Bayram Balci

Nonresident Scholar
Russia and Eurasia Program
Balci is a nonresident scholar in Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Program, where his research focuses on Turkey and Turkish foreign policy in 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 nonresident scholar in Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Program, where his research focuses on Turkey and Turkish foreign policy in 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, member of the editorial board of Les Cahiers d’Asie Centrale, a French journal dedicated to Central Asian studies.

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).

  • Yearbook of Muslims in Europe October 31, 2015
    Muslims in Europe: Georgia

    Despite the relatively small number of Muslims in Georgia, issues related to Islam and Muslims have taken on an increasingly high profile in recent years.

  • Op-Ed Silk Road Reporters April 17, 2015
    Central Asia Faces Risks and Benefits from Iran Deal

    A nuclear deal with Iran would bring about change in the neighboring South Caucasus and Central Asia, where ostracized Iran failed to become a major actor after the end of the Soviet Union.

  • Religion, State, and Society March 19, 2015
    Reviving Central Asia’s Religious Ties With the Indian Subcontinent? The Jamaat al Tabligh

    As a consequence of Russian and Soviet domination in Central Asia, local Islam has been considerably isolated from the rest of the Muslim world. However, the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 opened the door for the reestablishment of new relations between Central Asian Muslims and their brethren in other countries.

  • Commentary February 16, 2015
    Ukrainian Crisis and Its Limited Impact on Turkish-Russian Relations

    Turkey and Russia have a deeply “compartmentalized” relationship. A disagreement on one regional issue—Ukraine, Georgia or even Syria—will not necessarily derail their bilateral relations.

  • Op-Ed Silk Road Reporters January 24, 2015
    How Central Asian Republics Perceive the Emerging Eurasian Union

    The Eurasian Economic Union is to date the best integrationist project Russia has come up with since the end of the Soviet Union. However, the regimes in Central Asia can’t make a decision between bitter resignation and fierce hostility, as Moscow tries to impose the project on them.

  • Commentary December 25, 2014
    The Ukraine Crisis’s Central Asian Echoes

    After the initial shock the Ukrainian crisis brought, Central Asian states have gradually come to the conclusion that they should continue dealing with Russia. Still, none of these states are prepared to be totally controlled by Russia.

  • Commentary October 10, 2014
    Why Is Turkey Still So Reluctant to Join the Coalition Against the “Islamic State”?

    Turkey hesitates to fully embrace the U.S.-led coalition’s actions against the Islamic State. Ankara’s most crucial hesitation relates to the Kurdish issue which plays such a central role in Turkish policy in the Middle East.

  • Op-Ed World Policy Blog August 27, 2014
    A New Turkish Foreign Policy?

    The Syrian and Iraqi crises revealed that Turkey cannot guarantee its own security without solid cooperation from its western allies. As Erdogan transitions from prime minster to president, he must recognize this reality.

  • Article August 13, 2014
    Jihadism in Central Asia: A Credible Threat After the Western Withdrawal From Afghanistan?

    Jihadist groups operating in Central Asia pose a real threat, but they are not the only or even the primary danger facing the region’s regimes.

  • Op-Ed August 9, 2014
    Even Authoritarian, the Turkish Prime Minister Remains a Key Player in the Middle East

    Despite his incontestable authoritarianism, the Turkish prime minister remains the most legitimate leader in the region and a key player for U.S. policy in the Middle East.

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

    Islam is increasingly an important factor in the politics of the wider Caucasus region.

  • 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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