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The Usual Suspects: Ethnicity and Repatriation in Stalin’s Cold War on Turkey, 1945-1949

Dr. Onur İƟçi

Day &Time: October, 27, 16.00
Room: A130

On November 21, 1945, the Soviet Government authorized the return of all Armenians living in neighboring states of the Levant to Soviet Armenia. The Erivan Committee for the Settlement of Armenian Immigrants Abroad announced that Stalin agreed to pay half the cost of building houses for the returned and would set up several registration offices headquartered in Beirut. Although the news of repatriation caused a considerable excitement, there was a widely-held suspicion amongst Armenian community leaders that Stalin’s gesture was nothing more than a part of the Soviets’ war of nerves against the Turks and will not be implemented until the Ankara government ceded Kars and Ardahan. This paper will explore how the Turkish state responded to new Soviet designs in the Caucasus and the role of Armenian-Turkish intellectuals, upon whom Ankara was casting a watchful eye.

Bio: Onur İƟçi joined Bilkent’s IR Department in September 2014. He holds a Ph.D. in History (with distinction) from Georgetown University and specializes on the histories of Russia, Turkey and the lands that connect them. His research and teaching interests include the history of the 20th century, Cold War international relations and Turkish foreign policy.

Prior to his arrival at Bilkent, Dr. İƟçi was a Royden B. Davis Lecturer at Georgetown University, where he taught surveys and seminars on the Cold War, the making of the modern Middle East and Soviet-Turkish relations.

Dr. İƟçi is currently working on a book manuscript that deals with Turkey and the Second World War; and has published on various aspects of Russian/Soviet history and on Ottoman/Turkish diplomacy within the past decade.