Istanbul Policy Center was established at Sabancı University in November 2001 with the intent of conducting research in multiple policy areas. Since then, IPC has strived to create a bridge between NGOs and academia in both Turkey and the world without losing its focus on applied academic research and public policy. Between 2001 and 2010, IPC accomplished noteworthy projects in the areas of education reform, good governance, conflict resolution, Turkey-EU relations, and globalization. Furthermore, the “Turkey-U.S. Relations” program was introduced as one of the Center’s principal research programs during this period. In its early years, IPC’s Education Reform Initiative also became one of its significant projects and increased the Center’s public visibility.
In August 2010, Fuat Keyman, Professor of International Relations at Sabancı University, took over as the Director of IPC. Under Professor Keyman’s leadership, IPC has generated outstanding programs, publications, and events. Following the transition, Democratization and Institutional Reform as well as Conflict Resolution and Mediation were added to IPC’s key research areas. In 2011, IPC partnered with Stiftung Mercator to establish one of the most comprehensive cooperations between a Turkish research institution and a German foundation. In 2012, the Istanbul Policy Center- Sabancı University–Stiftung Mercator Initiative was launched. Since then, the Initiative has produced a wide array of research and outreach activities in EU/German-Turkish relations and climate change. Through this collaboration, both institutions seek to strengthen the academic, political, and social ties between Turkey and Germany, as well as between Turkey and Europe.
Since the beginning of the Initiative, 51 visiting researchers and 14 senior fellows have worked at IPC and Sabancı University. From 2012 to 2018, the Initiative, democratization and institutional reform, and conflict resolution and mediation were IPC’s three core research clusters.
Recently, IPC has expended its research into six clusters. On May 9, 2018, the SHURA Energy Transition Center was officially launched to contribute to the debate on energy transformation in Turkey. Climate studies have been one of IPC’s most visible research areas for the last six years, and climate change has become another main cluster. Urbanization and Local Governance was added as another research area. IPC’s studies in this field focus on economic, social, and democratic change, development, and globalization in important urban centers in Anatolia.
IPC supports the Sabancı University Faculty of Arts and Social Science’s academic and student projects, including Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, and “Özgür Proje,” with financial, technical, and intellectual assistance.