UK Professor’s Book Examines Iraqi War

Contact: Ralph Derickson

Photo of Robert Olson
Robert Olson

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“I do not try to cover all of the issues involved in Turkey-Iran relations or each country’s foreign policies with a host of other countries. Rather, I focus on those regional interests that are vital to the sovereignty and national security of each state, such as the transnational and domestic aspects of Kurdish nationalism, the growth of the nationalism movements in Kurdistan-Iran and Azerbaijan Iran, the domestic and foreign Islamist question, the Caspian Sea and Central Asian regions and countries, and the potential consequences of the 2003 war in Iraq.”

-- Robert Olson,
history professor,
University of Kentucky

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 20, 2004) -- A new book by University of Kentucky history professor Robert Olson, a leading international authority on the foreign relations of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Kurds, is one of the first scholarly publications to detail the tumultuous history and politics of Iran and Turkey during the past 25 years.

The new book is titled “Turkey-Iran Relations, 1979-2004: Revolution, Ideology, War, Coups and Geopolitics.” It examines the way the Iraq war affects these two important countries and especially the war’s consequences for their future foreign policies.

Olson’s new book and several other new books written by faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences will be featured in a display in the White Hall Classroom Building Monday, Feb. 23, the first day of Arts and Sciences Week at UK.

Olson, who was the Distinguished Professor in the UK College of Arts and Sciences in 2000-2001 and the Albert D. and Elizabeth H. Kirwan Memorial University Professor in 1999-2000, has written seven books, six in English and one in Persian. Three of his books have been translated six times into four languages – Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish and Persian.

His new book corrects the sparse historiography concerning two of the most important countries in the Middle East with a combined population of some 140 million people covering a land space greater than all of Europe.

“I do not try to cover all of the issues involved in Turkey-Iran relations or each country’s foreign policies with a host of other countries,” Olson said. “Rather, I focus on those regional interests that are vital to the sovereignty and national security of each state, such as the transnational and domestic aspects of Kurdish nationalism, the growth of the nationalism movements in Kurdistan-Iran and Azerbaijan Iran, the domestic and foreign Islamist question, the Caspian Sea and Central Asian regions and countries, and the potential consequences of the 2003 war in Iraq.”

Olson emphasizes that, in addition to the Palestine-Israel conflict, the significance of the oil and gas resources of the Middle East, and the American and British presence in Iraq, relations between Turkey and Iran are vital to understanding the politics of the Middle East and the future of the region.
Olson’s book was published by Mazda Publishers Inc. of Costa Mesa, Calif., in January 2004.


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