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.

Ussal Şahbaz


Ussal Sahbaz’s career includes leadership positions at corporate, non-profit and policy-making worlds. Ussal is a thought leader at the intersection of innovation & technology, regulation and politics. His work is featured in international media outlets such as Foreign Affairs, Forbes USA, Techcrunch and Wamda. He has been a speaker at U.S. Presidential Entrepreneurship Summits, Business 20 China, Global Entrepreneurship Summit Moscow, Arabnet Dubai, 5th Izmir National Convention of Economics, among others.

Ussal holds a master’s degree in international development from Harvard University, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Bilkent University and METU respectively, both in economics. For the last two years, Ussal has been the director GE’s Istanbul Innovation Center, one of the 8 innovation centres of the largest industrial conglomerate globally. Prior to that, Ussal managed the Business 20 and Think 20 engagement groups when Turkey chaired the G-20; was a consultant on public policy to Google, Microsoft and Paypal; an adviser to Turkish President’s Office, and to the World Bank in Washington D.C. He also worked at the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV) to run projects on entrepreneurship and innovation.

Ceyda Yücekal

Secretary-General, Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies

Ceyda Yücekal joined the Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM) as Secretary General in 2019. Previously, she worked at the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce and the Istanbul Exporters’ Association. She organised fairs and delegation visits at both organisations, covering food, energy, industry, advertisement, textiles and transportation. She graduated from Boğaziçi University’s Education Faculty and holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Bilgi University.

Emre Kaya


Emre Kürşat Kaya joined the Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM) in August 2018. Emre received his master’s degrees in European Governance as MSc from Utrecht University and Magistr from Masaryk University in 2018. His master’s thesis was on the European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy and more precisely on the Permanent Structured Cooperation and its impact on the European Union’s Global Actorness. He holds a BA in International Relations from Dokuz Eylül University and a Minor degree in European Studies from Maastricht University. His work at EDAM mainly focuses on security and defence issues, Turkey-EU relations, Turkish and EU security doctrines and developments in the Middle East. He fluently speaks Turkish, French and English, and has a working level of Arabic.

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.

Naz Değirmenci

Google-EDAM Policy Fellow

Naz Değirmenci was admitted to the Istanbul Bar in 2013 after graduating from Bilkent University Faculty of Law. In 2015, she has earned the European Privacy Certification (CIPP) of International Association of Privacy Protection (IAPP). She has specialized in technology law for 6 years in the leading law firms of the sector, especially in the areas of privacy and personal data protection. Currently, she is managing data protection compliance projects for various clients as a Consultant at IZEN Consultancy. She is also providing technology-related consultancy. At the same time, she has been working as a Google Policy Fellow for EDAM since January 2019. She works on disruptive technologies, protection of personal data, international transfer of data, data governance, and Internet law related issues.

Defense Analyst