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Harriman Institute

Soviet soldiers with USSR flags in Istanbul in 1966. Image links to event page.



Rethinking Cold War History: Turkey, the Soviet Union, and the International Order
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Please join the Harriman Institute and the Sakıp Sabancı Center for a discussion with Onur Isci and Samuel Hirst. Moderated by Taylor Zajicek (Mellon Teaching Fellow, Harriman Institute).

This event brings together two historians of Russian-Turkish relations to discuss new archival evidence about Ankara and Moscow’s Cold War interactions. Onur İşçi will speak about economic and geopolitical factors that led to a period of mutual animosity between Ankara and Moscow in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, while Sam Hirst will discuss similar factors that facilitated subsequent reconciliation. Each of the two speakers situate bilateral relations in a broader international context, and together they shed light on events whose legacy continues to shape the region today.

Onur Isci is associate professor of history and international relations at Kadir Has University in Istanbul. He holds a PhD from Georgetown University and specializes in the histories of Russia and Turkey. He has published two books and various articles exploring the political, economic, and social aspects of Russian-Turkish interactions, primarily since the late imperial period. Based on archives in multiple countries, his new book project places Turkey’s 20th-century history in a post-imperial space that includes the Balkans, the Middle East, and the broader Black Sea region.


Samuel J. Hirst is assistant professor of international relations at Bilkent University in Ankara. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 and has worked since then at universities in Russia and Turkey. He has published on the intersection of Soviet and Turkish history in various journals, including Diplomatic History, Kritika, and The Journal of Contemporary History. His first book, Against the Liberal Order: The Soviet Union, Turkey, and Statist Internationalism, 1919–1939, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press in 2024.