PSIR 552 | Course Introduction and Application Information

Course Name
Conventional Security in International Relations
Local Credits
PSIR 552

Course Language
Course Type
Course Level
Second Cycle
Course Coordinator -
Course Lecturer(s)
Course Objectives This course aims at over-viewing and analyzing through enquiring lenses of the more important issues and theoretical approaches pertaining to international security’s conventional dimension also known as military security or national security.
Course Description The students who succeeded in this course;
  • The students successfully completing this course would be able to: Identify various theoretical and conceptual approaches pertaining to conventional security,
  • Discuss principal issues and challenges of conventional security in international relations;
  • Analyze conventional security’s issues and challenges using critical lenses;
  • Compare and contrast the security perspectives and policies of leading international actors;
  • Identify the impact and reflections of technological progress on international security;
  • Make projections on new security challenges and risks likely to be encountered by the international community in coming years
Course Content The introduction to the course would be made through a brief overview of the conceptual foundations of international relations and the notion of security. Since the students are presumed to have already acquainted themselves with the theoretical assumptions and theoretical aspects during previous phases of their education, the focus of the course would rapidly shift toward some of the contemporary issues of international and conventional security. During the first 11 weeks of the semester, the methodology of the course will be lecturer’s presentation and explanations intermingled with class discussion. During the last three weeks of the semester, the lecturer would leave the floor to the students, who would be expected to make brief visual/oral presentations in front of the class. A range of topics chosen from present and future security challenges would be identified by the instructor, and each student will be assigned with one of those based on his/her preferences.


Course Category

Core Courses
Major Area Courses
Supportive Courses
Media and Management Skills Courses
Transferable Skill Courses



Week Subjects Related Preparation
1 Introduction: Course objectives, content, methodology Presentation and overiview of the course
2 Theoretical precepts: security, realism, deterrence Edward Smith, “The traditional routes to security” in Peter Hough (ed), International Security Studies, Chapter-2; Shahin Malik, “Constructing security” in Hough (ed) Chapter-6; Graham Allison, “The Myth of the Liberal Order”, Foreign Affairs, 14 June 2018; Stephen M. Walt, “Great Powers Are Defined by Their Great Wars”, Foreign Policy, 21 September 2017; Stephen M. Walt, “How to Get B.A. in International Relations in 5 Minutes”, Foreign Policy, 19 May 2014; Stephen M. Walt, “The World Wants You to Think Like a Realist”, Foreign Policy, 30 May 2018; Daniel Deudney and G. John Ikenberry, “Liberal World”, Foreign Affairs, 14 June 2018.
3 Weapons of Mass Destruction-I: chemical and biological weapons Gregory D. Koblenz, “The myth of biological weapons as the poor man’s atomic bomb”, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 18 March 2015; Zian Lui, “Bioweapons … for dummies?”, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 28 September 2015; Amy E. Smithson”, London attack: Saddle Moscow with chemical weapons inspections”, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 22 March 2018; Wojtek Grojec and Carlos Coelho,” Chemical Weapons: A Deadly History”, Radio Free Europe, 22 April 2018; Kate Charlet, “The New Killer Pathogens”, Foreign Affairs, 16 April 2018; Luke O’Brien and Aaron Stein, “The military logic behind Assad’s use of chemical weapons”, War on the Rocks, 15 June 2018; Melissa Gillis, Disarmament – A Basic Guide, Chapter 5, Chapter 6.
4 Weapons of Mass Destruction-II: nuclear weapons Doug Bandow, “Let Them Make Nukes”, Foreign Affairs, 26 July 2016; Scott D. Sagan, “The Korean Missile Crisis”, Foreign Affairs, 10 September 2017; Stephen M. Walt, “The World Doesn’t Need Any More Nuclear Strategies”, Foreign Policy, 6 February 2018; Wayne McLean, “Turkey must be thinking of the Bomb”, The Interpreter, 16 July 2018; Jeffrey Lewis, “Point and Nuke”, Foreign Policy, 12 September 2018; Jeffrey Lewis, “Nuclear Deals and Double Standards”, Foreign Affairs, 2 October 2018; Melissa Gillis, Disarmament – A Basic Guide, Chapter 3; Robert Jervis and Mira Rapp-Hooper, “Perceptions and Misperceptions on the Korean Peninsula”, Foreign Affairs, 5 April 2018.
5 Missile Threat and Missile Defense Steven Pifer, Missile Defense in Europe: Cooperation or Contention?, Brookings Arms Control Series Paper 8, May 2012; “Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat”, NASIC Public Affairs Office, June 2017; David Kenner, “Why Israel Fears Iran’s Presence in Syria”, The Atlantic, 22 July 2018; Jeffrey Lewis, “Patriot Missiles Are Made in America and Fail Everywhere”, Foreign Policy, 28 March 2018; Can Kasapoğlu and Sinan Ülgen, Is Turkey Sleepwalking Out of the Alliance?, EDAM Foreign Policy and Security 2018/6.
6 Transformation of warfare and technology Sydney J. Freedberg Jr, “Don’t Forget COIN”, Breaking Defense, 10 December 2015; Mike Pietrucha and Mike Benitez, “Political Air Power, Part II”, War on the Rocks, November 2016; Amos Fox, “Precision Fires Hindered by Urban Jungle”, AUSA, 16 April 2018; Tanisha M. Fazal and Sarah Kreps, “The United States’ Perpetual War in Afghanistan”, Foreign Affairs, 20 August 2018; Christopher S. Browning, International Security – A Very Short Introduction, Chapter 5; Christian Brose, “The New Revolution in Military Affairs”, Foreign Affairs, 16 April 2019.
7 Arms trade, export controls, arms control Bruce Pilbeam, “The international arms trade in conventional weapons”, in Hough (ed) Chapter-10; Lawrence Marzouk (, “Making a Killing”,, 27 July 2016; “UN’s Arms Trade Treaty too weak to make a difference”, Deutsch Welle, 11 September 2017.
8 Russian factor Stephen J. Blank, “Imperial Ambitions”, World Affairs, May/June 2015; Dimitri Trenin, “The Revival of the Russian Military”, Foreign Affairs, 18 April 2016; Gregory Feifer, “Putin’s Past Explains Russia’s Future”, Foreign Affairs, 16 March 2018; Dmitry Gorenburg, “Is a New Russian Black Sea Fleet Coming?”, War on the Rocks, 31 July 2018; Olga Oliker, “Moscow’s Nuclear Enigma”, Foreign Affairs, 15 October 2018; Mitat Çelikpala and Emre Erşen, “Turkey’s Black Sea Predicament”, Perceptions, Summer 2018; Akın Ünver, “Russia Has Won the Information War in Turkey”, Foreign Policy, 21 April 2019.
9 Security of the West: NATO, US Robert Farley, “Yes, America’s Military Supremacy Is Fading”, National Interest, 21 September 2015; Tom Sauer, “Take It from a European: NATO Is Obsolete”, National Interest, 24 February 2017; Paul Hockenos, “Europe Contemplates Life without NATO”, Defense One, 20 February 2017; Robert Kagan, “Backing into World War III”, Foreign Policy, 6 February 2017; Stewart M. Patrick, “Trump and World Order”, Foreign Affairs, 13 February 2017; Stephen M. Walt, “I Knew the Cold War: This Is No Cold War”, Foreign Policy, 12 March 2018; Stephen M. Walt, “The EU and NATO and Trump – Oh My!”, Foreign Policy, 2 July 2018; Robert Dalsjo,, “Don’t Believe the Russian Hype”, Foreign Policy, 7 March 2019; Mark Urban, The Edge, Chapter 1.
10 Security of the East: China and neighbors Elizabeth C. Economy, “History With Chinese Characteristics”, Foreign Affairs, 13 June 2017; Evan Osnos, “Making China Great Again”, The New Yorker, 8 January 2018; Jennifer Lind, “Life in China’s Asia”, Foreign Affairs, 13 February 2018; Keith Johnson and Dan De Luce, “One Belt, One Road, One Happy Chinese Navy”, Foreign Policy, 17 April 2018; Kevin Rudd, “How Xi Jinping Views the World”, Foreign Affairs, 10 May 2018; Caitlin Talmadge, Beijing’s Nuclear Option”, Foreign Affairs, 15 October 2018.
11 Cyber Warfare Franz-Stefan Gady, “Could Cyber Attacks Lead to Nuclear War?”, The Diplomat, May 2015; Amy Zegart, “The NSA Confronts a Problem of Its Own Making”, The Diplomat, 29 June 2017; Alper Başaran, “Turkey Under Cyber Fire”, Turkish Policy Quarterly, Spring 2017; Mackenzie Weinger, “UAE Hacking Allegation Roils Regional Crisis”, The Cipher Brief, 17 July 2017; Mark Galeotti, “Size Doesn’t Matter for Spies Anymore”, Foreign Policy, 31 January 2018; Tarah Wheeler, “In Cyberwar, there are no rules”, Foreign Policy, 12 September 2018; Bruce Schneier, “Why NSA Makes Us Vulnerable to Cyberattacks”, Foreign Affairs, 30 May 2017; Matt Caylor, “The Cyber Threat to Nuclear Deterrence”, The War on the Rocks, February 2016; Danny Vinik, “America’s secret arsenal”, Politico, 12 September 2015.
12 Case Study Presentations-I
13 Case Study Presentations-II
14 Case Study Presentations-III
15 Review of the semester
16 Final Exam


Course Notes/Textbooks

This course does not have specific book.

Suggested Readings/Materials

Instead of a specific course book, there will be large number of weekly reading assignments comprising articles, manuscripts, reports and news stories drawn from a large variety of books, journals, periodicals, magazines and newspapers. Assigned readings for each week would be available on the course’s Blackboard page a week or two in advance.



Semester Activities Number Weigthing
Laboratory / Application
Field Work
Quizzes / Studio Critiques
Homework / Assignments
Presentation / Jury
Seminar / Workshop
Oral Exams
Final Exam

Weighting of Semester Activities on the Final Grade
Weighting of End-of-Semester Activities on the Final Grade


Semester Activities Number Duration (Hours) Workload
Theoretical Course Hours
(Including exam week: 16 x total hours)
Laboratory / Application Hours
(Including exam week: 16 x total hours)
Study Hours Out of Class
Field Work
Quizzes / Studio Critiques
Homework / Assignments
Presentation / Jury
Seminar / Workshop
Oral Exam
Final Exam



Program Competencies/Outcomes
* Contribution Level
1 To improve theoretical and conceptual proficiencies on Political Science and International Relations and to ultimately deepen and develop intellectual interest X
2 To evaluate the relationships between factors in the field of Political Science and International Relations such as structures, actors, institutions and culture in a critical perspective  X
3 To provide advanced competences to determine and question the theoretical and emprical gaps in Political Science and International Relations literature  X
4 To identify the political and cultual conditions that generate discrimination mechanisms based on race, ethnic groups, gender and religion at national and international levels  X
5 To provide competences to develop original arguments in order to fill the gaps in Political Science and International Relations literature X
6 To determine, collect, resolve, and interpret the data that would measure the theories and concepts as variables by using scientific research methods in Political Science and International Relations field X
7 To use confidently the terms and concepts of Political Science and International Relations  X
8 To communicate systematically, in written, oral, and visual forms, contemporary developments in Political Science and International Relations to groups inside and outside the said discipline  X
9 To take responsibility in an individual capacity and as part of a team in generating solutions to unexpected problems that arise in relation to politics in daily life  X
10 To develop projects determining the institutional and political instruments for management of domestic and international conflicts  X
11 To prepare an orginal thesis/term project about Political Science and International Relations in accordance with scentific criteria  X
12 To design and carry out a scientific research project in the field of Political Science and International Relations  X
13 To have ethical, social and scientific values in the stages throughout the processes of collecting, interpreting, disseminating and implementing data relevant to Political Science and International Relations  X

*1 Lowest, 2 Low, 3 Average, 4 High, 5 Highest