69th Program Year – Fourth Meeting
The Program: “The Rise of Erdogan: The Crisis of Turkey.” Since the failed coup of July 2016, Turkey’s authoritarian slide has intensified. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has used his post–coup State of Emergency powers to crack down not only on putschists, but a wide group of opposition factions from seculars to liberals to leftists, and Kurdish nationalists. Accordingly, Turkey is now divided into two blocks: a mostly conservative half (many members of which Erdogan has lifted out of poverty in the last decade) that adores him, and a mostly leftist half that loathes him.
Presenter: Dr. 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 Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, Jane’s Defense Weekly, Foreign Affairs, Atlantic, New Republic, and Newsweek Türkiye. He has been a regular columnist for Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey’s oldest and most influential English–language paper, and a contributor to CNN’s Global Public Square blog. He appears regularly on Fox News, CNN, NPR, Voice of America, BBC, and CNN–Turk.
A historian by training, Dr. Cagaptay wrote his doctoral dissertation at Yale University (2003) on Turkish nationalism. Dr. Cagaptay has taught courses at Yale, Princeton University, Georgetown University, and Smith College on the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe. His spring 2003 course on modern Turkish history was the first offered by Yale in three decades. From 2006–2007, he was Ertegun Professor at Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies.
Dr. Cagaptay is the recipient of numerous honors, grants, and chairs, among them the Smith–Richardson, Mellon, Rice, and Leylan fellowships, as well as the Ertegun chair at Princeton. He has also served on contract as chair of the Turkey Advanced Area Studies Program at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. In 2012 he was named an American Turkish Society Young Society Leader.
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