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[In-Person] Turkey: The Geopolitical Ambitions of a Middle Power

Abstract: In recent years Turkey has sought to pursue a foreign policy independent of its NATO allies, including the United States. This strategy is often misunderstood as "Turkey leaving the West." Yet it is not so much about being either in the East or a member of the West, but Turkey being Turkey--a central European, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Muslim power in its own right.  

Speaker:  Steven A. Cook is Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is an expert on Arab and Turkish politics as well as U.S.-Middle East policy. Cook is the author of False Dawn: Protest, Democracy, and Violence in the New Middle EastThe Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square, which won the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s gold medal in 2012; and Ruling But Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey.

Cook has published widely in foreign policy journals, opinion magazines, and newspapers, and he is a frequent commentator on radio and television. He also currently writes the blog From the Potomac to the Euphrates. Cook holds a BA in international studies from Vassar College, an MA in international relations from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and both an MA and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. He speaks Arabic and Turkish and reads French.


Professor Ates specializes in Ottoman-Iranian Relations, Kurdish History, the Late Ottoman Empire, Sectarianism in the Middle East, and Borderlands. At present, he is working on a project tentatively called: “Sheikh Abdulqadir Nehri and the Pursuit of an Independent Kurdistan.” In this project, Ates explores what historical conditions account for how the Kurds became the largest ethnic group without its own nation. He sets out to answer this question on the basis of a wide variety of primary sources in Modern Turkish, Ottoman Turkish, Persian, English, and French. Anchored in the biography of its protagonist, Seyyid Abdulqadir of Nehri the book explores efforts to establish or prevent the creation of Kurdistan as an independent state or autonomous entity starting in the mid-1870s. In particular, it focuses on the tumultuous period between 1880-1925, during which the creation of a Kurdish state emerged as a distinct possibility and then quickly unraveled. Moreover, it studies what role did the Kurds themselves play in making or unmaking a state of their own. In addition to this project Ates is also working on two articles: “1639 Treaty of Zohab: Founding Myth or Founding Document,” and another article on the role of sectarianism in Ottoman-Iranian relations.

Location: Underwood Law Library, 3315 Daniel Ave, Dallas, TX 75205, Hillcrest Room

Thursday, October 27, 2022
5:30pm - 7:00pm
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