Strategic Advisor – Former Minister of State – Former Minister for and Chief-negotiator of European Union Affairs of the Republic of Turkey,
Member of the Parliament in 22nd, 23rd, and 24th terms, representing Istanbul
Egemen Bağış was born in Bingöl, Turkey in 1970. His family originates from the neighboring province of Siirt, where he started his elementary school education. He continued his primary and secondary school education in the capital city Ankara, which he completed in New York Newtown High school of NYC, USA. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Resources Management that he received in 1993 as well as a Master of Public Administration degree received in the year 1996, both from the Bernard M. Baruch College of City University of New York.
Civil Society Management Experience in the USA
Bağış continued his career in the United States of America until the year 2002, where he focused his work in the field of civil society. In this period, he worked as a manager in number of civil society organizations as well as giving strategic advisory service to many public and private institutions beside of civil society organizations in the areas of politics, economics, language, culture and society. He experienced working with very influential political figures such as Bill Clinton, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Süleyman Demirel, Dick Cheney and Colin Powell through the translation agency he founded in the year 1995 named “The Turkish Link”.
During his years in the USA, he made valuable contributions to the improvement of Turkey-USA relations through civil society level cooperation and activities. He also served as the youngest and also the first and the only president who successfully got elected in two consecutive years for the Federation of Turkish American Associations, the New York-based umbrella organization of Turkish-Americans.
Key Figure in Diplomacy
Bağış, who returned to Turkey in 2002 over the invitation of the founding president of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, got elected to be a member of the Parliament, representing İstanbul the same year and served as the chief advisor of the AK Party responsible of the party’s international relations. In 2007 elections, he got elected to be a member of the Parliament for the second time, representing İstanbul, and served as AK Party’s vice-president responsible of governing party’s external relations. In this period of time, he also served as a member of the Central Executive Board, which is the highest executive branch within the party. In year 2009, he served in the Ministerial Cabinet as the Chief-negotiator and became prominent as a key figure in diplomacy during his ministerial term.
In 2011 elections, Mr. Bağış got elected from the AK Party to be a member of the Parliament representing İstanbul for the third time, and served as the first Minister for the European Union Affairs and the Chief-negotiator in the 61st government established following the general elections. In this period, he was responsible of executing Turkey’s full-membership negotiations with the European Union and he presided Turkey’s negotiation committee at the European Union level.
During his ministerial and Parliament membership period he also had a key role in coordinating and directing external policies of AK Party’s relation and organizations of national and international levels while aiding in the area of diversification and improvement of Turkey’s foreign policy. In this time period when Turkey –EU relations were at its peak with a continuous momentum, Mr. Bağış’s works in the international level positively impacted not only Turkey’s external relations but also its internal relations. Constitutional and legislative amendments taken place during Turkey’s harmonization process with the European Union made a fundamental contribution to Turkey to improve its performance in the area of liberal democracy.
Alongside of the aforementioned duties, Mr. Bağış also served as a member in AK Party’s Central Decision and Executive Board, the President for the Turkey-USA Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group and as the President of the Transatlantic Committee for the NATO-Parliamentarians Assembly.
Art and Science
Egemen Bağış has a keen interest in art since his youth, and has been an active national and international art audience. He has played a significant role in bringing Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture and Istanbul 2012 European Capital of Sport awards to Turkey in his capacity as president of the advisory board of both projects. Bağış also pioneered the establishments of Istanbul Modern and Santral Istanbul Silahtarağa museums. Bağış still sits in the Board of Directors of Istanbul Modern and, being among its founders, acts as the chairman of the advisory board of Istanbul Bilgi University Global Issues Platform. Bağış was elected as the Young Global Leader in the year 2010 by the World Economic Forum.
Bağış has several academic works published in academic and semi-academic journals as well as many articles printed in national and international newspapers. Italian government awarded Bağış with the order of merits of “Cavaliere” in 2006 and “Commendatore” in 2011. Bağış further received awards from many organizations for his involvement in several projects with a social focus.
Egemen Bağış continues his career as a strategic consultant. He is married with Beyhan N. Bağış and has two children.