Project Management Report from Istanbul


Interviews with PMI Turkey Chapter President Ismail Kurtoglu, IPYD President Behice Torun and UPYE Founder & Board Member Levent Sumer

By İpek Sahra Özgüler

Istanbul, Turkey












  • Welcome to Mr. Kurtoğlu. As a new president of PMI TR, could you introduce yourself for PM World Journal readers please?

I am an enthusiastic engineer with about 30 years’ experience. I knew that I was going to be an engineer when I was in primary school. I have started my university study at Middle East Technical University in 1982. During fourth class I started to work in ASELSAN which is still the major defense company in Turkey. In 30 years of Professional experience I have worked in several companies and I have been involved in research and development projects mainly. From 2000 till 2004 I have been in Stockholm, beautiful city, working for several companies connected to Ericsson, that duration of my life, is very important for me because the experience working in Marconi/Chelmsford taught me a lot about working in multi-cultural international organizations.

During my professional life, I have not given up to study in academics. After graduation, I have done Master of Science study and started to PhD at the same university. After some break I have restarted to my PhD study at Black Sea Technical University and I am still continuing as PhD candidate.

  • How did you get involved with PMI TR?

I have been involved with projects since the date I have started to work in ASELSAN in1986. I have been in one of R&D projects team. After gaining some experience as project engineer I have promoted to Project manager and military projects program manager. I remember when I first met with MS project Office and doing GANTT Charts at around nineties.

During my time in Ericsson Ecosystem, I experienced the modern project management tools and techniques. After my return to Turkey, I have investigated Project Management World and discover PMI and PMP certification and decided to get it. I got my PMP certification in 2009. While I was filling up the member details in PMI.org I have seen the “The Potential Turkish Chapter” and became a member of it also. It is a small world, when I tried to contact to Turkish Chapter, I saw that the president, Tolga OZEL, a person that I already know. Tolga convinced me there are a lot to do in Turkey to increase modern PM knowledge, experience, value, and I start volunteering for PMI Turkish chapter. My first big responsibility was to be PM for PM Summit: Defense at Ankara, capital of Turkey, in 2011. That was the first major event of PMI Turkish chapter in the heart of government city. The event was a big success, more than 500 PM practitioners attended the conference, with the support of Undersecretariat of Defense, it was a really big success for PMI TR chapter. After that I have worked as Director for two years for PMI TR chapter. My volunteering has been continuing since, as Vice president for two terms (4 years). I have been elected by the board as President Elect last year. And now for 2016, I have been honored to lead the magnificent PMI Turkey team as President PMI TR Chapter.


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About the Author

İpek Sahra Özgüler

Istanbul, Turkey


İpek Sahra Özgüler
graduated from the Istanbul University with the Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering and from Middle East Technical University with an MSc degree in Software Management. She became a certified PMP in January, 2012 and a certified SCRUM Master in 2014. She works as international correspondent at PMWJ. Before joining PMWJ, she worked for global multinational companies and leading local companies such as Coca Cola, Deloitte, Turkcell Superonline,Havelsan and TAV IT. Over the years, she has gained extensive experience in managing various medium and large scale projects, programs and portfolios.

Her article named “When I Decided to Develop Multi Processing Project Manager’s System” was published in the book “A Day in the Life of a Project Manager”. She has published several articles in the PM World Journal and one in PMI’s PM Network magazine. Ipek is actively involved in sailing, writing and discovering new cultures. She can be contacted at [email protected].