Bayram Balci

Visiting Scholar
Middle East Program
Balci is a visiting scholar in Carnegie’s Middle East Program, where his research focuses on Turkey and Turkish foreign policy in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Caucasus.


PhD, Political Science, Arabic and Islamic civilization, Institutes for Political Science of Grenoble and Aix en Provence


Arabic; English; French; Russian; Turkish


Bayram Balci is a visiting scholar in Carnegie’s Middle East Program, where his research focuses on Turkey and Turkish foreign policy in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. He is also affiliated with CERI Sciences Po, in Paris, France. 

As a research fellow at the French Institute for Anatolian Studies in Istanbul, Turkey, Balci established the institute’s office in Baku, Azerbaijan. During his four-year mission, he studied the features and interactions of Shia and Sunni Islam in Azerbaijan and its relations with Iran. From 2006 to 2010, he was the director of the French Institute for Central Asian Studies in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. During his time in the region, his research also examined Turkey’s influence and the Islamic revival in Central Asia. 

He is a founding member of the European Journal of Turkish Studies, director of the editorial board of Les Cahiers d’Asie Centrale, a French journal dedicated to Central Asian studies, and assistant editor of the online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, which offers descriptions and analyses of massacres and genocides in the twentieth century.

He is the author of Missionnaires de l'Islam en Asie centrale: Les écoles turques de Fethullah Gülen (Maisonneuve & Larose, 2003) and recently co-edited China and India in Central Asia: A New “Great Game”? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

  • Eurasia Outlook April 9, 2014
    Gülen: Top Issue in the Agenda of Erdoğan’s Visit to Azerbaijan

    Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan takes the battle against the Gülen movement beyond the national borders, and it seems that his visit to Azerbaijan, to a large extent, was motivated by the omnipresence of Gülen followers whose activities in Azerbaijan are massive and successful.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Policy Journal April 3, 2014
    Turkey: Local Elections Gave Huge Victory to Erdogan

    The recent elections mark a new start and a new departure for the Turkish prime minister’s political career. Erdogan has proved that he is still popular, but despite this popularity and this victory, he has a lot of work ahead.

  • Op-Ed World Policy Blog April 1, 2014
    Turkey’s Citizens Caught in Political Crossfire

    The political battle between the AKP and their former-ally turned competitor Fethullah Gülen has had severe consequences for Turkish democracy.

  • Putin
    Op-Ed Foreign Policy Journal March 24, 2014
    In Taking Crimea, Putin Will Lose Central Asia and the Caucasus

    Putin’s gambit in Ukraine will certainly give him prestige in his country and a strategic advantage in the Black Sea, but it could weaken Russia’s position in the rest of the former Soviet empire.

  • Op-Ed CNN March 21, 2014
    Turkey’s Political Crisis Undermining Democracy

    The private struggle between Erdogan and Gülen is overshadowing debate on key issues confronting the country, and is undermining Turkey’s fragile democracy by shutting the Turkish public at home out of the conversation.

  • Eurasia Outlook March 14, 2014
    The Russian Intervention in Crimea: Erdogan’s Dilemma

    The Ukrainian and Crimean crisis are a major challenge for Turkish diplomacy but there is no serious indication that Turkey will stand against Russia. The priority for the Turkish government now is to ensure it will survive the corruption scandals and upcoming elections.

  • Syria in Crisis February 6, 2014
    Syria Drawn Into Turkey’s Crisis

    Syria is clearly an area where Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is dangerously exposed, at a time when he is already facing growing internal pressure.

  • Article February 4, 2014
    The Gülen Movement and Turkish Soft Power

    An influential Islamic social movement has advanced Turkey’s soft power for decades, but an emerging power struggle between the movement and Ankara could change all that.

  • Other Publications Hudson Institute January 27, 2014
    Turkey’s Religious Outreach in Central Asia and the Caucasus

    Turkey’s greatest influence among the Turkic populations of the post-Soviet world derives not from their common ethno-linguistic roots, but from the success of Turkey’s religious outreach.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Policy Journal January 17, 2014
    What Are the Consequences of the Split Between Erdoğan and Gülen on Turkey’s Foreign Policy?

    The current conflict between Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and religious authority Fethullah Gülen, if not stopped, has the potential to damage Turkey’s image and soft power in the world.

  • February 22, 2012 Washington, D.C.
    Political Islam in the Caucasus

    Islam is increasingly becoming a factor in the politics of the wider Caucasus region, as Azerbaijan experiences a growth of religion in politics and Turkey and Iran compete for Islamic influence on their neighbors.


Areas of Expertise

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