Chairman’s Note

It is a pleasure and an honor to lead the Center for Strategic Research (SAM), the only research center that operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. SAM has made great contributions since its establishment in 1995 as a bridge between our Ministry and the academic community. With the encouragement and support of our Minister, we have been doing our best to make SAM a center of activity for strategic thinking and planning, training and production of knowledge.

SAM has proven its commitment to promoting research on foreign policy issues in coordination with domestic and international scholars, regional counterparts, universities, and state institutions that are in need of policy consultancy. In this new era we are determined to turn SAM into a leading institution that celebrates inter-institutional interaction and teamwork, not only among SAM staff, but also with those from the scholarly and policy communities who are seeking to cooperate with us on various projects. Our joint projects with academics from diverse pool of universities and academic institutions -including those outside metropolitan areas-, government institutions and sister think tanks in Türkiye and abroad, are concrete examples of our willingness for constructive interaction with as many participants as possible. SAM is determined to bring the academic community and policy makers together more than ever and make a difference in the traditional state-civil society relations.

We consider SAM's academic journal “Perceptions” as our flagship publication. Thanks to the invaluable contributions of our fellow scholars, “Perceptions” has become a highly credible journal with high impact factor. In addition to an all new and improved “Perceptions”, we have widened our publishing portfolio by launching several other periodic publications with the purpose of evaluating current foreign policy issues and reflecting our point of view. Along with all these, publications of SAM staff appear in several outlets.

Last but not least; SAM has also been functioning as an educational institution within the Ministry. By means of academic training programs and internships for young diplomats and aspirants for diplomatic career we have been investing in the future of Turkish foreign policy.

Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions or comments. Your feedback is important to us.


Dr. Ufuk Ulutaş

Short Bio

Ufuk Ulutaş received his B.A. in Political Science and Public Administration from Bilkent University and his M.A. in Middle Eastern History from The Ohio State University. He completed his Ph.D. in International Relations at Ankara YBU. He studied Hebrew and Middle Eastern politics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He worked at the Ohio State University between 2002-2010 as a research/teaching assistant at the Department of History; as the Samuel M. Melton Fellow as well as George M. & Renée K. Levine Fellow at the Melton Center for Jewish Studies; and as a research assistant at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies.

He taught World History at The Ohio State University between 2006 and 2009. Dr. Ulutaş served as the Middle East Program Coordinator at SETA Foundation’s Washington D.C. office, and as a founding board member at the Mogadishu-based Heritage Institute for Policy Studies. He worked at the SETA Foundation in Ankara as the Director of Foreign Policy Studies and lectured at the Social Sciences University of Ankara’s Department of International Relations as an assistant professor. He is currently the Chairman of the Center for Strategic Research (SAM) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He authored many books, book chapters, articles and policy-oriented reports on Middle Eastern history and politics, Israel and Jewish history, Turkish foreign policy and US policy in the Middle East. He is the author, most recently, of “The State of Savagery: ISIS in Syria” and serving on the editorial board of the Perceptions journal. His academic interests include Syria, Palestine, Israel and violent non-state actors in the Middle East.


Traditional Rivalry or Regional Design in the Middle East?

01 Nisan 2018

The repercussions of the Arab Spring and new polarization between Iran, Israel and the Gulf States means the Middle East faces multiple rivalries and conflicts. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and the United States seem to have reached an agreement on certain issues in an attempt to redesign a fractured regional order. This vision is yet to be realized on the ground given the uncertainty around Washington’s global role. In assessing regional stakeholders and their potential capabilities as well as several scenes of regional conflict, the paper argues Turkey plays a traditional role in balancing tensions between Iran, the Gulf and Israel. While Turkey does not have a silver bullet, it provides ‘balancing’ support to the region, preserving neutral, middle ground.