Cengiz Aktar is Senior Scholar at Istanbul Policy Center. As a former director at the United Nations where he spent 22 years of his professional life, Aktar is one of the leading advocates of Turkey’s integration into the EU. In 1999, he began a civil initiative for Istanbul’s candidacy for the title of European Capital of Culture. Istanbul successfully held the title in 2010. He also headed another initiative called European Movement 2002 which aimed at putting pressure on the legislature to speed up political reforms necessary to begin the negotiation phase with the EU. More recently in December 2008, he developed the idea of an online apology campaign addressed to Armenians and supported by a number of Turkish intellectuals in Turkey. Aktar is involved in studying policies of memory regarding ethnic and religious minorities in Turkey.
During his time at the UN, Aktar held seminars in the universities where he was working. He also worked closely with EU officials, with ECHO as well as DG JFS in particular. He was involved in capacity-building programmes in candidate countries of Central Europe in 1994-1999. Since 1999 he has taught courses on various EU policies at Galatasaray University and Bahçeşehir University. He is currently a columnist for daily Taraf and Today’s Zaman, as well as regular commentator at Açık Radyo on EU related developments since 1999.
Aktar has published nine books and numerous articles in Turkey and abroad. The latest book he edited “Ecumenical Patriarchate” was published in Turkish in March 2011. He is a member and advisor to following institutions to the French periodical La Revue du Mauss, the Turkish ecological NGO Buğday, the Hrant Dink Foundation and the Aladin Project. He is also a reviewer for the European Commission, DG Research.
Born in 1955 in Istanbul he graduated from the Lycée de Galatasaray and completed his tertiary education at Panthéon-Sorbonne where he received his PhD degree on Economic Epistemology in 1982. Aktar is married with two daughters.