A Conversation with His Excellency Fuat Oktay, Vice President of Turkey
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
10:30am – 11:30am
Turkey’s role in regional and global affairs has generated much debate in recent years. Turkish foreign policy initiatives as well as the country’s humanitarian diplomacy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to shape regional dynamics. Turkey’s continued presence in northern Syria, for instance, has provided stability in the aftermath of the US (partial) withdrawal. Turkish support for the UN-backed Libyan government in Tripoli created a balance of power, which created space for the ongoing diplomatic negotiations. Despite recent tensions in Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey has called for a peaceful resolution of outstanding maritime issues. Turkey continues to host close to 4 million refugees and it was one of the first countries to provide humanitarian help to Lebanon in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion.
The US-Turkey relationship continues to experience significant difficulties such as the US support for the YPG, extradition of Fethullah Gulen and Turkey’s exclusion from the F-35 program. However, as the Trump administration is willing to listen to Turkey’s concerns seriously, the US’ punitive talk has subsided and President Trump and President Erdogan set a goal to increase bilateral trade to the neighborhood of $100 billion. As the November election draws near, the next administration’s policy toward Turkey will be critically important not only for the two countries’ relations but the NATO alliance as well as the future of Europe.
The SETA Foundation at Washington DC is deeply honored to host a high-level discussion with the Vice President of Turkey on Turkish foreign policy and Turkey’s relations with the United States.
Welcome by Kadir Ustun, Executive Director, The SETA Foundation at Washington DC
Introduction by Burhanettin Duran, General Coordinator, The SETA Foundation
Keynote Address by His Excellency Fuat Oktay, Vice President of the Republic of Turkey
Moderated by Kilic B. Kanat, Research Director, The SETA Foundation at Washington DC
His Excellency Fuat Oktay was born in 1964 in Çekerek, Yozgat and studied Management at Çukurova University. Graduating in 1985, he began working at the university as a research assistant. In 1990, he obtained a master’s degree from Wayne State University in Detroit in business and manufacturing engineering, as well as a PhD in industrial engineering. While in the United States, he specialized in the fields of aviation and automotive engineering. He served as the head of the Management Department and Deputy Dean at Beykent University. Alongside his academic career, Oktay also served as a consultant and advisor for both state-owned and private businesses, serving in the capacities of general manager, vice president and executive board member for many of them. Oktay served as deputy general manager responsible for strategic planning and business development, production planning and information technology as well as sales and marketing at Turkish Airlines between 2008 and 2012. He was responsible for many development projects under the Turkish Airlines brand. Between January 2, 2012 and June 19, 2016, Oktay served as the Head of the Presidency of Disaster and Emergency Management (AFAD). Between June 19, 2016 and July 9, 2018, he served as the undersecretary of the Prime Ministry. He was appointed as Vice President on July 9, 2018 by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Fuat Oktay speaks English and is married with 3 children.
Burhanettin Duran received his BA in Political Science and International Relations from Bogazici University in 1993, and his Ph.D. in Political Science from Bilkent University in 2001. He was a visiting scholar at George Mason University in 2010-2011. Prof. Duran has been focusing on the transformation of Islamism, Turkish Political Thought, Turkish Domestic Politics, Turkish Foreign Policy and Middle Eastern Politics. Currently Prof. Duran is a professor at Ibn Haldun University and General Coordinator of SETA Foundation. On 09th October 2018, Prof. Duran was appointed as member of Turkish Presidency Security and Foreign Policies Council.
Kadir Ustun is the Executive Director at the SETA Foundation at Washington, D.C. Previously, Dr. Ustun was the Research Director at SETA DC and Assistant Editor of Insight Turkey. Dr. Ustun holds a PhD 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, Hurriyet Daily News, Daily Sabah, 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, Politics and Foreign Policy in Turkey: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, and Trump’s Jerusalem Move: Making Sense of U.S. Policy on the Israeli Palestinian Conflict.
Kilic Bugra Kanat is the Research Director at the SETA Foundation at Washington DC. He is also Assistant Professor of Political Science at Penn State University, Erie. Dr. Kanat received his PhD in Political Science from Syracuse University; a Master’s in Political Science from Syracuse University; a Master’s in International Affairs from Marquette University. 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.