Russian envoy killed in Turkey: U-M experts available

December 20, 2016
Mandira Banerjee, 734-764-1841, or Debing Su, 734-764-0266,


Experts at the University of Michigan can discuss the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Ankara and its implications on Turkey-Russian relations. They include:

Juan Cole, professor of history, studies the ongoing political change in the Middle East.

Cole recently wrote on his blog Informed Comment: “The assassination will slow but not interrupt that process of Russo-Turkish rapprochement, after a period last winter and spring when the two countries were boycotting each other. If anything, this assassination will be blamed on enemies both of Moscow and of Ankara, and may well cause the Erdogan-Putin relationship to strengthen.”

Contact: 734-764-6305,

Fatma Müge Göçek is a Turkish-born professor of sociology. Her publications include “The Transformation of Turkey: Redefining State and Society from the Ottoman Empire to the Modern Era” and “Denial of Violence: Ottoman Past, Turkish Present, and Collective Violence against the Armenians, 1789-2009.”

Contact: 734-647-4228,

Melvyn Levitsky, professor of international policy and practice at the Ford School of Public Policy. During his 35-year career as a U.S. diplomat, Levitsky served as officer-in-charge of U.S.-Soviet bilateral relations and was a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

Contact: 734-615-4262,

Julia Sonnevend, assistant professor of communication studies, researches coverage of major media events. She is author of the book, “Stories Without Borders: The Making of a Global Iconic Event.”

Contact: 734-936-2535,