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BÜLENT ARAS icon down
Bülent Aras
Bülent Aras
Senior Scholar

Bülent Aras is Senior Scholar at Istanbul Policy Center. He was the academic advisor to H.E. Prof. Dr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, then Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey from 2009 to 2014. As a leading expert on Turkish foreign policy, Middle Eastern politics, and Central Asia, he has worked as a consultant for numerous organizations, such as Oxford Analytica, Microsoft, and Human Rights Watch. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Black Sea Studies.

Before joining IPC, Aras worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Center for Strategic Research (SAM) and served as chairman at the Diplomacy Academy between 2010 and 2013. He also taught in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Istanbul Technical University. In 2010, he was Senior Visiting Professor of Turkish Studies at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford. He was a research scholar at the Paris-based European Union Institute of Security Studies in the summer of 2004, at Oxford University’s St. Anthony’s College in 2003, and at Indiana University’s Center for Eurasian Studies in 1998. 

Aras has published 13 books both abroad and at home.  His writings include Palestinian- Israeli Peace Process and Turkey (Novascience, 1998), New Geopolitics of Eurasia and Turkey’s Position (Frankcass, 2002), Turkey and the Greater Middle East (TASAM, 2004) and, as co-editor, Oil and Geopolitics in the Caspian Sea Region (Praeger, 1999), and September 11 and World Politics (FUP: 2004).

His articles have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers and have been translated into several languages, such as Persian, Russian and Arabic. His articles have appeared in Middle East Policy, Journal of Third World Studies, Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Third World Quarterly, Political Science Quarterly, International Journal, Futures, Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans, Mediterranean Quarterly, Nationalism and Ethnic Policy and Central Asia/Caucasus. He wrote a weekly column on foreign policy at Sabah daily in 2009 and 2010. He is editor-in-chief of Perceptions and founding editor of Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations. He serves on the editorial boards of Turkish Studies, Journal of Balkans and Near Eastern Studies, Insight Turkey, Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, and Central Asia/Caucasus, International Law and Politics, Orta Asya ve Kafkasya Araştırmaları, Ortadoğu Etüdleri, Stratejik Öngörü.

Aras has also organized a series of conferences on several issues relating to Turkish foreign policy, security in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, and became a member of several congressional scientific committees. He contributed to the establishment of the Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies (ASAM) and the Center for Turkish-Asian Strategic Studies (TASAM).

Aras received his B.A (1994), MA (1996) and Ph.D (1999) in Political Science and International relations at Boğaziçi University.

COVID-19 and Civil Conflict: The Cases of Syria, Libya and Yemen

Senior Scholar Bülent Aras and IPC Intern Devin Patrick Brown’s policy brief “COVID-19 and Civil Conflict: The Cases of Syria, Libya and Yemen” was published in August 2020.

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The Day after COVID-19: Capacity, Governance and Order

Senior Scholar Bülent Aras and Johns Hopkins University Foreign Policy Institute Fellow Emirhan Yorulmazlar’s policy brief “The Day after COVID-19: Capacity, Governance and Order” was published in July 2020.

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State, Institutions and Reform in Turkey after July 15

Senior Scholar and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator Bülent Aras and Emirhan Yorulmazlar's article “State, Institutions and Reform in Turkey after July 15” was published in New Perspectives on Turkey on November 23, 2018.

The Turkish Government Scholarship Program as a Soft Power Tool

Senior Scholar and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator Bülent Aras and Zulkarnain Mohammed's article “The Turkish Government Scholarship Program as a Soft Power Tool” was published in Turkish Studies on July 22, 2018.

State Capacity, Foreign/Security Policy and Political Crisis in Turkey: The Promise of Administrative Reform

Senior Scholar and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator Bülent Aras’ report State Capacity, Foreign/Security Policy and Political Crisis in Turkey: The Promise of Administrative Reform was published in February 2018.

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The Role of the Turkish State in Conflict Resolution

Senior Scholar and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator Bülent Aras‘ report The Role of the Turkish State in Conflict Resolution was published in December 2017.

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Turkish Foreign Policy and The Qatar Crisis

Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator and Senior Scholar Bülent Aras and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Scholar Pınar Akpınar‘s policy brief “Turkish Foreign Policy and The Qatar Crisis” was published in August 2017.

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State, Institutions and Reform in Turkey after July 15

Senior Scholar and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator Bülent Aras‘ report State, Institutions and Reform in Turkey After July 15 was published in March 2017.

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Turkish Foreign Policy after July 15

Senior Scholar and Conflict Resolution Stream Coordinator Bülent Aras‘ report Turkish Foreign Policy after July 15 was published in February 2017.

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Five years after the Arab Spring: a critical evaluation

Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator and Senior Scholar Bülent Aras and Richard Falk's article titled “Five years after the Arab Spring: a critical evaluation" was published in Third World Quarterly in September 2016.

State, Region and Order: Geopolitics of the Arab Spring

Senior Scholar and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator Bülent Aras and Emirhan Yorulmazlar’s article “State, Region and Order: Geopolitics of the Arab Spring" was published in Third World Quarterly  in July 2016.

The Educational Opportunities and Challanges of Syrian Refugee Students in Turkey: Temporary Education Centers and Beyond

Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator and Senior Scholar Bülent Aras and Indiana University PhD student Salih Yasun‘s policy brief “The Educational Opportunities and Challenges of Syrian Refugee Students in Turkey: Temporary Education Centers and Beyond” was published in July 2016.

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Turkey after Elections: Iranian Nuclear Deal, Kurdish Peace Process and the Fight against DAESH

Director Fuat Keyman and Senior Scholar and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator Bülent Aras' article "Turkey after Elections: Iranian Nuclear Deal, Kurdish Peace Process and the Fight against DAESH" was published in Wilson Center on August 3, 2015. 

International Humanitarian NGOs and Emergency Aid

Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator and Senior Scholar Bülent Aras and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Scholar Pınar Akpınar’s report International Humanitarian NGOs and Emergency Aid was published in August 2015.

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International Humanitarian NGOs in Health Aid

Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator and Senior Scholar Bülent Aras and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Scholar Pınar Akpınar’s report International Humanitarian NGOs in Health Aid was published in August 2015.

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Turkey, the Arab Spring and Beyond

Director Fuat Keyman and Senior Scholar and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator Bülent Aras' article "Turkey, the Arab Spring and Beyond" was published in Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies on July 24, 2015.

Practical Geopolitical Reasoning in the Turkish and Qatari Foreign Policy on the Arab Spring

Senior Scholar and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator Bülent Aras and Özgür Pala’s article "Practical Geopolitical Reasoning in the Turkish and Qatari Foreign Policy on the Arab Spring" was published in Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies on July 17, 2015.

Malaysia and the Arab Spring

Senior Scholar and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator Bülent Aras and Sinan Ekim's article "Malaysia and the Arab Spring" was published in POMEAS in July 2015.

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The "New Iran" Must Still Grapple with Old Enmities

Senior Scholar and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator Bülent Aras and 2013/14 Mercator-IPC Fellow Ebru Turhan's article "The "New Iran" Must Still Grapple with Old Enmities" was published in Europe's World on October 9, 2014.

Turkish-Azerbaijani Energy Relations

Senior Scholar and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator Bülent Aras’ policy brief “Turkish-Azerbaijani Energy Relations” was published in Global Turkey in Europe in April 2014.

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İran Nükleer Anlaşması, Ortadoğu'da Güç Dengesi ve Türkiye

Senior Scholar and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator Bülent Aras and 2013/14 Mercator-IPC Fellow Ebru Turhan's article "İran Nükleer Anlaşması, Ortadoğu’da Güç Dengesi ve Türkiye" was published in ORSAM in June 2014.

Global Turkey in Europe: Political, Economic, and Foreign Policy Dimensions of Turkey's Evolving Relationship with the EU

(July 2012 - March 2013)

This research paper explores how the EU and Turkey can enhance their cooperation in the political, economic, and foreign policy domains and how they can find a way out of the stalemate EU-Turkey relations have reached with the lack of progress in accession negotiations and the increasing uncertainty over both the future of the European project after the Eurozone crisis and Turkey's role in it.

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Making Sense of Turkish-EU Relations in the Aftermath of the Arab Spring

Senior Scholar and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator Bülent Aras' policy brief "Making Sense of Turkish-EU Relations in the Aftermath of the Arab Spring" was published in Global Turkey in Europe in March 2013.

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Remaking Turkey: Globalization, Alternative Modernities and Democracies

Director Fuat Keyman's book Remaking Turkey: Globalization, Alternative Modernities and Democracies was published in 2008 with Lexington Books.

Conflict Resolution, Syria, and Idlib in the Post-Corona World

Istanbul Policy Center organized the webinar “Conflict Resolution, Syria, and Idlib in the Post-Corona World (Post-Korona Dünyada Çatışma Çözümü, Suriye ve İdlib)” with the participation of Senior Scholar Bülent Aras, Director Fuat Keyman, Research and Academic Affairs Coordinator Senem Aydın-Düzgit, and Şaban Kardaş from TOBB University of Economics and Technology on May 27, 2020.

Changing Geopolitics and the Emerging Order of the Middle East: Challenges Ahead, What the Future Holds

Istanbul Policy Center (IPC), with the support of Sasakawa Peace Foundation of Japan and the Middle East Institute at National University, organized an international conference on the geopolitics and the emerging order of the Middle East after the Arab uprisings. The event brought together scholars from across the globe from Turkey to Malaysia, Singapore and Japan. Within the context of the contemporary developments of the Middle East, conference participants analysed the shifting geopolitical strategies of particular nations, investigated the evolution of a new regional order at the macro level, and the focused on the role of the Gulf region within the larger context of the Middle East. IPC research associates Pınar Akpınar and Altay Atlı each made a presentation at the conference and Bülent Aras, senior scholar and coordinator of IPC’s conflict resolution and mediation stream, shared his thoughts with the audience through teleconferencing.

Kurdish Question and Democracy after July 15th

IPC organized the workshop titled “Kurdish Question and Democracy after July 15th” as part of the Post-Coup Opportunities on Conflict Resolution and Democracy Project on December 2, 2016 in Ankara. Director Fuat Keyman gave the opening speech, while Senior Scholar & Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Coordinator, Bülent Aras, and Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream Scholar, Pınar Akpınar, were moderators.

Workshop on International Humanitarian NGOs and Emergency Aid

IPC organized a workshop on “International Humanitarian NGOs and Emergency Aid (Uluslararası İnsani Sivil Toplum Kuruluşları ve Acil Yardım Çalıştayı)” on March 6, 2015 at IPC Karakoy.