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, particularly with regard to Turkey’s regional stance and its role in nuclear, energy, and climate issues.


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, particularly with regard to Turkey’s regional stance and its role in nuclear, energy, and climate issues.

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 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).

  • Strategic Europe April 4, 2014
    What Next After Turkey’s Local Elections?

    The result of recent municipal elections in Turkey was a clear endorsement of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s leadership. But the vote also raises a number of tough long-term questions.

  • Turkey
    Op-Ed Project Syndicate April 3, 2014
    Erdoğan’s Pyrrhic Victory

    After winning recent local elections, Turkey’s prime minister may opt to lower the political temperature at home in the hope of repairing the country’s frayed relations abroad.

  • Turkey
    Op-Ed Financial Times March 27, 2014
    Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Shallow Version of Democracy Will Falter

    Turkey’s local elections on March 30 are set to be a contest between two visions of democracy. The outcome will have serious implications for the future of democratic freedoms.

  • Op-Ed Financial Times January 6, 2014
    Turkey Needs Less Money in Politics, and Less Politics in Court

    The sooner the Turkish political class is able to reach a consensus on the indispensability of a reform agenda, the sooner the country can return to long-term political stability.

  • Turkey; Iran
    Op-Ed Project Syndicate December 27, 2013
    Turkey’s Iran Strategy

    Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran will become more acute in the years ahead. It is in this context that Turkey’s role as a secular power will become more important than ever.

  • Op-Ed Financial Times December 3, 2013
    Turkey Needs More Liberalism With Its Democracy

    The question of whether a government can and should enforce rules about personal morality is at the center of current political arguments in Turkey and the outcome of this dispute will determine the future direction of the country.

  • Chemical Weapons
    Article September 26, 2013
    Not the Real Deal: Ankara’s Take on the Syria Agreement

    For Turkey, the U.S.-Russian agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons is at best incomplete and at worst a distraction from the real political goal: removing Assad from power.

  • Turkey
    Op-Ed Project Syndicate September 16, 2013
    Deceived by Democracy

    Egypt’s morass, together with the unrest in Turkey, has plunged political Islam into a crisis of democratic confidence.

  • Op-Ed CNN GPS September 11, 2013
    Why Limited Syria Strike Could Hurt Turkey

    There are serious concerns in Ankara that Turkey’s security could be put at risk by a U.S.-led strike that is too limited in scope.

  • Syria
    Op-Ed BBC World News August 29, 2013
    Is There Legal Basis for Military Intervention in Syria?

    If a Security Council resolution for a military intervention in Syria is not realistic politically, there are at least three other options.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • June 13, 2012 Brussels
    Nuclear Weapons in Europe and the Future of NATO

    Though leaders on both sides of the Atlantic are preoccupied with a number of current pressing issues, NATO's nuclear dilemmas cannot be put off much longer without undermining its cohesion and strength.

  • Egypt; Elections; Constitution
    May 24, 2012 Brussels
    Being Egypt: What it Means for the Rest of the Arab World

    As the Egyptian presidential election draws near, violent unrest continues in Cairo affecting both the political balance in Egypt and the dynamics of change in the region.

  • Turkey; Nuclear; Weapons
    May 2, 2012 Brussels
    Turkey and the Bomb

    Despite widespread concern that an Iranian nuclear weapon will lead to an arms race, most nuclear-capable states have chosen not to develop a nuclear arsenal. Turkey is no exception.

  • April 4, 2012 Beirut عربي
    Turkey in the New Middle East

    With democratic change struggling to take root in the Arab world, it remains to be seen whether Turkey can serve as a model for those who hope to usher the region through the difficult transition to a more democratic order.

  • March 15, 2012 Brussels
    The Arab Awakening One Year On: What Kind of Partner Can Europe Be?

    A year has passed since the first uprisings in Tunisia spurred a fundamental change in the dynamics of Europe’s southern neighborhood, creating a host of domestic and external challenges for the region and its neighbors.

  • Turkey; Security
    February 27, 2012 Istanbul
    Turkey’s New and Emerging Security Threats

    As Turkey’s regional role evolves, so does its relations with neighbors and in turn, its security challenges.

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