Event date and time: May 22, 2010, Sunday, 12:30pm
Location: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 133 Pleasant St., Portland, ME 04101
Lecturer: Dr. Alexandros Kyrou
Lecture Title: "Anti-Americanism in Turkey and Turkophilia in America: A Formula for Foreign Policy Failure"
Lecture description and background: Turkey has long been touted by successive US administrations as a loyal and indispensible ally and friend of the United States. For decades, Washington has lauded Ankara with praise for its supposedly crucial role in NATO, its incomparable strategic value, its unfaltering partnership with the West during the Cold War, and its increasingly important support for the US in the volatile Middle East and beyond in the post-Cold War world. Indeed, so deeply embedded is this uncritically eulogistic American portrayal of Turkey that Ankara’s recent assertive strikes against inviolable US foreign policy positions vis-à-vis Iran and Israel were quickly dismissed by the Washington foreign policy establishment as insignificant aberrations from an otherwise nearly perfect historic relationship. However, the actual historical record of Turkey’s relations with the US stands in stark contrast to popular American perception and official government claims about Turkey as a staunch Western ally and pro-American partner. This lecture will address some of the myths surrounding the US-Turkish alliance. It will critically examine Ankara’s history of engagement with Washington, as well as Turkish attitudes towards the US. Furthermore, by deconstructing a recent and prominent case-example of US foreign policy discussion on Turkey, this presentation will shed light on the paradox of why and how American foreign policymakers manufacture and promote an inaccurate image of US-Turkish relations that ultimately serves Ankara’s expanding ambitions at the cost of US national interests and security.
About the lecturer: Dr. Alexandros K. Kyrou is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Program in East European and Russian Studies at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts, where he teaches on the Balkans, Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire. He received his Ph.D. in East European History at Indiana University and completed his postdoctoral work as a Hannah Seeger Davis Visiting Research Fellow in the Program in Hellenic Studies at Princeton University. He is also a former Research Fellow of the Kokkalis Program on Southeastern and East-Central Europe at Harvard University, as well as a past Senior Research Scholar at the former Institute on Religion and World Affairs at Boston University, and a Visiting Scholar at the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in Philadelphia. Professor Kyrou’s diverse publications include works on international humanitarian relief in Axis-occupied Greece, Greek-American history, Balkan Diaspora politics, US foreign policy in Southeastern Europe, and war and peace in Byzantium. Professor Kyrou is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Modern Hellenism, as well as a regular contributor to the New York English-language Greek periodical, The National Herald, in which his column, “Biblia,” addresses seminal works on Greek history, politics, and culture. Dr. Kyrou resides in Bedford, Massachusetts, with his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou, and their daughter, Sophia.