Dr. Jonathan Miner, associate professor of political science, and Dr. Hakki Gurkas of Kennesaw State University’s Department of History led 11 students to Istanbul, Turkey, this summer. Hosted by Istanbul’s Koç University, the group wandered the millennial city of 15 million and immersed themselves in Ottoman history and modern Turkish political culture. The month-long stay during the second summer academic session coincided with yearly Ramadan celebrations and constituted a unique opportunity to explore Turkey during this festive period. Chris Powell (pictured below) deemed the intersection of religious observance and daily life fascinating, as illustrated by an encounter at Burger King with observant Turks who, after having ordered their food, waited patiently for sundown and Ramadan to begin so that they could start eating.

Pictured are PSIA students Clay Carlton, Dave Coviello, Cody Dewald, Shyla Giancola, Leland Hansen, Caleb Norris, Chris Powell, Cody Retherford, Rich Socia, and Rob Young; Kennesaw State University student Philly Huffman; Dr. Hakki Gurkas; and Dr. Jon Miner.

The group explored various regions of this beautiful country, with bus trips to the Gallipoli battlefields of western Turkey and the eastern Black Sea coast cities of Trabzon and Rize. The participants hiked, toured, sailed, and spent several nights in the 13,000-foot Kaçkar Mountains, including a snowball fight in high summer and a plunge into a breathtakingly cold waterfall.


Participants stand at foot of waterfall in Turkey.

Dr. Miner and Dr. Gurkas are in the planning stages for their next trip to Turkey during the summer of 2017, and will again offer classes in Ottoman history and modern Turkish politics. If you are interested in our next trip, please contact Dr. Miner at jonathan.miner@ung.edu.