Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe has named Defne Arslan, a long-time chief  economic and energy adviser at the United States Embassy to Turkey, as director of the annual Atlantic Council Energy & Economic Summit in Istanbul.

Based in Ankara, Arslan will also serve as the Council’s regional representative, with a special focus on Turkey, responsible for new initiatives and partnerships related to the summit’s work.

“Defne has served for more than seventeen years in key positions at the embassy, dealing effectively with top business leaders and government officials on both sides of the Atlantic on a host of crucial issues,” said Kempe.  “I can imagine no one more qualified to assume leadership of one of the Atlantic Council’s most successful initiatives at a time when the region around Turkey is facing significant challenges.”

Arslan joined the US Embassy Ankara in 1997 as a senior economist responsible for monitoring the International Monetary Fund/World Bank programs during Turkey’s economic crisis years, eventually adding energy policy to her responsibilities. She later served as chief economist and senior adviser on Turkey where her vast portfolio included monitoring economic developments and financial markets in the country, as well as the regional energy policy issues. 

Arslan played active roles in accomplishments of key regional energy projects.

Prior to joining the US government, Arslan was a banker and  a founding coordinator at the Turkish International Cooperation Agency, where she worked as financial coordinator for technical assistance and investment projects in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan.   An economic major, Arslan holds an MBA and an MA in finance.

The annual Atlantic Council Energy & Economic Summit has become a premiere global forum for the most insightful political, opinion, and business leaders to discuss the pressing issues at the nexus of politics, economics, security, and energy. Now in its seventh year, the summit provides unique opportunities for developing new relationships and analyzing critical policy challenges in invitation-only, senior-level discussions with some 350 government officials, CEOs, and other leaders from more than forty countries.

Please email for more information on the Energy & Economic Summit or to schedule an interview with Defne Arslan.