Kutluhan Çelik – 2007 – 2008 Academic Year Jean Monnet Scholar

School / Department:  King’s College London, MA War Studies

Institution and Position: Counsellor at Permanent Representation of Türkiye to the Council of Europe

Could you tell us a little about yourself? How has your career been shaped so far?

I graduated from TED Ankara College in 2003 and from Bilkent University, Department of International Relations in 2007. Studies on the concept of war, both general and specific, in the UK have always intrigued me. Within this framework, I made all my applications for master’s degrees to universities in the United Kingdom.

After the global economic crisis that started in the UK in 2007, I was not able to develop myself or continue my doctorate by working abroad for a while, especially due to the national security motives brought by my field. In the current environment in Türkiye, where defence platform manufacturers need engineering knowledge rather than political analysis, I returned to my country with the thought that the best decision for me would be to try to put what I learned into practice as soon as possible, even in other working environments.

I started my job at the end of 2009 by passing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs exams. After nearly two years and my military service in Ankara, I worked at our Lusaka, Wellington and Baghdad Embassies. After my duty at Headquarters in 2018, I started my duty at the Permanent Representation of Türkiye to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in September 2020.

Could you give some information about the university you studied with the Jean Monnet Scholarship and the subject you worked on?

Within the “London University System”, King’s College London is one of the biggest founding colleges of the period and perhaps today. It is one of the few educational institutions in the world in the field of “War Studies”, which earned the right to issue a diploma on its behalf, in the year before the year I graduated. Spread over at least five campuses in the city centre of London, the school stands out in terms of academic staff accessibility and library services, as well as faculty/student ratio. Its social life is particularly lively.

Contemporary war studies was an area of exclusive interest to professional soldiers until a century or two ago. Although there are very old and still reliable sources such as the works of Sun Tzu, the need to keep up with the requirements of our time has produced many thinkers, especially Jomini, Mahan, Schelling, Hart and of course von Clausewitz.

Of course, war studies cannot cover military activities that require professional career development from a very young age and take years to specialise, such as war work, command and management of operations; attempts to the contrary must be met with a smile. On the other hand, war studies can offer a different perspective to civilians in terms of both its historical background and theoretical framework, and it makes it possible to analyse the history and theory of war, the situation on the ground and its impact on humanity in a calm manner.

War studies is a unique academic discipline that provides the ability to deal with all our interlocutors calmly on issues that may be sensitive at best and endanger the existence of people and societies at worst.

How did the education you completed through the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme affect your thoughts on the European Union?

In the years when the Common Foreign and Security Policy came forward and the formation of the “European Army” was mentioned, even at the time of the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme exam interview I mentioned that this was not realistic yet. It was stated by many circles that the EU was dragged into an irreversible inconsistency as of 2004 at the latest. In football terms, it unfortunately turned into a project where the initial idea behind it was good, the beginning was positive, but its implementation ended up in need of repair. Of course, time will tell what the EU project will bring for its members, its former member and its environment, whose final execution requires refinements in many respects.

What I saw in the UK and the process leading up to the UK’s subsequent exit from the EU reinforced this view.

If I go back to my football analogy above, I am sadly watching a project that could have been very successful if executed correctly, drifting towards failure due to malice and negligence.

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

Let them not magnify anything in their eyes; they should be courageous. They should not let others think for or on behalf of themselves. Let them always surround themselves with better quality cultural and artistic works.