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Soner Cagaptay

Director, Turkish Research Program, The Washington Institute

Soner Cagaptay is the Beyer Family fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. He has written extensively on United States-Turkish relations, Turkish domestic politics and Turkish nationalism, published in scholarly journals and major international print media.

Cagaptay is a regular columnist for Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey’s oldest and most influential English-language paper. He appears regularly on Fox News, CNN, NPR, Voice of America, BBC and CNN-Turk.

A historian by training, Soner Cagaptay wrote his doctoral dissertation at Yale University on Turkish nationalism. He has taught courses on Middle East, Mediterranean and Eastern Europe at Yale, Princeton University, Georgetown University and Smith College.

His spring 2003 course on modern Turkish history was the first offered by Yale in three decades. From 2006-2007, he was Ertegun Professor at Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies.

Articles by Soner Cagaptay

Erdogan’s Big Gamble on the Hagia Sophia

Turkey’s president, desperate to boost his popularity at home, further damages his country’s international standing.

July 11, 2020

Turkey’s Rising Wave of Social Protests

This year’s Istanbul election and last year’s move to a presidential system have unified and galvanized the opposition, raising questions about Erdogan’s next move.

August 17, 2019

Why Erdogan Won’t Let Istanbul Slip Away

Erdogan can use any number of legal, political or foreign policy tools to ensure his candidate wins this time around, no matter the reputational costs.

May 9, 2019

How President Erdogan Is Turning Turkey Into Putin’s Russia

Erdogan is driving out business people and the well-educated – the economic forces he needs to achieve his goal of transforming the country into a great power.

May 8, 2018

Turkish-Russian-Iranian Summit: Limits to a Tripartite Entente

Putin has Turkey exactly where he wants it: As an upset NATO ally willing to break ranks with the alliance's stance toward Russia.

April 5, 2018

Turkey: Europe Out, Middle East In

As the primary source of tourists visiting Turkey shifts from Europe to the Middle East, a 150 year-long era comes to a close.

November 14, 2017

Turkey Cozying Up to Russia and Iran

What does history teach us about the real prospects of closer Turkish relations with Russia and Iran?

September 1, 2017

Erdogan’s Futile Yearning for Omnipotence

Turkey has become too diverse demographically, too big economically and too complicated politically for one person to shape in his own image.

May 2, 2017

Turkey’s Warming Ties With Iran

The two countries appear to be compartmentalizing their shared and divergent interests in Syria and Iraq.

October 2, 2016

Why Erdogan is on a Nationalist Path

Erdogan's embrace of nationalist rhetoric and actions could have important repercussions on Turkish foreign policy.

May 26, 2016

Israel and Turkey: Approaching Reconciliation?

Normalization negotiations seem closer than ever to conclusion, but significant differences remain on Gaza, Hamas and Egypt.

April 22, 2016

The Syrian Kurds: Whose Ally?

The United States should encourage rapprochement between Turkey and the PYD.

March 30, 2016

War Cabinet or Peace Cabinet in Turkey?

The choice of coalition after this weekend's elections will tell us much about Turkey's future path.

October 31, 2015

United States: How Turkey Fell Out of Favor

Turkey is no longer seen as a staunch ally in NATO but as a wayward country that wears religion and ideology on its sleeve.

October 6, 2015

Will Erdogan Invade Syria?

A ground incursion into northern Syria could pose numerous longer-term threats to Turkey.

July 3, 2015

Turkey’s Post-Election Scene: The AKP-CHP Option

A coalition government of the two largest parties could end an era of polarization.

June 24, 2015