Turkey Under Erdogan: How a Country Turned from Democracy and the West

Book cover

Turkey Under Erdogan: How a Country Turned from Democracy and the West

Wednesday, 9 March 2022 - 5:00pm
ESC Seminar Room and Zoom
Dimitar Bechev (Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA))
Ezgi Basaran (St Antony's College, Oxford)
Mehmet Karli (St Antony's College, Oxford) and Kerem Oktem (Ca' Foscari University of Venice)

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On the occasion of the publication of Turkey Under Erdogan: How a Country Turned from Democracy and the West

Since coming to power in 2002 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has overseen a radical transformation of Turkey. Once a pillar of the Western alliance, the country has embarked on a militaristic foreign policy, intervening in regional flashpoints from Nagorno-Karabakh to Libya. And its democracy, sustained by the aspiration to join the European Union, has given way to one-man rule.
   Dimitar Bechev traces the political trajectory of Erdoğan’s populist regime, from the era of reform and prosperity in the 2000s to the effects of the war in neighboring Syria. In a tale of missed opportunities, Bechev explores how Turkey parted ways with the United States and Europe, embraced Putin’s Russia and other revisionist powers, and replaced a frail democratic regime with an authoritarian one. Despite this, he argues that Turkey’s democratic instincts are resilient, its economic ties to Europe are as strong as ever, and Erdoğan will fail to achieve a fully autocratic regime.

Dimitar Bechev is Lecturer at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA), University of Oxford. He is the author of Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe, which explores Russia’s role in Southeast Europe (Balkans, Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey), and coeditor of Russia Rising: Putin's Foreign Policy in the Middle East and North Africa. Dr Bechev has published extensively, in both academic and policy format, on EU foreign relations, the politics of Turkey and the Balkans, Russian foreign policy, and energy security. He has held research and teaching positions at Oxford and Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo as well as visiting fellowships at Harvard and the London School of Economics. From 2010 to 2014, he was the head of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) office in Sofia. Dr Bechev is a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera Online, Oxford Analytica, POLITICO, and EUObserver. His quotes have appeared in leading newspapers such as the Financial Times, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He holds a DPhil in international relations from the University of Oxford.

Mehmet Karli is Assistant Professor of International Law at Galatasaray University Law Faculty and a Visiting Academic at SEESOX, European Studies Centre, St Antony’s College, Oxford. Since 2015, he is also serving as the Director of the European Studies Centre at Galatasaray University. He teaches international law, international economic law (international trade and investment) and international human rights law. His work and research focus on such topics as investor-state dispute settlement, investor protection and political/security crises, international trade governance and WTO, tensions between regionalism and multilateralism in international trade, human rights protection in Turkey, and challenges to rule of law in authoritarian states. As part of his academic visit at SEESOX, Karli pursues two separate research projects. The first one focuses on the potential trade governance alternatives for the U.K. during and after Brexit and the variable geometry of Britain’s future relationship with the EU. The second project examines the challenges to rule of law in Turkey. Karli holds D.Phil, M.Phil and M.Jur degrees from the University of Oxford, Faculty of Law, and an LL.B. degree from the Faculty of Law of Galatasaray University. While he was in Oxford, he worked as a researcher at SEESOX as part of the Programme on Contemporary Turkey. Following the completion of his D.Phil in 2010, he was affiliated with the Centre for International Studies of the University of Oxford as a Senior Research Associate between
2012 and 2016.

Kerem Oktem joined Ca' Foscari University's Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies in July 2021. He is interested in the intersections between global constellations of power, domestic political processes, contested identities and historical memory. He is particularly intrigued by how transnational connections constitute local politics and identities. His primary empirical case is Turkey, while he also has fieldwork experience on Muslim communities in the Balkans and ethnic conflict in Greece and Cyprus. He mainly works with qualitative methods inspired by ethnographic research, and seeks ways to make my research accessible to a larger public. He believes in the responsibility of academics to enrich public debates with differentiated and well-informed insight. His core expertise in research extends from the politics and international relations of Turkey, Turkey-EU relations and nationalism studies to Muslim communities in the Balkans and Western Europe.

In association with the Middle East Centre, St Antony's College.