Director
Onur İşçi Onur İşçi is assistant professor of international relations and the director of Bilkent’s Center for Russian Studies. He received his Ph.D. from Georgetown University with distinction in 2014. Dr. İşçi specializes on the histories of Russia, Turkey and the two countries’ relationship from the late imperial period to the present day. At Bilkent, he teaches Diplomatic History and Turkish Foreign Policy at the undergraduate level, and offers two doctoral colloquia on Russian-Turkish relations and the international history of the Cold War. Dr. İşçi is the author of two books and various articles that appeared in leading academic journals. His new book project explores Turkey and its world during the Cold War.
Affiliated Faculty
Samuel J. Hirst Sam Hirst is the Associate Director of Bilkent CRS. He joined Bilkent’s Department of International Relations in September 2017. His research focuses on Russia, Turkey, and relations between the two states. In thematic terms, he is interested in transnational history and questions related to empire and nationalism – both Russia and Turkey’s legacies of imperial power and also their opposition to Western imperialism. His work has been published in, among other places, the journals Kritika, Slavic Review, and Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Before coming to Bilkent, he worked at the European University at St. Petersburg, where he served for two years as chair of the history department.
Norman Stone Norman Stone (1941-2019) founded Bilkent CRS. Following his first class honours degree in history from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Prof. Stone undertook extensive research in the Vienna archives while living in Austria and Hungary (1962-1965). In 1984, he was appointed professor of modern history at Oxford University. Prof. Stone wrote numerous books, including The Eastern Front, 1914-1917 (1975), Europe Transformed, 1878-1919 (1983), World War One (2009),The Atlantic and Its Enemies (2010), and Turkey: A Short History (2014). In addition to his own academic work, Prof. Stone edited and translated many other books on Central-Eastern Europe and Russia, wrote a regular column for the Sunday Times for five years, and, during 1987-1990, served as foreign policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher. On 19 June 2019, Prof. Norman Stone passed away in Budapest. He was buried in Istanbul.
Sırrı Hakan Kırımlı Associate Professor Hakan Kırımlı (Ph.D, University of Wisconsin-Madison) was the previous director of Bilkent CRS. He teaches Russian and Soviet history, with particular emphasis on the Black Sea region, the Turkic/Muslim peoples of the Crimea, Volga-Ural region, and the Caucasus, and the History of Russian thought and Intelligentsia. Among many score scholarly articles and books most prominently he is the author of National Movements and National Identity Among the Crimean Tatars (1905-1916)(Leiden, 1996). His articles are published in journals such as Cahier du Monde Russe et Sovietique, Middle Eastern Studies, Insight Turkey, Cahier du Monde Russe, Voprosy İstorii ve Central Asian Survey. Dr. Hakan Kırımlı was a visiting scholar at Harvard University. He is a member of the Turkish Historical Society.
Seçkin Köstem Seçkin Köstem obtained his Ph.D. degree from McGill University (Montreal, Canada), Department of Political Science. At Bilkent IR, he teaches Politics of International Economy. Köstem’s research interests include International Political Economy with a specific focus on regional and rising powers, as well as Russian foreign economic policy, and the post-Soviet space. His doctoral dissertation investigates how national identity conceptions influence foreign economic policies of Turkey and Russia.
He obtianed his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Bilkent University, Department of International Relations. Before joining our department, he was a research fellow at the Center for Foreign Policy and Peace Research, visiting research student at the Russia Institute of King’s College London and research visitor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). Köstem’s articles have been published in Foreign Policy Analysis and Global Policy.
Eliza Gheorghe Eliza Gheorghe is an Assistant Professor in the International Relations Department at Bilkent University. She earned her doctorate in International Relations from the University of Oxford (Honors, 2014) and an M.A. (Honors, 2010) in Security Studies from Georgetown University, on a Fulbright scholarship. Previously, she held fellowships at the Harvard Kennedy School, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, Université Paris 1 Panthéon – Sorbonne, and the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies. Her research focuses on nuclear proliferation and the evolution of the atomic market; questions of grand strategy and Cold War alliances; nuclear dominoes; and illicit trade and trafficking networks. Her work has been published in the International History Review, the European Review of History, Cold War History, and by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Routledge, and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.
Ayşenur Dal Ayşenur Dal joined the Department of Communication and Design in 2018. She received her PhD in Communication from The Ohio State University in 2018. Her research centers upon the social-psychological determinants of online political activities. In her work, she adapts a quantitative approach using survey methodology and social network analysis.

Dr. Dal’s work thus far has appeared in Human Communication Research, Oxford Handbook of New Social Movements, International Journal of Communication, and Social Science Quarterly. She also has reports featured at the Center for Global Communication Studies at Annenberg School for Communication.

Aysenur Dal studies citizens’ attitudes about the online political activities in Russia using quantitative research methods. She has previously published in Social Science Quarterly on media use in Russia, and conducted a web-based survey experiment with Russian internet users for her dissertations’ focus on social-psychological dynamics of online political expression.