UMC Links

Turkish Studies Project Launched at U

Mar. 10, 2009 – A new Turkish studies project titled “The Origins of Modern Ethnic Cleansing: The Collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the Emergence of Nation States in the Balkans and Caucasus” will be launched this spring by Hakan Yavuz, associate professor of political science with a joint appointment in the University of Utah’s Middle East Center.

According to Yavuz, this four-year project, funded in part by the Turkish Coalition of America, will explore the shaping of modern Turkish identity through scholarly work, conferences, community participation and support for new research, much of which will focus on a series of traumatic formative events including crises in the Balkans and the Caucasus, the loss of major territories and forced migration that presaged the establishment of the Turkish Republic.

Lincoln McCurdy, president of the Turkish Coalition of America, said in a recent public statement that he expects this project to be particularly vital because he anticipates it will produce a new cadre of scholars who will impact the study of Turkey and the surrounding region. Over the next four years, thanks to the generosity of the coalition’s grant, this project will fund graduate students, research, publications and a series of interdisciplinary conferences.

Bahman Baktiari, director of the U’s Middle East Center, states, “I’m delighted that the center’s faculty members continue to explore so many critical and diverse areas of research. I believe this particular project, which comes with four years of funding from the Turkish Coalition of America, will compliment the international work being done by other Middle East Center faculty and researchers.”

To provide insight, balance and guidance to the project, Yavuz has established an impressive project partnership board composed of recognized experts and leaders in Turkish history and affairs. This board includes: Sukru Elekdag, member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly and former ambassador to the United States; Rifat Hisarciklioglu, president of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey; Yusuf Sarinay, director of the State Archives of Turkey; Norman Stone, historian and professor of international relations at Bilkent University; and Alev Alatli, journalist and writer.

To learn more about the Middle East Center at the University of Utah, visit the Center’s website at or call directly at (801) 581-6181.