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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

ARB, Room 322


Burcu Ozcelik is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow. She received her PhD from the Department of Politics and International Studies, where she was subsequently a Teaching Associate in Conflict, Peacebuilding and the Politics of the Middle East (2015-2017). Her current book project examines women’s right-wing political activism, political Islam and the gendered response to the rise of populist religious nationalism across many parts of the global polity. 


Dr Ozcelik’s research interests involve the contemporary politics of the Middle East, focusing on Turkey, Iraq, Syria and the transnational Kurdish conflict. She also examines the politics of Israel’s national security and foreign relations, with a focus on Turkey and Syria. She works on identity politics, counter-terrorism and armed movements, religion and democracy in post-colonial and post-conflict societies as well as political theories of reconciliation, recognition and agonistic democracy. 

Burcu’s current research project, Resurgence or resilience? Religious nationalism, democracy and violence develops an innovative approach to reconsider the cross-border politics of piety in the Middle East. Throwing into question conventional assumptions about politicised religious identity in the Middle East, the project also considers socialist, radical-democratic and secular Muslims beyond the tired Sunni-Shi’a sectarian lens. She has been awarded funding by the Leverhulme Trust and the Isaac Newton Trust.

Select publications include:

‘The Syrian Civil War is Changing the Turkish-Israeli Relationship’, The National Interest, 6 June 2019. Available online.

‘The End of the Two-State Solution to the Israel–Palestine Conflict? Turkey and the Kushner Plan’, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), 17 May 2019. Available online.

‘Turkey's Other Kurds: Between the Islamists and a Hard Place’, Foreign Affairs, 4 May 2015. Available online.

Co-Editor, Special Issue on ‘Race in the Middle East: Power, Exploitation and Nationalism’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, forthcoming late 2021/22. With Beeta Baghoolizadeh and Achille Mbembe

Her work has also appeared in Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Lebanon’s Daily Star, Syria Forward, the Cairo Review of Global Affairs and the Journal of the Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies.

Teaching and Supervisions


Burcu lectures on the politics of the Kurdish conflict in Turkey, Iraq and Syria for POL16: Conflict and Peacebuilding (Michaelmas 2017-2018; 2019-2020)

Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow/Isaac Newton Trust
Dr Burcu   Ozcelik
Not available for consultancy