recent poll also revealed that public trust toward Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca and Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş surpassed that of President Erdoğan.  Finally, the HDP started a new campaign and has held rallies, despite government-imposed restrictions and COVID-19 related constraints.

Turkey has had a mixed record during the pandemic. If the death rates continue as they are, it is a positive case that needs to be acknowledged. However, this accomplishment should not distract from the general political trends of the recent years. For now, the pandemic seems to have brought more political stability than prospects for change. It is difficult to predict what will happen in a couple of years but, as in the anti-racism protests elsewhere, in Turkey too, the pandemic has brought its own dynamics of unforeseen transformation.



Publication Opportunity: Contemporary Turkey Series with I.B. Tauris

IMG_8908Photo: Begüm Zorlu

The BIAA (British Institute at Ankara) in conjunction with I.B.Tauris has posted a publishing opportunity on modern Turkey. The Contemporary Turkey series is focusing on the history, eco­nomics, and politics of modern Turkey and is seeking to provide “new data and insights from the field.”

As the call states, the series will:

  • Reassess the impact of historical legacies on the development of modern Turkey.
  • Reconsider modern Turkish history in an international context.
  • Promote innovative approaches to the study of modern Turkish politics and political economy.
  • Provide an outlet for new work from emerging scholars and support the fellowship programme of the BIAA (http://biaa.ac.uk/opportunities-grants).
  • Encourage a forward-thinking and multi-disciplinary approach to the study of modern Turkey.


Ceren Lord, Katerina Dalacoura, Pinar Bedirhanoglu, Sevgi Adak are the editors of the series. For more information, or to submit a proposal for consideration, Ceren Lord can be contacted via ceren.lord@area.ox.ac.uk

Virtual Roundtable: Managing the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Turkish Politics Specialist Group is participating in an online roundtable entitled “Managing the Covid-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned and Avenues for Political Science Research”. The roundtable will take place on Friday the 29th of May at 15:00 – 16:30 GMT. 

This timely meeting will focus on the management of the crisis in  France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Nordic countries and Turkey. Experts of each country will discuss what political scientists can learn from the coronavirus crisis and what are some immediate avenues for research. PhD students, academics and everyone interested in the comparative study of the Covid-19 Pandemic is invited to attend.

The event will take place on Zoom and the link is: https://zoom.us/j/8402071395