Research Team

Sinan Ülgen

Chairman, EDAM

Sinan Ülgen graduated in 1987 from the University of Virginia with a double major in computer sciences and economics. He undertook graduate studies at the College of Europe in Brugge, Belgium where he received, in 1990, a masters degree in European economic integration. He then joined the Turkish Foreign Service as a career diplomat. In 1992, he was posted to the Turkish Permanent Delegation to the European Union in Brussels where he became part of the team that negotiated the Turkey-EU customs union.

Ulgen is the founder and managing partner of Istanbul Economics. The consultancy specializes in market entry strategies for international companies, political and economic risk analysis related to Turkey and regulatory affairs.

Ulgen is also the chairman of the Istanbul based think tank, Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM) and a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels. His research and opinion pieces have been published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Center for European Policy Studies, Center for European Reform, the Atlantic Council, German Marshall Fund, Brookings and the World Economic Forum as well as newspapers such as Le Figaro, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, European Voice, Project Syndicate and the International New York Times. He is also the co-author of a book on Turkey-EU relations with Kemal Dervis and a frequent commentator on Turkish affairs in the international press. Ulgen served on the academic advisory board member of the NATO Defence College in Rome. He was a member of the Europe Council of the World Economic Forum. He was also a member of the international policy experts group set up by the NATO Secretary General Rasmussen.

Çiğdem Üstün


Çiğdem Üstün, graduated from Political Science and Public Administration Department at Bilkent University with honors and completed her MA Degree at European Studies and International Relations Department in University of East Anglia, UK with distinction. She holds a PhD in European Studies from the University of Limerick (Ireland) on Comparison of EU and Turkish Security Cultures. Her PhD thesis was published in 2010 by I.B. Tauris. She got her associate professorship in 2014 on EU Studies. Her research interests are European integration, enlargement, EU-Turkey relations, EU’s neighborhood policies. She is currently working as a faculty member in the Economic, Administrative and Social Sciences, Department of International Relations at Nişantaşı University, İstanbul. She has been visiting researcher and lecturer at University of Limerick, University of Catania and University of Cambridge. She is a member of International Relations Council of Turkey, Romanian Association for Baltic and Nordic Studies in Târgovi?te, Association for Development Migration and Social Policies and Women in Foreign Policy Initiative. She joined the editorial team of journal of International Relations (Uluslararası İlişkiler) as an associate editor in 2019. She has numerous articles, books and book chapters and opinion eds published in her areas of expertise; EU-Turkey relations, neighborhood policies and Turkish foreign policy. She worked in several EU funded projects under the Promotion of the Civil Society Dialogue Between EU and Turkey, Universities Grant Scheme, the 7th Framework Programme, the IPA Information and Communication Programme, Support for actions promoting a better-informed public debate about EU Enlargement, in a number of Sivil Düşün (Think Civil) Programme


Research Director

Sinem Akgül Açıkmeşe is a Professor of International Relations and Jean Monnet Chair holder on Hybrid Threats in the EU at Kadir Has University (KHAS).She holds a BA in International Relations as well as an MA in European Union-International Relations from Ankara University. She studied at the European Institute of London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) for her MSc degree in European Studies. She has completed her PhD in European Studies-International Relations at Ankara University (2008). She was a Jean Monnet fellow at LSE, Turkish Academy of Sciences fellow and visiting PhD student at London School of Economics, Sasakawa Young Leaders fellow, visiting scholar to IGCC-University of California-San Diego as a US Department of State Fellow, Black Sea Young Reformers fellow, visiting researcher at Stellenbosch University, visiting scholar at Harvard University (2017) in support of her research on Security Studies, EU foreign and neighbourhood policies specifically from a security perspective, European integration, enlargement and Turkey-EU relations. Prof. Açıkmeşe has a teaching experience of about 20 years, at various institutions including Ankara University and TOBB-University of Economics and Technology on a full-time capacity before she joined KHAS in 2011. She is currently the associate editor of European Review of International Studies,Governing Board Member as well as the Secretary-General of the International Relations Council of Turkey (IRCT) and served as a Member of the Governing Council of the International Studies Association (ISA) (2018-2020). She has coordinated and took part in several international research and exchange projects including EU-FP7 Marie-Curie Actions, Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships and Jean Monnet Actions.

Can Kasapoğlu

Security and Defense Studies Program Director

Asst. Prof. Dr Can Kasapoglu is the Director of Security and Defense Studies Program at EDAM. As a War & Security Studies scholar and a military analyst, Dr Kasapoglu gained his PhD degree from the Turkish War College-Strategic Researches Institute in 2011 by successfully defending his dissertation on Assessing Conventional Forces in Low-Intensity Conflicts, and his M.Sc. degree from the Turkish Military Academy-Defense Sciences Institute in 2008 with his thesis on Turkish armed resistance and special forces operations in Cyprus before 1974. In 2015 – 2016, Dr Kasapoglu pursued his academic studies in the NATO Defense College, Rome. Asst. Prof .Dr. Kasapoglu served at several reputable think-tanks as visiting researcher, including the BESA Center in Israel, and the FRS in France. Assistant Prof. Dr Can Kasapoglu specializes in strategic weapon systems with a special focus on chemical & biological warfare, missile proliferation and missile defense, hybrid warfare, NATO’s collective defense and cooperative security issues, Turkish – Israeli relations, global and regional military modernization trends, geopolitics, and open-source strategic intelligence Dr Kasapoglu has spoken at the NATO Defense College, Baltic Defense College, annual conference of International Society of Military Sciences, Warsaw Security Forum, and other reputable platforms. He taught courses of War and Strategy Theory, Global Peace and Security, Civil-Military Relations, Contemporary Terrorism Studies, and Geopolitics at Girne American University. Dr Kasapoglu is a frequent contributor to international press and strategic community outlets such as France 24, The New York Times, The Jerusalem Post, Anatolian Agency, BBC, Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and War on the Rocks.


Secretary General

Zeynep Başaran is the Secretary General at the Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM). Prior to joining EDAM, she worked as a researcher at NATO Parliamentary Assembly and as a junior officer within various divisions at NATO HQ – including Public Affairs and Strategic Communications, Policy Planning Unit and the Permanent Representation of Turkey. Furthermore, she contributed to the conflict resolution and migration research projects at the Istanbul Policy Center-Stiftung Mercator Initiative.

Her research interests consist of Transatlantic relations, European & Turkish foreign, security and defence policy, geopolitical developments within the broader Mediterranean and MENA region, strategic foresight & (open-source) intelligence as well as the defence implications of emerging technologies (Artificial Intelligence, cyber & hybrid warfare).

Zeynep holds a Master’s degree (2019) in International Relations with a specialisation in Global Political Economy from Leiden University and a Bachelor’s degree (2017) in Economics from Ozyegin University. During her studies, she undertook an exchange year at University of Bologna, studying International Affairs and Diplomacy. She speaks Turkish, English, Spanish, and has good knowledge of French, Dutch and Italian. Zeynep is an active member of various associations, including Women in International Security (WIIS), Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) Brussels and the International Studies Student Association (ISSA) Leiden.

Defense Analyst

Sine Özkaraşahin


After graduating from Leiden University in 2019, Sine pursued her master’s in International Development (with tracks in Middle Eastern Studies and Project Management) at Sciences Po Paris. She also holds a minor degree in Conflict Studies and Human Rights from the University of Ottawa. She joined EDAM in July 2020 as a research assistant. She was previously involved in UNESCO and UNCHR projects. She is fluent in Turkish, English, and has working knowledge in French. She is particularly interested in migration, political psychology, artificial intelligence, ethics, and community-based approaches in conflict resolution.

Dilan Tulan

EDAM Researcher

Dilan Tulan joined the Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM) in August 2020. Dilan holds a high honor graduate degree from the Psychology Department of Koç University with a double major with Business Administration. Prior to joining EDAM, Dilan worked as an intern in think tanks, consultancy houses, startups and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in addition to working as a research assistant at Koç University under different labs. She also engaged in various voluntary fellowships in different organizations including Global Relations Forum, Turkish Entrepreneurship Foundation, and Turkish Women International Network. Beyond these roles, she participated in voluntary projects and research programs in different countries like Thailand, United States, Italy, and China. Dilan has an interest in the areas of behavioral and decision sciences, behaviorally informed policies, technology policies focusing on artificial intelligence and data governance, political psychology, cognitive psychology and human-technology interaction.

Ogul Tuna

EDAM Researcher

Oğul Tuna graduated from International Relations Department at Galatasaray University in 2019. He is a Master’s student in Conflicts and Development degree in Sciences Po Lille. Oğul joined EDAM in January 2020 as research assistant. He is fluent in Turkish, English, and French, and has an intermediate level of Farsi and German. Focusing on the post-Soviet states and the Middle East, Tuna is particularly interested in international conflicts and migration, Turkish foreign, security, and defense policy, and political history.


EDAM Researcher

Kaan Başar Tezel is an International Relations graduate from Koç University- Istanbul with a 3.25 GPA. He began his higher education in 2015 and received his diploma in July 2020. Topics that he is interested in are Turkish Foreign Policy, Trans-Atlantic Relations, Russian-American Relations, and comparative politics. He speaks advanced level English and intermediate level Spanish. In addition, he writes articles for Aposto News Media Platform and hosts a podcast series called Spektrum Spotlight in which a political science or international relations expert comments on recent political developments.