Soner Cagaptay

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Soner Çağaptay is a Turkish- American political scientist based in the United States.[1] He is director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.[2] He is a historian by training and is an expert on US-Turkish relations, Turkish politics, and Turkish nationalism.


Cagaptay received a Ph.D. in history from Yale University in 2003. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on Turkish nationalism.

Besides English and Turkish, his research languages include French, German, Spanish, Bosnian, Hebrew, Azerbaijani, and Ottoman Turkish.[3]


The Washington Institute for Near East Policy[edit]

Cagaptay is the Beyer Family Fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). The Turkish Research Program, since its founding in 1995, has become an influential center for research and information on Turkey in Washington DC. The program conducts important research; hosts Policy Forum luncheons with guest speakers; releases numerous publications in the form of Policy Watches, Policy Notes, articles and opeds; and makes appearances in the media and Congressional hearings.[4] Speakers who have attended the institute’s Turkish Research Program events include personalities such as Abdullah Gul, the current President of Turkey.[5] In addition, they have established special programs such as the Turgut Ozal Memorial lecture series, which honors the late Turkish president by helping raise awareness of Turkish policy issues in the Washington community.[6] Previous Ozal speakers include Bernard Lewis, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Holbrooke, among others. Another special program of WINEP's Turkish Research Program is the Turkish Military Fellowship, which is the only exchange between the Turkish military and a Washington-based think tank in existence. The goal of the program is to increase awareness of Turkish security issues in Washington.[7]


He has taught courses on the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe at Princeton University and Yale University. His spring 2003 course on modern Turkish history was the first offered by Yale in three decades.[2] From 2006 to 2007, he was Ertegun Professor at the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton.

He is a visiting professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.[8]

He has also served on contract as chair of the Turkey Advanced Area Studies Program at the State Department's Foreign Service Institute.[9]


Among his honors are the Smith-Richardson, Mellon, Rice, and Leylan fellowships, as well as the Ertegun chair at Princeton.[10] In 2012 he was named an American Turkish Society Young Society Leader.

In the Media[edit]

Dr. Cagaptay has written extensively on U.S.-Turkish relations; Turkish domestic politics; Turkish nationalism; Turkey’s rise as an economic power and Ankara’s Middle East policy, publishing in scholarly journals and major international print media. These include the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Times, International Herald Tribune, Jane's Defense Weekly, and Habertürk. He is a regular columnist for Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey's oldest and most influential English-language paper, and a contributor to CNN's Global Public Square blog. He appears regularly on Fox News, CNN, NPR, al-Jazeera, BBC, and CNN-Turk.


Reviews for Islam, Secularism, and Nationalism in Modern Turkey: Who is a Turk?

"There is no question that Cagaptay - a highly intelligent, serious, soul-searching, and inquisitive scholar - has put his finger on several crucial issues in Turkish political and cultural life." - Kemal H. Karpat, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 39 No. 2, May 2007

" stands apart from some of the previous works on the subject by its in-depth and judicious analysis based on a careful reading of the available archival evidence" - Sabri Sayari, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, Winter 2007


Reviews for The Rise of Turkey: The Twenty-First Century's First Muslim Power

“Dr. Soner Cagaptay peels back the many layers that make Turkey such a fascinating and important country. With his deep understanding of Turkey, he is able to explore the political, cultural, and economic factors that have shaped its remarkable history and that may foreshadow its future.” — Joseph Lieberman, former U.S. senator

“Dr. Soner Cagaptay is an extraordinary observer of Turkey, and his book, The Rise of Turkey, offers a wealth of insights for both interested observers and specialists alike. . . . For anyone interested in Turkey and American policy toward it, this book should be required reading.” — Ambassador Dennis Ross, former special assistant to President Barack Obama and National Security Council senior director

“For anyone interested in the complex developments that are reshaping Turkey, Dr. Soner Cagaptay’s insightful new book is the place to start. The Rise of Turkey provides a valuable window into the many factors—from economics and religion to politics and the military—that continue to make Turkey one of the most fascinating and important countries in the world.” — Sen. John McCain

Alevi survey results[edit]

According to a university survey results, who conducted in 2005, he concluded that Alevism is a syncretic religion, combining diverse religious beliefs,[12][13][14] which developed from Islam, Buddhist-influenced Turkic shamanism, and some elements of Christianity.[15][16][17] According to Turkish university research conducted in 2005, 44% of Alevi respondents self-identify as Muslim and 56% do not.[18]


For more analyses, click here.


External links[edit]


  1. ^ Sebastian Wojciechowski The modern terrorism and its forms 2007 Page 218 "Soner Cagaptay, a Turkish professor working in the United States,"
  2. ^ a b Expert biography
  3. ^ ""
  4. ^ < About Us/Turkish Research Program :
  5. ^ < TCCB Abdulllah Gul Speech:
  6. ^ About Us/Turgut Ozal Memorial Lecture
  7. ^ About Us/Turkish Military Fellowship
  8. ^ Georgetown University Directory
  9. ^ Biography/Soner Çağaptay'ın Özgeçmişi
  11. ^ Islam, Secularism, and Nationalism in Modern Turkey: Who is a Turk?
  12. ^ Formation of Alevi Sycretism, Ceren Selmanpakoglu, 2006
  13. ^
  14. ^ The making of world society; Anghel, Gerharz et al.; Transaction Publishers; 2008; page 106
  15. ^ Soner Cagaptay, The Rise of Turkey: The Twenty-First Century's First Muslim Power, p. 85. Date=?
  16. ^ Struggling for recognition, Sokefeld, Berghahn books, 2008, page 103
  17. ^
  18. ^ Soner Cagaptay, The Rise of Turkey: The Twenty-First Century's First Muslim Power, p.90. Date=?, Publisher=?