İstanbul Economics Our Team İstanbul Economics Our Team

Our Team

Our team includes some of the most experienced, knowledgeable and passionate professionals in the industry.

Our team of leading economists, legal and policy consultants work in a singular capacity and integrated approach to match the needs of our clients across the business cycle. We also cooperate with prominent national and international industry experts and academics on a project basis to offer our clients the most effective solutions.

Sinan Ülgen
Founder & Managing Partner
A founding partner of Istanbul Economics, he is also the chairman of the think tank Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM). In the early 1990s, he joined the Turkish Foreign Service as a career diplomat and worked for two years at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara at the United Nations desk. He was posted to the Turkish Permanent Delegation to the European Union in Brussels where he became a member of the Turkish negotiations team for the Turkey-EU Customs Union. He is a regular contributor to Turkish dailies and his opinion pieces have also been published by international media such as The International New York Times, Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Mithat Özbek
Managing Partner
A managing partner of Istanbul Economics, he was the deputy director general at Puccinelli, a company operating in the food and beverage industry and then the managing director of the UK based paper and packaging company David S. Smith in Turkey. He worked for 10 years for David S. Smith in this capacity. Following the acquisition of the local branch of the company by Sabanci/International Paper owned Olmuksa, he joined the senior management of Olmuksa. He is a member of several leading NGOs. Mithat Özbek holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Hacettepe University and an MBA from the joint program of Istanbul Technical University and Exeter University.
Pınar Ersen
Head of Research
Pınar Ersen graduated from the Department of Economics of Middle East Technical University in 1993. Between 2000-2002, she completed her master's degree in Finance under the MBA program of Hofstra University, USA. Before joining Istanbul Economics in September 2022, Pınar Ersen has had over 25 years of government and diplomatic experience at the Turkish Ministry of Trade. Her areas of expertise cover bilateral trade negotiations and Turkey-EU Customs Union as well as a large number of trade and investment related policy areas. Between 2015 and 2019, she was the Chief Commercial Counsellor at the Permanent Delegation of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels. Prior to that, she was the Head of Department for the Ministry of Economy between 2009 and 2015. Between August 2019-2022, Ersen assumed the role of Senior Expert at the Ministry of Trade Directorate General of International Agreements and EU Affairs.
Yeşil Sakaoğlu
Senior Consultant
Sakaoğlu is a well-rounded specialist in public affairs and corporate communications, ensuring multinational clients better anticipate, understand and react to Turkey’s evolving policy landscape to achieve business success. She works with government affairs leads and C-Suite executives across industries, advising them on a range of regulatory, political and communication issues. In addition to client work, she leads business development at Istanbul Economics. Before joining the company in 2021, she worked at AmCham Turkey, representing over 100 U.S. companies in Turkey, and Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM). She also undertook contract work at World Bank and European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). She holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a master’s degree in Development Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She also completed international competition and trade courses at Boğaziçi University.
Temmuz Yiğit Bezmez
Bezmez is part of the public affairs team at Istanbul Economics where he supports clients on policy, regulatory and geopolitical risk and opportunity assessment. He also delivers communication strategies and economic studies to aid business strategy. Before joining Istanbul Economics in 2023, Temmuz was the Head of Project and Business Development at the French Chamber of Commerce in Turkey. He previously worked at the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) as Coordinator of Asia-Pacific Business Councils, and SDG 11 at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in Geneva. His op-ed pieces have been featured on Springer, The Diplomat, SCMP and Turkish Heritage Organization platforms. Temmuz holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Galatasaray University and master’s degree in International Trade and Economics from Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne as a full-scholarship recipient from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ebru Altunkum
Office Manager
With more than 15 years of professional experience, Ebru Altunkum supports and oversees all administration and procedures to ensure organizational effectiveness and efficiency.