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Hello and welcome to Armenian News Network, Groong. I’m Hovik Manucharyan.
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In this multi-part Conversation On Groong, Asbed Kotchikian explores Turkey’s transformation throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty first, and the underlying dynamics powering these changes.
Prof. Kotchikian is a senior lecturer of political science and international relations at Bentley University in Massachusetts where he teaches courses on the Middle East and former Soviet space.
In 2002, Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) won a sweeping victory in the country’s general elections, dominating and shaping domestic and foreign policies of Turkey for nearly two decades to this date. Outwardly, under Erdogan’s and AKP’s leadership, Turkey has transformed from a country with a stated and acclaimed foreign policy seeking “zero problems with neighbors” to one that is actively engaged in economic, political and military rivalry with its Middle East and other regional neighbors, as well as balancing global players. Armenia is deeply affected by the quality of relationships that Turkey conducts with each of its neighbors.
In this first part of our Conversation on Groong about Turkey, we explore Continuity and Change in Political Culture and Foreign Policy in Turkey covering transition from Kemalism to Islamism, as defined by the AKP. We look at how recent events fit together within the framework of continuous, yet changing, state policies. We also discuss Turkey’s foreign policy in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean.
Joining us today are
● Professor Ara Sanjian who is an Associate Professor of History and the Director of the Armenian Research Center at University of Michigan, Dearborn. His research interests focus on the post-World War I history of Armenia, Turkey and the Arab states of Western Asia.
● Prof. Varuzhan Geghamyan is assistant professor at Yerevan State University (Department of Oriental Studies) teaching courses on Turkey’s modern history, History of Azerbaijan; Sociocultural anthropology of Azerbaijan; Political ideologies and parties in Modern Turkey & History of the Turkish Republic.
● Prof. Vahram Ter-Matevosyan who is associate Professor and Chair of the Political Science and International Affairs Program at AUA. His research interests focus on Turkish politics, Kemalism, Political Islam & Security in the South Caucasus
● Diana Yayloyan is an Ankara-based Research Associate, working on Armenian-Turkish Normalisation Projects, supported by the EU. Diana is also a Ph.D. Candidate at the Middle East Technical University, focusing on Gender Theory and Peacebuilding.
How have those changes influenced Turkey’s policies domestically (minorities, political parties, etc) as well as in its Foregin policy?
Turkey has been pursuing a more active foreign policy. What are the driving forces behind this foreign policy? How can we explain Turkish expanding influence from its immediate neighborhood to the larger mediterranean?
That concludes this Conversation On Groong about Turkey. We hope it has helped your understanding of some of the issues involved. Be sure to tune in to our next episode where we will continue on this topic and explore Turkey’s foreign policy in the Caucasus.
We look forward to your feedback, including suggestions for future Conversation topics. Contact us on our website, at groong.org, or on our Facebook Page “ANN - Groong”, or in our Facebook Group “Groong - Armenian News Network”.
Special thanks to Laura Osborn for providing the music for our podcast. I’m Hovik Manucharyan, and on behalf of everyone in this episode, I wish you a good week. Thank you for listening and talk to you next week.