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2013 Turkish Studies Symposium

2012 Turkish Studies Symposium

Eighth Annual Turkish Studies Symposium
After Gezi Park Protests Rethinking Turkish Politics and Political Culture


Monday, April 28, 2014
1:30 - 5:30 PM

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Illini Union, General Lounge (Room 210)
1401 W. Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801 (map)

Organized by:
European Union Center

Co-sponsored by:
Russian, East European and Eurasian Center (REEEC)
Center for Global Studies (CGS)
Center for South Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (CSAMES)
Department of Linguistics
Department of Political Science
School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics

EUC, REEEC, and CGS are National Resource Centers funded by the US Department of Education Title VI grant. EUC is also an European Union Center of Excellence funded by the European Union. CSAMES is funded in part by the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program, International Studies Division of the U.S. Department of Education.

About the Symposium

Istanbul2The Eighth Annual Turkish Studies Symposium (TSS) will explore the theme “After Gezi Park  Protests -- Rethinking Turkish Politics and Political Culture.” A small protest against the destruction of Gezi Park in downtown Istanbul in late May 2013 has triggered wide-ranging public demonstrations and an outpour of frustration with the authoritarian style of governance. This was arguably the largest wave of protests in Turkey’s history, which have brought together an unusual coalition, a diverse profile of demonstrators that would not have come together before: independents stood side-by-side with the nationalists, anticapitalist-Islamists, LGBT activists, soccer fans, Kurds, Alevis, and people from across the political spectrum. This most diverse, inclusive and democratic wave of protests that Turkey has ever seen turned into sites where the possibility of co-existence was proven as a viable model for Turkish society.

The mass protests and the unfolding events since May 2013, including the widespread corruption accusations leveled at the 11-year AKP government by followers of an Islamic movement, Gulen Hareketi, marked a turning point not only in Turkey’s domestic politics and political culture but also in its foreign policy. The domestic political stability as well as the AKP government’s hyperactive, assertive foreign policy began to crack and the image of Turkey in the international arena took a serious hit. More specifically, the protests and unfolding events have called into question the “Turkish model” —a template that “effectively integrates Islam, democracy and vibrant economics”, for the transitional regimes in the Middle East, on the one hand, and Turkey’s future with the European Union (EU), on the other.

The proposed symposium will address key issues raised by the Gezi protests and the recent challenges faced by the AKP government: What are the new avenues opened up by this broad public mobilization and what is the direction of new social and political cultural developments in the aftermath of Gezi protests? How will these recent developments affect the local elections in March 2014? And, what does the future hold for Turkey’s role in its broader region in light of these milestone events? Some of the larger (domestic) issues we will address are the role of political Islam in Turkish democracy, changing contours of state-society relations, and new (non-traditional) actors of democratic participation. We will also situate the events within Turkey’s current regional context (tensions in the Middle East, specifically the Syrian crisis, and Turkey-EU relations). We will specifically explore the question of whether the recent events imply a rejection of Turkish foreign policy under AKP rule that is increasingly defined by detachment from the European agenda on the one hand, and neo-imperial aspirations in the former Ottoman space, on the other.


1:15 pm

Coffee/tea and refreshments

1:30 pm

Welcome and Introductory Remarks

1:45 pm

Panel I

New Actors of Democratic Participation and Activism and Re-Thinking the Role of Political Islam and State-Society Relations in Turkey

Fatma Müge Göçek
, University of Michigan, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
"Contested Spaces in Contemporary Turkey"

Avital Livny, Political Science, Stanford University
“The Gezi Generation? Political Attitudes and Behavior in Contemporary Turkey"

Sinan Ciddi, Executive Director, Institute of Turkish Studies: Visiting Assistant Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
“Turkey's Election Season: Emerging Patterns of Political Participation”

Moderator: Ercan Balcı, Linguistics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

3:30 pm

Break: Coffee/tea and refreshments

3:45 pm

Panel II

Rethinking Turkish Foreign Policy

Güneş Murat Tezcür, Political Science, Loyola University Chicago
Protesters as Democrats or Coup Plotters? Reflections on Turkish Foreign Policy in an Eria of Popular Uprisings"

Bill Park, Defense Studies, Kings College London
Turkey's Multiple Kurdish Dilemmas  – Syria, Iraq and at Home: Threats and Opportunities"

Moderator: Mahir Şaul, Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

4:45 pm – 5:15 pm

Q & A and Wrap-Up


Coming Soon

Speaker Bios

Fatma Müge Göçek, University of Michigan, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Fatma Müge Göçek is a Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies. Her research focuses on the comparative analysis of history, politics and gender in the first and third worlds. She critically analyzes the impact of processes such as development, nationalism, religious movements and collective violence on minorities. Her published works includes East Encounters West: France and the Ottoman Empire in the 18th Century (Oxford University Press, 1987), Reconstructing Gender in the Middle East: Tradition, Identity, Power (Columbia University Press, 1994 co-edited with Shiva Balaghi), Rise of the Bourgeoisie, Demise of Empire: Ottoman Westernization and Social Change (Oxford University Press, 1996), Political Cartoons in the Middle East (Markus Wiener Publishers, 1998), Social Constructions of Nationalism in the Middle East (SUNY Press, 2002), The Transformation of Turkey: Redefining State and Society from the Ottoman Empire to the Modern Era (I.B. Tauris Publishers, 2011), and A Question of Genocide: Armenians and Turks at the End of the Ottoman Empire (Oxford University Press, 2011 co-edited with Ronald Grigor Suny and Norman Naimark).

Avital Livny, Political Science, Stanford University

Avital Livny is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. I also hold an M.Phil. inModern Middle Eastern Studies from Oxford University. His research interests generally fall under the heading of comparative politics and include: the politics of religion and ethnicity, particularly the micro-foundations of identity-based mobilization; electoral dynamics in developing democracies; and variations in interpersonal trust, across space and time. His region of interest is the Muslim World, particularly the Muslim Middle East, and he has conducted extensive research in Turkey.

Sinan Ciddi, Executive Director, Institute of Turkish Studies: Visiting Assistant Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Sinan Ciddi is an expert on Turkish domestic politics and foreign policy. He obtained his Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 2007 in the field of Political Science. Ciddi continues to author scholarly articles, opinion pieces and book chapters on contemporary Turkish politics and foreign policy, as well as participate in media appearances (see http://turkishstudies.org/about/sinan_ciddi/index.shtml). In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities at Georgetown, Ciddi also serves as the Executive Director of the Institute of Turkish Studies. 
Ciddi was born in Turkey and educated in the United Kingdom. He was previously an instructor at Sabanci University between 2004-2008 and completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the same institution between 2007-2008. Distinct from his articles and opinion editorials, Ciddi's book titled Kemalism in Turkish Politics: The Republican People's Party: Secularism and Nationalism (Routledge, January 2009) focuses on the electoral weakness of the Republican People's Party. 
Between 2008-2011, he established the Turkish Studies program at the University of Florida's Center for European Studies.

Güneş Murat Tezcür, Political Science, Loyola University Chicago

Gunes Murat Tezcur (Ph.D. University of Michigan-2005) is an Associate Professor at the Political Science Department of Loyola University Chicago. His research focuses on themes such as political violence, politics of Islam, judicial activism, and electoral politics. He is the author of Muslim Reformers in Iran and Turkey: The Paradox of Moderation. His current main research project examines the motivations of ordinary people who take extraordinary risks and join armed groups with a focus on the Kurdish insurgency. His research has been supported by major grants from the National Science Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, and currently the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches courses on the Middle East, political violence, democracy, globalization, and politics of energy.

Bill Park, Defense Studies, Kings College London

Mr Bill Park is a Senior Lecturer in the Defence Studies Department. He was formerly Principal Lecturer at the JSCSC, Bracknell, and at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. From 1981 to 1991 he was Visiting Lecturer (Part-time) at City University, London, and from 1975 to 1978, Lecturer in International Politics, Liverpool Polytechnic.