Ömer Taşpinar

Ömer Taşpinar

Adjunct Professor of Middle East Studies
European and Eurasian Studies
Middle East Studies

SAIS Europe


  • Middle East
  • Turkey
  • European Union and Transatlantic Relations
  • French
  • Italian
  • Turkish

Background and Education

Dr. Ömer Taşpınar is Professor of National Security Strategy, U.S. National War College. Prior to joining the US National War College, Professor Taspinar was Foreign Policy Fellow and Director of the Turkey Program at the Brookings Institution; Adjunct Professor, European & Eurasian Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and he has held consulting positions at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights in Washington, and at the Strategic Planning Department of TOFAS-FIAT in Istanbul. He is a columnist for the Turkish daily Radikal and the Pakistan Daily Times; has appeared on BBC word, CNN international, NBC, CNBC, CBS and is a frequent commentator for Turkish Television; his research focuses on Turkey-EU and Turkish-American relations; European Politics; Transatlantic relations; Muslims in Europe; Islamic Radicalism; Human Development in the Islamic world; and American Foreign Policy in the Middle East. PhD, The Johns Hopkins University (SAIS).

He is the author: Winning Turkey with P. Gordon (Brookings, 2008); Fighting Radicalism with Human Development: Freedom, Education and Growth in the Islamic World (Brookings Institution Press, 2006); Kurdish nationalism and political Islam in Turkey: Kemalist identity in transition (Routledge, 2005). Other publications include: "New Parameters in U.S.-German-Turkish Relations" (AICGS, February 2005); "The Anatomy of Anti-Americanism in Turkey" (Insight Turkey, July-August 2005); "Turkey's European Quest" (Brookings Analysis Paper, September 2004); "Europe's Muslim Street" (Foreign Policy, March-April 2003); "An Uneven Fit: The Turkish Model and the Arab World" (Brookings Analysis Paper, August 2003).

Download Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Prof. Taspinar in the 2nd of a 2 part series on the paradox of the so-called "New Turkey." (originally published in Today's Zaman)
Prof. Taspinar in the 1st of a 2 part series on the paradox of the so-called "New Turkey." (originally published in Today's Zaman)
How should Turk...

How should Turkey’s current foreign policy be characterized and understood? To answer this question, one has to look first at the three grand strategic visions that have driven Turkish foreign policy: Neo-Ottomanism, Kemalism, and more recently, Turkish Gaullism. The common denominator of these strategic visions is that they transcend the erroneous narrative prevalent in Western media focusing almost exclusively on the dichotomy between Turkey’s Islamic and secular factions. In particular, the way in which Turkey has handled the continuing implications of the 2011 Arab awakening helps to clarify Turkish grand strategy, or its continuing balancing act among these three strategic visions, as Ankara has faced a more challenging strategic environment, most specifically in its estranged relations with Bashar Assad’s Syria.

Spring 2019 
The primary obj...
The primary objective of this class is to introduce students to Turkey’s rapidly evolving domestic and external environment. The first part of the course will broadly cover Turkey’s domestic dynamics. After an overview of the Ottoman legacy, the course will analyze the official ideology of the republic, Kemalism, and the role of the Turkish military as the guardian of this official ideology. The course will then focus on the Kurdish question and political Islam as Turkey’s two major “identity” problems. The rise of the AKP (Justice and Development Party) in the last decade and the clash between Kemalism, the Kurdish question and political Islam will be a major theme of class discussions and presentations. The second part of the course will primarily deal with Turkish foreign policy and Turkey’s evolving strategic vision and culture under the leadership of AKP. Although the main emphasis will be on relations with the Middle East, Turkish Foreign policy towards the European Union and Russia will also be analyzed. The domestic determinants of Turkish foreign policy will be a particularly important theme to explore. (Cross listed European and Eurasian Studies/Middle East Studies)