Past Event

X-Raying Turkey: Current Realities and New Aspirations

November 7, 2019
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
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Riverside Church, 10th Floor Lounge, 91 Claremont Ave


  • Ayşe Kadıoğlu, Professor of Political Science, Sabancı University
  • Soli Özel, Senior Lecturer, Kadir Has University
  • Can Selçuki, General Manager, Istanbul Economics Research

This panel will explore Turkey at yet another pivotal point in its history – given the recent political and economic crises as well as regional pressures – and aims to uncover streams of challenges and opportunities for the country in 2020 and beyond. We will investigate the current realities of Turkey, in terms of its state on democracy, economy and international relations. We will also share the most recent public opinion statistics on the key issues impacting Turkey and the region.

The March and June municipal elections have propelled a political wind of change in Turkey, with main cities including the jewels in the crown- Istanbul and Ankara- seeing a shift in voting preferences. However, interruptions to democracy continue both at the municipal and national levels, with fractious approaches becoming more everyday realities. Turkish civil society, academia, media and legislature also continue to feel this sense of enclosure.

The pressure is equally felt in the international arena. For decades, Turkey has been a key ally of the United States, and at the turn of the century became an E.U. accession country. However, the backdrop of weakened U.S.-Turkish relations, a European Union much removed from Turkey, refugee influx in the millions from Syria, and a new alliance with Russia, a centuries old foe, is a significant change of scenery. With the Transatlantic alliance in shambles, Turkey’s strategic identity as a Western country is being put to question both domestically and internationally. Turkey’s recent incursion into Syria is yet another episode adding to the complexity of the equation.

Seating is limited and first come, first served. Advance registration does not guarantee seating; early arrival is suggested.


Ayşe Kadıoğlu is Professor of Political Science at Sabancı University since 1998. She was the Acting President of Sabancı University and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Sabancı University. She will be a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, Sakıp Sabancı Center for Turkish Studies during the 2019-2020 academic year. She is a Fellow at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. Her fields of research are migration and citizenship studies, new authoritarian regimes, comparative nationalisms, early twentieth century liberalism in Turkey, and Turkish secularism.

Soli Özel holds a BA in Economics from Bennington College (1981) and an MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS, 1983). Mr. Özel was a Bernstein Fellow at the Schell Center for Human Rights at Yale Law School and a visiting lecturer in the Political Science Department of Yale University in the Spring of 2019. He is a senior lecturer at Kadir Has University. He has been a columnist at Habertürk and Sabah newspapers. He held fellowships at Oxford, the EU Institute of Strategic Studies and was a Fisher Family Fellow of the “Future of Diplomacy Program” at the Belfer Center of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He taught at SAIS, University of Washington, Northwestern University and Hebrew University. He was a Richard von Weizsacker fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin between 2015-2017 and a visiting fellow at Institut Montaigne in Paris in 2018.

Can Selçuki holds an MSc degree in Economics from Bocconi University. Before co-founding Istanbul Economics, a public opinion and big data firm, Mr. Selçuki worked as an economist at the World Bank Ankara Office working both with the public and private partners in private sector development. His work at the World Bank focused on regional development, competition and innovation policies. Prior to working at the World Bank, Mr. Selçuki worked as an economics researcher at the Brussels based think tank, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), for three years. He is the author of several papers and reports on trade competitiveness, regional development and innovation policy in Turkey. He is a frequent commentator on Turkey and the region in print and visual media such as BBC World News and the Financial Times, and regularly writes on the Turkish economy and politics in Turkish and international print such as Foreign Policy.

This event is part of a yearlong 10-event series celebrating the Columbia Global Centers' 10th anniversary. Click here to learn about the other events in this series.