Past Event

Re-Thinking the Eastern Mediterranean: Diplomacy, Energy and Sustainability

December 3, 2020
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

The panel focused on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean from a political ecology and sustainability perspective with distinguished speakers. The diplomacy between Turkey and Greece on the dispute of Cyprus, which has become intertwined with that of energy; since new hydrocarbon resources have been found in the Eastern Mediterranean,  the European Green Deal, and the need for more hydrocarbon resources in a world moving further away from gas were discussed from different aspects. 


Sinan Ülgen graduated in 1987 from the University of Virginia with a double major in computer sciences and economics. He undertook graduate studies at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium where he received, in 1990, a master's degree in European economic integration. He then joined the Turkish Foreign Service as a career diplomat. In 1992, he was posted to the Turkish Permanent Delegation to the European Union in Brussels where he became part of the team that negotiated the Turkey-EU customs union. Ülgen is the founder and managing partner of Istanbul Economics. The consultancy specializes in market entry strategies for international companies, political and economic risk analysis related to Turkey, and regulatory affairs. Ülgen is also the chairman of the Istanbul-based think tank, Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM), and a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels. His research and opinion pieces have been published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Center for European Policy Studies, Center for European Reform, the Atlantic Council, German Marshall Fund, Brookings and the World Economic Forum as well as newspapers such as Le Figaro, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, European Voice, Project Syndicate and the International New York Times. He is also the co-author of a book on Turkey-EU relations with Kemal Derviş and a frequent commentator on Turkish affairs in the international press. Ülgen served on the academic advisory board member of the NATO Defense College in Rome. He was a member of the Europe Council of the World Economic Forum. He was also a member of the international policy experts group set up by the NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen.

Dr. Charles Ellinas has over 35 years of experience in the oil and gas sector in senior management positions. Currently, he is the CEO of e-CNHC (Cyprus Natural Hydrocarbons Company Ltd), providing management and advisory services in the oil, gas, and energy sectors in Cyprus and the region. The aim of the company, e-CNHC, is to contribute to the successful development of these sectors for the future of Cyprus. Prior to this, as CEO of KRETYK, Dr. Ellinas was responsible for implementing the Cyprus government’s strategy for the development of its hydrocarbons sector. Until 2012, Charles Ellinas was a Director of Mott MacDonald for 25 years and the Managing Director of Mott MacDonald’s Oil, Gas & Petrochemicals business world-wide. He is also Features Editor, Natural Gas World, and Senior Associate, Atlantic Council.

Değer Saygın works as the Director of the SHURA Energy Transition Center. In his former role at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Saygın has developed and led the global renewable energy roadmap (REmap) program between 2013 and 2017. This programme has assisted the world’s largest energy-using 70 countries in accelerating the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to operationalize the goals of the seventh Sustainable Development Goal and the Paris Agreement. Prior to joining IRENA, Saygın has worked as a researcher at the Utrecht University carrying out projects for intergovernmental organizations, countries, and the private sector about more sustainable uses of energy and resources in the manufacturing industry where he also received his Ph.D. He received his undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara.


Ipek Cem Taha, Director, Columbia Global Center Istanbul

Ioannis N. Grigoriadis, Associate Professor, Bilkent University; Senior Fellow & Head, Program on Turkey, ELIAMEP