Ilker Kalin

Turkey, Ph.D in Political Science, Postdoctoral Researcher, Center for Foreign Policy and Peace Research (CFPPR), Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey 2024

The LGBTQ+ Participation and Polarization within and outside the Collective Dissent in Turkey

Ilker Kalin

Project Description

Polarization, driven by the rise of populism, has emerged as a significant contemporary challenge in numerous socities, particularly for activists striving to coordinate nonviolent actions. Within deeply polarized societies, practically any issue can swiftly transform into a political battleground. Among various polarizing issues, LGBTQ+ rights have become a focal point for authoritarian leaders to marginalize dissent and divert public attention. Turkey, in particular, has witnessed a mounting clampdown on LGBTQ+ in the past decade, accompanied by discriminatory rhetoric and policies. Despite facing such repression, LGBTQ+ continue to occupy a prominent role in the forefront of collective dissent. This pertains not only to the advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights but also encompasses broader collective actions across diverse causes. Against this backdrop, this research investigates the escalating polarization surrounding LGBTQ+ issues in Turkey and examines how this polarization influences collective dissent within the country. The study aims to perform both individual- and organizational-level analyses. To this end, the research utilizes a mixed-methods approach by gathering quantitative data through an online survey experiment with a representative sample of participants and by collecting qualitative data through key informant interviews with activists. The findings are expected to offer significant insights into the dynamics of polarization and the involvement of LGBTQ+ in nonviolent action, providing valuable guidance for activists and researchers.


Ilker Kalin is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Foreign Policy and Peace Research (CFPPR) at Bilkent University. He earned his PhD in Political Science from Wayne State University in 2018. His research interests include political violence, conflict processes, nonviolent action, and civil-military relations. His work has so far appeared in Conflict Management and Peace Science, International Interactions, and Freedom House. He is also a recipient of 2022-2023 International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) Online Teaching Fellowship. He is currently serving as the managing editor of All Azimuth: A Journal of Foreign Policy and Peace.

Twitter: @IlkerKalin

Selected Publications:

Kalin, Ilker & Kirisci, Mustafa (2024). US Military Training, External Support, and Security Defections during Nonviolent Resistance. International Interactions, 50(3), 448-477.

Kalin, Ilker, Olson Lounsbery, Marie & Pearson, Frederic (2022). Major Power Politics and Nonviolent Resistance Movements. Conflict Management and Peace Science, 39(3), 241- 265.

Kalin, Ilker (2021). “Smart Repression at Work: Limiting Space for Academic Freedom in Turkey.” Policy Brief Series on Advancing Fundamental Freedoms in Turkey. Freedom House.