Qualifica Assegnista
E-mail bilge.yabanci@unive.it
Sito web www.unive.it/persone/bilge.yabanci (scheda personale)
Struttura Dipartimento di Filosofia e Beni Culturali
Sito web struttura: https://www.unive.it/dip.fbc

Short Bio

I am a Marie Skłodowska-Curie European fellow at the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage. I work at the intersections of political science, sociology and Modern Turkey Studies. Currently, I research on the politicization of civil society, the judiciary and social movements within the broader framework of Turkey’s competitive authoritarian regime. Previously, I was an Open Society Fellow and post-doctoral fellow at Stockholm University. I have expertise in qualitative and interpretative methodology accumulated over a decade through my PhD research (fieldwork in Cyprus and Kosovo) and postdoctoral studies (field research in Turkey including semi-structured face to face in-depth interviews with CSO representatives and activists, and participant observation). Currently, I work with qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

PhD in Politics     10/2009 - 02/2014                                                                                  
University of Bath                                                                                
Bath, United Kingdom
PhD Thesis: “Legitimation of EU Conflict Resolution through Local Actors: Cases of Kosovo and North Cyprus”

Master of Science in European Affairs       09/2007 - 06/2009                                                                 
Lund University
Lund, Sweden  
MSc Thesis: “Assessing the Impact of the European Union in Kosovo Conflict Resolution: Building States and Societies upon Tabula Rasa?”

Bachelor of Science in International Relations (Hons.)    09/2001 - 06/2006                                                           
Middle East Technical University (METU)
Ankara, Turkey                        
Minor Degree in Corporate Finance/Business Administration    09/2004 - 06/2007
Middle East Technical University (METU)
Ankara, Turkey 


Current Research Project & Position
To Craft an Authoritarian Regime      04/2019-present
Politicization of Civil Society and the Judiciary in Turkey
Marie Curie European Fellowship
Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy
Project’s Webpage: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/213984/factsheet/en

Previous Individual Research Projects 
Closing Civic Space in Turkey      10/2017 - 03/2019
Open Society Fellow (non-resident fellowship)
Open Society Foundations, New York, USA
Building Authoritarianism from Below       09/2017 - 08/2018
Postdoctoral researcher
Stockholm University, Institute for Turkish Studies, Sweden
Funded by Swedish Institute

Previous Positions

Visiting Researcher      05/2016 - 07/2016
Institute of International Affairs (IAI)
Rome, Italy
Project title: FEUTURE - The future of EU-Turkey relations                
Funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020
Project’s Webpage: http://feuture.eu
Analyst/Deputy Editor       01/2015 - 08/2017
Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey
London, UK
Visiting Research Fellow      09/2015 - 04/2016  
Centre for Southeast European Studies (CSEES)
University of Graz, Austria
Research Fellow      01/2014 - 12/2014
Luxembourg Institute of European and Intl. Studies
I organized two international conferences in Luxembourg in collaboration with the European Commission on the 2014 European elections, far-right parties and rise of anti-immigrant sentiments in Europe with 20+ experts as speakers and 100+ participants composed of researchers, local politicians and the public.
Graduate Teaching Assistant      2010-2013
University of Bath
Dept. of Politics, Languages and Intl. Studies (PoLIS)
Bath, United Kingdom
Master Programme Assistant      2011-2012
University of Bath
Dept. of Politics, Languages and Intl. Studies (PoLIS)
Bath, United Kingdom
Research Assistant       2008-2009
European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI)
Flensburg, Germany
Project Title: Representation of Minorities in the Executive, 1990-2008
I created a dataset and a codebook on the population, political representation and social and economic information on ethnic minorities in the post-Soviet region. The dataset covers the years 1990-2008 and 26 countries from Central and Eastern Europe, former Yugoslavia and the USSR and Central Asia.

Invited Lectures & Seminars

  • Politicized and Polarized Civil Society: Government-Oriented NGOs and New Contentious Activism in Turkey, University of Naples L'Orientale, Italy, scheduled on 25 May 2021
  • Entanglements of Populism, Democratic Breakdown and Sacralization of Politics in Turkey, TOMidEast Summer School, University of Torino, Italy, scheduled on 5 July 2021.
  • Emerging Powers, Falling Stars: Brazil and Turkey in the 21st Century, Blickwechsel Contemporary Turkey Studies, 25 June 2020.
  • At the intersection of nationalism and Islam: Justice and Development Party and Religious Reconfiguration of Populist Politics in Turkey, TU Dortmund University, Dortmund, 22-24 August 2019.
  • Politicized and Divided: Government-oriented Civil Society and New Contentious Activism in Turkey, Open Society Foundations, USA, 9 May 2019.
  • AKP’s Diaspora Engagement and Government-Organized Civil Society, University of Graz, Austria, 8 April 2019.
  • Turkey’s Tamed Civil Society, University of Graz, Austria. 22 January 2018.
  • Strengthening the EU-Turkey Energy Dialogue: Common Goals and Challenges, Center for the Study of Democracy, Ankara, 26 April 2017.
  • Turkey’s Turmoil and the West’s Turmoil: How should Europe and the US approach post-coup Turkey? University of Oxford, SEESOX, 6 December 2016.
  • Three Facets of Rising Populism: Cases from Turkey, Europe, and the United States, Sabanci University, Istanbul Policy Centre (IPC), 7 June 2016.
  • Constructing Islam from within and without: Discourses on European vs. other Islam in the Balkans, University of Graz, Austria, 4 December 2015

Presentations at International Conferences & Workshops

  • Breaking and Bridging the ‘us/them’ Divide: New Forms of Civic Mobilization under Authoritarian Pressure, The Eleventh Nordic Conference on Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland, 14-16 August 2019.
  • New Forms of Civic Mobilization under Authoritarian Pressure: Women’s activism and dissident Islamist-conservative civil society in Turkey, Italian Political Science Association, Turin, 6-8 September 2018.
  • Performing ‘New Turkey’: Sacralised Politics and Authoritarian Governance, European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), Hamburg, 22-25 August 2018.
  • Building Authoritarianism from below: Strategic Repression and Co-optation of Civil Society in Turkey, 2017 Keyman Turkish Studies Conference ‘Law and Politics in Turkey’, Buffett Institute for Global Studies, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, United States. 26-26 October 2017.
  • Continuity and Change: Conservatism, Illiberal Governance and Reinvention of Populist Politics in Turkey under the AKP Rule, University of Graz, Austria, 12 January 2016.
  • Nationalism, Statebuilding and Political Dissatisfaction: Lëvizja Vetëvendosje’s Populism and anti-Establishment Politics in Kosovo, Centre for Southeast European Studies, University of Graz and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Zagreb, 30-31 October 2014.
  • EU Conflict Resolution in crisis between international norms and local perceptions?’ UACES 42nd Annual Conference, Passau, Germany, 3-5 September 2012.
  • ‘Reluctant’ ‘Minorities’: Kosovo Serbs and Turkish Cypriots between EU Norms and Titular State Policies’, Assessing the Accession, 2012 Research Symposium, Tartu, Estonia, 14-15 June 2012.
  • The EU and Secessionist Claims: Cases of Kosovo and TRNC, the European Union in International Affairs III, Brussels, Belgium, 3-5 May 2012.
  • EU Conflict Resolution in Kosovo: Seeking Legitimacy on the Ground, UACES 41st Annual Conference, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 5-7 September 2011.
  • EU Conflict Resolution: Lack of Legitimacy, Lack of Authority?, UACES Student Forum 12th Annual Conference, Surrey, United Kingdom,  30 July- 1 June 2011.
  • Seeking (International) Legitimation: Beyond Authority and Power in the EU’s Foreign Policy (co-authored with Richard Whitman), ARENA Workshop, Oslo, Norway, 7-8 October 2010.

Selected Opinion Pieces & Contributions to Public Debate (in English & Turkish)
2020: Politics on Women under Populism and Autocratization, Istanbul Political Research Institute.https://www.istanpol.org/post/politics-on-women-under-populism-and-autocratization ; Authoritarian Populism. Medyascope. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbn0L8fM2Gs ; Populism, Authoritarianism and Women. Medyascope. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_S8MKiSyTes ; Cultural Hegemony and the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Medyascope. 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wep7Xzeb6I8
2019: Youth Groups Cultivating Religious Nationalism. Turkey Book Talk. https://turkeybooktalk.podbean.com; Youth Organizations in the Building of Authoritarian Regimes. Medyascope; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXYzpA3ldm0
2018: Women of ‘New’ Turkey: Sacralised mothers and everyday feminists. 2018. Open Democracy; Political Violence, Civic Space and Human Rights Defence in the Era of Populism and Authoritarianism. Open Democracy.
2017: Turkey is getting more authoritarian. Here’s why funding nongovernmental organizations won’t help democracy. Washington Post Monkey Cage.
2016: What Could and Should the EU Do with Turkey? Open Democracy.