Prof. Ayhan Kaya 



Ayhan Kaya is the Director of the European Institute. He is a Professor of Politics and Jean Monnet Chair of European Politics of Interculturalism at the Department of International Relations, İstanbul Bilgi University; and a member of the Science Academy, Turkey.

He received his PhD and MA degrees at the University of Warwick, England. He is the principal investigator for the ERC project titled “Nativism, Islamophobism and Islamism in the Age of Populism: Culturalisation and Religionisation of what is Social, Economic and Political in Europe”. Kaya was previously a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Florence, Italy, and adjunct lecturer at the New York University, Florence in 2016-2017.

He previously worked and taught at the European University Viadrina as Aziz Nesin Chair in 2013, and at Malmö University, Sweden as the Willy Brandt Chair in 2011. Some of his books are Turkish Origin Migrants and Their Descendants: Hyphenated Identities in Transnational Space (London: Palgrave, 2018); Europeanization and Tolerance in Turkey (London: Palgrave, 2013); Islam, Migration and Integration: The Age of Securitization (London: Palgrave, 2012)


Dr. Özge Onursal-Beşgül

Vice Director


Özge Onursal-Beşgül is Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations and Vice-Director of the European Institute at Istanbul Bilgi University. She graduated from the Department of International Relations, Bilkent University, and holds an MA in International Relations from Istanbul Bilgi University, an MSc in European Politics and Governance from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in European Politics and International Relations from Marmara University. Her research interests include international organisations, European integration, the Europeanisation of education policy and the social construction of Europe. She has published articles on Europeanisation, education policy and the Bologna Process. She was awarded a Jean Monnet Chair in 2022 with her project BILGINormsEU and is the co-coordinator of the Jean Monnet module with Dr Mehmet Ali Tugtan (FlipEU), which launched Istanbul Bilgi University's first MOOC on the EU in September 2019.


Didem Balatlıoğulları, MA

Institute Projects Executive

Didem Balatlıoğulları is  Project Officer at European Institute of İstanbul Bilgi University. She graduated from İstanbul Bilgi University with a BA degree in Management of Performing Arts and received her MA degree from BİLGİ’s Cultural Management program. Her research areas are cultural policies, cultural diplomacy, and minority studies.



Deniz Güneş Yardımcı, PhD

DAAD Research Fellow & Lecturer


Deniz Güneş Yardımcı is a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) lecturer at the European Institute. She is a sociologist, media- and film scholar specialized in Turkish-German relations with a focus on Turkish-German migration history, cultural identity, and the cinematic representation of migration and diasporas. Yardımcı has a PhD in Media Arts/Film Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London. She further holds a BA and MA in Sociology and a BA and MA (with distinction) in Media and Communication Studies/Film Studies from the Johannes Gutenberg University-Mainz, Germany. Currently she is working on her book about ‘Culture and Identity in Turkish-German Cinema’.