Currently, I am working towards my Master’s degree in International Affairs in the School of International and Public Affairs, specializing on International Security Policy and the Middle East. I am a Fulbright scholar, the co-chairperson of the School’s Defense and Security Student Organization and a member of the 2014-2015 class of Columbia University’s International Fellows Program, a two-semester seminar on the U.S’s role in world affairs that admits only 30 students from all graduate programs on the basis of academic merit. I also received SIPA’s Dasturdaza Jal Pavry Award awarded to the best graduate paper on the topic of international peace and understanding with a paper proposing a political argument and legal basis for the use of frozen assets by the UNSC to fund humanitarian assistance in complex refugee emergencies based on Article VII provisions. Alongside my studies, I am a regular blogger for Christian Science Monitor’s new blog on cyber security and I am contributing to media outlets like The National Interest, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and Hurriyet Daily News.
I received my bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. After graduating, I spent two years working for a NATO research center on terrorism and counter-terrorism and an international NGO, Pugwash Conferences of Science and World Affairs, the laureate of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize. While working for NATO, my duties included briefing senior military commanders in the Turkish General Staff and organizing training programs for mid-level NATO officers under the supervision of the Center’s academic advisor and required wide-ranging knowledge on the nature, structure and history of religious, separatist and revolutionary terrorist organizations active in the Middle East as well as domestic terrorist groups and emerging threats like cyber-terrorism.
In my later work for Pugwash Conferences, I also gained experience in the field; participating in conflict resolution and multitrack diplomacy efforts in Iran, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Syria, Palestine and Nagorno-Karabakh. I was the government liaison in the team that put together Pugwash’s Biennial Conference held in Istanbul, which hosted the President of Turkey, H.E. Abdullah Gul and Foreign Ministers of Iran and Turkey, H.E. Javad Zarif and H.E. Ahmet Davutoglu and a junior staffer in the informal meetings Pugwash had organized with high-level Iranian officials on Iran’s nuclear program. I was also an adviser in the team that devised Turkey’s policy on conventional arms control during 2013 OSCE Security Review Conference.
After SIPA, I hope to be a scholar and a practitioner; talking, thinking, teaching and working to promote a more egalitarian and more peaceful international order. I am applying to several Ph.D. programs, including Columbia and I hope that I will be around Morningside Heights for a few more years to come. I am also involved in ongoing diplomatic projects, including an effort for an international cyber-security treaty. I believe in change, in the responsibility to making right what you see wrong. I see many wrongs in our world, and I feel responsible for making them right, wherever I can.