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Staff Profile

Dr Ayla Gol

Senior Lecturer, Course Lead for Politics and International Relations

I hold a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where I had an early career position at the Department of International Relations between 2003 and 2005.

After the LSE, I moved to Wales and worked in the Department of International Politics, at Aberystwyth 
University, between 2005 and 2018. I was a Visiting Scholar at the Centre of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge, November 2009 and March 2010, and also the inaugural John Vincent Post-doctoral Fellow at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University in 2002-2003. I completed my BA and MA in International Relations at the Faculty of Political Science, Ankara University in Turkey.

I joined the School of Humanities, York St John University in 2021 and became the Course Lead for Politics and International Relations in 2022. As the Course Lead, I recently led the validation of a new MA in International Politics and Security Program, which will commence in September 2023.


At York St John University, I teach a range of modules on the Politics and International Relations Program, including Democracies, Authoritarianism, the Middle East, Area Studies and the Global South and Sustainable Development. In Aberystwyth University, I taught undergraduate modules on Religion and Politics in the Middle East; Islam, Foreign Policy and the Developing World; International Politics and non-Western Worlds and a postgraduate course on Islam and Modernity. I have supervised several PhD and MA (including MRes) students and acted as an external examiner for a number of universities in the UK. I am also a Senior Fellow at the Higher Education Academy.

I am interested in supervising post-graduate research students in the following areas:

  • International Relations and non-Western worlds
  • Religion and International Politics
  • International Relations of the Middle East
  • Democracy and Authoritarianism
  • Global South and Development
  • Regional Studies and Eurasia
  • Turkish foreign policy

I teach on the following:

  • POL6007M Authoritarianism
  • POL6010M Middle East
  • POL5007M Democracies
  • IRL5003M Area Studies
  • IRL4004M Aid, Inequality and Development
  • IRL4001M Understanding World Politics


My primary research interests focus on Islamic studies, nationalism, identity politics, foreign policy analysis and Postcolonialism, with particular reference to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the Caucasus, Eurasia and Turkey. While my earlier research and publications were concerned with the relationship between Turkey’s search for identity, nationalism and foreign policy making, I have become increasingly interested in the critical understandings of Islam and modernity in Western discourses and policy making.

I acted as the guest editor of a special issue on ‘Views From the “Others” of the War on Terror’ for the Journal of Critical Studies on Terrorism (2010). I am the author of Turkey Facing East: Islam, Modernity and Foreign Policy (Manchester University Press, 2013). My most recent research on ‘A symbiotic relationship between academic freedom and liberal democracy: The case of higher education in Turkey’ is published in Handbook on Academic Freedom, Richard Watermeyer, Rillie Raaper and Mark Olssen, (eds.), (London: Edgar Elgar Publishing, 2022).

My other research outcomes are published as journal articles in Nations and Nationalism, Third World Quarterly, Information and Education Technologies and the Global Discourse and numerous book chapters on Turkey, the Middle East and international relations, as well as blog posts, including the Conversation and Open Democracy. I have also contributed extensively to international conferences, seminars and talks in Azerbaijan, Australia, France, Finland, Northern Ireland, Morocco, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and the USA.


Selected publications


Turkey Facing East: Islam, Modernity and Foreign Policy, (Manchester University Press, “013) ISBN: 978-0-7190-9075-2; DOI: 10.1111/1478-9302.12087_122); 2015 in (eBook) 2017 in Paperback.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters (Peer-reviewed)  

‘A symbiotic relationship between academic freedom and liberal democracy: The case of higher education in Turkey’ in Handbook on Academic Freedom, Richard Watermeyer, Rillie Raaper and Mark Olssen, (eds.), (London: Edgar Elgar Publishing, 2022) [ISBN13 9781788975902 and ISBN10 1788975901]

‘A Geostrategic Vision of Turkish Foreign Policy in Eurasia’, Turkish Area Studies Review, (2021) No. 38: 32-39 [ISSN 1474-0125] 

‘The Paradoxes of “New” Turkey: Islam, illiberal Democracy and Republicanism’, International Affairs, Review Article, 93: 4 (July 2017): 957-966 [DOI: 10.1093/ia/iix135]

‘Imagining the Middle East: The State, Nationalism and Regional International Society’, Global Discourse: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Current Affairs and Applied Contemporary Thought, 5: 3 (2015): 379-394. [DOI: 10.1080/23269995.2015.1053191]

‘Europe, Islam & Pax Ottomana (1453-1774)’ in International Orders in the Early Modern World: Before the Rise of the West, Shogo Suzuki, Joel Quirk, and Yongjin Zhang (eds.), (London: Routledge, 2013): 34-54. 

‘Constructing Knowledge: An Effective Use of Educational Technology in Teaching Islamic Studies in the UK,’ Education and Information Technologies, 17: 4 (2012): 399-416 [DOI: 10.1007/s10639-011-9165-9] 

‘Islamic’ Media, Democracy and the AKP Rule in Turkey, in Religious Broadcasting in the    Middle East, Khalid Hroub (ed.), (Hurst: Columbia University Press, 2012): 261-282. 

‘Ethnic Radicalisation: Kurdish Identity as Extremism in Hegemonic Discourses of Turkey’ in Islamic Radicalisation in Europe and the Middle East: Reassessing the Causes of Terrorism, George Joffe (ed.), (London: I.B. Taurus, 2012): 241-268.

‘Developing a Critical Pedagogy of ‘Research-based’ Teaching in Islamic Studies,’ Critical Studies on Terrorism, 4:3 (Dec 2011): 431-440 [DOI: 10.1080/17539153.2011.623421]

‘Turkey’s Search for Identity: A Eurasian and Islamic Country?’ in ‘Euro-Asia’ at the Crossroads: Geopolitics, Identities and Dialogues, J. Kakonen, S. Chaturvedi and A. Sengupta, eds., (New Delhi: Shipra, 2011): 108-128 

Editor of Special Issue, penned ‘Introduction: The Views from the “Others” of War on Terrorism’, Critical Studies on Terrorism, 3:1 (April 2010): 1-6 [DOI: 10.1080/17539151003594160] 

‘The Identity of Turkey: Muslim and Secular’, Third World Quarterly, 30: 4 (2009): 795-811 [DOI: 10.1080/01436590902867383 

‘Iraq and World Order: A Turkish Perspective,’ in The Iraq Crisis and World Order: Structural and Normative Challenges, Ramesh Thakur and W. Pal Sing Sidhu, eds, (New York, the United Nations University UNU Press, 2006): 114-133.  

“The Imagination of Turkish Nation through ‘Othering’ Armenians”, Nations and Nationalism, 11: 1 (2005): 121-139 [DOI: 10.1111/j.1354-5078.2005.00195.x] 

‘The Requirements of European International Society: Modernity and Nationalism in the Ottoman Empire.’ Department of International Relations, ANU Working Paper Series, No. 2003/4: 1-32 

“The New NATO and Opportunities for Establishing Security in the Caucasus after September 11”, Insight Turkey, Ankara, 4: 3 (July-September 2002): 103-118                

“The Adaptation of Turkish Foreign Policy to the Shifting Balance of Power in the Caucasus”, Turkish Review of Eurasian Studies, Istanbul, Vol.1, No.1 (Annual 2001), 89-105



Referred Conference Papers and Invited Talks

‘The Future of Refugee Crisis in the Middle East: The Case of Syrians’ in Turkey’, Political Studies Association 73rd Annual Conference, the University of Liverpool in association with Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, 3-4 April 2023. 

‘The Geo-positioning of Turkey in Eurasia’, The Balkans and the Greater Middle East in the Global Vortex, The Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies 25th Anniversary Conference, The Royal Docks School of Business and Law and the Centre for the Study of States, Markets and People, University of East London in association with Routledge-Taylor and Francis, London, 15-17 March 2023. 

‘Turkey’s Position at NATO and Putin’s War in Ukraine’’, ‘The 9th International Annual Conference on Eurasian Politics and Society, York St John University, Co-organiser with CESRAN International and hosting in York, 13-16 July 2022. 

‘Reflection on the “Otherness” of Syrian Refugees in Turkey’, Interdisciplinary Conference on We All Share the Same Sky: Healing through Creativity, Knowledge Sharing and Conversation with Refugees and Asylum Seekers’, In association with Institute for Social Justice and YSJ, 24 June 2022. 

‘Geostrategic Positioning of Turkey in Eurasia’, Association for the Study of Middle East and Africa (ASMEA), Washington DC, Zoom, 13-14 November 2021. 

‘What lessons the International Community can learn from its failure in Afghanistan?’, YSJ Centre for Religion in Society, 20 October 2021. 

‘Post-Western Order and Positioning Turkey in Eurasia’, The 8th International Conference on Eurasian Politics and Society organised by Centre for Strategic and Research Analysis and Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa, Zoom, 22-24 September 2021. 

Turkey-UK smart partnership in post-Covid-19: Challenges or global opportunities in Eurasia?’, The 7th International Conference on Eurasian Politics and Society organised by Centre for Strategic and Research Analysis and Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa, Virtual participation via Zoom, 23-25 September 2020. 

‘The end of Eurocentric world order and positioning Turkey in Eurasia’, The 6th International Conference on Eurasian Politics and Society organised by Centre for Strategic and Research Analysis and Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal, 4-5 July 2019.  

Methodological nationalism, liberal democracy and the questions of ‘post-truth’ politics for Critical IR’, Roundtable at BISA Annual Conference, Royal Society in London, UK, 10-11 June 2019. 

‘Locating neo-Orientalism in the Middle East and Eurocentrism in IR’, Orientalism, neo-Orientalism and post-Orientalism in African, Middle East, Latin American, Asian/Chinese Studies, Conference on 15th Anniversary of Memory of Edward Said (1935-2003) and 40th Anniversary of His Book (1978), Centre for Global Studies, Shanghai University, China, 17-18 May 2018  

‘A Critique of Eurocentrism and knowledge production in IR: Neo-Orientalism in the Middle East’, International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Conference, San Francisco, UK, 4-8 April 2018 

‘Asking difficult questions in Turkey? Domestic policy and issues in Turkish Politics’, Panel Discussant, Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Cardiff, Wales, 28 March 2018.  

‘Governmentality of EU-Turkey deal and Syrian Refugee Crisis’, (ISA) Annual Conference, Baltimore, USA, 21 February 2017 

‘The power of history, identity and culture in Turkish foreign policy’, Prof Christopher Hill LSE Symposium, London, UK, 12 May 2017 

Reinstating the agency Of The Ottoman Empire and reinstating the “International” in IR’ for Panel on Bringing the Ottomans Back In: Ottoman Empire In International Relations Theory And Historiography’, ISA, New Orleans, USA, 20-23 February 2015 

‘Engaging the “Other” in IR: Imagining regional international society in the Middle East, and Organized the Panel on ‘IR and non-Western Worlds: Imagining A Globally Inclusive “We”’. BISA 40th Anniversary Conference, London, UK, 16-19 June 2015 

‘Why Turkey is not a “model” in the Middle East?’, ISA Annual Conference, Toronto, Canada, 28-30 March 2014       

Arab Uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa: An opportunity for the Turkish Model’, BISA/ISA Joint Conference, Edinburgh, UK, 20-22 June 2012 

‘Islamic vs Secular media in Turkey: Deliberative democracy and the AKP’ in Religious Broadcasting in the Middle East (Islamic, Christian and Jewish Channels: Programs and Discourses), Khalid Hroub (ed.), Cambridge Arab Media Project, Moller Centre, University of Cambridge, UK, 30-31 January 2010 

‘A critical re-thinking of political violence and ethnic nationalism: The case of the Kurds in Turkey’, ISA, 51st Annual Convention, New Orleans, USA, 17-20 February 2010 

‘Ethnic violence: Kurdishness as extremism in hegemonic discourses of Turkey’, Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN), Columbia University, New York, USA, 15-17 April 2010 

‘Ethnic nationalism and political violence: The Kurdish Question in Turkey and the Middle East’, World Congress on Middle Eastern Studies (WOMES), Barcelona, Spain, 19-24 July 2010

Professional Activities

Membership of Professional Bodies

2023-24 Member of Political Studies Association, UK
2021-22 Member of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA), USA
2003-19 Member of British International Studies Association (BISA), UK
2005-18 Member of International Studies Association (ISA), USA
2014-18 Member of the British Association of Islamic Studies (BRAIS)
2009-17 Fellow of High Education Academy (HEA), UK
2009-13 Member of Islamic Studies Network, HEA, UK

Editorial Boards

I have served on the following editorial boards:
Advisory board for Centre for Turkey Studies, London, UK (2015-2023)
Member of Advisory Board, Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis (CESRAN) International, UK (2010-23)
Member of International Advisory Board, Sociology of Islam, Brill, USA (2019-21)
Member of Editorial Board, Journal of Global Analysis, London, UK (2018-14)
Member of Editorial Board, Critical Terrorism Studies (Routledge), London, UK (2018-09)
Member of Editorial Board, Mediterranean Politics (Routledge), London, UK (2017-12)

External Examining

I have acted as an external examiner for the following universities:
Current Appointment of External Examiner for BA (Hons) Politics and BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) with effect from 01 October 2023 to 30 September 2027.

Chief External Examiner in the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster, London, between 1 October 2016 to 30 September 2021.

Subject leader for the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) Wales Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) for Politics and International Relations Pathway, and Aberystwyth University’s lead for the Wales DTC for leading the universities’ bid to forefront the Wales Doctoral Training Partnership between 2015-17.
External examiner for the MA in International Development programme at the University of Manchester between 2012 and 2016

I have acted as an external examiner for the following Doctoral theses:
The impact of Arab Spring on Turkey Zero-Problem with Neighbours (ZPN) through the focus on Iraqi Kurdistan, (Surrey University, 2019)

Unravelling the Social Formation: Free Trade, the State and Business in Turkey, (Nottingham University , 2018)
Exploring Turkey’s Energy Relations with Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), (Durham University, 2018)

The Europeanisation of European Security Culture and the EU-Turkey Security and Foreign Relations: A Disharmonising Europeanisation?, (Birmingham University, 2017)

Minarets and Golden Arches: State, Capital and Resistance in Neoliberal, (Nottingham University, 2016)
‘Politics, Power and Matrimony: Understanding Women’s Marital Rights in Egypt and Iran’, (Surrey University, 2015)

Crossing Identities and the Turkish Military: Revolutionist, Guardians and Professionals, (Bath University, 20150
The Turkish Model and Multiple Modernities, (Durham University, 2015)

‘Syrian Civil War and Islamic Radicalisation’ (Surrey University, 2014

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