Assoc. Prof. Mesut Özcan, Acting Chairman
Mesut Özcan received his B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Marmara University in 2000 and his M.A. in 2002 from the same institution. He completed his Ph.D at Boğaziçi University Atatürk Institute in 2007. He studied at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University on the Jean Monnet Master Scholarship for one year in 2005-2006.,
He worked as a research assistant at Beykent University from 2000 to 2005. Özcan was a visiting scholar at Kuwait University’s Department of Political Science for a short period of time in 2009. He lectured at Istanbul Ticaret University’s Department of International Relations from 2007 to 2011.
Dr. Özcan served at the Center for Strategic Research (SAM) as the Deputy Chairman between 2011 and 2013 and as the Acting Chairman between 2013 and May 2014. He is currently the Director of Diplomacy Academy.
Özcan is the author of three books: Sorunlu Miras Irak (Istanbul: Küre, 2003), Harmonizing Foreign Policy: Turkey, the EU and the Middle East (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), and Medeniyetler ve Dünya Düzen(ler)i, Mesut Özcan and Muzaffer Şenel (ed), (Istanbul: Klasik, 2010). He has published articles and book chapters on Turkish Foreign Policy, Middle Eastern Politics and Iraq. He serves on the editorial boards of Insight Turkey, Divan and Perceptions journals.
Mahmut Niyazi Sezgin, Head of Department
Completed his BA at Bogazici University, Department of Political Science and International Relations and MA at Ankara University, Institute of History of Turkish Modernization and continues to be a PhD student at the University of Heidelberg (Germany), Faculty of Political and Administrative Sciences.
He worked as analyst at CESS (Centre for Eurasian Strategic Studies) between 2000-2004, and at SSRC (Security Strategies Research Center) between 2004-2005.
He joined the Foreign Service in 2005. Since then he worked at the following positions:
2005-2007 Attaché at the Directorate General for Bilateral Political Affairs, MFA
2007-2010 Third/Second Secretary at the Turkish Embassy in Tashkent
2010-2012 Vice Consul/Consul at the Turkish Consulate General in Karlsruhe
2012-2013 First Secretary at the Directorate General for Bilateral Political Affairs, MFA
2013-2016 Chief of Section/Acting Head of Department at the Directorate General for Economic Affairs, MFA
Currently he works as the Acting Head of Department at the Center for Strategic Research of the MFA.
He is the author of following books: The Question of Meskhetian Turks: History and Today (2003, CESS Publications), Religion, Identity and State Among the Armenians (2004, Platin Books), The Unknown Europe (2005, Platin Books).
He speaks English, German, Russian and Spanish.
Mehmet Akif Hakan, Second Secretary
Mehmet Akif Hakan graduated from Department of International Relations (full scholarship) of Istanbul Kultur University in 2005. He then joined the Foreign Ministry in 2006 and served at the Multilateral Economic Affairs Department until 2009. After short-term military service he worked at the Turkish Consulate General in Mazar-e Sharif as Vice Consul for two years. (2009 – 2011) Between the years 2014 – 2016 he served at the Department of Eastern Europe and Office of the Chief of the Cabinet to the Minister respectively. Currently, he is serving as Second Secretary at the Center for Strategic Research (SAM).
Melih Demirtaş, Second Secretary
Melih Demirtaş completed his bachelor’s studies at the Department of International Relations of Hacettepe University in 2005 and received an M.A. degree in International Relations with a focus on “Russian Studies” from Bilkent University in 2008. He continued his graduate studies at the Human Rights Centre of the University of Essex between the years 2007-2008 and received another M.A. degree in the field of “Theory and Practice of Human Rights”. He currently continues his PhD study in "Area Studies" at the Graduate School of Social Sciences of Middle East Technical University (METU). He served as a Graduate Assistant at the Department of International Relations of Bilkent University between 2005-2007 and then joined the Foreign Ministry as a career diplomat in 2008 and worked at the Center for Strategic Research (SAM) and at the Department of Eastern Europe respectively. From Oct. 2011 until Sept. 2015, he was the Vice Consul of the Turkish Consulate General in Odessa. Currently, he is serving as Second Secretary at SAM.
Ozan Akın, Third Secretary
Ozan Akın received his B.A. in International Relations from Dokuz Eylul University, Faculty of Business Administration in 2012. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an attaché and serves at SAM since 2014. He currently continues his MA study in "International Security" at the Instute of Security Studies under Police Academy.
Gamze Kapuağası, Officer
She received her BA in Political Science and International Relations from Yıldız Technical University in 2008. Following her graduation she started to work as a developement trainee at AIESEC in Cracow, Poland. Gamze Kapuağası worked at various NGO’s from 2009 to 2011 where she then joined the Department of Information Technologies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was appointed as the assistant to SAM Chairman in 2012. She continues to attend Media and Communication courses at Anadolu University.
Serkan Razi, Officer
Serkan Razi received his B.A. in International Relations from the Faculty of Political Science at Ankara University in 2008. He started to work as an officer at SAM in 2012.
Fuat Usluoğlu, Officer
Fuat Usluoğlu received his B.A. in International Relations from Ankara University’s Faculty of Political Sciences in 2010. Beginning to work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2012, Usluoğlu took office at the Human Resources Department and the Minister’s Cabinet prior to joining SAM in December 2013.
Çiğdem Akgümüş, Officer
Çiğdem Akgümüş graduated from Gazi University’s Department of Accounting and Anadolu University’s Faculty of Management in 2001 and 2003, respectively. She joined the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2013 and started to work at SAM.