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IR4118 Guest Lecture Series Concludes with Former Ambassadors Onur Gökce and Faruk Loğoğlu

The guest lecture series of IR4118 course, ‘Turkey and the United States: Common Concerns and New ICT Instruments’, has concluded with former ambassadors Onur Gökce and Faruk Loğoğlu giving the last guest lectures for the semester on April 2nd and 9th. Ambassador Gökce and Loğoğlu joined IR4118 students to share their diplomatic experience and reflect on Turkish foreign policy and recent regional developments.Gökce, Turkey’s first ambassador to Israel between 1991 and 1995 was appointed during the ‘golden’ years of Israeli-Turkish relations which resulted in technological, military, and economic cooperation. In his talk, Gökce described the nature of the relationship between Turkey and Israel as “balanced and even-handed” with a potential to become “sour and confrontational” at certain periods of times depending on the nature of developments in the Middle East. Gökce also reflected on the latest Israeli apology over the Mavi Marmara raid in 2010 while highlighting the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu who apologized for any “errors that could have led to the loss of life” rather than admitting responsibility for the killings. However, Gökce said that the possibility of normalized relations with Israel still exist, referring to the fact that strong relations with Israel continued even during the Mavi Marmara crisis years.

In the last session of IR4118 guest lecture series, the course hosted Faruk Loğoğlu, former Turkish ambassador to the United States, and the Vice-Chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), and a member of the Turkish Parliament. Loğoğlu reflected on Turkish-American relations and shared with the students the times of his office service as ambassador to the U.S. Loğoğlu recalled arriving in Washington D.C. shortly after the 9/11 attacks, which he described as the moment in which “America lost its innocense”. Loğoğlu talked about the history of relations between Turkey and the U.S. and the shared values of “democracy, rule of law, and human rights”. He indicated that the Turkish-American relations strongly developed beyond NATO membership into bilateral agreements and diplomacy, although problems did surface at times, like during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Loğoğlu stressed the need for Turkish-American relations to be more continious, saying that economic and investment cooperation between the two countries remains limited. Loğoğlu also reflected on the recent visits of American president Barak Obama to the region, and the subsequent visits of U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, linking them to regional developments on the Syrian and Iranian front.

By Alp Eren Başer (IR/IV), İlkin Ismayilov (IR/IV), Çağla Kılıç (IR/III), Selay Siperoğlu (IR/IV), Bora Akbay (IR/IV), Yiğit Mahmutoğlu (IR/III), and Pınar Köksal (IR/IV).