I am a Political Science Ph.D. candidate at Florida International University. I also have a BA and an MA from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul.

Currently, I am working on my dissertation, which broadly examines the dynamics of public opinion polarization in Turkey, Venezuela, and Ecuador. My dissertation analyzes the explanatory powers of two alternative approaches: traditional left-right polarization versus affection towards populist leaders. Using a multiple methods approach, I make the case that the essence of public opinion polarization in these three countries is captured by how people are divided over the perception of populist leaders, Hugo Chávez, Rafael Correa, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, rather than the adoption of extreme ideological positions.

Besides my dissertation, I have published a peer-reviewed journal article examining populism in Turkey, Venezuela, and Ecuador in the context of strong presidents and weak democratic institutions. I have also published newspaper articles and book reviews on Turkish and Latin American politics.

At FIU, I teach the CPO 2002 (Introduction to Comparative Politics), the CPO 4303 (Politics of South America), and the ENC 1101 (Writing and Rhetoric I) courses at the undergraduate level. Previously, I worked as teaching assistants for courses on politics of Latin America, the Middle East, the United States, and Russia.

For more information, you can find my latest CV, publications, and teaching documents on this website. Feel free to leave comments and engage in a dialogue with the content.

You can also reach me by sending an email to or following me on Twitter @orcunselcuk.