Professor of Political Science & International Relations
Murat Somer is a Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Koç University, Istanbul. He is an expert on polarization and de-polarization, religiousand secular politics, ethnic conflicts, autocratization, and democratization. His recent publications include two special issues on polarization and democracy (American Behavioral Scientist, 2018, and the ANNALS of the AAPSS, 2019, both co-edited with Jennifer McCoy), and Return to Point Zero: The Turkish-Kurdish Question and How Politics and Ideas (Re)Make Empires, Nations and States (State University of New York Press, 2022).
His research on religious and secular elite values and democracy won a Sabancı-Brookings International Research Award in 2009. His book on transitioning from nation-state to state-nation and the “Turkish and Kurdish Question” was awarded the Sedat Simavi Prize in Social Sciences in 2015.
Among other visiting appointments, he was a Democracy and Development fellow at Princeton University in 2010-2011, a Senior Visiting Scholar at Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies in 2013, a visiting scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University in 2016-2017, and a visiting scholar and lecturer in the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University in 2019. He is a member of the Research Group on De- and Re-Democratization (DRD) at Central European University, Hungary, and of the international Democratic Erosion cross-university research and teaching collaboration.
Somer teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Comparative Politics, Political Economy, Authoritarianism and Democracy in the 21st Century, Religion and Secularism in the World, and History and Politics of Modern Turkey.
He has been an active participant in and advisor to civil society, NGOs as well as political parties on issues related to democratization, de-polarization and rule of law. He has also been a frequent contributor to domestic and international media such as CNN Turk, Habertürk, Halk TV, Euronews, Deutsche Welle and Medyacope on Turkish and regional affairs. His op-eds, interviews and comments appeared among other venues in Foreign Policy, Washington Post, New York Times, Politikyol and T24.
A former Mellon post-doctoral fellow on modern ethnic conflicts at the University of Washington in Seattle, Somer holds a BA in Economics from Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, and an MA in Economics and a PhD in Political Economy and Public Policy from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Contact: Koç University Rumelifeneri Yolu Sarıyer 34450 Istanbul, Turkey
Koç University Office: Case 116A