Wilson Center Experts

Gokhan Cetinsaya

Fellow
Middle East Program

Expertise:
Middle East and North Africa
Affiliation:
Professor of History, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
Wilson Center Project(s):
"Turkey and the New Iraq: Past, Present and Future"
Term:
Sep 01, 2007
-
May 01, 2008

As an undergraduate student at the Faculty of Political Science at Ankara, I was fascinated by Modern Turkish political history (19th and 20th centuries), and inclined towards the period of Sultan Abdulhamid II (1876-1909)- a highly controversial but crucial period in modern Turkish (and Middle Eastern) historiography. During my M.A. studies in the same faculty, I continued to pursue my interest in the Abdulhamid II period, and worked on Abdulhamid's pan-Islamic policy, based on Ottoman newspapers and archival documents.It was during my work on pan-Islamism and then my Ph.D. studies at the Manchester University's Middle Eastern Studies department (as a recipient of a graduate scholarship from the Turkish Higher Education Council), I had the opportunity to focus on the history of the Modern Middle East. Upon the advice of my supervisor, Dr. F.A.K. Yasamee, I worked on Ottoman Iraq in the late 19th and early 20th centuries- a hitherto neglected though important topic in Ottoman and Middle Eastern Studies, and I spent a great deal of time in the libraries and archives of London and Istanbul. As a pioneering work in the field of Middle Eastern Studies, my dissertation has won two prestigious awards: MESA (Middle East Studies Association of North America) 1994 Malcom H. Kerr Dissertation Award in Social Sciences, and BRISMES (British Society for Middle Eastern Studies) 1995 Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize for the Best Doctoral Dissertation. It has recently turned into a book, Ottoman Administration of Iraq, 1890-1908 (London: Routledge, 2006).After having received my Ph.D. degree in 1994, I returned to Ankara to take up the assistant professorship position at Hacettepe University's Department of Public Administration. It was the time in Turkey that international relations in general and area studies in particular were flourishing in academia and civil society since the end of the Cold War, and there was a big demand for studying the Middle East and Turkey's relations with the region. My focus turned to Turkish-Iranian relations, and I published a series of articles on the continuities and changes in relations between the two countries during the 19th and 20th centuries.In 2002 I joined the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Istanbul Technical University, where I also served as Chair of the Department for three years. In 2005 I was appointed full professor at the same department, where I teach two main courses: Globalization and International Relations and Making of Modern Turkey, specially designed for engineering students. I have also served as visiting scholar/fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies of London (thanks to the Turkish Academy of Sciences) during the summer of 2001, and at the Institut für Turcologie at Free University of Berlin (thanks to the German Academic Exchange Service) during the summer of 2004. Over the last decade, I have also served in several Turkish Foreign Ministry projects. Since 2003, after the war in Iraq, I have appeared on several TV channels and radio stations; written reports and comments for think tanks, journals and newspapers; participated in workshops, panels and conferences at home and abroad, on Iraq, the Middle East and Turkish foreign policy.
 

Education

B.A. Political Science, Ankara University, Turkey; M.A. Political History, Ankara University, Turkey; Ph.D. Middle Eastern Studies, The University of Manchester, UK

 

Subjects

Middle East,Turkey
 

Experience

  • Professor of History, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey, 2005-present
  • Chair, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey, 2002-05
  • Associate Professor of International Relations, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey, 2002-05
  • Associate Professor of International Relations, Department of Public Administration, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, 1999-2002
  • Assistant Professor of Political History, Department of Public Administration, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, 1995-99

Expertise

Modern Turkish History and Politics; Turkish Foreign Policy; Turkey and the Middle East; History of Ottoman Iraq; Turkey-Iran Relations

Project Summary

This project seeks to examine continuities and changes in relations between Turkey and Iraq in the 20th century, taking also into account the Ottoman heritage. In order to understand Turkey's current policy towards the new Iraq, one has to examine the historical background and the perception of Iraqi issues on the part of Turkish political and military elites. This historical understanding will also help us to discuss today's problems (Kurdish and Turcoman issues, border security and PKK terrorism, the status of Kirkuk), future scenarios, and alternative solutions for stable and peaceful relations between Turkey and the new regime in Iraq.
 

Major Publications

  • Ottoman Administration of Iraq, 1890-1908 (London: Routledge, 2006).
  • "The New Iraq, the Middle East and Turkey: A Turkish View." (SETA Report, April 2006, www.setav.org)
  • "Essential Friends and Natural Enemies: The Historic Roots of Turkish-Iranian Relations," Middle East Review of International Affairs, 7/3 (September 2003) (meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2003/issue3/cetinsaya.pdf).
     

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