Wilson Center Projects
"Globalization and Security in the Developing World: The Case of Turkey"
My interest in critical approaches to security goes back to my undergraduate years at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara (1989-1993). The appeal of critical approaches for me could partly be explained by my aversion to all that was presented under the title Security Studies when I was an undergraduate student. What was on offer under the label security was nuclear strategy and, in particular, deterrence. Turkey being a non-nuclear state beleaguered by perceived conventional threats, the emphasis put on nuclear deterrence puzzled me as to the way our courses were set up. Now I teach my own course entitled ‘War, Peace and Security,' which introduces students to various perspectives in understanding these three core concepts of International Relations as seen through the lenses of peoples in different parts of the world. As a Master's student at Bilkent University, Ankara, I was introduced to critical approaches to International Relations and gradually began to make more sense of what I had been studying in the previous four years. There, I remember dropping a Master's course on crisis management not being able to grasp the exclusive focus given to superpower conflict, and feeling uncomfortable with the lack of critical reflection in the ‘problem-solving' approaches to conflict resolution, the course I took in its place. A year later, when writing up my Master's thesis (1993-1995) I began working for a government department (the General Secretariat of the National Security Council of Turkey) as a junior researcher on Middle Eastern affairs. It was during that brief period in 1995 that I began to think more deeply about the need to broaden our conceptions of security, problems involved in zero sum thinking and practices, and the ways in which security thinking was constitutive of the very ‘reality' to which it responded. However, I did not know how to put such thoughts into words. To learn that, I had to wait until I found out more about critical approaches. It was during my MSc (as a recipient of Chevening studentship by the British Council) and Ph.D. studies (thanks to the E.H. Carr Studentship of the Department of International Politics at the UWA, and the Overseas Research Studentship of the Overseas Research Council) at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth that I had the opportunity to learn about and later contribute to critical approaches. My Ph.D. thesis on regional security in the Middle East has since then been turned into a book. I have also taught courses on the subject, introducing students to novel ways of thinking about security issues - ways that allow them to reflect upon their own ways of thinking and acting. In 2000, within a month of finishing my Ph.D. studies, I joined the Department of International Relations at Bilkent University. There, my work has focused on three main topics: Turkey's security (in particular, Turkey's conception of ‘national security' and, more recently, the politics of geopolitical discourse in Turkey); the study of ‘state failure'; the study of security in Turkey.
B.Sc. (1993) International Relations, Middle East Technical University, Ankara; M.A. (1995) International Relations, Bilkent University, Ankara; M.Sc. (1996) Strategic Studies, University of Wales, Aberystwyth; Ph.D. (2000) International Politics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth
- Assistant Professor of International Relations, Bilkent University, Ankara, February 2000-present
- Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Economic, Administrative and Social Sciences, Bilkent University, Ankara, July 2002-July 2006
- Researcher, General Secretariat of the National Security Council, Turkey, April-August 1995
Critical approaches to security; globalization and security in the developing world; Turkey's foreign and security policies; regional security in the Middle East
- Regional Security in the Middle East: A Critical Perspective (London: Routledge, 2005)
- "Turkey's Changing Security Discourses: The Challenge of Globalisation," European Journal of Political Research, vol.44, pp.1-27.(2004) (with Adam David Morton)
- "From ‘Rogue' to ‘Failed' States? The Fallacy of Short-termism," Politics, vol.24, no.3, pp.169-180 (was awarded UK Political Studies Association's annual prize for the best article published in Politics in 2004)