Altay Atlı

Koc University

Dr. Altay Atlı is a lecturer at the Department of International Relations of Koç University, and the founding director of “Atlı Global”, an Istanbul-based boutique advisory firm providing consulting and executive services on global affairs and political risk. His areas of academic interest include international political economy, Asian international relations, Turkey’s relations with Asian countries, business-government relations and the political economy of Turkish foreign policy. A graduate of the German High School (Deutsche Schule) in Istanbul, he completed a B.A. degree in Economics at Boğaziçi University, an M.A. degree in International Business at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and obtained his Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science and International Relations of Boğaziçi University. Dr. Atlı was affiliated with Boğaziçi University’s Asian Studies Center as well as Sabancı University Istanbul Policy Center, and he also worked as a research coordinator at Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK).

Dr. Atlı was chosen as a "Global Emerging Voices Fellow” by Torino World Affairs Institute, in partnership with the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Australian National University, and Stiftung Mercator; and he was recognized as a “Young Academics Fellow” by the Global Relations Forum. He is an expert member at the China Network of Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) and in addition to the weekly TV show “Rising Asia” he prepares and hosts on Ekotürk, a Turkish national channel, he regularly appears on programs in channels like Bloomberg, BBC World, Turkish Radio Television (TRT), TvNet, CGTN, Channel News Asia, China Radio International, commenting on developments in global affairs and Turkey’s international relations.  

Ferhat Pirincci

Uludag University

Ferhat Pirincci is a professor of international relations at Bursa Uludağ University, Turkey where he teaches courses on international relations, Middle East politics, American foreign policy among others. He received his Ph.D. from the same university with the dissertation on armament and security in the Middle East. He published two books, several scholarly articles, book chapters, op-eds, policy papers and analysis on the Middle East politics, Turkish foreign policy, Turkey-U.S. relations, and American foreign policy. 

He worked as an advisor at SAM, the Center for Strategic Research, an in-house think-tank of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey from 2012 to 2014 where he organized and participated in numerous meetings relating to Turkish foreign policy. From 2014 to 2015 he worked as an academic coordinator and advisor at ORSAM, Center for Middle Eastern Studies where he participated in several international projects, made field researches on the Syrian crisis and its spillover effects. His current interest is in the changing security structure in the Middle East and North Africa. 

Özge Taylan

Yildirim Beyazit University

Özge Taylan was graduated from Gazi University, Department of International Relations. She earned her LL.M. in International Law: Rights and Responsibilities degree from the University of Sussex, UK. Currently, Taylan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of International Relations, Middle East Technical University and faculty member at Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University. Before joining Yıldırım Beyazıt University, she worked at the Ministry of Economy, Republic of Turkey. She also served as a Visiting Scholar at Yonsei University/South Korea in 2017. Her research interests include US Foreign Policy, International Political Economy, development studies, U.S.-Turkish relations, and East Asian studies. 

Tarık Oğuzlu

Antalya Bilim University

Prof. Dr. Tarık Oğuzlu is currently the Chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations and the Director of the Center for Social, Economic and Political Research (SEPAM, at Antalya Bilim University. He received a Ph.D. degree in International Relations from Bilkent University in 2003 and a Masters’s degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2000; he also received a Masters degree in International Relations from Bilkent University in 1998.

Oğuzlu was granted the Jean Monnet Scholarship of the European Commission in 1999. He currently works on a wide ray of subjects, such as international relations theories, Europeanization of foreign policy, European Union foreign and security policy, transatlantic relations, Turkish foreign policy, Turkey’s relations with EU and NATO/US, Turkey-Greece relations, the Cyprus dispute, and Turkey and the Middle East relations. He is one of the co-editors of the book “Turkey’s Rise as an Emerging Power” and has had academic articles published in a number of journals, including Political Science Quarterly, Washington Quarterly, Middle East Policy, International Journal, Security Dialogue, Middle Eastern Studies, Turkish Studies, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, European Security, International Spectator, Contemporary Security Policy, Mediterranean Politics, Australian Journal of International Affairs, Journal of Balkans and Near Eastern Studies, Insight Turkey and International Relations, etc. He is extremely excited to be contributing to THO or something about where he works now. 

Temmuz Yiğit Bezmez

Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK)

Temmuz Yigit Bezmez is currently working at the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) as an Assistant Coordinator for the Turkey/Asia-Pacific Business Council in Istanbul. 

Temmuz holds a Bachelor's degree in Politics Science from Galatasaray University in Turkey and a Master’s degree in International Trade from Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne – he was the recipient of the Eiffel Excellence Scholarship from the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. He also completed an exchange program at Sciences Po University in Paris. Temmuz is a regular contributor to a number of publications, including Business Diplomacy Magazine, International Political Academy (UPA) and the Gergedan Social Sciences Magazine. 

Before beginning his current position with DEIK, he worked as an intern at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in Geneva. He has been taking part in developing policy guidelines and coordinating capacity with the UNECE – building activities to achieve SDGs No.10 and No.11 of UN Global Agenda 2030. 

From 2018 until 2019, Temmuz was the President of the International Law and Diplomacy Association at Galatasaray University, where he organized a “Diplomacy Academy” to bring together policymakers, diplomats, and academics on global issues. He also served at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he was an intern at the Centre for Strategic Research; there he attended several seminars and lectures and was involved in writing literature reviews about the conflict in Syria. Temmuz is interested in the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region, public governance, diplomacy, French politics, social movements, and leadership development. He has a strong passion for creating awareness among young people for global issues and prioritizes contributing to the progress of civil society. 

Katherine Reilly

Inter-University Center

Katherine Reilly is a recent graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and current Toshizo Watanabe Fellow at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama. Her research focuses on East Asian security issues with a particular concentration on cyber and nuclear security issues. 

Previously, Katherine worked for the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston as a Researcher for the Economic Affairs and Science & Technology division and for the JET Program as an Assistant Language Teacher. While at the consulate, Katherine supported the Researcher and Advisor for Science and Technology, facilitated dialogue between Japan and New England, assisted delegations from Japan, and conducted research on economic affairs related to Japan and the region. Katherine graduated from Bard College with a major in Asian Studies. 

Ertuğrul Genç

Bahcesehir University

A native of Istanbul, Ertuğrul Genç earned his BA in Business Administration from Marmara University, has a Master’s degree in Political Science from Bahcesehir University and currently is a Ph.D. candidate at Bahcesehir University. During the early years of his Ph.D., he worked for the Graduate School of Social Sciences at Bahcesehir University. 

Since 2013, Ertuğrul Genç has also been working as a translator for various private corporations and NGOs in Turkey and the U.S. He translates non-fiction books where the topics range from science fiction movies to environmentalism and literature. One of his translated work includes Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, which became an enormously successful bestseller in Turkey and also the book of the year in 2016 and one of the best-selling books in 2017. Furthermore, his other translation work includes two non-fiction books as well as two fiction books being translated from Turkish to English. 

Since 2016, he has been working as a data science analyst at PhotoButler, a tech startup located in Boston, US, while he continues working on his research and translations. 

Çiğdem Ünal

University of Pittsburgh

Cigdem is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include terrorism, its impact on voting behavior and political parties, and peace-making in post-civil war societies. She completed her masters at the Sabanci University in the same field. Before her masters, she worked at the American Studies Center at Bahcesehir University where she was responsible to help organizing roundtable meetings that bring together academics, policy makers, and civil society representatives on the issue of Turkey-USA relations as well as U.S Foreign Policy and Political History. Until 2017, she was the director of academic affairs for The Co-Opinion that is a non-partisan, non-profit policy-oriented network for the problems of youth in the MENA region. Before that, she was a member of editorial board for the monthly global affairs magazine TUIC Akademi. She gained experience of living and working in multi-cultural settings during her study abroad semester in Germany and Syracuse, NY. She currently applies her experience as an international student into her teaching undergraduate level International Relations courses for diverse group of students at the University of Pittsburgh.

Zviad Adzinbaia

LEADx Change

Zviad is a Founder and CEO of LEADx Change, a globally-oriented multinational leadership accelerator to empower next generation leaders in wider Europe and North America. He spearheaded the efforts to integrate SIMULEX, Fletcher’s major crisis management exercise, into the LEADx initiative. He believes in creating security and strengthening democracy through leadership, high tech, education and public-private partnerships. To promote the notion of technology-enabled democracy, Zviad recently coined a term – Temocracy and toured several states in the U.S. to share his findings to expert and policy communities.

In 2018, Zviad served as Assistant to a Member (MEP) at the European Parliament’s Security and Defense Subcommittee, where his portfolio included security and political affairs in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the United States. In 2017, as a Research Fellow at the NATO Defense College in Rome, he focused on the Black Sea as part of Western-Russian relations.

In 2017-18, he co-led two editions of the Eurasia Leadership Trek, with the Center for Asia Leadership, exploring political, economic and security climate in the wider Black Sea countries, with graduate students from The Fletcher School, Harvard and MIT. In addition, Zviad was an organizing committee member for the European Conference 2018 at Harvard, the largest of its kind in North America. In 2017, he was selected as one of fifteen New Security Leaders of the Warsaw Security Forum and received Forbes Georgia’s 30 Under 30 recognition in 2018.

Zviad’s articles and comments have appeared in a number of international analytical platforms, including The Institute for War and Peace Reporting, New Europe, Deutsche Welle, KyivPost and The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs. His recent policy and academic publications also include: “Countering Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda in Georgia” (Warsaw Institute, 2018); “Ten Ways to Advance U.S.-Georgia Bilateral Relations” (Rondeli Foundation/GFSIS, 2018); “NATO in the Black Sea: What to Expect Next?”, NATO Defense College (2017).
In 2014-16, Zviad was a Political Correspondent at Georgia Today newspaper and worked as a Social Media Coordinator and Blogger at the Open Society Georgia Foundation’s Media development project. In 2012-15, he founded and pro bono led youth NGO, Society XXI and Free Generation for Georgia, to promote Georgia’s integration into Western institutions.

Zviad holds a MALD degree from The Fletcher School and B.A. in Political Science (with Honors) from Sokhumi State University in Tbilisi. A dedicated jazz fan, he is passionate about hosting a jazz event in his hometown, Gali (Abkhazia), when Georgia is reunited.

Ömer Özkizilcik

Born in Gütersloh, Germany and raised in Mönchengladbach, Germany. Ömer Özkizilcik grew up as part of the Turkish minority in Germany with a strong passion for politics, especially the Syrian conflict. At the age of 21, Özkizilcik started his own blog Syrienwar in German about the ongoing Syrian Civil War. Exactly one year later, Ömer Özkizilcik has become the editor in chief of Suriye Gündemi. A Turkish website mainly producing maps, infographics, portraits, articles, and op-eds about the Syrian war. Within a short period, Suriye Gündemi evolved to the main source of information about Syria for the Turkish public and has been used as a source by the international media. 

After moving to Turkey, in August 2017, Özkizilcik started working as a research assistant at the Middle East Foundation in Ankara where he expanded his work on Syria and began working in a think tank. A year and 2 months later, Özkizilcik has started to work at the Security Studies of the SETA Foundation in Ankara. The SETA Foundation is the most known Turkish think tank.  

In addition to his work in two different think tanks, Özkizilcik has been employed as a program advisor for a podcast called ‘Türkiye’ nin Penceresinden’ of the Turkish state radio broadcaster ‘Türkiye’nin Sesi Radyosu’. Ömer Özkizilcik was also a columnist at The New Turkey and wrote regularly about foreign policy and security developments in the Middle East and Syria. 

Moreover, Özkizilcik has written articles and had media appearances at renown media outlets like Al Jazeera Center for Studies, Anadolu Agency, Carnegie for Endowment of International Peace, Daily Sabah, Middle East Eye, Middle East Institute, Royal United Services Institute, Russian International Affairs Council, The Arab Weekly, The Daily Star, The New Arab, The Jerusalem Post, TRT Arabia, and TRT World. 

Although he has is an expert on Turkish foreign policy and security policy developments in the Middle East, Özkizilcik's main focus is the Syrian conflict in a broader sense, and the intra- and internal dynamics of local non-state actors in Syria. 

Yeseul Woo

Yeseul Woo is a PhD candidate in the Department of War Studies at King's College London. Her research interests include nuclear policy as well as East-Asian security. Yeseul's current research focuses on great and middle power contributions to nuclear diplomacy, especially to the denuclearization processes with Iran and North Korea. 

She is also a research fellow at the Nuclear Education and Research Center at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology as well as a Developing Scholar in the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. Previously, she was a visiting fellow at The Harry S. Truman Research Institute in Jerusalem, a Resident Vasey Fellow at the Pacific Forum, an Asia-Pacific Leadership fellow in the East-West Center in Hawaii. Before commencing her PhD studies, she worked as a journalist for the National Assembly Television of South Korea in Seoul, as well as for US media outlets. 

Alpcan Karamanoglu

Originally from Bursa, Turkey, Alpcan Karamanoglu spent his high school and university years travelling around the globe. He studied at the prestigious international high school in Italy, UWC of the Adriatic, on a full scholarship awarded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Having realized his passion for Turkish foreign policy and relations, he went to Colorado College to receive his Bachelor in International Political Economy as a Davis Scholar. During his undergraduate degree, he also spent a year at the London School of Economics, focusing on finance and European politics.

His professional experience involves acting as a researcher for DC think tanks, and as data analyst for UNICEF in Switzerland and for a university in Connecticut. Currently, he is an Energy Economist for a consultancy group based in London. In addition to Turkish and English, he speaks Italian and Spanish. Loves to do yoga, hiking, and reading non-fiction.

Arda Mevlütoğlu

Born in 1980, Arda Mevlutoglu holds a BSc degree (Hons) in Astronautical Engineering from Istanbul Technical University and a MS degree in Science and Technology Policy Studies from Middle East Technical University. 

Arda has been working in defense sector since 2004. He has worked as a systems engineer, technology consultant and senior consultant in several firms in the defense sector in Turkey, assuming responsibilities in large number of modeling, simulation, training and aerospace projects. He established and managed communications and program activities in between many national and foreign defense contractors, armed services and government organizations as well as academic and research institutions.

His academic activities are focused on aerospace and defense technologies, defense policies and armament issues. His works have been published as book chapters, reports, journal articles and monographs. He is a frequent commentator in international and Turkish media, and he is also giving seminars and conferences on defense technology, armament and regional balance of power issues regularly. He is the owner of Siyah Gri Beyaz blog on defense and security and co-host of Silahlar ve Tereyagi podcast.

Arda is based in Ankara. Speaks English and German. He is married with two children.

Umay Yılmaz

Umay Yilmaz received her bachelor degree Environmental Engineering in 2004. She started to work for Green Dot Organisation of Turkey, CEVKO to create a sustainable recycling system in Turkey. She actively involved many projects and case studies with Ministry of Environment and Urbanism, associations, foundations and NGOs in order to improve legislation and its implementations, increasing awareness, improving collaboration between stakeholders. She has two articles about waste management named as The Effects of Waste Prevention on Natural Resource Consumption and Packaging Waste Management Implementations in Turkey. In 2011, she has started to work for Tetra Pak Turkey. She implemented Tetra Pak global strategies regarding environment, waste management, sustainability, environment awareness, responsible sourcing in Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan area. In 2014, she took additional regional roles for recycling planning and environment communications in Middle East and Africa. She received many awards and recognitions for her efforts for environment and sustainability projects. 

In 2018 she started to work as freelance Environment and Sustainability Consultant for circular economy, effective waste management, sustainability and climate change.

Currently, she is the Secretary General of Turkish Corrugated Board Manufacturers Association – OMÜD and also doing a masters degree on Earth System Science  in Istanbul Technical University studying specifically the effects of climate change on energy demand.

Lawrence Cenk Laws

Lawrence Cenk Laws is a public international lawyer.  A native of Falls Church, Lawrence is also an attorney licensed in Virginia.  He holds a B.S. in International Politics from Georgetown University, a J.D. from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, and an L.L.M. in Public International Law from Koc University Faculty of Law in Istanbul, Turkey.  His L.L.M. thesis focused on linguistic minority rights under international law, with specific analysis on the linguistic legal rights regime in Turkey.

Lawrence was the former Program Director at the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), a 501(c)(3) public charitable organization aimed at increasing political participation and civic engagement among the Turkish American community.  He was also a researcher for THO's Summer Research Program in Turkey, which focused on refugees and asylum-seekers in Turkey.  With that program, Lawrence compared the temporary legal protections granted in Turkey to Syrian refugees with the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program here for Syrians in the U.S.

His areas of focus include international law & politics, human rights, minority rights, civil rights & liberties, refugee & asylum law, and humanitarian issues.  He is bilingual in Turkish and English.