SESSION 1. The Turks, Islam, the Ottomans, in History – from the 7th century AD through the Great War
In Session 1, the course will focus on the following: Who were the Turks? How, when and where did they interface in history with Islam, Byzantium, Shia Persia, the Arabs, Russia, the Maghreb, and Western Europe? This session will focus on geography, perspective, religion, the Caliphate, enemies, trade, law, sovereignty, nationalism, and key events and actors.
SESSION 2. Modern Turkey, Birth Pangs, the Cold War, and 21st Century Challenges and Internal Contradictions
In Session 2, we will look at the Turkish War of Independence, post-war diplomacy, Kemal Atatürk, and the formation of the Republic of Turkey from the ashes of the Great War. Focus will then shift to the post-World War II period, domestic political instability, relations with Israel and the Muslim world, the Cyprus intervention/invasion and, in the face of the Soviet threat, Turkey’s alliance with the West. And finally, we will look at the post-Cold War era, Turkey’s economic miracle in the midst of the tensions of a domestic “cold” civil war (Sectarian and Kurdish), energy needs, regional wars, and the implications for secularism and democracy today. How those tensions are playing out externally, both regionally, from Russia to the Middle East, and in the West, from the EU to NATO, will be examined.
America, Europe and Turkey are all in varying degrees of governance crises. Each of these societies is grievously polarized. Older alliances in are in disarray, inviting further division, or exploitation, from their adversaries and competitors, domestic and foreign, from political Islam and world-wide jihad, to Russia and China.