Research Team

Research Team


Chairman, EDAM

Ambassador (R) Tacan Ildem, a member of NATO Experts Group that presented a report entitled “NATO 2030: United for a New Era”, is a senior Turkish diplomat. Since the start of his long career in 1978 till February 2021 he held bilateral and multilateral positions including NATO Assistant Secretary General between 2016 to 2020. He served as the Turkish Ambassador to the Netherlands and Permanent Representative to NATO and the OSCE. He also served as Director General for International Security Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chief of Cabinet, Principal Foreign Policy Advisor and Spokesperson of the President of the Republic. His postings abroad also include those at the Embassies in Washington DC, Athens and New Delhi. Ambassador Ildem is a graduate of Ankara University Faculty of Political Science. He is a recipient of the decoration of Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity and the Medal of Gratitude of Albania.


Director, 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 director 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.


Secretary General

Çiğdem Üstün graduated with honors from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Bilkent University, and completed her master's degree in European Studies and International Relations at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. Her doctoral thesis on the comparison of EU and Turkish security cultures was published by I.B. Tauris in 2010, based on her research at the University of Limerick in Ireland.

She holds an associate professorship in European Studies. Her areas of interest include European integration, enlargement, EU-Turkey relations, Turkish foreign policy, and EU Neighborhood Policies. Currently serving as a faculty member in the Department of International Relations at Istanbul Nişantaşı University, Üstün has also been a visiting researcher at the University of Limerick, University of Catania, and University of Cambridge.

She is a member of the Turkey International Relations Council (UİK), Development, Migration and Social Policies Association (DEMIS), and E-TEAM. In 2019, she joined the editorial board of the International Relations (SSCI) journal as an associate editor. She has published numerous articles, books, book chapters, and opinion pieces in her areas of expertise, which have appeared on platforms like GMF US On Turkey Series, Australian Institute of International Affairs, and E-ir. In 2024, she undertook the editorship of a special issue on the "Future of Europe: Reflections from Turkey" in the Ankara Journal of European Studies. 

She has worked on a series of projects supported by programs such as the Civil Society Dialogue between the EU and Turkey, the 7th Framework Program, H2020, the Pre-Accession Financial Assistance Information and Communication Program, and the Civil Think Program.


Director of Foreign Policy Program

Zeynep Alemdar is Full Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Okan University, Istanbul, and Director of the Foreign Policy Program at EDAM.

Her scholarly research focuses on a wide range of topics from democratization, issues in Turkey, critical security perspectives to Turkey-EU relations, and Turkish foreign policy. She is the editor of Turkey's Challenges and Transformation: Politics and Society on the Centennial of the Republic, (Palgrave MacMillan, 2023) with Harun Arıkan. Dr. Alemdar has served on the editorial boards of International Studies Perspectives and Turkish Policy Quarterly.

She was a visiting professor at the Center for Turkish Studies and the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University, and a recipient of the Next Generation Hurford Fellowship from the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C.

She has conducted extensive policy-oriented research for EU, UNWomen and World Bank projects and has participated in various projects and discussions in many institutions, including the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the OSCE, the IMF, the EU Parliament. She appears on national and international media including Financial Times, BBC, VOA on areas of interest.

She is a member of the Executive Board of the European Leadership Network and founder of the Women in Foreign Policy Initiative, Turkey, which brings together more than 100 female academics and experts on foreign policy issues to raise women's voices in international relations and foreign policy making.

She received her BA in Economics from the Universite de Galatasaray, a francophone university in Istanbul, MA from the Patterson School of Diplomacy, and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Kentucky.