The Wilson Center continues to express its dismay that the former Director of the Wilson Center’s Middle East Program, Dr. Henri Barkey, several of our staff, fellows, and conference participants have been the object of continuing and unfounded accusations that they were somehow connected to the attempted coup against the Turkish Government as a result of a seminar they took part in on July 15-17, 2016, and we categorically reject them. The Center's Middle East Program organized this meeting of scholars and think tank experts together with the Global Political Trends Center of Kultur University in Istanbul to discuss Iran’s relations with its neighbors one year after the nuclear agreement. It was an academic meeting focused on regional issues.

The small group included experts and nationals of several of the key neighbors of Iran, and they explored Iran's relations with the Gulf, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Egypt as well as Turkish-Iranian relations. The discussion was an open exchange of views among seasoned foreign policy experts to share insights and understanding about a major international development.  

The seminar had no relationship whatsoever to the events that occurred the night of July 15. And the meeting, which took place on the island of Buyukada in Istanbul, was very much removed from the center of the crisis and had no connection to it. The Wilson Center is a non-partisan institution dedicated to dialogue and research on major global issues. We call on the Government of Turkey to desist from its malicious campaign against Dr. Barkey.