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Dr Cengiz Gunes

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Professional biography

I am an Associate Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Open University. I completed my PhD in Ideology and Discourse Analysis Programme in 2010 at the Department of Government, University of Essex. 

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, The Open University, UK 

Certificate in Higher Education Practice (CHEP), University of Essex, UK 

Research interests

Political Theory; Nations and Nationalism; Research Methods; Peace and Conflict Studies; The Middle East 


1. The Political Representation of Kurds in Turkey: New Actors and Modes of Participation in a Changing Society, London: I.B. Tauris (Forthcoming, 2021).

2. The Kurds in a New Middle East: The Changing Geopolitics of a Regional Conflict, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

3. The Kurdish National Movement in Turkey: From Protest to Resistance, London and New York: Routledge, 2012 (Turkish translation, Türkiye'de Kürt Ulusal Hareketi: Direnişin Söylemi published on May 10, 2013; Reviewed in: New Middle Eastern Studies, Bustan: The Middle East Book Review, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Ethnopolitics and Kurdish Studies).

 Edited Books/Journals

1. Cambridge History of the Kurds, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Forthcoming, 2021) (with Hamit Bozarslan and Veli Yadirgi).

2. The Transformations in Kurdish Politics and Society in Turkey Since 2000’, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 22(6), (2020) (with Veli Yadirgi).

3. The Kurdish Question in Turkey: New Perspectives on Conflict, Representation and Reconciliation, London and New York: Routledge, 2014 (with Welat Zeydanlioglu).

Journal Articles:

1. 'Introduction: The Transformations in Politics and Society in Turkey since 2020, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 22, No: 6, 2020, pp.717-729 (with V. Yadirgi).

2. ‘The Transformation of the pro-Kurdish democratic Movement in Turkey’, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 22, No: 6, 2020, pp.746-761.

3. 'Political Representation of Alevi Kurds in Turkey: Historical Trends and Main Transformations', Kurdish Studies, Vol. 8, No: 1, 2020, pp.71-90.

4. ‘Approaches to Kurdish Autonomy in the Middle East’, Nationalities Papers (forthcoming, 2019). 

5. ‘Developments in Kurdish Issue in Syria and Turkey in 2017’, European Yearbook of Minority Issues, Vol. 16, No.1, 2019, pp.211-229.

6. ‘Turkey’s New Left’, New Left Review, 107 (September-October 2017), pp.9-30 (Spanish translation ‘La Nueva Izquierda da Turquía’ published November 2017 in New Left Review Español). 

7. ‘A New Life via Radical Democracy: We are the HDP’, Birikim 313 (May 2015) (in Turkish). 

8. ‘Explaining the PKK’s Mobilization of Kurds in Turkey: Hegemony, Myth and Violence’, Ethnopolitics, Vol. 12, No.3, 2013, pp. 247-267.

9. ‘Unblocking the Impasse in Turkey’s Kurdish Question’ Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, Vol. 24, No.4, 2012, pp. 462-469.

10. 'Kurdish Politics in Turkey: Ideology, Identity and Transformations’, Ethnopolitics, Vol. 8, No.2, 2009, pp. 255-262.

11. ‘Kurdish Politics in Turkey: A Question of Identity’, International Journal of Kurdish Studies, Vol. 21, No. 1&2, 2007, pp. 17-36.

Book chapters/sections

1. ‘Kurdish Politics Across the Middle East during the 1970s’ in Hamit Bozarslan, Cengiz Gunes and Veli Yadirgi (eds.) The Cambridge History of the Kurds (Forthcoming, Cambridge University Press, 2020).

2. 'Unpacking “Democratic Confederalism” and “Democratic Autonomy” Proposals of the Kurdish Movement in Turkey’ in Olgun Akbulut and Elcin Aktoprak (eds.) Autonomy as a Model for Minority Self Government: From Theory to European and Middle Eastern Perspectives (Brill Publishers, 2019).

3. ‘Kurdish Movement’s Democratic Autonomy Proposal’ in Ephraim Nimni and Elcin Aktoprak (eds.) Modalities for National Minority Representation without Dismembering States: The Case of the Turkish Republic (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) (with Çetin Gürer).

4. 'The Kurdish Question in the Middle East' in Christopher Matthews (ed.) The Middle East and North Africa 2019 (Routledge, 2018). 

5. ‘The Rise of pro-Kurdish movement in Turkey’ in Michael Gunter (ed.) Routledge Handbook on the Kurds (Routledge, 2018).

6. ‘Kurdish Mobilisation in Turkey during the 1980s and 1990s’, in Gareth Stansfield and Mohammad Shareef (eds.) The Kurdish Question Revisited (London: Hurst and Co, 2017).

7. ‘Kurdish Political activism in the 1960s’ in Mete Kaan Kaynar (ed.). The 1960s in Turkey (İletişim Publishers, 2017) (in Turkish).

8. ‘The ISIS Factor: The Kurds as a Vanguard in the War on the Caliphate’ in Stefano Torelli (ed.) Kurdistan and the Middle East: New Challenges, New Balances? (Italian Institute for International Political Studies – ISPI, 2016).

9. ‘The Kurdish Political Activism in Turkey: An Overview’, in Michael Gunter and Muhammed Ahmed (eds.) Kurdish Issues: Essays in Honor of Robert Olson (Costa Mesa: Mazda Publishers, 2016).

10. ‘Political Reconciliation in Turkey: Challenges and Prospects’ in Cengiz Gunes and Welat Zeydanlioglu (eds.) The Kurdish Question in Turkey: New Perspectives on Conflict, Representation and Reconciliation, London and New York: Routledge, 2014, pp. 258-281.

11. ‘Introduction: Turkey and the Kurds’ in Cengiz Gunes and Welat Zeydanlioglu (eds.) The Kurdish Question in Turkey: New Perspectives on Conflict, Representation and Reconciliation, London and New York: Routledge, 2014, pp. 1-20 (with Welat Zeydanlioglu).

12. ‘Accommodating Kurdish Demands in Turkey’ in Ephraim Nimni, Alexander Osipov and David Smith (eds.) The Challenge of Non-Territorial Autonomy: Theory and Case Studies, Peter Lang International Publishers, 2013, pp. 71-84.

 Working and Research Papers

1. The impact of the Syrian war on Kurdish Politics across the Middle East, Research Paper for ‘Syria and its neighbours’ programme, The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), July 2015 (with Robert Lowe) (invited contribution).

2. The Kurdish Political Activism in Turkey: An Overview. Singapore Middle East Papers on Kurdistan: State, Identity, and Politics, Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore, 2014 (invited contribution).

 Book Reviews and responses

1. Zones of Rebellion: Kurdish Insurgents and the Turkish State, by Aysegul Aydin and Cem Emrence. Nationalities Papers, Vol.54, No.4, 2017, pp.720-722.

2. A People Without a State: The Kurds from the Rise of Islam to Dawn of Nationalism, by Michael Eppel. Bustan: The Middle East Book Review, Vol.8, No.1, 2017, pp.65-8.

3. The Kurdish National Liberation Movement in Iraq: From Insurgency to Statehood, by Yaniv Voller. Bustan: The Middle East Book Review, Vol.7, No.1, 2016, pp.62-5.

4. The Kurds of Syria: Political Parties and Identity in the Middle East, by Harriet Allsopp. Bustan: The Middle East Book Review, Vol. 6, No.1, 2015, pp. 133-6.

5. Understanding Turkey’s Kurdish Question, edited by Fevzi Bilgin and Ali Sarihan. Kurdish Studies, Vol.3, No.1, 2015, pp.101-6.

6. Nonstate Actors in Intrastate Conflicts, edited by Dan Miodownik and Oren Barak. Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law, Vol. 28, no. 4, 2014, pp. 412-5.

7. ‘A Comment on Martin Van Bruinessen’s Review of Cengiz Gunes, The Kurdish National Movement in Turkey: From Protest to Resistance’, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.46, No.4, 2014, pp.843-5.

8. Turkey’s Kurds: A Theoretical Analysis of the PKK and Abdullah Ocalan, by Ali Kemal Ozcan. Studies on Ethnicity and Nationalism, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2007, pp. 103-5.

9. Kurdish Nationalism and Political Islam in Turkey: Kemalist Identity in Transition, by Omer Taspinar. Studies on Ethnicity and Nationalism, Vol. 6, No. 3, 2006, pp. 94-7.

Online articles/Op-eds

1. ‘Pro-Kurdish HDP fights an uphill battle in Turkey elections’, Roar Magazine, 27 March 2019.

2. ‘The pro-Kurdish parliamentary opposition central to ending the violent episode in Turkey’s Kurdish conflict’, Ethnopolitics Papers, 6 August 2016.

3. ‘What Turkey’s political mess means for the relations with the U.S.’, Fortune Magazine, July 26, 2016. 

4. ‘Bombing in Ankara: who is fighting who in Turkey’, The Conversation, 14 March 2016.

5. 'How Turkey began the slide towards the civil war’, The Conversation, 16 September 2015.

6. 'Turkey opens up old wounds with a new campaign against the PKK’, The Conversation, 29 July 2015.

7. 'Turkey bombing risks further unrest in a country already living on the edge’, The Conversation, 21 July 2015.

8. ‘Turkey moves closer to becoming a fully-fledged police state’, The Conversation, 5 March 2015.

9. ‘Kurds turn the tide against the Islamic State in Kobanê’, The Conversation, 28 January 2015.

10. ‘Kobanê resists the Islamic State – but Turkey still can’t get the Kurdish question right’, The Conversation, 3 November 2014.

11. ‘Everything’s at stake for the Kurds in the battle of Kobanê’, The Conversation, 12 October 2014.

12. ‘Kurds face challenge of unity in face of Islamic State assault’, The Conversation, 15 August 2014.

13. ‘How Turkey’s Kurds can leverage third place in elections’, The Conversation, 8 August 2014. 

14. ‘What’s next for Syria’s Kurds?’, Jadaliyya, 5 September 2013.

Teaching interests

Since September 2010, I have been an Associate Lecturer in the Open University’s Faculty of Social Sciences, teaching undergraduate courses. I have taught an international relations course, A World of Whose Making?, and a politics course, Power, Dissent, Equality: Understanding Contemporary Politics. Currently, I am teaching a politics course, Understanding Politics: Ideas and Institutions in Modern World.

In addition, I taught at the Kurdish Studies Summer School organised by the Paris Kurdish Institute on 3-6 September 2018 and I co-designed and co-taught a one-day intensive course on the Kurdish politics in the Middle East for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in March 2017. I previously taught a core undergraduate course on political theory at the University of Essex for the academic years 2006-07 and 2007-08.

In June 2014, I completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice through the Open University and became a fellow of the UK’s Higher Education Academy.

Editorial Board Member of Politics and Religion and Kurdish Studies


Introduction: The Transformations in Kurdish Politics and Society in Turkey Since 2000 (2020)
Gunes, Cengiz and Yadirgi, Veli
Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 22(6) (pp. 717-729)

The Transformation of Turkey’s Pro-Kurdish Democratic Movement (2020)
Gunes, Cengiz
Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 22(6) (pp. 746-761)