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
    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.

  • Mogherini; Erdogan
    Paper December 10, 2014
    A Moment of Opportunity in the EU-Turkey Relationship

    EU-Turkey relations have grown very fast in recent years. Now, the pair should deepen their relationship by working together on issues that are of vital importance for both.

  • Erdogan
    Op-Ed World Politics Review October 17, 2014
    Turkey’s Regime Change Policy for Syria Finds Little Domestic Support

    Amid multiple security spillovers from the Syrian crisis, Turkish public opinion is becoming less supportive of Ankara’s ambitious agenda to champion regime change in Syria.

  • Kobane; IS
    Op-Ed New York Times October 9, 2014
    Turkey’s Dangerous Bet on Syria

    Turkey’s policy of conditioning its anti–Islamic State engagement on support for an anti-Assad campaign will be at best ineffective and at worst counterproductive.

  • Turkey
    Op-Ed Project Syndicate October 2, 2014
    Turkey’s ISIS Crisis

    Turkey fundamentally disagrees with the United States in its interpretation of the threat that the Islamic State poses, viewing the group as a symptom of deeper pathologies.

  • Submarine; Trident
    Op-Ed Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists August 25, 2014
    The Case Against Total Nuclear Disarmament

    Nuclear deterrence has served the world well for many decades. Stability could be maintained if arsenals approached—but did not reach—zero.

  • Erdogan supporters
    Op-Ed Financial Times August 11, 2014
    Erdoğan Is the Victor but He Is Not Yet Almighty

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s transition to the Turkish presidency is a turning point in the nation’s politics; the question is what path he will lead the country down now.

  • Turkey; elections
    Op-Ed National Interest August 4, 2014
    Sleepless in Ankara: The Post–Erdoğan Government’s Big Challenges

    Turkey will directly elect a president for the first time in its history. Will the new government be able to pull Turkey out of its slump and mend relations with the West?

  • Strategic Europe June 23, 2014
    The Impact of ISIS on Turkey and Beyond

    The ISIS insurgency in Iraq will pose significant political and security challenges for the established states of the Middle East, including, first and foremost, Turkey.

  • NATO
    NATO June 11, 2014
    Collective Defense and Common Security: Twin Pillars of the Atlantic Alliance

    Even as the scars of the economic crisis and the siren call of populist politicians tempt them to turn inwards, governments must reaffirm the value of the Atlantic Alliance.

  • 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; 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

  • 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?

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