Dr. Aytekin Cantekin, 2015-2016 Academic Year Jean Monnet Scholar

Could you tell us about yourself? How has your career taken shape so far?

Following my study at the French medium Işıklar Military High School, I graduated from the Army Military Academy in 1995 with the rank of second lieutenant. Subsequently, I served as an officer with advancing ranks in various units of the Army in different parts of Turkey and abroad in Azerbaijan, TRNC and Belgium. I received a master’s degree in Defence Management from the Defence Sciences Institute in 2003 and another one in International Relations from Selçuk University in 2006. I obtained my PhD degree in International Security and Terrorism from the Defence Sciences Institute in 2012. I carried out a PhD dissertation research study supported by a TÜBİTAK grant at the School of Politics & International Relations, Nottingham University in England in 2010. I was a Jean Monnet post-doctoral research scholar on EU CSDP at Maynooth University, Edward M Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention in Ireland in the 2015-2016 academic year. In 2019 when senior Colonel, I retired voluntarily from professional military career, which includes commandership of battalion, company, platoon and brigade chief of staff positions. I continue my researches on International Relations theories, the EU, conflict resolution and crisis management and also lecture in these topics.

In which sector and when did you benefit from the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme?

I benefited from the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme from the public sector, in the Foreign, Security and Defence Policy field in 2015-2016.

Can you give some information about the university you attended and the subject you studied within the scope of the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme?

I went to Maynooth University in Ireland within the scope of the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme. I think that Ireland and its universities present convenient living and study opportunities for Jean Monnet scholars. I conducted a research study on International Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management Policies in the frame of EU CSDP at the Edward M Kennedy Institute, Maynooth University. Within the framework of this research, I searched the history, organisation and decision-making processes of the EU, Transnationalist and Intergovernmentalist approaches in the base of International Relations and European Integration Theories, civilian missions and military operations conducted in the context of the CSDP, civilian and military capabilities of the EU, the organisation of the European Defence Agency (EDA) and its capability development processes as strategic lift capability development. My research paper was published recently in Turkey as a book in English titled ‘The EU in Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management: CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy)’.

What impact did the education you have completed within the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme have on your view of the European Union?

We read from books that the European Union is a great peace project. I had the opportunity to realise the meaning of this statement and to understand it fully, thanks to the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme. First and Second World Wars are mainly the struggle of European powers against each other and the destruction of these wars was again largely to Europe. We see today that the states being at war against each other 75 years ago now live at peace together, use a common currency, compose a common parliament and budget, try to construct a common security and defence policy. This shows us that hostilities between states and nations can be overcome by appropriate policies and cooperation. Despite all criticisms and negative developments, today the European Union brings together around 500 million people from 28 countries in welfare and peace. Another point I noticed through the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme is the possibility that the EU project can turn into a much larger global peace project with the inclusion of Turkey. I think there are values Turkey and the EU can mutually add to each other.

What would you like to recommend to Jean Monnet Scholarship candidates?

Firstly, even the selection process of the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme itself contributes to the personal development of the candidates in various ways. Therefore, I strongly advise that they do not hesitate to apply. I also recommend to those who do not win a scholarship to continue their work and to try again. Eventually, scholarships are awarded to a certain number of candidates.

I would also advise the successful candidates to prepare their studies and researches at a level that they can publish in the future. This goal naturally requires a high standard of study and research endeavour.

The Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme not only allows for master’s degree studies but also for those who completed their PhD and want to pursue research. I had this opportunity. Therefore, I also propose to those who have completed their PhD to apply to the Programme for research study.