PAI658: Contemporary Issues in Turkey (Fall, Spring)

Turkey is a country full of seeming contradictions. We explore the tensions and opportunities inherent in this complex political and social landscape by introducing key issues in contemporary Turkey and in its regional and global relations. After a brief review of its Ottoman past, we turn to the founding of the Turkish republic in 1923 and Turkey’s ongoing political dynamics: Turkish democratization and challenges to democratic consolidation, including the changing relationship between secularism, the role of the military, and Islam in political life. We will examine Turkey’s tense relationship with the European Union, and its wider strategic and geopolitical role in the region. We will also explore Turkish-US relations and Turkey’s role in NATO, debating the arguments for and against the position that Turkey’s improved ties with Iran, Syria and Russia are beneficial for Turkey’s EU and NATO partners including the United States. In the last part of the course, our focus shifts to issues related to gender, ethnicity and human rights, including ‘the Kurdish question’ and debates about women wearing headscarves in universities. In grappling with these issues and their complexities, we aim to move beyond common stereotypes about Turkey and towards a more sophisticated and nuanced understanding of this crucial country. Cross-listed with IRP/PSC/SOC 458, with additional work required for graduate students.

Department: Public Administration and International Affairs

Location: Istanbul

Semesters: Fall, Spring

Credits: 3