6th Annual Conference on Turkey

The Center for Turkish Studies at The Middle East Institute and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation present MEI's Sixth Annual Conference on Turkey on Thursday, December 3, 2015.
Thursday, December 3
9:00 am - 4:15 pm
National Press Club
529 14th Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20045
(Map)

Event Information

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The Center for Turkish Studies at The Middle East Institute and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation were pleased to present the Sixth Annual Conference on Turkey on Thursday, December 3, 2015. The conference included three expert panels to discuss the country's tumultuous domestic politics following recent elections, the future of democracy in the country, and Turkish foreign policy.

Conference Agenda

Keynote Remarks
Karsten Voigt

Former President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and Member of the German Bundestag

PANEL 1: The Domestic Implications of Erdogan's Win
Abdulhamit Bilici
Editor in Chief, Zaman
Koray Caliskan
Associate Professor, Department of Political Sciences and International Relations, Bogaziçi University
Baskin Oran
Professor Emeritus of International Relations, Ankara University
Richard Kraemer (Moderator)
Senior Program Officer for Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey, National Endowment for Democracy

PANEL 2: Turkey's Middle East Policy Challenges
Amb. Unal Cevikoz
Former Turkish Ambassador to Iraq and the United Kingdom
Amanda Sloat
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Gönül Tol
Director, Center for Turkish Studies, Middle East Institute
Robert Worth (Moderator)
Contributing Writer, The New York Times Magazine

Keynote Discussion
Selahattin Demirtas

Co-Leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP)
Gönül Tol
Director, Center for Turkish Studies, Middle East Institute

PANEL 3: Turkey's Western Partnerships During Troubled Times
Nikos Konstantaras

Managing Editor, Kathimerini
Amb. Francis J. Ricciardone
Vice President, Atlantic Council, and Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey
Amb. Namik Tan
Former Turkish Ambassador to the United States
Amb. Robert Pearson (Moderator)
Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and Fellow, Middle East Institute

Speaker Biographies

Abdülhamit Bilici
Editor in Chief, Zaman
Abdülhamit Bilici is the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Zaman and the chief executive officer of the paper’s English-language periodical, Today's Zaman. He previously served as general director of Cihan News Agency and editor of Aksiyon Weekly Magazine. Bilici began his journalism career as a correspondent at Zaman Daily, where he also served as foreign news editor from1998-2001 and as general editor from 2002-2008. He continues to write a column in Zaman and Today’s Zaman dailies and is a frequent commentator on Turkey’s foreign policy and regional politics in local and international television programs. He earned his master’s degree from Istanbul University and is currently pursuing his doctoral degree.
 

Koray Caliskan
Associate Professor, Department of Political Sciences and International Relations, Bogaziçi University
Koray Caliskan is associate professor of political science at Bogazici University, where he researches political parties, democratization, and competitive authoritarianism. He received his Ph.D. with distinction from New York University, with which he earned the Malcolm Kerr Social Science Award from the Middle East Studies Association. Previously, Caliskan worked as a columnist on politics for Radikal and BirGün newspapers and as a program host for Haberturk and +1 TV  in Istanbul. His book Market Threads analyzes international trade and global markets, particularly in Turkey, Egypt, and the United States (Princeton University Press, 2011). 
 

Ünal Çeviköz
Former Turkish Ambassador to Iraq and the United Kingdom
Ünal Çeviköz served as the Turkish Ambassador to Iraq from 2004 to 2006 and as Ambassador to London from 2010 to 2014. Between those assignments he served as deputy undersecretary for bilateral political affairs at the Turkish Foreign Ministry and prepared the protocols signed between Turkey and Armenia from 2007-2010. Çeviköz began his career as second secretary in the Turkish embassy in Moscow and as consul at the Turkish Consulate General in Bregenz. After completing his duties as the chief of section at the East European Department of the Foreign Ministry, he was assigned as counselor at the Turkish embassy in Sofia. In 1989, he was detached from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to work in NATO’s International Secretariat, first at the Economics Directorate and then the Political Directorate. In 1994, he was commissioned with launching the NATO Information Office in Moscow, after which he prepared the NATO-Russia Founding Act. Çeviköz, returned to the MFA in Ankara in 1997, after ending his tenure at NATO International Secretariat. After completing his duty as the head of the Balkan Department and then as the deputy director general for Caucasus and Central Asia, he served as Turkey’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan from 2001-2004. Çeviköz was elected to serve as president of the 28th general assembly of International Maritime Organization in 2013 and opened the 29th assembly on November 23rd to deliver the duty to the newly elected president.

Selahattin Demirtaş
Co-Leader, Peoples' Democratic Party, Turkey
Selahattin Demirtaş is the leader in parliament of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). Demirtaş started his political career as a member of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) in 2007. In that year he was elected to Turkey's parliament and became chief officer of the party’s group in the legislature. The DTP was closed down by Supreme Court order in 2009, and its members of parliament moved to the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). Demirtas won re-election to parliament in 2011 as a co-chairman of the BDP. In 2014 Demirtaş became co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) – a new initiative originating from a three-year-old coalition of the BDP and various other political parties and organizations. As the HDP’s candidate for president in June of 2014, Demirtas gained 10% of the popular vote. In Turkey’s June 2015 parliamentary election with Demirtas as lead candidate, the HDP exceeded expectations by winning over 13% of the vote and 80 seats, making it the third largest caucus. In the November 1 election that followed the failure to form a goverment, Demirtas again led his party over the 10% threshold for representation in parliament.

Nikos Konstantaras
Managing Editor, Kathimerini
Nikos Konstantaras is a managing editor and a columnist of the Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini. He became a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times in the fall of 2013. Konstantaras is also the founding editor of Kathimerini’s English edition, which since 1998 has been published as a supplement to The International New York Times (formerly The International Herald Tribune) in Greece and Cyprus. He was also the editor of Athens Plus, an English-language weekly published by Kathimerini and The Herald Tribune. Konstantaras worked as a correspondent for the Associated Press in Athens from 1989 to 1997 before joining Kathimerini.
 

Richard Kraemer (Moderator)
Senior Program Officer for Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey, National Endowment for Democracy
Richard Kraemer is a fellow in the Project on Democratic Transitions at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and the senior program officer for Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey at the National Endowment for Democracy. Previously, he oversaw projects in those countries and the Levant at the Center for International Private Enterprise, spending two years in Kabul, where he was a technical and legal advisor to the Afghanistan International Chamber of Commerce. He is an affiliated expert of the Public International Law and Policy Group where he advised the governments of Georgia and Montenegro. Richard is a member of the New York State Bar Association with a juris doctor from American University.
 

Baskin Oran
Professor Emeritus of International Relations, Ankara University
Baskin Oran is professor emeritus and former department chair of international relations at Ankara University, where he earned his Ph.D. in political science in 1974. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford and Harvard Universities and a lecturer at the Academy of the Turkish Foreign Ministry. In 2004 he chaired the Minority and Cultural Rights subcommittee of the Turkish Advisory Council on Human Rights where he wrote the “Minority and Cultural Rights Report,” which set a milestone in Turkey's debate on minority rights. Oran is a regular columnist with Turkish Armenian weekly Agos and is the author and editor of 20 books and many articles dealing with Turkey's international relations, nationalism, multiculturalism, and minority rights. His three-volume Turkish Foreign Policy is the standard work for the study of the international relations of Turkey (University of Utah Press, 1999-2006). As a faculty member of Ankara University, he challenged the practices of Turkish state institutions, leading him to being dismissed four times by ruling military juntas in 1971 and 1982.

Robert Pearson (Moderator)
Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and Fellow, Middle East Institute
Ambassador (ret.) W. Robert Pearson is a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute, where he focuses on Turkey with particular emphasis on Turkish relations with the EU, Russia, the Middle East, and the United States. Amb. Pearson is a retired career Foreign Service Officer who served as U.S. ambassador to Turkey from 2000 to 2003. He was director general of the U.S. Foreign Service from 2003 to 2006, repositioning the American Foreign Service to meet the challenges of the 21st century and winning two national awards for his efforts. He served from 2008 to 2014 as president of IREX, an international development NGO based in Washington, spearheading its expansion to reach more than 125 countries worldwide. He has published numerous articles, blogs and opinion pieces on diplomacy, foreign policy, Turkey, NGOs, and development. He is a frequent speaker on issues concerning Turkey, international development and the role of diplomacy in American engagement abroad.

Francis J. Ricciardone
Vice President, Atlantic Council, and Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey
Francis J. Ricciardone is vice president of the Atlantic Council and the director of the Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. Previously, he was a career Foreign Service Officer who served as Ambassador to Turkey from 2011 to 2014, chargé d'affaires and deputy ambassador to Afghanistan (2009- 2010), Ambassador to Egypt (2005-2008), and Ambassador to the Philippines and Palau (2002-2005). As Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's special coordinator for the transition of Iraq from 1999 to 2001, Amb. Ricciardone supported the reestablishment of the democratic opposition to the Saddam Hussein regime. In 2004, Secretary of State Colin Powell assigned him to organize the new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad replacing the Coalition Provisional Authority. He worked with Egyptian, Israeli, and other international military forces as chief of the Civilian Observer Unit of the Multinational Force and Observers in Egypt's Sinai Desert from 1989-1991. In 1993, he served as political adviser to U.S. and Turkish generals commanding Operation Northern Watch in northern Iraq, based in Turkey.

Amanda Sloat
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Amanda Sloat assumed her duties as deputy assistant secretary for Southern Europe and East Mediterranean Affairs within the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs in September 2013. She currently focuses on issues related to Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey. Most recently, she served as senior advisor to the White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and Gulf Region. Sloat worked previously at the State Department, serving as senior adviser to the assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs. She served as senior professional staff on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, with responsibility for European policy. She holds a Ph.D. in politics from the University of Edinburgh.
 

Namık Tan
Former Turkish Ambassador to the United States
Namık Tan was the Turkish Ambassador to the United States from February 2010 until May 2014. Prior to that appointment, he served as deputy undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responsible for bilateral political affairs and public diplomacy. He was previously Ambassador of Turkey to Israel from 2007 to 2009. Tan joined the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1982 and has held posts in Ankara, Moscow, and Abu Dhabi. He was later assigned to the Turkish Embassy in Washington, where he served as counselor from 1991 to 1995 and first counselor from 1997 to 2001. Between these assignments, Tan served as chief of cabinet to the Turkish Foreign Minister. Upon his return to Turkey in 2001, he was appointed as head of the Department for the Americas, and was subsequently named head of the Information Department in 2002. He went on to serve as the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2004 to 2007.

Gönül Tol
Founding Director, Center for Turkish Studies, Middle East Institute
Gönül Tol is the founding director of the Middle East Institute’s Center for Turkish Studies. She is also an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Institute for Middle East Studies and authors a weekly column for the liberal Turkish daily Radikal. She previously worked at the U.S. Representative Office of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD) and has lectured as an adjunct professor at the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University. She writes extensively on Turkey-U.S. relations, Turkish domestic politics, Turkish foreign policy, and the Kurdish issue. She is a frequent media commentator on Islamist movements in Western Europe and Turkish politics. She received her Ph.D. in political science from Florida International University, where she was a graduate fellow at the Middle East Studies Center. 

Karsten D. Voigt
Former member of the Bundestag, Germany
Karsten Voigt is an expert in foreign and security policy and former Coordinator of German-North American Cooperation at the German Federal Foreign Office, a post he held from 1999 to 2009. While serving in Germany’s national legislature from 1976 to 1998 he was also a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and served as president of that body 1994-96. Since 1973, Voigt has been a member of the working group on Turkey on the board of the German Social Democratic Party’s commission on international politics. During his long career in elective office and since, he has been active as a commentator and columnist on foriegn affairs.
 

Robert Worth (Moderator)
Contributing Writer, The New York Times Magazine
Robert Worth is a career journalist who spent fourteen years as a correspondent for The New York Times. He served the as the Times’ correspondent in Baghdad from 2003 to 2006 and the paper’s Beirut bureau chief from 2007 to 2011. Worth was an editor of the Washington Monthly from 1998-1999 until he joined the Times as a reporter on the metropolitan desk in 2000. He continues to be a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine and The New York Review of Books. Last year, Worth was a public policy fellow in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Middle East Program, where he worked on his forthcoming book A Rage for Order: the Middle East in Turmoil from Tahrir Square to ISIS which will be released in April from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.