Our Team

Dr. Tarek Cherkaoui is Manager at TRT World Research Centre. Dr. Cherkaoui has an extensive experience in strategic management, research, and consultancy across international media, tertiary education, and the creative industries throughout the U.K., Qatar, Malaysia, and New Zealand. He is an expert in international media and strategic communications, and holds a Ph.D. in Media and Communication Studies from the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, for which he was awarded the Dean's Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Studies. His research interests include international broadcasting, media discourse, international news framing, information warfare, public diplomacy, soft power, nation branding, image management, crisis communication, and political and military affairs – specifically within the MENA region. He has put forward several publications, including The News Media at War: The Clash of Western and Arab Networks in the Middle East (2017) (London: I.B. Tauris). As an academic, strategic communications researcher, and a senior manager within organizations, Dr. Cherkaoui displays excellent interpersonal and communication skills with fluency in four languages – English, French, Arabic, and German.

Talip Kucukcan is a Professor of Sociology at the Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey. He was a Member of the Turkish Parliament between 2015 and 2018. Mr. Kucukcan was the Head of Turkish Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe and a Member of Foreign Relations Committee. He graduated from Uludag University (1986) and received an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (1990). Kucukcan completed his PhD in Ethnic Relations at the University of Warwick (1997). He worked as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations at the University of Warwick between 1997 and 1999. Before moving to Marmara University where he became a full professor, he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islamic Studies in Istanbul until 2007. He served as a Senior Advisor to the President of Higher Education Council of Turkey between 2009 and 2013. He was among the founding team of Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) where he was first Coordinator of Social and Economic Research, then the Director of Foreign Policy Research. He served as the Editor in Chief of Insight Turkey, a policy journal published by SETA until 2015. Kucukcan was the Director of Middle East Research Institute at the Marmara University between 2011-2014. He is appointed as the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims for 2014 and 2015. Kucukcan is specialized in foreign relations with a focus on Middle Eastern affairs, Turkey-EU relations, transnational migration, international freedom of religion, security and Muslim minorities in Europe. He is a regular commentator on national and international media.

His publications include the following:

BOOKS

Politics of Ethnicity, Identity and Religion: Turkish-Muslims in Britain, Avebury: Ashgate, December, 1999.

EuroTurks and Turkey-EU Relations: The Dutch Case, (co-authored with V. Gungor), Turkevi Research Centre, Amsterdam, 2006.

AB Ulkelerinde Din-Devlet Iliskileri, (State-Religion Relations in EU Countries), (co-edited with Ali Kose) Istanbul: Center for Islamic Research, 2008.

Turks in Europe: Culture, Identity and Integration, (Co-edited with V. Gungor), Amsterdam: Turkevi Research Centre, Amsterdam, 2009.

ARTICLES

“The Belt and Road Initiative and Middle Eastern Politics: Challenges Ahead”, Insight Turkey, Vol. 19, No. 3, 2017, pp. 83-91.

“European Views of Turkish Foreign Policy”, (with M Kucıkkeles), Insight Turkey, Vol. 15, No 1, 2013, pp. 127–144.

“Are Muslim Democrats a Threat to Consolidating Freedom of Religion? The Turkish Case”, in Allen Hertzke (ed.), The Future of Religious Freedom, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 270–289.

“Sacralization of the State and Secular Nationalism: Foundations of Civil Religion in Turkey”, The George Washington International Law Review, 2011, Vol. 41, No.4, 2010, pp. 963–983.

“State, Religion and Law in Turkey”, in Electing Faith: Intersection of Law and Religion in Politics Around the World, Boston College Law School & Religion Program, 2008, pp. 59–74.

“Turkish Migrants, Social Capital and Culturalist Discourse in Turkey-EU Relations”, in Dietrich Jung and Catharina Raudvere (eds.), Politics, Religion, and Turkey's EU Accession, London: Macmillan Press, 2008, pp. 199–221.

“Bridging the European Union and Turkey: The Turkish Diaspora in Europe”, Insight Turkey, Vol 9, Number 4, pp. 85–99.

“Les Politiques, les Discours Politiques et l’Islamophobie”, in L’Intolerance Et La Discrimination Envers Les Musulmans, Strasbourg: Cojep International, 2007, pp. 149–155.

“The Making of Turkish-Muslim Diaspora in Britain: Religious Collective Identity in a Multicultural Public Sphere”, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Volume 24, No. 2, 2004, pp. 243–258.

Şener Aktürk is an Associate Professor at Koç University in Istanbul. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a post-doctoral fellow in the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, and a visiting lecturer in the Department of Government, both at Harvard University. His book, Regimes of Ethnicity and Nationhood in Germany, Russia, and Turkey (Cambridge University Press, 2012) received the 2013 Joseph Rothschild book prize from the Association for the Study of Nationalities and the Harriman Institute at Columbia University. His articles were published in World Politics, Post-Soviet Affairs, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Social Science Quarterly, European Journal of Sociology, Turkish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Osteuropa, Nationalities Papers, Theoria, Ab Imperio, All Azimuth, Insight Turkey, Turkish Policy Quarterly and Central Eurasian Studies Review, among others.
M. Metin Basbay is a Researcher at TRT World. His research mostly focuses on economic policy in the context of underdeveloped and developing countries. Metin holds a BA in Economics and a BA in Sociology, both from Bogazici University and is currently a PhD candidate in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge where he also completed his MPhil in Economics.
Ravale Mohydin is a researcher at TRT World Research Centre. With graduate degrees from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania, her research interests include the political economy of media, strategic communications, public diplomacy, political effects of entertainment media, conflict media coverage as well as South Asian politics and society.
Dr. Tankut Öztaş is a former Researcher at TRT World's Research Centre. He holds a PhD and MA in International Political Economy from King’s College London. Previously, he worked as an Associate Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University and Graduate Teaching Associate at King’s College London. His research focuses on politics of global security, geopolitical risks and transnational economic affairs. He specializes in regions of Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
Dr. Serkan Birgel is a former researcher at TRT World Research Centre. He holds a PhD from the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, and a Master’s degree in Geopolitics, Territory and Security from King’s College London. His research interests include geopolitics and the natural resource / energy nexus – with particular emphasis on the Eastern Mediterranean region.
Mamoon Alabbasi is a Researcher / Digital Editor at TRT World Research Centre. Prior to that, he was the Deputy Managing Editor and Online Editor at The Arab Weekly, and the Opinions and News Editor at Middle East Eye. He has been actively working in the field of journalism since 2005, following a decade-long career in education. He holds a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics.
Selçuk Aydın is a Researcher at TRT World Research Centre. He has presented, conducted projects and published articles, book chapters and opinions on Turkey's history, Turkish diaspora in the UK and Middle East. His research interests are colonialism, Middle Eastern politics and history, Islamic and Kurdish movements, diaspora, institutional, and security studies. Selçuk holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the Faculty of Political Science at Ankara University, a Master’s Degree in Political Economy of the Middle East from King’s College London University, and is currently a PhD candidate at the Defence Studies Department in the School of Security Studies at King’s College London University. His PhD thesis’ title is “Post-Ottoman States and Kurdish Movements: A Comparatively Analysis of Single Party Regime in Turkey (1923-1945), British Mandate Regime in Iraq (1920-1932) and French Mandate Regime in Syria (1923-1946).”
Abdinor Hassan Dahir is a Deputy Researcher at TRT World Research Centre, and Project Coordinator for the TRT World Citizen initiative. Prior to joining TRT World, Abdinor was a Ship Chartering Executive at Negmar Denizcilik Yatirim A.S in Istanbul, and a permanent Secretary at Faculty of Management Sciences at SIMAD University in Somalia. He was trained and worked at the Public Relations Department at Sakarya Metropolitan Municipality in Turkey. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Management and a Master of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration from Sakarya University in Turkey, with a thesis titled “Aid in Foreign Policy: the case of Turkey-Somalia Relations”. His main research interests include foreign policy, development studies, foreign aid, Turkish-Africa relations, and African governance and geopolitics.
Edebali Murat Akca is a Researcher at TRT World Research Centre. Before joining TRT World, he worked on Turkish foreign policy in think tanks. He worked with several NGOs on the university sector and international relations monitoring. Edebali holds a BA and MA in International Relations from Istanbul Ticaret University. Currently, he is a PhD candidate at Turkish National Defence University in Istanbul. His research interests include Turkish politics; foreign, domestic and security.
Elif Zaim is a Deputy Researcher at TRT World Research Centre. Previously, she worked as an expert in Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), conducting various projects in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. She received her BA in International Relations from International University of Sarajevo and her MSc in Middle East Politics at SOAS, University of London. Her research focuses on political and social issues in the Middle East and North Africa.
Ferhat Polat is a Deputy Researcher at the TRT World Research Centre. He is a PhD researcher in North African Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies in Exeter with a particular focus on Turkish Foreign Policies. His interest include the politics of the Middle East and its influence in North Africa, particularly inregards to the potential for stronger economic, political and social partnerships. He has worked as a consultant and researcher for small businesses to expand into new markets in the Middle East and North Africa. He is also a published writer and journalist and a regular contributor to the British Council-partnered political journal as well as the Middle East Monitor. He has previously worked as a political analyst at British Institute of Turkish Affairs.
Michael Arnold is a researcher and editor at TRT World Research Centre. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Military and Diplomatic History from the University of Calgary and earned a Master of Arts in Islamic Studies with a dissertation entitled “Overlapping Sacred Spaces: Islam, Pluralism and the Hegemony of ‘Human Rights’”. He is currently a PhD candidate in the Arab and Middle East History programme at the American University of Beirut. His research interests include modern Arab and Middle East political and social history - with a special focus on Lebanon - religious authority in Arab states, and the history of Islamic thought.
Muhammed Ali Uçar is an Assistant Researcher at the TRT World Research Centre. Prior to this, he lectured undergraduate and graduate students for 5 years at the Civilization Academy in Vienna. Lectures were in various topics such as 20th century philosophy, Turkish foreign policy, political history of Turkey, modern political systems, and the relations between Turkey and the European Union. During his academic studies, he worked as a trainee at the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) and at the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey. Muhammed Ali completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Political Science at the University of Vienna and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Istanbul. His areas of expertise include extreme right movements in Europe, foreign policy analysis, German and Austrian politics and foreign policies, migration, the EU, and the relations between EU and Turkey.
Muhammed Lütfi Türkcan is a Deputy Researcher at TRT World Research Centre. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from Boğaziçi University. He holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Koc University and is currently a PhD candidate in that same department. His research interests include U.S foreign policy, international security, grand strategy and terrorism.
Ozan Ahmet Çetin is a Deputy Researcher at TRT World Research Centre. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Bogaziçi University and a Master of Arts in International Relations from King's College London. His research interests include Turkish politics, international security, strategy and terrorism. Ozan is a Jean Monnet scholar, an amateur woodcarver and a member of the Royal Society of Literature.
Semanur Pekkendir Darbaz is a Deputy Researcher at TRT World Research Centre. She received her BA in Comparative Literature and Media Studies from Istanbul Bilgi University and her MSc in Migration, Mobility and Development at SOAS, University of London. Her research interests include Turkish migration and asylum policies, citizenship and integration.
Aruuke Uran Kyzy currently works at TRT World Research Centre as an Assistant Researcher. She worked at the British Muslim Heritage Center, non-political organization as event assistant in Manchester, UK. Aruuke is passionate about social projects; she previously worked as the Education Coordinator at the Sefire-i Alem International Student Association. She has a BA in International Relations and BA in English Language and Literature from Istanbul University. Her current areas of focus are Russian foreign policy, modern cultural colonization, Turkish-Iranian-Russian relations and political aspects of Russian colonialism in Central Asia and Caucasus.
Ebrar Şahika Küçükaşcı is an Assistant Researcher at TRT World Research Centre. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from Boğaziçi University. In 2016, she was granted a scholarship from Qatar University and has continued her academic activities at the Qatar University. She is currently a Master of Arts student in Political Science and International Relations at Boğaziçi University. Her research interests include Turkish foreign policy, Middle Eastern Studies, Gulf Studies, and environmental politics.
Turan Gafarli is a former Deputy Researcher at TRT World Research Centre. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Politics from Queen Mary University of London and a Master of Arts in Transnational Studies from University College London where he submitted the thesis `Nation-State in the Age of Globalization: Turkey’s Contemporary Path 1996-2016`. Turan worked as a researcher for Lord German, Treasurer of the Liberal Democrat Party, in the House of Lords whilst also interning at the Turkic Council, the Council of Europe and the United Nations Office in Geneva. His research interests include Eurasia and Transcaucasia, Turkic World, globalization and the nation state debate. He also contributed to the book entitled 'Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom – 100 Years of Partnership (2019)'. Turan is also a member of Chatham House Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Enes Yavuz is a Deputy Researcher at TRT World Research Centre. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Design from the University of Bilkent and earned a Master of Arts in Ottoman History with a dissertation entitled “Ottoman Oil Concessions during the Hamidian Era (1876–1909)”. He also holds a Certificate of Minor Degree in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. His research interests are energy studies, Turkish political development, contemporary Turkish politics and Ottoman history with a particular focus on the late Ottoman period.
Merve Akın is an Associate Researcher at TRT World Research Center. She holds Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from Marmara University. She is currently MA student at Istanbul Sehir University in the same department. Her research interests are non-state actors, political violence and terrorism, proxy wars, Iranian foreign policy.
Fatih Şemsettin Işık is a deputy researcher at the TRT World Research Centre and a graduate student at the Department of International Relations in Central European University (CEU). Before that, he worked as a research assistant and social media coordinator at Al Sharq Forum. After completing his undergraduate studies at the Department of Political Science at Bilkent University in 2015, he finished his MA studies at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Istanbul Şehir University in 2019. As a journalist, he contributed to the Daily Sabah newspaper between 2014 and 2016. His research interests include Israeli politics, EU-Middle East Relations, Turkish Politics and the role of diasporas in foreign affairs.
Anna Murphy is a former research assistant at the TRT World Research Centre. Prior to joining the Research Centre, Anna was a Fulbright Scholar in Ankara, Turkey. She has a BA in Middle Eastern Studies from Brown University. While at Brown, she was an Undergraduate Research Fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Her research interests include political communication in the UK and EU, Middle Eastern politics, and US foreign policy in the MENA region.