Sinan Ülgen

Visiting Scholar
Carnegie Europe
Ülgen is a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels, where his research focuses on Turkish foreign policy, nuclear policy, cyberpolicy, and 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 Turkish foreign policy, nuclear policy, cyberpolicy, and 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 on 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 New York Times, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Le Figaro. He was a member of the international security experts group set up by former NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen and tasked with preparing a report on the transatlantic relationship in advance of NATO’s September 2014 summit.

Ülgen is the author of Governing Cyberspace: A Road Map for Transatlantic Leadership (Carnegie Europe, 2016), Handbook of EU Negotiations (Bilgi University Press, 2005), and The European Transformation of Modern Turkey with Kemal Derviş (Centre for European Policy Studies, 2004).

  • Op-Ed Institut Montaigne November 30, 2021
    France and Greece in a Defense Partnership: A View From Turkey

    From this perspective, the France-Greece deal will have fostered a deep suspicion in Ankara, very possibly leading to France’s exclusion from Turkey’s major defense procurement projects. It is unclear how the positioning of the EUROSAM consortium, which produces the SAMP-T air and ballistic missile defense system, will be affected.

  • How Deep Is the North-South Divide on Climate Negotiations?
    Article October 6, 2021
    How Deep Is the North-South Divide on Climate Negotiations?

    COP26 provides a forum for deliberating about climate adaptation, but such global meetings must also account for the needs of developing nations. A narrow climate agenda will only perpetuate divisions between postindustrial and developing countries.

  • Op-Ed Project Syndicate September 8, 2021
    Updating the Global Refugee Regime

    The 1951 Refugee Convention is no longer suitable for today. Increased funding, strengthened enforcement mechanisms, and a new definition of refugee will help bring the global regime into the 21st century.

  • Redefining the U.S.-Turkey Relationship
    Paper July 26, 2021
    Redefining the U.S.-Turkey Relationship

    To fix their troubled relationship, the United States and Turkey should take gradual, concrete steps that build confidence and focus on common agendas.

  • Russia's Ambitious Military-Geostrategic Posture in the Mediterranean
    Article June 10, 2021
    Russia’s Ambitious Military-Geostrategic Posture in the Mediterranean

    Russia’s steady development of military capabilities on the ground, in the air, and at sea has enhanced its overall military posture in the region. This experience, and lack of resistance from NATO, is likely to enhance Russia’s military posture and ambitions outside the Mediterranean.

  • Op-Ed Bloomberg June 9, 2021
    How Biden and Erdogan Can End the Turkish-American Standoff

    Despite unpromising circumstances, Presidents Biden and Erdogan can begin to improve U.S.-Turkey relations by first addressing and resolving the issue of the S-400 missile defense system.

  • Op-Ed Bloomberg April 9, 2021
    No Easy Passage for Erdogan’s Canal Plan

    Erdogan's Canal Istanbul is in the works, but the Montreux Convention—which regulates traffic through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles straits—could spell trouble for this mega-project.

  • Op-Ed Financial Times January 31, 2021
    A Path for Joe Biden to Reset U.S. Relations With Turkey

    As Turkey has increased its military and economic influence over the past decade, relations with the West have become strained. Both sides will have to bend if Ankara and Washington are to work together again.

  • Op-Ed Bloomberg December 16, 2020
    After Trump’s Sanctions, Biden Can Reset With Turkey

    The new U.S. sanctions will hurt Turkey, but they are also an opportunity to renew U.S.-Turkish relations. President-elect Joe Biden’s arrival will be a chance for both sides to find common ground and salvage a critical relationship.

  • Turkey Has the Chance to Do Things Differently on Its Economy
    Op-Ed Bloomberg November 11, 2020
    Turkey Has the Chance to Do Things Differently on Its Economy

    Turkey has begun to take steps toward a more coherent economic policy, but its outcome will ultimately be determined by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

  • 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.

  • January 4, 2022
    Erdogans gamble: What's behind Turkey’s soaring inflation?

    This is not a totally new rhetoric. We have known that President Erdogan has a distaste of interest rates and especially high interest rates. The problem is that of course it is understandable that he would want to lower interest rates with the view to boost economy's growth, however you need to bring down inflation first

  • France24 January 4, 2022
    Erdogan’s Gamble: What’s Behind Turkey’s Soaring Inflation?

    Despite soaring inflation rates and dwindling currency reserves, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains committed to the Turkish Growth Model. Beyond monetary policy, Turkish foreign policy is being recalibrated to account for the country’s political, business, and economic interests.

  • Financial Times August 6, 2020
    Turkey’s Assertive Foreign Policy

    Gideon Rachman talks to academic and writer Sinan Ulgen about Turkey’s foreign policy under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, focusing on the controversial decision to turn Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia museum back into a mosque and the rationale behind Turkish military interventions in Syria and Libya.

  • cyprus
    ABC News January 11, 2017
    Why Are Cyprus Reunification Talks Taking Place Now?

    More than forty years after Cyprus was split in two, Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders meet in Switzerland for last-chance talks to reunify the island.

  • turkey
    Al Jazeera’s Inside Story June 27, 2016
    What’s Behind the New Turkey-Israel Deal?

    Following many months of negotiations, a deal has been struck to restore diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel.

  • Kurds; PKK
    Australian Broadcasting Corporation June 8, 2016
    Bomb Attacks Continue to Hit Turkey

    Terrorist attacks in Turkey continue to exacerbate the fracture between the Turkish government and the Kurds. As radicalization increases, is there hope for a political settlement?

  • Turkey Flag
    Al Jazeera’s Inside Story May 6, 2016
    What’s the Reason Behind Ahmet Davutoğlu’s Resignation?

    Ahmet Davutoglu will step down as Turkish prime minister later in May, but to what extent will this impact on the future of Turkey’s domestic and foreign policies?

  • Syria
    BBC World News February 8, 2016
    Turkey Wants the EU to Do More in the Refugee Crisis

    With thousands of Syrian refugees continuing to arrive at the Turkish border, Ankara expects the EU and the international community to help manage the crisis.

  • Turkey
    ABC November 2, 2015
    Is a Stronger AKP Good for Turkey?

    The AKP’s resounding victory in Turkey’s November 1 election gives the future Turkish government a strong mandate and enough room to start tackling the country’s key issues.

  • Istanbul
    BBC November 1, 2015
    Turkey Goes to Polls

    On November 1, Turkish citizens head to the polls to cast their votes to choose the members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly for the second time in just five months.

  • Navigating a Turbulent Future: What to Expect in 2022?
    December 9, 2021 Live on YouTube and Facebook عربي
    Navigating a Turbulent Future? What to Expect in 2022

    The Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center will be holding its fifth annual conference on Wednesday, December 8, and Thursday, December 9, 2021, to delve deeper into what to expect in 2022.

  • The Middle East and the World in a Time of American Disengagement
    December 8, 2021 YouTube@CARNEGIEMENA عربي
    The Middle East and the World in a Time of American Disengagement

    Join us on Wednesday, December 8 from 17:45-19:15 EET for a public panel discussion with Dalia Dassa Kaye, Marwan Muasher, Karim Sadjadpour, Dmitri Trenin, Sinan Ülgen chaired by Michele Dunne.

  • What Russia’s New Mediterranean Posture Means for NATO
    September 28, 2021 Live Online
    What Russia’s New Mediterranean Posture Means for NATO

    Over the past decade, Russia has reinforced its position in and around the Mediterranean, combining a strengthened defensive posture with renewed global ambitions. The political and security ramifications of Moscow’s activities extend beyond the region and directly concern NATO, insofar as they disrupt the Euro-Atlantic defense architecture.

  • A Global Renewal? What to Expect in 2021
    December 16, 2020 Live on YouTube @CarnegieMENA عربي
    A Global Renewal? What to Expect in 2021

    The conference will consist of six virtual discussions that will provide a look ahead to 2021, focusing on what Carnegie scholars and other experts believe will be the most significant and challenging issues facing the Middle East and North Africa in their interaction with international actors.

  • Regional Actors in the Emerging Middle East: Iran, Turkey, Israel, and the UAE
    December 15, 2020 YouTube @CarnegieMENA عربي
    Regional Actors in the Emerging Middle East: Iran, Turkey, Israel, and the UAE

    Held on Dec. 15 from 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. EST (5:30-7:00 p.m. Beirut). This panel will explore the rivalries among regional actors, such as Iran, Qatar, Turkey, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates, and how these have contributed to regional tensions, destructive proxy wars, and surprising realignments.

  • The Scramble for Libya:  A Globalized Civil War at Tipping Point
    July 8, 2020 Carnegie Live
    The Scramble for Libya: A Globalized Civil War at Tipping Point

    In the wake of recent battlefield developments in Libya, regional and global powers are maneuvering for influence and supremacy, with far-reaching implications for Libyan sovereignty, stability, and cohesion.

  • Turkey’s Post-Pandemic Trajectory
    May 8, 2020 Live Online
    Turkey’s Post-Pandemic Trajectory

    Will the global pandemic shift the trajectory of Turkey back toward its Western partners? Or will Ankara drift even further into Russia’s orbit and increased authoritarianism?

  • December 6, 2018 Beirut, Lebanon عربي
    A Shifting World Order: What to Expect in 2019

    A look ahead to 2019, focusing on the most significant and challenging issues facing the world, specifically the Middle East and North Africa region.

  • Turkey
    January 23, 2018 Carnegie Europe
    Toward a Renewed EU–Turkey Customs Union

    Revamping the Customs Union would unlock numerous economic benefits for Ankara and Brussels.

  • December 13, 2017 Phoenicia InterContinental Hotel عربي
    A World on Edge: What to Expect in 2018

    The year 2017 witnessed serious upheavals, from Saudi Arabia’s internal purge and the end of the Islamic State to the serial Iranian and Russian triumphs in Syria.

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