Political Science PhD students' conference participation


Political Science PhD student Ieva Vezbergaite participated in the XI World Congress of Constitutional Law (WCCL) that took place on 16-20 June 2014.

WCCL is a major event of International Association of Constitutional Law held every 4 years. This year’s Congress was hosted by the University of Oslo to commemorate bicentennial of the Norwegian Constitution.

The theme of the 2014 WCCL was “Constitutional Challenges: Global and Local” and the Congress programme included plenary sessions, seventeen workshops, judges’ panel, visit to the Norwegian Parliament as well as meetings of research groups and regional associations.

The event was attended by nearly 600 constitutional law experts from 88 countries. Ieva Vezbergaite was one of the 100 young scholars selected to participate in the 2014 Congress and has received a travel and accommodation grant by the organizers.

Ieva was participant in the three workshops of the Congress:
Workshop 2: Sub-national constitutions in federal and quasi-federal constitutional states   
Workshop 9: Constitutional identity and constitutionalism beyond the nation state
Workshop 17: Federalism, community identity and distributive justice

More information on International Association of Constitutional Law and WCCL can be found here:




Political Science PhD student Ezgi Uzun attended the Midwest Political Science Conference organized on April 16 – 19, 2014 and presented a paper entitled "Iranian Nuclear Program from a Power Transition Perspective".



The Iranian nuclear crisis erupted in 2002, when a group of anti-governmental Iranians in exile disclosed a uranium enrichment facility and a heavy water facility in Natanz and Arak. While there has been no conclusive evidence on the military nature of the program, the international community has taken the issue seriously and extended both incentive packages and sanctions to curb Iran’s nuclear activities. Iran has insisted on the nuclear program so far, while pursuing different foreign policy strategies towards the international community under the leadership of different presidents. Why does Iran insist on its nuclear program despite strong “carrots” and “sticks” extended by the international community? Why does the Iranian regime pursue incongruent foreign policy strategies on the nuclear issue under the leadership of different presidents? A prevalent view acclaimed by both scholarly and policy circles is that Iranian nuclear program is closely associated with its aspiration to become a regional power in the Middle East. This paper makes an attempt to analyze the validity of this argument from a power transition theory perspective. The first part of the paper is devoted to a theoretical review of power transition theory. The second part analyzes Iran’s prospects to become a regional power compared to other Middle Eastern countries with reference to various indicators of national power and economic power, such as CINC scores and GDP levels. The third part discusses the political and economic components of the international and regional status quo lead by the USA and her European allies. The last part of the paper discusses how Iran’s (dis-)satisfaction with this status-quo changes under the leadership of hardliner and reformist factions in Iran. The paper concludes that nuclearization might be one strategy to become a regional power for Iran. However this hard power strategy poses additional challenges for the economic development of the country, leading to a decrease in the economic power of the country. Hardliner and reformist factions represented by the presidencies of Ahmedinejad and Rouhani respectively exhibit different levels of (dis-)satisfaction with the status-quo, and hence pursue different nuclear foreign policies towards the West.




Political Science PhD candidate Doğu Durgun has been accepted to ISA Annual Convention organized by the International Studies Association in Toronto on March, 26-29 and MPSA Annual Conference organized by Midwest Political Science Association in Chicago on April, 3-6.

Doğu Durgun will present two papers entitled “With and/or Without State: A Historical Analysis of LGBT Movement in Turkey” and “Whose Agency Matters? The State, the Military and the Judiciary” at the conferences.


With and/or Without the State: A Historical Analysis of LGBT Movement in Turkey

Abstract: In this study, I trace the evolution of the LGBT activists’ positioning vis-a-vis the political in Turkey. I argue that although the activists put forth a politics which did not take the state as a negotiating actor at the very beginning of the movement, they became more involved in a rights-discourse which focuses on the transformation of the political parties, laws and regulations, and the state institutions in 2000s. I situate this change in the context of changing identifications of the activists who take both types of politics possible rather than paradoxical, as well as in the context of Turkey’s EU accession. In doing so, I take a closer look to the debates in Kaos GL, the first publicly known LGBT magazine, which has been regularly published since 1994 and conduct in-depth interviews with the activists.

Whose Agency Matters? The State, the Military and the Judiciary

Abstract: Militarization involves many agencies which are simultaneously put forth by various domestic and international actors. With varying identifications, these actors influence the process by reproducing, transforming or challenging the military within a changing (inter)national context. To understand its course of evolution, one needs to question the changing representations/practices of these actors, their subjectivities and how their agencies are (un)counted. This paper investigates this process in Turkey through the analyses of certain events in 1990s and 2000s, the state and society’s responses to these events and the judicial processes.




Political Science PhD student Osman Zeki Gökçe has attended “ERF 20th Annual Conference: Economic Development and Social Justice” organized by the Economic Research Forum on 22 – 24 March 2014, in Cairo, Egypt.

Osman Zeki Gökçe presented a paper entitled “Informality in the Turkish Labor Market During the Crisis Period in Turkey: Evidence from Individual Level Data, 2000-2002” under the Labor and Human Development theme at the conference.

Click the link below for the conference program:


This paper investigates the transition dynamics into/out of, and between formal and informal employment in the Turkish Labor Market at the individual level.  Data for the period 2000-2002 period obtained from the short panel component of the Household Labor Force Survey are utilized. Like other data sets based on a rotating sample frame, HLFS data suffer from selective attrition and substitution.  We rely on the Rescaled AN (RAN) model of Tunalı, Ekinci and Yavuzoğlu (2012) and obtain the adjusted transition probabilities in a four state model (non-participation, informal employment, formal employment, unemployment). The adjustment is done separately on subsamples broken down by gender and location, for both quarterly and annual transitions. To study the individual determinants of transitions, the set of 4x4 forward transition probabilities are subjected to further analysis using the Multinomial Logit (MNL) model.  Empirical findings confirm that there is a systematic relationship between attrition and substitution behavior and labor market states occupied by the individuals.  Notably informally employed individuals are found to be underrepresented in the balanced panel, whereas non-participants are overrepresented. Using a rich set of covariates, we are able to establish links between observables and outcomes, and offer explanations based on the vast literature on informal vs. formal employment. We are able to detect the impact of recovery period the aftermath of the 2001 crisis:  the likelihood of moving from the informal to the formal sector is higher, and statistically significant in 2002. This lends credence for the view of cyclicality of flows between informal and formal sectors with respect to economic conditions.  Although qualitatively similar conclusions are reached when the MNL model is estimated on the balanced panel, we find that estimates of time variables are strengthened when RAN model corrections are employed.