TTU's Michael Gunter becomes first U.S. citizen appointed to European Union Turkey Civic Commission

Tennessee Tech University political science professor Michael Gunter was recently appointed to the six-member board of directors for the European Union Turkey Civic Commission.

The appointment will help enable Gunter, one of the world’s leading scholars of the Kurdish population, to address the EU parliament for the fifth consecutive year this coming December to promote Turkey’s candidacy for and admission into the union.

The EUTCC is a European non-governmental organization whose mission is to promote Turkey’s admission to the EU as a way to help democratically solve the country’s Kurdish problem.

Gunter has long been the only United States citizen in the EUTCC, and his latest appointment puts him on the organization’s highest decision-making body.

“This is in recognition of my successful work over the past five years in publishing and speaking about these issues, as well as work done specifically to promote the success of the EUTCC mission,” he said.

A primary activity of the EUTCC is to hold an annual conference at the EU Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.

“This conference creates a great deal of awareness about the over-all issue, which is so important to the future of the EU and the Middle East, and therefore to U.S. foreign policy,” Gunter said.

Only democratic states are allowed to join the EU, and most U.S. officials strongly support Turkey’s membership as the first Islamic nation within the union, he continued.

“Turkey’s admission to the EU would also help reveal the lie in the ‘inevitable clash of civilizations’ thesis between Christian and Islamic cultures, as well as help solve the EU’s problem of a declining working population to fund its welfare state. Turkey has a large, young working population, while most of Europe has an aging population,” Gunter said.

Gunter has authored six critically praised books and numerous scholarly articles about the Kurds. His works have appeared in such leading periodicals as Middle East Journal, Middle East Quarterly, Middle East Policy, Current History, Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Orient and others.

In summers, he teaches at the International University in Vienna, Austria, and he is a former senior Fulbright lecturer on international relations in Turkey. Gunter has also held Fulbright awards to China and Israel.

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