Kerem Öktem
Kerem Öktem
2013/14 Mercator-IPC Fellow, AB/Almanya-Türkiye İlişkileri Jüri Üyesi

Kerem Öktem is Professor of Southeast Europe and Modern Turkey at the Centre of Southeast European Studies at University of Graz, which he has joined in September 2014. Before coming to Graz, he was Open Society Research Fellow at the European Studies Centre, University of Oxford. He is a longstanding research associate of the programme for Southeast European Studies at Oxford (SEESOX), Vice-President of the Research Foundation Switzerland Turkey. In addition to his academic publications, he is also a regular contributor to OpenDemocracy and several media outlets.

Kerem Öktem’s main interests lie in the connection between domestic politics and foreign policy, nationalism, and the politics of ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities and social movements in Turkey. He is an expert in Middle Eastern Studies, Turkish Politics, and International Relations.

In terms of regional perspective, he seeks to frame Turkey’s politics and recent history within the context of its overlapping neighborhoods; the Middle East, Southeast Europe, the European Union, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. In terms of methodological approaches, he mostly works with qualitative research tools and ethnographic fieldwork methods.

He completed his PhD at the school of Geography, Oxford in 2006, with a thesis on nation building in Turkey as a socio-spatial project (Geographies of Nationalism). Preceding his doctoral studies, he obtained a M.St. in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at the Faculty for Oriental Studies at Oxford in 2001.

Activities as Mercator-IPC Fellow

Conferences | Workshops | Debates
Making ‘Turks abroad’: Turkey’s new diaspora policies in Western Europe
July 2014 | IPC

Presentation of the Network Turkey project report ‘Signals from the majority’
19 September 2013 | Humboldt University Berlin

Workshop on “The future of the Western Balkans and the role of Turkey
25 September 2013 | European Policy Centre Brussels

Presentation of the project report ‘Signals from the majority’
12 November 2013 | Zentrum für Türkeistudien und Integrationsforschung, Essen 

Conference: Bosnisch, türkisch, deutsch oder … Wege zu einem europäischen Islam? Co-convenor and presenter. Between soft power and normative intervention. Turkey as a patron state of Muslim communities in the Balkans and Western Europe
15-16 November 2013 | Akademie der Diözese Stuttgart – Rottenburg

Presentation of the study Freedom in Diversity: 10 Lessons for public policy from Britain, Canada, France, Germany and the USA (with Timothy Garton Ash)
2 December 2013 | Institute for Strategic Dialogue, London

Presentation of the study Freedom in Diversity: 10 Lessons for public policy from Britain, Canada, France, Germany and the USA (with Timothy Garton Ash)
3 December 2013 | European Studies Centre, University of Oxford

Workshop: Turkey: Past, Present and Future. Foreign policy overreach and failing alliances. The AKP government and the Ikhwan al Muslimin
6 December 2013| University Ca’ Foscari, Venice

Policy Brief: The Nation-State’s Blurred Borders: Erdoğan and the Emergence of Kurdistan in Turkey
January 2014 | IPC

Soft power workshop. Chair and commentator
8 January 2014 | Institut Francais d’Etudes Anatoliennes, Istanbul

Houses of Parliament Debate. Fratricide and Dictatorship: The clash of two political Islams and the cost for Turkey’s democracy
10 February 2014 | Centre for Turkey Studies CEFTUS, London

Conference: Zum gesellschaftspolitischen Hintergrund der Aufarbeitungsprozesse in der Türkei. Keynote lecture: Geschichtsverarbeitung als aktiver Widerstand gegen staatlich verordnetes Vergessen: Die Rolle der Zivilgesellschaft
22 February 2014 | Institut für Migrations- und Rassismusforschung, Hamburg

Lecture: Organisationprinzipen der Macht: Demos, cemaats und state capture in der Türkei.
3 March 2014 | University of Zurich

Speaker: Workshop on Discrimination in Europe
10 March 2014 | Open Society Society Foundation, Berlin

Lecture: Fratricide and autocracy: The clash of two traditions of political Islam in Turkey
16 March 2014 | Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, Doha

Facilitator: Network Turkey workshop “Türkeiforschung in Deutschland III”: Die Türkei im Spannungsfeld von Kollektivismus und Diversität
21-22 March 2014 | Hamburg University

Assembly debate speaker: Turkey after Taksim: Urban mobilisation as challenge to national politics
26 March 2014 | Council of Europe Congress, Brussels

Europe days: L’Europe et le Moyen Orient. Paper: Turkey and the Arab world – Muslim Brotherhood solidarity or patterns of prejudice?
11 April 2014 | Galatasaray University, Istanbul

Presentation: Boundless Diasporas and the dilemma of Turkey in Europe. Migration, citizenship and diaspora politics
14 April 2014 | Mercator/IAI, Global Turkey in Europe – Berlin Meeting

Presentation: The contested territory of political Islam in Turkey: From coalition to fratricide
26 April 2014 | British Association for Turkish Studies, Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge

Annual meeting at the University of Oxford. Presentation: Fitna in power: The war between AKP and Hizmet
10 May 2014 | SOAS Middle East Study Group

Lecture: An den Grenzen Europas: Die Türkei als politische und sozialwissenschaftliche Herausforderung
12 May 2014 | University of Graz

Annual Lecture of the Research Foundation Switzerland – Turkey. Co-convenor of the SFST Annual Lecture.
14 May 2014 | University of Basel

Armenian – Turkish Workshop. Paper: Denial light as new state policy. Circumventing civil society to gain international reputation
9 June 2014 | Sheffield Hallam University

Workshop “The Ottoman Cataclysm” (Co-convenor and commentator).
14-15 June 2014 | University of Zurich

Commentator: Universities in the Neoliberal era
19 June 2014 | University of Rabat

House of Commons Debate. Presidential Elections in Turkey: Reallocation of Power in the State Apparatus?
25 June 2014 | Turkey Institute UK, London

Commentator: Turkey in the 1960s. Social change and political radicalisation
26-29 June 2014 | University of Hamburg

Inaugural meeting of the study group ‘A Shared Perspective of Jews and Muslims for Europe: Comparative Perspective on Issues of Cultural Practices and the Secular Public Sphere.’ Paper: Circumcision, contestation and German fears
3 July 2014 | Istanbul Policy Center


Forthcoming [academic papers and research reports]

Öktem, Kerem, Turkey’s New diaspora Policy: The challenge of inclusivity, outreach and capacity, (Istanbul: Istanbul Policy Center – Stiftung Mercator Initiative, 2014)

Öktem, Kerem, ‘Counting Muslims: Censuses, Categories, Policies and the Construction of Muslims In Europe’, Yearbook of Muslims in Europe 2014 (Leiden: Brill).
[Publication in Autumn 2014]

Öktem, Kerem, ‘Muslim communities in the Balkans: Towards normalisation under uncertain circumstances’, Central and South Eastern Europe 2015 (Milton Park: Routledge).
[Publication in September 2014]

Benhaim, Yohanan and Kerem Öktem, ‘The rise and fall of Turkey’s soft power discourse? Discourse production and foreign policy at the knowledge-power nexus’, European Journal of Turkish Studies.
[Publication in Winter 2014/Spring 2015]

Öktem, Kerem,  ‘Yumuşak gücün peşinde. Türkiye’nin dış politikasında yeni aktörler’, in: Oktav, Özden and Helin Sarı Ertem: Süreklilik ve Değişim temelinde Erdoğan Dönemi Türk Dış Politikası (Istanbul: Nobel).
[Publication in Autumn 2014]

Öktem, Kerem, ‘Tahrir does not happen here. Turkish Perceptions of the Egyptian Revolution’in: Abou-El Fadl, Reem, The Egyptian Revolution: Causes, Characteristics and Fortunes (I.B. Tauris & Co., London).
[Publication in Winter 2014]

Published academic

Öktem, Kerem and Sossie Kasbarian, ‘Subversive friendships: Turkish and Armenian encounters in transnational space’, Patterns of Prejudice (Vol. 48, No. 2, 2014, pp. 121-146)

Öktem, Kerem and Sossie Kasbarian, ‘Armenians, Turks and Kurds beyond denial: An introduction’, Patterns of Prejudice (Vol. 48, No. 2, 2014, pp. 115-120).

Garton Ash, Timothy, Mortimer, Edward and Kerem Öktem, Freedom in Diversity: Ten Lessons for Public Policy from Britain, Canada, France, Germany and the United States  (Oxford: Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom, 2013).

Op-ed and research reports

Öktem, Kerem and Christopher Sisserian, ‘Turkey’s Armenian opening: towards 2015‘, OpenDemocracy, 25 June 2014.

Öktem, Kerem, ‘Leviathan in the lure of Mammon: limits of political Islam in Turkey‘, OpenDemocracy, 26 April 2014.

Öktem, Kerem, ‘Turkey’s predicament: vicious circles and unexpected possibilities‘, Inside Story, 22 April 2014.

Öktem, Kerem, ‘Turkey’s Democratic Future In Suspense‘, The Cairo Review Of Global Affairs, 7 April 2014.

Öktem, Kerem, The nation-state’s blurred borders: Erdoğan and the emergence of Kurdistan in Turkey (Istanbul: Istanbul Policy Center – Stiftung Mercator Initiative, January 2014).

Öktem, Kerem, ‘The two ends of Cowley road: Diversity and its challenges‘, OpenDemocracy, 5 December 2013.

Öktem, Kerem, Signale aus der Mehrheitsgesellschaft: Auswirkungen der Beschneidungsdebatte und staatlicher Überwachung islamischer Organisationen auf Identitätsbildung und Integration in Deutschland (Oxford: European Studies Centre, St Antony’s College, 2013).