Center for the Study of Politics (CEVIPOL)
Department of Political Science
Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
S.11.117, Avenue Jeanne 44, B-1050
Dr. Seda Gürkan is a Lecturer in Political Science and EU Studies at the Political Science Department and the European Studies Institute (IEE), Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). She is a graduate of the London School of Economics (LSE), ULB and Diplomatic School of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Gürkan was previously a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington DC and a visiting fellow at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). In addition to her wide range of academic experience in EU Studies, she has worked at the highest levels of professional politics and policy: as a member of NATO International Staff and advisor to the Assistant Secretary General at NATO HQ dealing with NATO-EU relations, cyber defence, missile defence and counter-terrorism; as a consultant to the European Parliament; and as a lobbyist, researcher and trainer in Washington DC, London, Brussels, Istanbul and Madrid. Dr. Gürkan regularly provides expert opinions to the European Parliament on the EU's enlargement, human rights and the EU's neighbourhood. Dr. Gürkan is the country expert (Turkey) for Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) since 2018.
Dr. Gürkan's research interests include the EU’s external relations (with a focus on the Eastern neighbourhood, human rights and enlargement), the crises the EU has been facing since 2009, the EU's role in global affairs, EU institutions, European integration theories, parliamentary diplomacy (European Parliament) and emotions in international relations. Dr. Gürkan has published on these topics in peer reviewed journals and book chapters in edited volumes, and has presented around 70 innovative papers at leading international conferences and workshops. Her latest publications include a co-authored volume with Nathalie Brack ‘Theorizing the Crises of the European Union’ published by Routledge in 2021 and a Special Issue she co-edited with Ozlem Terzi and Trineke Palm on the ‘Emotions in EUropean Foreign Policy’ by Global Affairs in 2021. She is currently involved in two Horizon Europe projects, both dealing with the impact of the processes of autocratisation in the EU's neighbouring countries on the EU's foreign policy instruments: Horizon-MSCA ‘Globalisation, Europe and Multilateralism: Democratic institutions, the rise of alternative models and mounting normative dissensus’ and Horizon RIA project ‘Respond to Emerging Dissensus: Supranational Instruments and Norms of European democracy’.
Dr. Gürkan is a former scholar of German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) and Atlantik Brücke Young Leaders Program Alumna. She was awarded Jean Monnet scholarship by the European Commission. Dr. Gürkan was a Robert Schuman Scholar at the European Parliament, Directorate General for Committees and Delegations, Enlargement section (Brussels) in 2003. She offered senior courses on international relations and international security at NATO Defence College (Rome, Italy) and NATO School in Oberammergau (Germany). She received NATO research award with her research project on European Security Architecture. Dr. Gürkan is a former American Field Service (AFS) scholar and she holds an Art Diploma from Rome, Italy. Dr. Gürkan speaks Turkish (native), Spanish (native), English, French and Italian (all fluent).
10/2015 – present: Lecturer in International Relations and European Studies, Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences, Political Science Department, ULB; Institute for European Studies (IEE) and CEVIPOL
01/2020 – present: Consultant to the European Parliament on enlargement, democratization and human rights, Office of the Spokesperson on Human Rights and Standing Rapporteur on Turkey (part-time)
10/2018 – present: Bertelsmann Stiftung, (autocratisation and Turkey) expert (part-time)
2014 Ph.D. in Political Science and Social Sciences, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels
- Dissertation: ‘The Impact of the EU on Turkish Foreign Policy during the Pre-Accession Process to the EU (1997-2005): A la Carte Europeanization’
- Supervisor: Prof. Mario Telò
2002 Master of Science (MSc) in European Studies, London School of Economics and Political Science
- Thesis: ‘The Implications of the Common European Security and Defence Policy (CESDP) for non-EU, European NATO Allies’
- Supervisor: Prof. William Wallace
Previous Research and Work Experience
2020-2021: Visiting fellow at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), Political Science Department
2012-2014: Research Fellow (May-June 2012) and non-resident fellow (June 2012-2014), Johns Hopkins University, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Center for Transatlantic Relations, Washington DC
2006-2012: Advisor to the Assistant Secretary General, member of NATO International Staff, responsible for NATO-EU relations, counter-terrorism, cyber defence and defence aspects of military operations (passed the international recruitment examination and ranked among top six over 4.000 candidates)
2004-2005: Research fellow on international security and democratization in Central Eastern European Countries and Caucasian States, Club de Madrid, Madrid
2003-2004: Advisor on the EU's external relations, Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD), EU Representation Office, Brussels
2003: Researcher (Robert Schuman scholar), European Parliament, Directorate General for Committees and Delegations, Enlargement section, Brussels
July 2000: Researcher on European security, Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Center for Strategic Research, Ankara
1999-2000: Research Assistant in Political Science, Marmara University, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Istanbul
Courses taught (ULB)
- External Action of the EU, (MA level)
- EU institutions, (BA and MA level)
- Decision-making in the European Union, (MA level)
- European Negotiations: Simulating Ordinary Legislative Procedure, (MA level)
- Methodology in European Studies (MA level)
- Doctoral Seminar on Theory, Methodology and Research in Political Science (PhD level)
- Seminar series on Contemporary Turkish Studies
- English (advanced)
- French (advanced)
- Turkish (advanced)
- Spanish (advanced)
- Italian (good)
My most recent research focuses on: (1) the impact of the processes of autocratisation in the EU’s neighbourhood on its foreign policy instruments; (2) the role of the EU political elite’s emotions in shaping the EU’s crisis diplomacy; (3) the EU’s crisis narrative in foreign policy.
My main research interests include:
- EU in global affairs
- the EU's soft power, its transformative power and Normative Power Europe
- European integration theories
- EU policy-making
- EU conditionality
- EU enlargement
- The EU's (Eastern) neighbourhood
- Turkish politics and EU-Turkey relations
- Parliamentary diplomacy (European Parliament)
- Emotions in IR
- Office hours: Friday 12:15-14:15 by appointment, Institute of Sociology, S building, 11th floor, Room S.11.117
- Permanences: sur rendez-vous les vendredis de 12h15-14h15 à l’Institut de Sociologie, étage 11, local S.11.117
My current teaching draws on a research-led and practice-embedded learning method. The syllabi for my classes combine theory and practice through interactive lectures, simulation games, encounters with practitioners, visits to EU institutions, and case-based learning. I can teach the following courses (in both English and French):
- EU in Global Affairs
- EU External Relations/External Action of the EU
- EU institutions
- EU policy-making
- Theory and Methodology in Political Science
- Ordinary legislative procedure
- EU's neighbourhood
- EU-Turkey relations
- Contemporary Turkey
- Academic writing
I have certified training in process-tracing, interview techniques, Critical Discourse Analysis, Interpretive Methods, and I am a certified advanced NVivo user. I can give postgraduate trainings (Master and doctoral levels) on all of these methods.
My research and teaching have evolved at the crossroads of EU studies, comparative politics (area studies) and International Relations (IR). In a nutshell, my research interests include the EU’s external relations (its role in global governance with a focus on enlargement policy and its promotion of pro-democracy norms), IR theory (domestic-international linkages, emotions research, norm diffusion), area studies (processes of autocratisation in the Eastern neighbourhood and Turkey) and qualitative methods (process-tracing, elite interviewing and bridging positivist-interpretive techniques).
- 2022 Country Report on Turkey (peer-reviewed), Bertelsmann Stiftung, Transformation Index
- 2021 Emotions in EUropean Foreign Policy (co-edited Special Issue with O. Terzi and T. Palm), Global Affairs, 7:2.
- 2021 Theorising the crises of the European Union (co-edited book with N. Brack), Routledge.
- 2021 Gürkan, S. and L. Tomini The limits of Europeanization research agenda: Decoding the reverse process in and around the EU. In N. Brack and S. Gürkan (eds.), Theorising the crises of the European Union. Routledge.
- 2021 Gürkan, S. and O Terzi, Why emotions are key to unedrstanding EU foreign policy, LSE EUROPP Blog
- 2021 Gürkan, S. Emotions in Parliamentary Diplomacy: Debating the Armenian Genocide in the European Parliament, Global Affairs, 7:2.
- 2021 Gürkan, S. and R. Coman, The EU–Turkey deal in the 2015 ‘refugee crisis’: when intergovernmentalism cast a shadow on the EU’s normative power, Acta Politica, 56.
- 2021 Tomini, L. and S. Gürkan, Contesting the EU, Contesting Democracy and Rule of Law in Europe. Conceptual Suggestions for Future Research. In A. Lorenz and L. H. Anders (eds.), Illiberal Trends and Anti-EU Politics in East Central Europe, Palgrave Macmillan.
- 2020 Gürkan, S. Process Tracing. In Research Methods in the Social Sciences: A A-Z of Key Concepts. In J-F. Morin, C. Olsson and E. Ö. Atikcan (eds), Oxford University Press (with J. Rietveld).
- 2020 Gürkan, S. 'Why the EU should not opt for another refugee deal with Turkey with no shared responsibility', Expert opinion, Real Elcano, 12 March (with I. Toygür)
- 2020 BTI Country Report on Turkey (peer-revieweed).
- 2019 Gürkan, Seda, 'The Role of the European Parliament in the Enlargement Process', in Parliamentary Cooperation and Diplomacy in EU External Relations, Kolja Raube, Meltem Muftuler-Bac and Jan Wouters (eds.), Edward Elgar.
- 2019 Gürkan, Seda. Speaking loudly but carrying a small stick: is the EU powerless against Erdogan? Op-ed, The Conversation
For previous publications see DI-fusion list: http://difusion.ulb.ac.be/vufind/Search/Home?lookfor=GuRKAN,Seda&sort=pubdate+desc&type=person
Recent Media Appearances (selected):
- Euronews, interview on the recognition of the Armenian genocide by the US, 28/04/2021
- La Tribune, l’Union européenne a-t-elle fait un cadeau à Erdogan?, contribution, 9/04/2021
- Radio Télévision Belge (La RTBF), interview on the EU-Turkey deal on refugees, 3/3/2020
- Euronews, Extreme right and the elections of the European Parliament, 21/01/2019
- La RTBF, (en direct) la 1ère-Soir Première le fait du jour, 'Quel avenir pour la Turquie?’' - l'interview sur les elections en Turquie, 25 Juin 2018 [ https://www.rtbf.be/info/dossier/la-prem1ere-soir-prem1ere/detail_reelection-d-erdogan-le-nationalisme-a-gagne-les-elections?id=9955646 ]
- Radio Campus, l'interview sur le nouveau système politique en Turquie, 25 Juin 2018
- Le Vif/l'Express, contribution to Dossier Turquie, 21-27 June 2018 [http://www.levif.be/actualite/international/erdogan-maitre-de-sa-diaspora/article-normal-856385.html ]
- Euronews, interview, 23 March 2018 [ http://www.euronews.com/video/2018/03/26/-turkey-needs-europe-europe-needs-turkey- ]
- Brussels crow, (live from the European Parliament), interview on women rights in Turkey, 6 March 2018
- Euronews, contribution to State of the Union programme, ‘EU-Turkey relations on the first anniversary of the coup attempt’, 15 July 2017
- Euronews, interview, ‘Liens difficiles entre l'UE et Ankara’, 13 July 2017 [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oRoP10JDJk ]
- Euronews, interview, ‘MEPs say Turkey’s EU membership bid could be suspended’, 6 July 2017 [http://www.euronews.com/2017/07/06/meps-say-turkey-s-eu-membership-bid-could-be-suspended]
- Euronews, interview, ‘Dutch MEP report seeks Turkey-EU talks suspension’, 5 July 2017 [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHcIWDhrA4g ]
- Brussels crow, interview, Avrupa Birligi referendum icin ne diyor? [EU on Turkey’s constitutional referendum], 12 April 2017 [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd9b76RP028]
- Revue Démocratie, interview, ‘Turquie: vers la fin de la démocratie?’, 1 November 2016 [http://www.revue-democratie.be/index.php/international/1211-interview-de-seda-gurkan-turquie-vers-la-fin-de-la-democratie]