Sinan Ülgen

Visiting Scholar
Carnegie Europe
Ülgen is a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels, where his research focuses on the implications of Turkish foreign policy for Europe and the United States, nuclear policy, and the security and economic aspects of transatlantic relations.


MA, College of Europe
BS, University of Virginia 


English; French; Turkish


Sinan Ülgen is a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels, where his research focuses on the implications of Turkish foreign policy for Europe and the United States, nuclear policy, and the security and economic aspects of the transatlantic relations.

He is a founding partner of Istanbul Economics, a Turkish consulting firm that specializes in public and regulatory affairs, and chairman of the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, an independent think tank in Istanbul.

Ülgen has served in the Turkish Foreign Service in several capacities: in Ankara at the United Nations desk (1990–1992); in Brussels at the Turkish Permanent Delegation to the European Union (1992–1996); and at the Turkish embassy in Tripoli (1996).

He is a regular contributor to Turkish dailies, and his opinion pieces have been published in the International Herald Tribune, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, European Voice, and Le Figaro. He was a member of the international security experts group set up by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and tasked with preparing a report on the transatlantic relationship in advance of NATO’s September 2014 summit.

He is the author of The European Transformation of Modern Turkey with Kemal Derviş (Centre for European Policy Studies, 2004) and Handbook of EU Negotiations (Bilgi University Press, 2005).

  • Turkey; Refugees
    Op-Ed New York Times October 1, 2015
    Turkey Can’t Be Europe’s Gatekeeper

    Turkey cannot be the solution for the European Union’s inability to act collectively to address the refugee crisis and develop policies to share the burden.

  • Nuclear Deal
    Metro July 14, 2015
    The Implications of the Iran Nuclear Deal

    The Iran deal can create a new climate of cooperation and raise the prospect of peace and stability in the Middle East.

  • Turkey
    Op-Ed Europe’s World July 6, 2015
    How “Brexit” Could End the EU-Turkey Deadlock

    If the UK leaves the EU, that might also be a game changer for Ankara. But a partnership short of membership could fail to drive further political reforms in Turkey.

  • Turkey
    Op-Ed New York Times June 17, 2015
    Turkey at a Democratic Crossroad

    The prospect of a coalition government offers Turkey an opportunity to overhaul its political culture and inch the country toward becoming a genuinely liberal democracy.

  • Strategic Europe June 9, 2015 Русский
    Turkey’s Postelection Future

    Turkey’s June 7 parliamentary election delivered a surprise result, with losses for the ruling party and gains for the main pro-Kurdish party. What happens next?

  • Op-Ed Financial Times June 4, 2015
    A Coalition Is the Best Outcome for Turkey’s Economy

    The politics of economic reform in Turkey can be facilitated by a coalition government.

  • Turkey
    Op-Ed Project Syndicate June 2, 2015
    Turkey’s Critical Election

    Turkish elections have been boring since the AKP came to power in 2002. But this year’s vote is different: the outcome is unpredictable, and the stakes could hardly be higher.

  • Turkey
    Q&A May 29, 2015
    Turkey’s Game-Changing Election

    Turkey’s parliamentary election will mark a pivotal moment for the country’s future. Yet for the first time in over a decade, the outcome is clouded in uncertainty.

  • Nuclear
    Op-Ed Project Syndicate April 10, 2015 Русский
    Why Turkey Won’t Go Nuclear

    Economic interests, combined with national security considerations, give Turkey an incentive not to seek nuclear weapons.

  • Turkey
    Op-Ed Financial Times February 22, 2015
    A Mutual Embrace Will Protect Turkey and Europe Amid Extremism

    Europe needs a more concerted effort to tackle the interlinked challenges of radicalization and Islamophobia. Embracing Turkey’s European dream may be part of the solution.

  • March 24, 2015
    Turkey’s Nuclear Future

    Turkey is a rising economic and political force with the ability to affect dynamics in the greater Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. To meet its rising energy needs, the country—already an important actor in the international nuclear order—plans to establish nuclear power plants on its territory.

  • Erdogan
    Al Jazeera August 19, 2015
    Would New Elections in Turkey Serve AKP?

    With Turkey heading towards a new election, Erdogan is betting on a revived support to his AK Party. But isn’t that a gamble?

  • Turkey
    CNN July 27, 2015
    Turkey Makes Aggressive Push Against Islamic State

    If Turkey wants to maintain its regional influence, it has to play a more concrete part in the coalition against the self-styled Islamic State.

  • Turkey
    Australian Broadcasting Corporation July 25, 2015
    IS Threat More Tangible for Turkey

    After the July 20 attack on the Turkish cultural town of Suruç, there has been a fundamental shift in Turkey’s position regarding the Islamic State militants.

  • erdogan; turkey
    Bloomberg TV On the Move August 8, 2014
    Turkey Seen Rebuilding Ties with the EU and U.S. on Security

    The security risks in the Middle East will strengthen Turkey’s partnership with Western allies.

  • France 24 April 11, 2012
    Turkey's Next Move

    While Turkey’s foreign policies have created tension with its neighbors, in the long run those policies are likely to enhance the country’s image across the Arab World.

  • Syria; Turkey; Al-Assad; Erdogan
    BBC World News February 7, 2012
    Turkey and Syria

    The overriding concern for Turkish policy makers is to prevent Syria’s implosion and descent into civil war.

  • March 23, 2015
    Reassurance: What Do Allies Want?

    What kind of commitments do U.S. allies want? What practical steps do they believe would help to address perceived threats? And to what extent should these commitments and steps involve U.S. nuclear weapons as opposed to conventional or non-military capabilities? | VIDEO | TRANSCRIPT

  • Turkey
    January 27, 2015 Brussels
    Recharting EU-Turkey Relations

    Following recent EU leadership changes and the election of a new president and the creation of a new cabinet in Turkey, can the EU-Turkey relationship be revitalized?

  • October 7, 2014 Washington, DC 中文
    TTIP and Third Countries: Multilateralization or Balkanization?

    The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership initiative is a grand plan for revitalizing economic growth and enhancing international competitiveness. While Brussels and Washington work to reach a deal, large numbers of interested third countries—even major EU and U.S. trade partners—are left out.

  • TTIP; Trade
    June 26, 2014 Brussels
    TTIP and Third Countries: Locked In or Left Out?

    Amid ongoing negotiations on a transatlantic trade and investment partnership, it is unclear how the deal could be opened up to third countries once talks are concluded.

  • January 24, 2014 Washington, DC
    Roundtable on Government Crisis in Turkey

    Upcoming elections will be a test of Prime Minister Erdoğan’s continued political strength, which has been shaken by a major corruption scandal, an increasingly vocal opposition, and mounting economic challenges.

  • Turkey; Gezi
    September 25, 2013 Brussels
    Beyond the Ballot Box: Advancing Democracy in Turkey

    The increasingly authoritarian practices and restrictions on individual freedoms in Turkey are at odds with the ruling Justice and Development Party’s stated objective of establishing an advanced democracy.

  • H.E. Ahmet Üzümcü;  Sinan Ülgen
    July 10, 2013 Brussels
    Chemical Weapons in Question

    Has it become morally acceptable to allow the use of chemical weapons? How effective and sincere is the international community’s implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention?

  • MENA Conference
    May 7, 2013
    Governing Transition: Building New Institutions After the Elections

    In the wake of the wave of change that swept the Arab region, voters in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco have chosen Islamist political parties to lead their governments.

  • April 9, 2013
    Is There an "Emerging Power" Agenda?

    Is there a common “emerging power” agenda in the nuclear area? How do relations between India, Turkey, Brazil, and the established powers (specifically the United States) impact their nuclear policies?

  • M.Pierini; S.Ülgen; H.Grabbe; H.E. Selim Yenel
    December 12, 2012 Brussels
    Breaking the Turkey-EU Stalemate

    Can Ankara and Brussels develop a framework for reinvigorating the relationship, or is it time for the two to go their separate ways?


Areas of Expertise

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