Soner Cagaptay

Beyer Family Fellow and Director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy


English, French, German, Spanish


Specific topics

DiplomacyForeign policyHuman rightsPublic Speakingauthorgeopoliticsorganizational developmentpolitical outlookrisk managementsecurity

Soner Cagaptay is the Beyer Family Fellow and Director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a leading research organization devoted exclusively to the study of the Middle East. He has written extensively on U.S.-Turkish relations, Turkish domestic politics, and Turkish nationalism. He regularly publishes in scholarly journals and major international print media, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, Foreign Affairs, and The Atlantic. Soner Cagaptay also frequently appears on Al Jazeera, BBC, CNN, and NPR.
A historian by training, Dr. Soner Cagaptay wrote his doctoral dissertation at Yale University on Turkish nationalism in 2002. He has taught courses at Yale, Princeton University, Georgetown University, and Smith College on the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe.

Throughout his career, Dr. Soner Cagaptay has contributed to sound U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East with his balanced and realistic analyses of Turkey’s domestic and foreign policies. In addition to providing policy advice through his publications at The Washington Institute, he has also served on contract as chair of the Turkey Advanced Area Studies Program at the State Department's Foreign Service Institute.

Dr. Cagaptay is the recipient of numerous honors, grants, and chairs, among them the Smith-Richardson, Mellon, Rice, and Leylan fellowships. In 2012, he was named an American Turkish Society Young Society Leader.
Dr. Soner Cagaptay has published several highly acclaimed books on Turkish nationalism, foreign and domestic politics. His first book was a published version of his doctoral dissertation on Turkish nationalism in 2006. This was followed by "The Rise of Turkey: The Twenty-First Century's First Muslim Power" published in 2014 and, a definitive work detailing the rise of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his political revolution, "The New Sultan: Erdogan and the Crisis of Modern Turkey" published in 2017. His next book, “Erdogan’s Empire: Turkey and the Politics of the Middle East” explores Turkey’s changing foreign policy trajectory under Erdogan, and will be published in September 2019.

After training in India, Dr. Soner Cagaptay was certified as a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) 200 in 2018.
Beginning in September 2018, Dr. Cagaptay has been working on his upcoming book on Turkish foreign policy. “Erdogan’s Empire: Turkey and the Politics of the Middle East” is set to publish in September 2019, and analyzes 20 years of Turkish foreign policy through a historical lens. This will be his fourth book.

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