Caglar Ozturk

Current student

PhD student
Subject area
Politics and International Studies

I was always interested in Turkish politics - domestic and foreign. This PhD project gives me a chance to combine both.

What were you doing before you started your PhD?

I was working as a research assistant at Antalya Bilim University.

What influenced your decision to apply to (or stay on at) Loughborough?

The research quality, the PhD funding and the friendly supervisors.

What did you find helpful when you were researching studying for a PhD at Loughborough?

I did research online and I emailed my potential supervisors. The director of the PhD programme was also very helpful.

Please describe your PhD project.

There is a consensus in the literature of EU-Turkey relations that Turkey has been an 'unusual' candidate. This atypicality is related to the problematic Europeanization of the country, political polarization (after 2007), populism (after 2010) and the rise of authoritarianism under the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, previously AKP) rule (especially after 2015).

Based on this assumption, the literature suggests that the leader of AKP is the main decision-maker of Turkey's foreign policy. This research aims to test this assumption in order to explain the changes in Turkey's foreign policy towards the EU from 2002 until 2019. The added value of the research will be the examination of the interactions between Erdogan's transformational leadership, AKP-dominated domestic politics, and international dynamics. All these factors contributed to the changes in Turkish foreign policy towards the EU in this timespan.

Why did you choose your area of research?

I was always interested in Turkish politics, domestic and foreign. This PhD project gives me a chance to combine both.

I enjoy discovering different aspects of the politics and studying the roles of different actors in the decision-making process.

Please describe a typical day for you.

I try to wake up early as much as possible to start studying. I designate some goals to achieve per week or per day. After achieving my goals, I reward myself by watching a movie, going somewhere or shopping.

How do you balance studying with day-to-day activities?

I promise not to study after achieving my goals and try do some exercise after finishing my study. It's important to relax to keep going forward. PhD is a long journey and stamina is crucial.

How is a PhD different from any previous studying you have done?

PhD is the most difficult task I have ever started. It's more demanding, more tumultuous and more volatile. But it's also more rewarding. If a person passes this barrier, the academic world will be wide open.

What are you career goals?

I plan to continue my career as a lecturer in a university.

What sort of support do you receive from Loughborough to help you achieve your goals?

Loughborough offers many different training courses, seminars, funding opportunities, teaching experience and professional supervision.

How are you funding your studies?

I have a tuition fee waiver but I cover my other expenses such as food or rent. I plan to apply to teach next year. There are also Turkish government scholarships which I plan to apply for next year in October.

What's your favourite thing about Loughborough?

Loughborough is an amazing place to do a PhD and to stay sporty and healthy as well. The sport facilities are extraordinary. The city is also very cheap to live in in comparison to other cities.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering doing a PhD, what would it be?

I would definitely advise you to work in an area that you are familiar with and to have constructive relations with supervisors.