Insight Turkey 5th Annual Conference
Turkish Foreign Policy After Elections
8:30 – 9:00 Registration
9:00 – 9:05 Welcome by Kadir Ustun, SETA Foundation at Washington D.C.
9:05 – 9:15 Opening Remarks by Muhittin Ataman, Insight Turkey
9:15 – 10:45 Panel I: Neighboring Civil Wars: Security Challenges from the Syrian Conflict
Mesut Ozcan, Foreign Ministry of Turkey
Trita Parsi, National Iranian American Council
Murat Yesiltas, SETA Foundation
Moderated by Barbara Slavin, Atlantic Council
10:45 – 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 – 12:30 Panel II: The Kurdish Question as a Regional Challenge
Burhanettin Duran, SETA Foundation
Etyen Mahcupyan, Public Policy and Democracy Studies (PODEM)
Denise Natali, National Defense University
Marina Ottaway, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars
Moderated by Ufuk Ulutas, SETA Foundation
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch Break
1:30 – 2:30 Keynote Address by H. E. Mehmet Şimşek, Dep. Prime Minister of Turkey
2:30 – 2:45 Coffee Break
2:45 – 4:15 Panel III: What Kind of a Partnership?: The U.S.-Turkey Relationship
Kilic Kanat, SETA Foundation at Washington D.C.
Hasan Kosebalaban, Istanbul Sehir University
Joshua Walker, The German Marshall Fund
Robert Wexler, S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace
Moderated by Kadir Ustun, SETA Foundation at Washington D.C.
Muhittin Ataman is the Deputy General Coordinator for SETA Ankara. Mr. Ataman graduated from the Faculty of Political Science in the Department of International Relations at Ankara University. Ataman earned his M.A. at Central Oklahoma University, and Ph.D. at University of Kentucky. He worked as an RA and a faculty member afterwards in the Department of International Relations at Abant İzzet Baysal University from 1993 until 2014. Ataman is currently a faculty member at the Faculty of Political Science in the Department of International Relations at Yıldırım Beyazıt University. Mr. Ataman worked at SETA for three years as a part-time research in Foreign Policy Research Department. Currently, he serves as SETA’s Deputy General Director in Ankara, and conducts academic research on Turkish Foreign Policy, the Middle East Politics and the Gulf Politics.
Burhanettin Duran is the General Coordinator of SETA Foundation. He received his B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Bogazici University, and his Ph.D. in Political Science from Bilkent University. He was a visiting scholar at George Mason University in 2010-2011. He was head of the department of political science and international relations at İstanbul Şehir University in 2009-2015. Dr. Duran has been focusing on the transformation of Islamism, Turkish Political Thought, Turkish Domestic Politics, Turkish Foreign Policy and Middle Eastern Politics. Dr. Duran is the author of Türk Parlamento Tarihi and the coeditor of Dünya Çatışma Bölgeleri I-II, Dönüşüm Sürecindeki Türkiye, Ortadoğu Yıllığı 2008 and Türk Dış Politikası Yıllığı 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. His articles have appeared in Middle Eastern Studies, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Journal of Balkans and Near Eastern Studies, Insight Turkey, The Muslim World, EuroAgenda, Liberal Düşünce, Bilgi, Sivil Toplum. He has contributed to several edited books.
Kilic Bugra Kanat is the Research Director at the SETA Foundation at Washington DC. He is also an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Penn State University, Erie. Dr. Kanat received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Syracuse University; a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Syracuse University; and a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from Marquette University. He was awarded the Outstanding Research Award and Council of Fellows Faculty Research Award at Penn State, Erie in 2015. He previously participated in the Future Leaders program of Foreign Policy Initiative. Dr. Kanat’s writings have appeared in Foreign Policy, Insight Turkey, The Diplomat, Middle East Policy, Arab Studies Quarterly, Mediterranean Quarterly, Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, and Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. He is a columnist at Daily Sabah. He is the author of A Tale of Four Augusts: Obama’s Syria Policy. He is also co-editor of edited volumes History, Politics and Foreign Policy in Turkey, Change and Adaptation in Turkish Foreign Policy, and Politics and Foreign Policy in Turkey: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.
Dr. Hasan Kosebalaban is an associate professor of Political Science at Istanbul Sehir University. He is also a research associate at the Five Colleges Inc, Amherst, Massachusetts. He obtained his BA degree in Political Science at the International Islamic University, Malaysia (1995), and his MA degree in International Relations at the International University of Japan (1997) and his Ph. D. degree in Political Science at the University of Utah (2006). He conducted post-graduate research at the University of Tübingen, Germany, in 1998. Dr. Kosebalaban authored Güneydoğu Asya’da Islam ve Siyaset (Islam and Politics in Southeast Asia; Istanbul: İlke Yayıncılık, 1997) and Turkish Foreign Policy: Islam, Nationalism and Globalization (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). His articles have appeared in various academic journals.
Cedric Leighton is the Founder & President of Cedric Leighton Associates, a unique strategic risk, Cybersecurity and leadership management consultancy. Mr. Leighton combines a deep understanding of strategic risk with the Cyber Security expertise he honed during a 26-year career as a US Air Force Intelligence Officer. Since founding Cedric Leighton Associates, Cedric has become an internationally known strategic risk and Cyber Security expert. He has appeared on Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, Bloomberg TV, CNN, the PBS News Hour, C-SPAN, MSNBC, BBC, CCTV (Chinese Central TV), CTV (Canada), ABC (Australia), RT America, Fox 5 DC, Fox 29 Philadelphia, as well as Washington DC’s News Channel 8, where he is a regular contributor to the “Capital Insider” program.
Etyen Mahcupyan serves as an Executive Board Member for Public Policy and Democracy Studies (PODEM). He received his B.A. in Chemical Engineering from Boğaziçi University, his first Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Boğaziçi University, and his second Master’s Degree in Political Science from Ankara University. He previously wrote columns for Turkish national daily newspapers Radikal, Yeni Binyıl, Taraf, Zaman and Today’s Zaman. From 2007 to 2010, he was the editor-in-chief of Agos, the Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper. He has published more than ten books on issues related to the mindset, history and politics of Turkey. Currently, he is a columnist at the Daily Sabah and Aksam newspapers. Between 2012 – 2015, Mahcupyan served as an advisor at TESEV. On October 2014, he was appointed the Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister of Turkey. Mahcupyan is among the founders of PODEM.
Dr. Denise Natali is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) where she specializes on the Middle East, trans-border Kurdish issue, regional energy security, and post-conflict state-building. Dr. Natali joined INSS in January 2011 as the Minerva Chair, following more than two decades of researching and working in the Kurdish regions of Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria. Dr. Natali is the author of numerous publications on Kurdish politics, economy and energy, including The Kurdish Quasi-State: Development and Dependency in Post-Gulf War Iraq and The Kurds and the State: Evolving National Identity in Iraq, Turkey and Iran.
Marina Ottaway is a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center and a long-time analyst of political transformations in Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East. Ottaway joined the Wilson Center after 14 years at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, during which she played a central role in launching the Middle East Program. Prior to that, she carried out research in Africa and in the Middle East for many years and taught at Georgetown University, the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, the American University in Cairo, the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, the University of Zambia, and Addis Ababa University. Her extensive research experience is reflected in her publications, which include nine authored books and six edited ones.
Mesut Ozcan joined SAM of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as deputy chairman in September 2011 and is an advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Previously, Özcan was a visiting scholar at Kuwait University’s Department of Political Science in 2009 and worked at Istanbul Ticaret University’s Department of International Relations as an Assistant Professor between 2007 and 2011. He studied at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University on the Jean Monnet Master Scholarship and defended his dissertation at the Boğaziçi University Atatürk Institute in 2007. Özcan has written three books— Sorunlu Miras Irak, Harmonizing Foreign Policy: Turkey, the EU and the Middle East, and Medeniyetler ve Dünya Düzen(ler)i, Mesut Ozcan ve Muzaffer Senel—and has published articles and book chapters on Turkish Foreign Policy, Middle Eastern Politics and Iraq. He serves on the editorial boards of Insight Turkey, Divan and Perceptions.
Trita Parsi is the founder and president of the National Iranian American Council and an expert on US-Iranian relations, Iranian foreign politics, and the geopolitics of the Middle East. He is the author of Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States (Yale University Press 2007), for which he conducted more than 130 interviews with senior Israeli, Iranian and American decision-makers. Parsi has followed Middle East politics through work in the field and extensive experience on Capitol Hill and at the United Nations. He is frequently consulted by Western and Asian governments on foreign policy matters. Parsi studied for his Doctoral thesis on Israeli-Iranian relations under Professor Francis Fukuyama at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He also holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Uppsala University and a Master’s Degree in Economics from the Stockholm School of Economics.
Barbara Slavin is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and Washington Correspondent for Al-Monitor.com, a website devoted to news from and about the Middle East. The author of Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation (2007), she is a regular commentator on US foreign policy and Iran on NPR, PBS, and C-SPAN. A career journalist, Slavin previously served as Assistant Managing Editor for world and national security of the Washington Times, Senior Diplomatic Reporter for USA TODAY, Cairo Correspondent for the Economist, and as an editor at theNew York Times Week in Review.
Ufuk Ulutas is the Director of the Foreign Policy Studies at SETA Foundation. He received his BA in Political Science from Bilkent University, his M.A. in Middle Eastern History at the Ohio State University, and he is currently a Ph.D. candidate at OSU. He studied Hebrew and Middle Eastern politics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He authored many academic and policy-oriented articles and reports on Middle Eastern history and politics, Israel and Jewish history, Turkish foreign policy and US policy in the Middle East. His articles, comments and op-ed pieces appear in both Turkish and international media outlets, including Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, Al-Ahram and Foreign Policy, and he has been a frequent commentator on both Turkish and international TV channels such as CNN International, Russia Today, Al-Jazeera, BBC, France 24 and CCTV.
Kadir Ustun is the Executive Director at the SETA Foundation at Washington, D.C. He also serves as an Assistant Editor of Insight Turkey, an academic journal published by the SETA Foundation. Dr. Ustun holds a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies from Columbia University and a Master’s Degree in History from Bilkent University. He has contributed to various SETA reports and his writings have appeared in various publications such as Insight Turkey, Al Jazeera English, Daily Sabah, Hurriyet Daily News, Mediterranean Quarterly, and Cairo Review of Global Affairs among others. He is also co-editor of edited volumes History, Politics and Foreign Policy in Turkey, Change and Adaptation in Turkish Foreign Policy, and Politics and Foreign Policy in Turkey: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.
Dr. Joshua W. Walker is a nonresident transatlantic fellow with the Asia program at The German Marshall Fund. Walker is also the vice president of Global Programs at APCO Worldwide in the Office of the CEO, specializing in foreign policy, international affairs, and public-private partnerships. Before joining the private sector, he worked at the U.S. Department of State in Secretary Kerry’s Office of the Chief Economist and served in Secretary Clinton’s Global Partnership Initiative as the senior advisor on the Middle East and North Africa. Walker has worked for the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey Desk at the State Department, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. Walker earned his Ph.D. in politics and public policy with a specialization in international relations and security studies at Princeton University. He received a Master’s Degree in international relations from Yale University, a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Richmond and speaks both Japanese and Turkish fluently in addition to his native English.
Robert Wexler is the President of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace in Washington, DC. He served as a Democratic member of Congress from 1997 to 2010, representing Florida’s 19th district in the House of Representatives before retiring to lead the Center. Wexler was named one of the “50 Most Effective Legislators in Congress” by the influential magazine Congressional Quarterly and was named to the Forward 50 list as one of the most influential leaders in the American Jewish community. In 2008, Congressman Wexler served as an advisor on Middle East and Israel issues to President Barack Obama during his presidential campaign. In 2012, he served on the President’s reelection Steering Committee and addressed the Democratic National Convention outlining the President’s policies related to Israel. Congressman Wexler earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida and law degree from George Washington University.
Dr. Murat Yesiltas is the Director of SETA Foundation’s Security Program. He completed his B.A. and M.A. at the Department of International Relations of Sakarya University, in 2003 and 2009, respectively. He earned his Ph.D. at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Marmara University in 2012 with the thesis titled “Positioning Turkey: Geopolitical Mentality and the Army in Turkey”. Yesiltas was a visiting researcher at the Department of European Studies and International Politics of Lanchester University between 2008 and 2009. He was a visiting professor at Virginia Tech’s Institute of Government and International Relations in 2010-2011. Currently, Dr. Yesiltas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations at Sakarya University. He teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses, such as Turkey’s Middle East Policy, Critical Geopolitics, Political Geography, and comparative foreign policy analysis.