I am a scholar of comparative politics, with a focus on comparative politics of ethnicity, religion, and nationalism, and Professor in the Department of International Relations at Koç University in Istanbul. After completing my BA and MA at the University of Chicago and my PhD in political science at the University of California, Berkeley, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and a Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Government at Harvard University. My book, Regimes of Ethnicity and Nationhood in Germany, Russia, and Turkey (Cambridge University Press, 2012) received the 2013 Joseph Rothschild book prize from the Association for the Study of Nationalities. My academic articles have been published in World Politics, Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Politics, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Post-Soviet Affairs, Mediterranean Politics, Social Science Quarterly, European Journal of Sociology, Nationalities Papers, Problems of Post-Communism, Turkish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Osteuropa, Theoria, Ab Imperio, All Azimuth, Insight Turkey, Turkish Policy Quarterly, Central Eurasian Studies Review, Perceptions, Uluslararası İlişkiler, Doğu Batı and various edited books. I published 15 articles in SSCI indexed journals, of which 12 have been single-authored, which you can find under "Selected Publications" below. I published chapters in 20 edited books, 34 research articles in academic journals, and 24 book reviews, which you can find in the "Curriculum Vitae" link above. My H-index was 22 and my i10 index was 40 as of November 22, 2023.
My article, "Regimes of Ethnicity," was the first article published by a Turkey-based scholar in World Politics. My article, "Passport Identification and Nation-Building in Post-Soviet Russia" was the first article published by a Turkish scholar in Post-Soviet Affairs. I am the recipient of Peter Odegard Award (2006), Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant (2010-2014), Baki Komsuoglu Social Sciences Encouragement Award (2011), Kadir Has Social Sciences Prize (2015), TUBA Young Scientist Award (2016), BAGEP Science Academy Award (2017), Koç University CASE Faculty Outstanding Teaching (2017) and Outstanding Research Award (2019-2020), and TUBİTAK Incentive Prize (2019).
As a comparative political scientist broadly defined, the following countries were among the qualitative case studies in focus in my previous publications: Afghanistan, Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States. In addition, my publicly presented but not yet published works in progress include as case studies the following countries: Denmark, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. I have been the principal advisor of 4 PhD students and 8 M.A. students who received their degrees from Koç University between 2010 and 2022, in addition to some other students in whose thesis committees I participated as a member.
My publications are often explicitly motivated to solve a major empirical puzzle of theoretical significance: In “Regimes of Ethnicity” (World Politics, 2011), I explained why, when, and how states change their policies toward ethnic diversity with a focus on the change in the official policies defining what it means to be German, Russian, and Turkish at the turn of the 21st century. In “Passport Identification and Nation-Building in Post-Soviet Russia,” I explained why and how the removal of ethnicity from Russian identification documents was a major symptom of the state-led effort to change Russian national identity in an assimilationist direction. In “Counter-Hegemonic Visions and Reconciliation through the Past” (Ab Imperio, 2004) and “Turkish Eurasianism as a Pro-Russian Rethinking of Turkey’s Geopolitical Identity” (Turkish Studies, 2015), I explained why and how a segment of the Turkish elite advocated, for the first time in history, Russo-Turkish alliance and integration as the most beneficial course for Turkish national interests. Published in 2004, “Counter-Hegemonic Visions and Reconciliation through the Past” is almost certainly the first scholarly article published in English on pro-Russian Turkish Eurasianism. In “Nationalism and Religion in Comparative Perspective” (Nationalities Papers, 2022), I explained why religious identification motivates and intensifies some nationalisms, whereas it moderates and weakens nationalism in many other nationalisms. In “Comparative Politics of Exclusion” (Comparative Politics, 2020), I explained why and how “the exclusion of Jews and Muslims, the two major non-Christian religious groups in Europe and the Americas, has continued on the basis of ethnic, racial, ideological, and quasi-rational justifications, instead of or in addition to religious justification, since the Reformation.” Why do Turkish language and ethnicity have constitutional status in North Macedonia, but not in neighboring Greece or especially Bulgaria, where the Turkish minority is far more numerous with a powerful political party that has been part of numerous Bulgarian coalition governments? (Mediterranean Politics, 2022) Why is the Muslim minority most underrepresented in the national parliaments of France, which has the largest and one of the oldest Muslim minorities in the West, whereas Muslims are proportionately represented and even overrepresented in neighboring Belgium? (Perspectives on Politics, 2021)