By Hambersom Aghbashian

Soli Özel (born in 1958 in Izmir- Turkey), is a Professor of International Relations at Bilgi, University, Istanbul, and foreign news editor and a columnist for the Gazete Habertürk. He graduated from Robert College in Istanbul in 1975, and received his bachelor’s at Bennington College in 1980 and his master’s at John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in 1983. He then went on to the University of California at Berkeley for doctoral studies in political science. From 1998 until 2007, he was the Editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy-Turkey, and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Private View, the quarterly publication of TUSIAD, Turkey’s top business association. He has written for Nokta, GazetePazar, Sabah and Görü magazine. Professor Özel has guest lectured at Georgetown, Harvard, Tufts and other US universities and has taught at UC Santa Cruz, SAIS, the University of Washington and the Hebrew University. He has spent time as a fellow of St. Anthony’s College, Oxford and was a visiting senior scholar at the EU Institute for Security Studies in Paris. He has been a Fisher Family Fellow of the “Future of Diplomacy Program” at the Belfer Center of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His writings have also been published in different publications in Turkey and abroad. Özel is the co-author of “Rebuilding a partnership: Turkish-American relations in a new era”. (1)(2)

According to PanArmenian.net (April 1, 2010), “Some representatives of Turkish intelligentsia urge Turkey, which seeks EU membership, to follow the Serbian parliament’s example, which condemned the 1995 killings of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica, and apologize to Armenians for the 1915 Genocide. The offer was advanced by Maya Arakon, assistant professor of International Relations from Yeditepe University, and Soli Özel, professor of International Relations and Political Science at Istanbul’s Bilgi University. (3)

According to “Today’s Zaman”, September 26, 2014, “A group of academics, journalists, artists and intellectuals have released a statement condemning in the harshest terms what they define as expressions that include ‘open hatred and hostility’ towards Armenians in Turkish schoolbooks. A letter accompanying the text of the condemnation, written by historian Taner Akçam, notes that including such expressions as lesson material to teach children is a disgrace. The statement said ‘The revolutions history and history textbooks should be collected immediately, with an apology issued to everyone and particularly to Armenian students.” The signees said textbooks in schools should seek to encourage feelings of peace, solidarity and living together over inciting hatred towards different religious and cultural groups. Professor Soli Özel was one of the many most respected Turkish politicians who signed it. (4)

Professor Soli Özel’s two latest published works are “A Moment of Elation: The Gezi Protests/Resistance and the Fading of the AKP Project” in The Making of a Protest Movement in Turkey: Occupygezi, and an article co-authored with Serhat Guvenc, entitled “NATO and Turkey in the Post-Cold War World: Between Abandonment and Entrapment”.
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1- http://www.gmfus.org/expert/experts_dirc/soli-zel/
2- http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/events/6321/soli_ozel.html
3- http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/world/news/46423/
4- http://www.todayszaman.com/national_group-of-intellectuals-condemn-anti-armenian-statements-in-textbooks_359935.html

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