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ESRA DILEK icon down
Esra Dilek
Esra Dilek
2022/23 Mercator-IPC Fellow

Esra Dilek is a visiting scholar at the Department of Political Science at Bilkent University. She completed her Fulbright Fellowship at the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University in Washington, DC, in January 2022. She received her PhD degree in Political Science from Bilkent University in 2019. During 2016–2017, she spent a year as a pre-doctoral researcher at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School for International Studies at the Conflict Resolution Institute. 

Dilek’s research focuses on international norms, peace processes, and more recently, on the intersection of illiberalism and peacemaking. Dilek has conducted long- and short-term field research in Turkey, Colombia, and Georgia, mainly with political decision-makers and civil society representatives. Her publications have appeared in academic journals such as Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, Peacebuilding, and Middle Eastern Studies.

Project: “Turkey’s Contestation of Liberal Peacemaking Norms: Prospects for EU-Turkey Relations”

Turkey has experienced important political transformations since the early 2000s, moving from a period of political liberalization starting in the early 2000s to a phase in which such liberalization has been stagnating since the early 2010s. This change has also been reflected in the country’s engagement with its internal and external conflicts. Although presenting variation over time, Turkey has increasingly contested liberal peacebuilding norms and practices, adopting a stance that prioritizes order, stability, hierarchy, and sovereignty over negotiated solutions addressing the root causes of internal and external conflicts.

In this project, I propose to examine the ideational and normative reasons underpinning the increasing contestation of liberal norms of peacemaking through a study of Turkey’s peacemaking discourse and practices in relation to the Cyprus conflict from 2002 to 2020. This study aims to identify the main modes of contestation that Turkey has employed in its peacemaking discourse in the last two decades and the reasons behind contestation. The project also aims to develop recommendations for addressing the wider implications of such contestation for EU-Turkey relations.

Turkey's Foreign Policy in the Eastern Mediterranean: Peacemaking in Cyprus at a Crossroads

2022/23 Mercator-IPC Fellow Esra Dilek's analysis "Turkey's Foreign Policy in the Eastern Mediterranean: Peacemaking in Cyprus at a Crossroads" was published in March 2023.

Click here to download the document.