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Student workshop

Exchanges on the Middle East II: Turkey and the Middle East

Friday 15 September 2017
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague

Exchanges on the Middle East: Turkey and the Middle East

While Turkey has long conceived of itself as a bridge between Asia and Europe, it also fostered ambitions to be a central player in regional and global affairs. In recent years, which were marked by conflicts and instability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Turkey has sought to deepen its influence and power in the region. This public lecture and debate will explore the background of Turkey’s national, regional and international political strategies regarding the MENA region. This event is organized by LUCIS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Open to all!

Register via lucis@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Participating experts

Soner Çağaptay | The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Soner Cagaptay is the Beyer Family fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. He has written extensively on U.S.-Turkish relations, Turkish domestic politics, and Turkish nationalism, publishing in scholarly journals and major international print media, including the Wall Street JournalWashington PostNew York TimesJane's Defense WeeklyForeign AffairsAtlanticNew Republic, and Newsweek Türkiye.

Amberin Zaman | Journalist

Amberin Zaman is a Turkish journalist and researcher who has covered Turkey, the Kurds and regional conflicts for the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the Daily Telegraph of London. Between 1999 and 2016 she was the Turkey correspondent for The Economist

Since 2016 she has been based in Washington DC where she writes a regular column for the online news portal Al Monitor and the independent Turkish news portal Diken.

About the student workshop

In this workshop, students will be trained from a critical theoretical and comparative perspective to engage with the works of Soner Çağaptay, Amberin Zaman and Günter Seufert. They are also encouraged to articulate questions for the participating experts.

The workshop will be in English, participation is free. We have only a limited number of seats available. Register as soon as possible at lucis@hum.leidenuniv.nl!

As preparation for the workshop, the students are strongly recommended to attend the panel discussion which will take place on 14 September 2017 at 17:00-18:30 hours at Humanity House, The Hague.


In order to participate in the workshop, students will need to prepare several readings:

Visit Al-Monitor and read three articles written by Amberin Zaman. Please follow this URL for one of her articles: Turkey fumes as Siniar Yazidi's desclare 'democratic autonomy'.

About Exchanges on the Middle East: Turkey and the Middle East

In the decades following World War II Turkey focused primarily on its relations with Europe, while following a non-intervention policy with respect to the turmoils in the Middle East. After 2007, President Erdoğan’s Turkey, inspired by Ahmet Davutoğlu’s “Strategic Depth” concept, gradually appeared to loosen its focus on Europe and attempted to increase its influence in the MENA region. After the Arab Uprisings, Turkey was considered as a role model for the MENA region by some, yet these expectations were shortlived. Since two years, Turkey seems to have abandoned the “strategic depth” policy, replacing it with a more pragmatic policy. Turkey’s role in the MENA region is challenged by other regional powers such as Iran, Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia as well as by the increasing international standing of the Kurds in Syria and Iraq. Discussion of this topic, therefore, remains of paramount importance for our understanding of current and future developments in the region. We invite our speakers to react to and comment on the following questions from their own experience and expertise:

  • How can Turkey’s policy changes be interpreted and positioned?
  • How do the MENA countries respond to Turkey’s changing political focus?
  • To what extent are the Kurds challenging Turkey’s position in the region?
About Exchanges on the Middle East

Exchanges on the Middle East is a collaboration between the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS), and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs North Africa and Middle East Department.

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