The Future of U.S.-Turkey Relations: Challenges and Prospects Amid Turmoil
- Ambassador Özdem Sanberk, President, International Strategic Research Organisation
- Mr. Osman Bahadır Dinçer, Director, Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, International Strategic Research Organisation
- Mr. Mehmet Yegin, Director, Center for American Studies, International Strategic Research Organisation
- Mr. Hasan Ozertem, Director, Center for Security and Energy Studies, International Strategic Research Organisation
- Dr. Aaron Stein, Resident Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Atlantic Council
- Sir Michael Leigh, Senior Advisor, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
The United States and Turkey share a strong partnership rooted in common values and strategic interests. However, this partnership has been repeatedly challenged with issues including the refugee crisis, violent conflict in the Middle East, and the self-proclaimed Islamic State group and other terrorist groups. What implications do these issues have on U.S.-Turkey relations? What are the challenges for U.S.-Turkish cooperation along the European-Asian axis? How best can the United States work with Turkey to address these challenges? With these questions in mind, The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) invites you to a roundtable discussion with a delegation of experts from the International Strategic Research Organisation (USAK) on the future of U.S.-Turkey relations. The Atlantic Council's Resident Senior Fellow Dr. Aaron Stein will respond to the delegation, and GMF Senior Fellow and Advisor Sir Michael Leigh will moderate the discussion.
Ambassador Özdem Sanberk has been president of the International Strategic Research Organisation (USAK) since 2010, and is co-chair of the European Leadership Network (ELN) Task Force on Greater Cooperative Europe project. After retiring from his post at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2000, he served as director of the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) until September 2003. Sanberk spent more than 30 years as a career diplomat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He served in various positions at Turkish embassies in Madrid, Amman, Bonn, and Paris. He was also appointed to different offices within Turkey’s Permanent Delegations to the OECD and UNESCO. Between 1985 and 1987, Sanberk was the chief foreign policy advisor to then Prime Minister Turgut Özal. Ambassador Sanberk was also appointed as Turkey’s representative on the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Inquiry on the 31 May 2010 (Gaza) Flotilla Incident. After graduating from Lycée de Galatasaray, Sanberk received his bachelor’s degree from Istanbul University’s Faculty of Law.
Mr. Osman Bahadır Dinçer has been engaged in research at the International Strategic Research Organisation (USAK) since 2005, and became director of USAK’s Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies in 2012. As a comparative political scientist, Dinçer has focused the majority of his research on Middle Eastern politics with particular reference to the state, violent/non-violent non-state actors, social and political movements, political development, democratization, and Turkish foreign policy. Recently he has come to concentrate his academic efforts on the Syrian crisis with its various dimensions, including the political transition process, ISIS, refugees, etc. Before beginning his doctoral studies at Bilkent University’s Department of Political Science, Dinçer obtained a master’s degree in international relations from the School of International Service (SIS) at American University in Washington DC, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara. He speaks English and Arabic and is a regular contributor to national and international media outlets.
Mr. Mehmet Yegin became director of USAK's Center for American Studies in 2012 after having been engaged in research at the International Strategic Research Organisation (USAK) since 2008. As a political scientist, Yegin has focused the majority of his research on U.S. politics and Turkey’s security issues with particular reference to the alliances, NATO, U.S.-led military coalitions, and counterterrorism. Recently he has come to concentrate his academic efforts on the anti-ISIS coalition, the Saudi-led Islamic Alliance and Turkey's role in Middle Eastern conflicts. Yegin has co-edited four volumes of the book series Turkish Foreign Policy with Interviews. Yegin has a bachelor's degree in international relations from Bilkent University in Ankara, a master's degree in American politics from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, and is a Ph.D. candidate at Bilkent University's Department of Political Science. He speaks English and French (intermediate) and is a regular contributor to national and international media outlets.
Mr. Hasan Selim Özertem has been a researcher at the International Strategic Research Organisation (USAK) since 2006 and was named director of USAK’s Center for Security and Energy Studies in 2016. As a comparative political scientist, Özertem has focused the majority of his research on security, energy, elite politics, Eurasia, and Turkish foreign policy. He has worked on several projects with the United Nations, the Turkish Ministry of Interior Affairs, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and BP. He was a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center from April to July 2013 and is also the co-editor of the academic journal Review of International Law and Politics. Before beginning his doctoral studies at Bilkent University’s Department of Political Science, Özertem earned a master’s degree in Eurasian studies and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Middle East Technical University. Özertem speaks English and Spanish and is a regular contributor to national and international media outlets.
Dr. Aaron Stein is a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. His research interests include U.S.-Turkey relations, Turkish foreign policy, the Syrian conflict, nonproliferation, and the Iranian nuclear program. Stein was previously a doctoral fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy, an associate fellow for the Royal United Services Institute, and a researcher with the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies. He also worked as a consultant for the International Crisis Group in Istanbul and has published articles and reports on Turkey's nuclear capabilities and Turkish elections. Stein holds a BA in politics from the University of San Francisco and an MA in international policy studies from Monterey Institute of International Studies. Stein received his Ph.D. in Middle East and Mediterranean studies at Kings College, London. He is proficient in Turkish and has elementary knowledge of Arabic and French.
Sir Michael Leigh is a senior fellow, consultant, and senior advisor to GMF. He focuses on European Neighborhood Policy, Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East as well as the future of the EU. In 2006, Leigh became director-general for enlargement with the European Commission after serving for three years as external relations deputy director-general with responsibility for European Neighborhood Policy, relations with Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus, Central Asia, Middle East, and the Mediterranean countries. He began his current role after more than 30 years in EU institutions, including as director in the Task Force for the EU Accession Negotiations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in political science from MIT.